In October of 2014, my boyfriend and I decided to go away for the new year. We wanted to do it on a budget, so we decided to look at the Megabus to spend the New Year in Paris- and we managed to do it all for a mere amount of pounds compared to the unforgettable memories we made.
We chose to go from London to Paris. It is a cheap way to travel to France, and as we saw the bus provded Wi-fi we thought the journey wouldn’t be too bad- and we had each other, of course.
When we arrived at London Victoria coach station on the 29th of December, it was jammed full of people taking buses to various parts of Europe to bring in the New Year. We checked in, and as the buses were so full, we were placed on a replacement bus which was not actually a Megabus, so, no wi-fi! after all. The journey was great, however, and we arrived in what seemed like no time at all.
We pulled up in Paris much earlier than we had anticipated, so we waited for the underground to open at 6am, which luckily, was only around 30 minutes away. Once we had hopped on, we got to our hotel and we were pleasantly surprised. I had booked the hotel without reviews or photos, as availability was very tight because of the time of year and the lateness at which we had booked it. It was a 2 star hotel, but I was very impressed with the efficient staff allowing us to check in early, and also having a beautiful balcony overlooking the busy yet rain- filled streets of Paris. We stayed close to the Bastille area of the city, so we were within walking distance to almost everything.
The best way to explore any city, in my opinion, is by foot. If you choose to go around any other way, you will miss the incredible architecture surrounding you wherever you turn, and the huddled street vendors selling vintage records and antique books. You could spend a lifetime wandering the streets of Paris and still find something fascinating at every blink of your eye, just as I found myself falling more and more in love with this stylish yet historically rich city.
We stumbled upon everything by throwing out our map and letting our feet guide us. Heading towards the beauty that is Notre- Dame, we realised we were at the love lock bridge; coincidentally having a padlock in my pocket?! The legend of the love locks is a melancholic Serbian tale where a woman fell in love with an officer and he got sent away to Corfu, thus falling in love with another woman, from Greece. The Serbian woman was heartbroken; her heart shattered. The Serbians then began the tradition of attaching padlocks, carved with their initials, in the place where the woman and the officer used to meet, in memory of the pain that the woman felt.
After throwing our key into the River Seine, we circled Notre-Dame, our ears filled with the sounds of accordions playing and tourists excitedly chattering. Next, we found ourselves wandering, scanning the tourist souvenir shops, when suddenly the most overwhelming piece of achitecture I have ever seen in my life was before me. The Louvre. This, literally, was the most incredible building I could ever imagine seeing- 650,000 square feet of pure craftsmanship. We decided to wait in line and although we ended up waiting for over 3 hours, it was definitely worth every minute. The interior decorations, without even mentioning the art itself, purely awestruck me. The gold encrusted pillars reaching from bottom to top, leading to the intricately painted arched ceilings. Amazing.
Inside The Louvre, we visited the lady herself. Miss Mona Lisa. I have to say I was a little bit confused as to what the fuss was all about; panes upon panes of protective glass, built into an alarmed wall and surrounded by security. It was so much smaller than I had imagined, and in my opinion, there were more beautiful pieces of art inside that are probably overlooked because of Mona!
One of the most memorable things about Paris was, of course, the New Year celebrations. We headed towards the Arc Du Triomphe, and witnessed the most stunning light show; changing the Arc into various other landmarks in the city in such a clever way that you felt as though you were looking at the other monuments in real time! Fireworks shooting, crowds cheering, and me, crying! (I seem to well up at the stroke of midnight every year..!!)
How can an entry about Paris be complete without a mention of the Eiffel Tower? Well, I didn’t go up it due to the tickets being sold out, but even standing under it is a memorable experience. We arrived at sunset; the most perfect time to go there. With the pink sun slowly disappearing behind the tower, it really does make for some beautiful photography.
On our final night we went on a Seine River Boat cruise- a christmas present from me to my boyfriend, James. It was absolutely bitter- freezing. James got fairly ill after the tour, but it was well worth it as we got to see all of the sights by night which were stunning; the beauty impossible to catch by a camera.
We found that the best place in Paris to grab some food is in the Latin Quarter, where it was very cheap for a 3 course meal. We had a New Year’s lunch, with wine, for 10 euros per person. It was delicious. Our meal consisted of a steak, a roasted chicken, mussels, soup, and even a chocolate dessert each!
Paris, for me, was absolutely all I had expected from the city, and more. It can be as romantic as you make it, but every single person would feel comfortable and relaxed there whether in a couple or not. It now sits in my ‘Top places to visit’ list- and I would recommend it to anyone.Tweet