When you think of our neighbours across the pond you think chic, historical and romantic. I certainly haven’t given France a good go in 10 years and I decided this summer was the perfect time to tackle it. I went to see a good friend of mine who lives just out in the suburbs of Paris. (Think Richmond-Upon-Thames, Surrey) Paris is like the parallel universe of London just dirtier and with slightly better history. Parisians tend to think I’m one of them, provided my lips are painted red and my mouth is shut. I do see the resemblance between Londoners and Parisians; the quickness in our steps, the on trend almost intimidatingly good fashion sense, the carefree attitude towards life (…the ridiculously high prices).
After a ridiculously delayed train journey giving me plenty of time to get acquainted with the Northern French countryside, I started my journey in Paris over in Blanche, at a trendy café a stone’s throw away from the famous Moulin Rouge. I spent my first evening drinking fancy cocktails and eating Croque monsieur while speaking a mile a minute having a much needed catch up with a close friend.
On my second day, I lounged around all morning drinking tea (you can take the girl out of England…) while meticulously planning my trip to the Louvre and Jardin de Tuileries. It was super easy to navigate the Paris Metro, years of commuting through sweaty tubes during rush hours prepared me well for this first test of wits.
Now onto the most controversial opinion on my entire blog: I loved the Louvre! It spoke deeply to my inner nerd and I got to explore and learn about French Renaissance paintings. The upstairs rooms were virtually deserted so I got to wander round the 18th Century colossus which is known to be the largest museum in the world. I explored the Egyptian and Greek antiques (England has a better selection on this front at the British Museum), sculptures and paintings by famous artists from all over Europe. I feel like I learned and saw so much but I could always go back again and again. I particularly liked the royal chambers and the collection of muskets and pistols. The most disappointing thing about the Louvre was the Mona Lisa, though I was expecting that already. I knew it was tiny in a room crowded with tourists trying to take a picture of it. I’d see clearer pictures of the Mona Lisa on the internet. It also took me forever to find as it was my last priority after having spent over three and a half hours sauntering through the museum in its entirety gazing and all the different types of art and coming up with silly memes for some of them in my head. The staff were also very blasé and not very helpful on the subject of finding her and to be honest I was also ashamed to ask knowing I’d be seen as the quintessential feckless tourist who ambles about clumsily, culturally uncivilised, lays eyes on one painting and proclaims enlightenment.
After this I went to enjoy the sunshine at the Jardin de Tuileries, I ate pistachio ice cream and sat in the grass. That’s probably the summeriest thing I’ve done all summer. The garden is right next to the louvre so you can’t miss it even if you were trying to. I walked around and took in the flowers but I didn’t go on any of the funfair rides unfortunately. In the evening, I went for drinks locally back in our lovely suburb and had a relatively early night.
The next day I went to Montmartre which was so good it deserves its own blog post. Followed by the Notre Dame.
We went clubbing on the Champs-Élysées at an Asian style night club venue named Queens which was formally a gay bar. The next day I had brunch and caught my train back to the homeland. It was short and sweet and I’ll be back there again very soon! Paris reawakened my love for Europe!