We’ll always have Paris.”
I’ve just returned from a Eurostar break to the City of Light. Having not been since I was about 13 on a school trip, I felt like I had to totally rediscover the city again for the first time.
The journey started by catching the Eurostar, another first, from London St. Pancras station after a quick visit to the champagne bar (living the high life). 2 hours, an overpriced toastie and a milky coffee later, the city emerged from the Gare Du Nord. We made a stop en-route near the Notre Dame to grab some food along La Seine. Working in lighting, one of the first things that struck me when we were walking from the St. Michel metro station was how “selectively” the city is lit. By this I mean that there are some buildings that are lit beautifully to highlight its architecture, and there are others that are in complete darkness. It really does stand out from other cities that I’ve been too, as it creates a mysterious film-noir mood on those foggy nights.
Personally, 90% of the time when I go to new places I like to play it like Indiana Jones (“I’m just making this up as a I go along.”). I like the experience of exploring it all as it flows and how the city wants you to view it. On the first morning, what could be better than climbing to it’s highest point to get an overview? The Eiffel Tower beckoned, but unfortunately for the duration of our trip the top floor was closed for maintenance (typical!). Although even from the second level the views of Paris basking in the morning sunshine were breathtaking. We could see the Sacre Coeur, Le Louvre, the Pantheon and La Seine river all the way down to the miniature Statue of Liberty replica near the Grenelle Bridge. For a contrast, we went to the top of La Tour Montparnasse for an equally stunning night time view.
It wasn’t until the end of our first day that we realised that there is a so much to do in so little time. The Louvre itself could take a whole day of your time easily. We were ready to crash and sleep. Needless to say, we did not let that stop us experience all that Paris has to offer; cafés, crepes, coffee and croissants.
In amongst the Notre Dame, a river tour along La Seine, and the Jardin du Luxembourg we managed to find an amazing boutique styled book store. Shakespeare & Company felt like walking into someone’s private library. With their eclectic furniture collected over the years, coffee and cake on the sofas, a piano to play to take a break from reading and a typewriter corner; I’d highly recommend this unique visit.
Inevitably the trip has to end sometime, and as always too soon. We were physically exhausted, but not of Paris. The City of Light holds a special place in our heart. As Humphrey Bogart put it, “We’ll always have Paris.”