A Very French Invasion

published on November 12th, 2008 · more from the blog →

It's 4:30am... yes, in the morning and I am once again forced to get out of the comfort of bed and haul myself and a giant suitcase to the outskirts of London, yup, another holiday, only the fourth this year!

Eiffel TowerSo we jumped onto a very peculiar mode of transport that's set to take us under the sea.. the Eurostar. Having never traveled by international rail before I assumed it was powered by some kind of Voodoo magic, however some people were out to prove me wrong and decided to cut the power lines on the French side of the tunnel and our train was forced to take a 3 hour detour around the French countryside.
Being no stranger to France I was unenthusiastically dragged through the spectacle of seeing absolutely nothing from the cabin window. Having driven through almost the entire length of France earlier this year I can assure you there is only 2 things in France, the first being those huge mountainy things at one end and the second of course being Paris.
I'd wanted to visit the world capital of Romance ever since I watched the hollywood blockbuster Moulin Rouge a few years back. This place of magic, mystery and most of all love has intrigued me and I was determined to discover its beauty for myself.

When we eventually made it to Gare du Nord, and with very little skills remaining in the mother tongue, we did the natural touristy thing.. point and talk loudly to our frog eating cousins. Conveniently for us the nice lady behind the counter played along with our stereotypical British role in the situation and we purchased a 3 day Metro ticket for 19€, while a little pricey it was totally worth it, the Metro is bloomin marvelous, especially when you're used to traveling on the antiquated London Tube. All weekend we found the Metro to be a superbly quick, clean and problem free way of traveling easily around the city.

Rachel had booked us into a very nice hotel in the Opera quarter of the city, why they call them quarters when there is about 10 of them I do not know, however the area is bustling with shops and fancy restaurants - we do like our food.

Leafy SuburbiaOur first official stop was the Eiffel Tower - my oh my - the queues were spectacular, we spent about 2 hours in total before we made it to the top of the tower, and I have to say, it's very tall! The view from the top was crazy, overlooking the entire city you can really see why it's such a popular attraction. One piece of advice, do not eat from the sloppy take-away at the bottom, the sausages, and I use that name very loosely were disgusting, how can anyone eat that stuff?

On the second day we headed over to the Musee du Louvre, again, that's pretty huge, built by some crazy French kings it's now home to the Mona Lisa where we went to bask in the glory of the most famous painting in the world.
Later that afternoon we took ourselves all the way up the Champs-Élysées to the Arch de Triomphe. Again, like a lot of things in Paris, this is pretty big, and joy of joys, the only way to the top is via spiral staircase. The view from the top at night was fabulous. Overlooking the city and with a clear view of the Eiffel Tower, it was a pretty special moment where many couples were spending precious moments staring into each others eyes.

Enough of that nonsense, we headed to a restaurant called Versuvio, looking out onto the busy street we enjoyed a bottle of Rosé and some of the best tasting food ever, and all at a very reasonable price.

On the final day of our trip we meandered around the city, Rachel managed to take us to the wrong Notre Dame church in some ghetto area of the city, thanks for that. We did eventually find the famous one and had a little wander around, it's very churchy, those of you who know me well enough will know too well of my dislike for religion. Why are these places of celebration so gloomy? There was a ceremony going on too, all fire and brimstone, worship our god or we will strike you down bitch! Well something like that anyway.

All in all we had a fabulous weekend, not sure if I'd go back again just yet, I've seen too much of France recently.