A few months ago I was lucky enough to win a lastminute.com blogging competition about spontaneity (read the blog that won it here) and the prize was a trip for two to Paris, so naturally I took my bezzy mate Lizzy.
The journey there was the most stressful thing ever because 1. I was hungover and hadn’t looked ahead at how to get to the hotel and 2. Lizzy had stayed at my house the week before and somehow managed to accidentally take home 3 of MY iphone chargers and the ONE I had left had given up the ghost and stopped working (as all iphone chargers do within about 6 months….seriously apple sort it out. And while you’re there any chance of programming Siri to understand Scouse because he’s racist against my accent) so I was completely phoneless.
When you arrive at the airport (CDG) there is a short walk to get the train into Paris. A man started following us through the station; the men in France are notoriously forward and will tell you you’re beautiful, wolf whistle and follow you to ask you out til the cows come home. I was hungover and not in the mood. I gave a our would be suitor a firm, “Non!” and he looked at me hurt and confused and started asking for Lizzy’s number. “Excuse moi…NON!!” I don’t know the French for fuck off but the stern look on my face must have said it because he swiftly fucked off. Sassy Bird 1 – 0 Everyday Sexism.
[Tip: The RER line B gets you into Paris and if you change at Gare Du Nord you can get onto most Metro lines from there. You can buy a 1, 2, 3 or 5 day travel pass giving you unlimited Metro travel. We bought the 3 day one for €47 which includes the airport and Versailles; both zone 5.]
After dropping our bags at the hotel we found a little café and shared a traditional French meal of bread, cheese, meat and wine. It was 11pm on a Friday and the café was filled with young French people engrossed in civilized conversation and drinking wine….in moderation. I mean they were actually alternating with water and everything. Where were the tequila shots and people dancing on the tables making a show of themselves? The French just don’t have the same joie de vive as Scousers obviously.
We got up early the next day as we had a long itinery of stuff we wanted to get done; Moulin Rouge, Notre Dame, Eiffel Tower, Sacre Coeur, The Louvre etc… we got a little sidetracked but more about that later. We visited Hotel de Ville first (their town hall) as there’s some amazing vintage shops round by there selling Chanel bags and real furs etc [Rue de Verierre off Rue de Renard if you’re interested]. We had a ‘petit dejeuner’ (brekky) at a little café and all my Year 7 French started attacking out of nowhere. The waitress gave us a basket of bread and without even thinking I said “Ou est le beurre?” – it was like I’d been possessed, I had no idea where it came from. I’m a Spanish speaking kind of girl.
On our way to Notre Dame [only a 5 minute walk away] we found an ice skating rink and thought it would be an amazing idea to go ice skating. Lizzy was a natural where as I made Bambi look like a professional. After going arse over tit twice within a minute and injuring my shoulder I decided the childrens ice rink would be a better bet….complete with trainer penguins. I was completely channeling Jaiden from Scousewives. Being surrounded by actual toddlers who could ice skate better than me was not my finest hour like.
After having a quick look around Notre Dame we decided we definitely deserved a cocktail and decided to check out a nearby café called ‘Le petit pont’ (the little bridge I believe). They had some seriously rude cocktail names but we settled on a massive €30 sharing one called a “Royal Fuck Mojito” – so named I assume because you’re royally fucked after 2.
We found video evidence the next day of us taking turns to point at the camera singing “JE SUIS BEVVIED!!!” while some French shop owner came out to shoo us away from trying on his hats and sunglasses. Oops. Can’t take us anywhere.
We also found this guy on the camera the next day….HELLO CHEEKY (think he was our waiter)
In our inebriated state we decided to push onwards to ‘Le Tour Eiffel’ and the very short Metro journey left us dying for a wee having already broken the golden seal some half an hour earlier. We legged it out and frantically accosted a passing stranger, “Excuse moi, toilettes????” – he pointed across the street. We had no time to wait for the green man, we spotted a gap in traffic and legged it. Lizzy was wearing a pair of those shite ballet pumps which stretch to about 2 sizes too big after one wear and she skidded on it and went flying in the middle of the road (lying down drunk in traffic for second time this year already, I’m putting her on an ale ban.) But there was no time to assess damage or apologise to the swerving vehicles; we had bladders to empty.
We finally reached the toilet which was one of those ones with the automatic sliding doors and I decided to be chivalrous and let her wee first seeing as she’d just nearly died…again. As the doors slid shut we just caught a glimpse of a Frenchman having a sly perv so as far as we were concerned they couldn’t close fast enough. As she began relieving herself I desperately searched for a lock (not realizing that closing it from the inside meant it locked automatically) and found a big red lever on the door. It was stuck, it wouldn’t budge! I panicked as I thought the door could open at any moment revealing us weeing to the world. Finally I managed to pull the lever and in doing so lost my balance, falling over on the wet (vom) public toilet floor in my brand new coat. Lizzy and I looked on in horror as the doors began sliding open. Yeh it wasn’t the lock, it was the emergency door release.
A gaggle of elderly French women were stood outside waiting to use the facility – they were greeted by the scene of me lying on the floor and Lizzy on the toilet with her knickers round her ankles. All I heard was a burst of unintelligible French but the unmistakeable words, “Le alcohol.” Yes….le alcohol indeed! I scrambled up and frantically began pressing the close door button but to no avail. The Frenchwomen took pity and stood in a line creating a wall of modesty for Lizzy to hide behind. We legged it as fast as we could only to realize that I was still dying for a wee so I had to go down an alley while Lizzy created her own one woman wall of modesty for me to crouch behind. I am so classy.
It was only when we finally got to the Eiffel Tower that we realized Lizzy had completely smashed her phone, scraped her knee and banged her head in the whole nearly getting ran over incident. Daytime drinking, it’s not big and it’s not clever….but it is fucking funny.
Wall of souvenier vendors and a very drunk Lizzy (complete with scraped knee)
We had started to sober up and Lizzy was starting to get seriously bummed out by the decimation of her phone so we found a café at Trocadero (overlooking the Eiffel Tower) to have a few wines and hopefully get some wifi. [The wifi in France is shockingly bad btw so expect pretty much radio silence when you get there]. As I sat down I heard a couple next to me talking who I assumed were French and I swear I thought I heard them say ‘Sassy Bird.’ Nah, I dismissed it as being some French word which just sounded like it and/or I was still drunk. My ears were pricked though and the next minute the girl started talking about the Be Spontaneous blog about me coming to Paris on my own and I got proper freaked out. Of all the places in Paris, and all the people in the city at that time and I just happen to bowl up at a café at the exact point someone was talking about me. It was mind blowing enough having someone spot me in London the week before like but that is on a whole new level.
We went to a restaurant called Le Coupole that night in Montparnasse on the recommendation of Mark Melia (local dress designing genius). It was absolutely gorgeous, I had black truffle on my starter and main course. It’s not a cheap place like but apparently the price I paid for the truffle meals was (according to a food geek mate of mine). [We had two 3 course meals, soft drinks and wine and it came to €165, but it was fantastic and the service was amazing. Did I think Paris was expensive overall? Hmmm depends, some places were and then some places weren’t, same as everywhere really. You just work within your budget.]
On the Sunday we went to Versailles. If you go to Paris you absolutely must visit Versailles. It’s about 40 minutes away on the train like but it’s just the most stunningly beautiful palace – so fucking prinny it hurts. Marie-Antionette & Louis 14th lived there and its reputation is that it was the richest and most opulent court of all time so you can imagine. The palace is all gold plated and the gardens are absolutely huge.
Gates at Versailles
So you have to ask yourself, what do you get when you cross a boss new camera, with a boss location and a couple of Sassy Birds? A photo shoot obv.
[By the way, if you’re from the EU and under 26 years old take your passport everywhere with you because entry to places like Versailles and The Louvre is free. For everyone else Versailles is €18 for a day pass and although we didn’t go The Louvre this time, as far as I can remember in 2011 it was €10]
We rented a little golf buggy for €30 an hour while we were there to get to all the amazing locations in the gardens. It would take you hours and hours to walk round them all they’re that big. You need your driving licence to rent one or if you don’t have a driving licence like me, this might happen:
“Your driving licence madam?”
“Ar soz I left it in England.”
“Do you have a passport?”
“Are you a good driver?”
“Yeh of course.” (Ay them 3 lessons I had last year the instructor said I was boss)
“Ok no problem, here you go.”
There I was, let loose on actual roads with real cars, in a golf car, with a bottle of cider. Drink driving without a licence in a foreign country, on the wrong side of the road….that’s just how I roll. BEEP BEEP MUTHAFUCKAS!!! (No tourists were harmed in the making of this blog.)
No seriously, I had a ball, I’m officially putting ‘learn how to drive’ on my to do list for 2014. Get on some of the amazing pictures we took in Versailles as well. Watch out Vogue, I’m coming for you
(Dresses by Rare London & Party 21)
That was my 3rd trip to Paris and now I’ve been with a boyfriend, on my own and with a friend and it’s good for all 3. I didn’t go out of an evening when I went on my own like as being in a strange place can be quite intimidating but I got so much touristy stuff done during the day because you’re free to go at your own pace. I’ve done getting round on the Metro and done the hop on-hop off bus tour. If it’s your first time in Paris I’d probably recommend the bus tour as it stops at all the important places and you get to see so much of the city as you travel round but the Metro is definitely quicker.
If you want to check out lastminute.com’s deals then get on it here.