During the FIBA window break my sister Kesia and best friend Nikki planned to come stay with me in France for ten days! During those ten days we planned to spend the first three days in Paris, then two days in Bourges, followed by two days in London England, and the remaining three days in Bourges.
Paris Day 1
Kesia and Nikki were due to arrive in Paris for 10 am so I caught the 7 am train from Bourges to Paris, then caught the RER train to paris Charles de Gaulle Airport where Kesia and Nikki were patiently awaiting my arrival. It was so great to see them in the flesh, as my career doesn't allow me as much time with my loved ones as I would like. Reunited, we hoped on the RER back to Paris Austerlitz and then caught the metro to Gare de Lyon, as our hotel was a five minute walk from that metro station. Once we were all checked in and our bags dropped off, we were ready to explore Paris...but our first stop was food!
For lunch we ate at a cute little Italian spot where the owner spoke to us in a little English, a little French and a lot of Italian, and to answer your question no, none of us speak Italian so we had an interesting time trying to decode the menu and order. Thank goodness for the google translate app! In the end we all played it safe and ordered the same thing, rigatoni pasta in tomato sauce with cheese.
For their first day, I decided to take them along the same route my friend Kayla Pangos took me along when she graciously showed me around Paris. Our fist stop was Notre Dame and you would think that upon approaching this beautiful piece of architecture my friends would be blown away and anxious to take pictures and look inside, right? Wrong! Instead, they were immediately drawn to an interesting looking circular platform that spun around in circles. They were having so much fun that I had to join in on the fun. I think we spent a good ten minutes pushing each other around in circles, followed by another ten minutes trying to boomerang the whole ordeal. Luckily, two American girls who were also visiting were willing to take pictures and video for us. You can check out the video on my instagram page @kjalexan40. We did eventually admire both the outside and inside of the Notre Dame Cathedral.
Next, we walked along la Seine (the river) until we came across the new location of the lock bridge. We took pictures and continued along our way towards the Louvre. During our walk, Kesia noticed two swans in the water and had to grab a picture with them, so I took one too.
When we made it to the Louvre, Kesia was especially excited because everything she was seeing in person was described in the Dan Brown's The DaVinci Code. We took all your typical touristy pictures before heading inside the Louvre to check out the beautiful pieces of art and to warm up. We enjoyed looking at the sculptures, and the Egyptian time period pieces of work. We ended up staying until closing time.
Next up, the Eiffel Tower! By now it was dark out so the eiffel tower was glowing in gold lights. Right as we approached the Eiffel Tower the light show began. (Another video you can see on my Instagram @kjalexan40). It was as if it had been waiting just for our arrival! We decided to walk away from the Eiffel tower in order to capture pictures of the entire tower with us together infront of it. Afterwards, we took the metro back to our part of the city, dinned at another italian place before heading back to our hotel room. After we shared pictures and videos with one another, posted on instagram and showered we all knocked out, as we were extremely beat from the day's adventure.
Day two began by stopping by the bakery across the street from our hotel for hot chocolates and pastries to fuel us for the first half of the day. We walked to the Bastille monument and admired it before heading for the Pantheon. The entire area of the Pantheon was so grand and so beautiful! We took so many pictures in the area, none of which do the sights any justice. We had planned to explore the inside of the pantheon but that day it was closed for unexpected reasons. I guess now I have another excuse to return to Paris for more exploring!
After the Pantheon we walked to Macaron World and bought ourselves some macaroons (salted caramel is my personal favourite), before heading to the Paris Catacombs. The Catacombs were truly an experience and reminded me of when I was exploring the dungeons in Venice. (Check out my Venice blogs!). When we arrived we had to wait in a pretty long line for at least 30 minutes before we got in. Once inside, we purchased our tickets and proceeded to walk down a tight spirally staircase that felt like it went on forever. When we finally made it to the bottom, we started reading the informational posters on the walls of the first few rooms. The tunnels were small, dark and the ceilings were uneven. At times I could fit and walked just fine, however,, there were many areas in the tunnels where I had to duck and bend over just to walk through.
The part that creeped us out the most was went we entered the Empire of the Dead (cue scary music). We knew that there would be bones and skeletal remains but we didn't think that there would be so many and right out in the open for anyone to touch! There were mountains, and mountains, and mountains of bones and skulls on display. Some were still intact, others were falling apart. All I could think of was just how many human remains were in those Catacombs and how unfortunate that those people never got a proper burial. When we eventually came to the end, and climbed another spirally, tight staircase that had all of our legs burning, we were surprised to see how far we had walked under the city. It was strange to know what was hidden just below our feet... creepy.
Next up, the Musee d'Orsay! We took some pictures outside before venturing inside the museum to admire all the beautiful pieces of art. We went through every level of the museum, touring each floor, and when we reached the fifth level we came across the large clock! My friend, Kayla believes that this might possibly be the clock from the movie Hugo. In the movie, Hugo is an orphan child who is responsible for taking care of the clock in a train station. Musee d'Orsay is located in an old train station, so as far as we're concerned this clock is the Hugo clock. If we are terribly misinformed please feel free to correct me in the comment section below.
Once we exited the museum we made our way through the Jardin Tuileries and went to the large ferris wheel where my friend Kayla would be meeting up with us for the evening. Unlike myself, Kesia and Nikki are extremely brave and adventurous when it comes to ferris wheels so they decided to ride it. I, on the the other hand do not like heights nor do I like to put my life in harms way so I stayed safely and securely planted on the ground.
By the time they got off their ride Kayla had arrived, so together the four of us walked the Champs-Elysées. During the first half of our walk the Christmas markets were up, so there were plenty of food vendors, wine shops, gift shops, as well as rides, a skating rink, a magical forest and so much more. With the lights sparkling in the dark, the christmas music playing and the smell of delicious foods in the air, it made for a great atmosphere to have an evening stroll.
After we passed the Christmas markets we continued the walk on the Champs-Elysées where they had all the stores you could possibly think of, including the largest Louis Vuitton I have even seen! We didn't walk in any of the stores, we just admired from afar as our goal was to make it to the Arc de Triomphe. When we did eventually make it, we climbed yet another spiraling staircase to the top, but the view totally made our burning legs and deep breaths worth it. It was also amazing to see just how far we had walked!
For dinner we went to a steak and frites place that is pretty popular in Paris. So popular that there was a line out the door to get in. The menu: salad, steak, fries and your choice of dessert. The meal was delicious and it came with two servings which we all took advantage of, followed by desert, a creme brûlée that the three of us shared (well really, only Nikki and I shared because Kesia didn't like it).
Full and exhausted we went into the nearest metro station and took the train back to our hotel. Once we were showered and our heads hit our pillows, all you could hear were snores!
Our last day in paris was a lot lighter and consisted of brunch and a visit to a park. For brunch we ate at Le Pain Quotidien, my new favorite breakfast spot and current obsession! They serve organic, delicious meals that make you do a happy dance and hum as you eat (am I the only one who does that when enjoying my meal?) For brunch I ordered a large hot chocolate, a waffle with chocolate sauce, baguettes, a boiled egg and a shared an avocado spread toast with Kesia and Nikki. Kesia ordered a pear juice and a pain chocolate, and Nikki ordered a bread basket and a boiled egg. Everything was delicious, and we ate our plates clean.
Fueled, we took the metro to Parc des Buttes-Chaumont and walked around the park, taking pictures, boomerangs, and enjoying the views. Once we had our fill, we headed back on the metro to the neighborhood of our hotel, bought snacks for our train ride back to bourges, grabbed our bags from the hotel and were on our way to Gare Austerlitz to grab our train home.
When we finally made it back to Bourges, we dropped our bags off at my apartment then went to Burger Factory for dinner.
The past three days in Paris with Kesia and Nikki were so much fun! We did so much sightseeing, made a lot of memories and completely wore ourselves out. Fortunately for those two they could sleep it all off the next morning, but not I. as I had practice the following morning at 10 am. Here's to sleeping like a baby tonight!
Things to Know: If you do decide to plan a trip to Paris, here is some information you should know. If you're 25 years or under, and have a european passport or visa you can get into most museums and historical attractions for free! Sadly I learned this on day two, but I was still able to get into places for free simply because I am 25 years old and have a French Visa. Also, I would highly suggest downloading the app Paris Metro, it made navigating Paris so simple and easy. It tells you what train line to take, where you need to get off and transfer (if required) and how long your journey will take. I used it when I traveled to the airport and back to the city to pick up my friends and when we were traveling all across Paris. Just type in your location and destination, its as simple as that! Lastly, if you want to train from city to city in France, download the app Voyages-sncf. You type in what city you are in, where you want to go, what dates your traveling and the time you would like to travel and it tells you the possible trains you could take to get to your destination, along with the price, transfer points, length of travel and it even allows you to chose your seat. The only requirement of this app is that you are able to read French, as it is a French app.
Thanks for stopping by and God bless!