In April this year, I went to Paris with my boyfriend for our three year anniversary.
It was the first time I had gone abroad without my family, and the first time my boyfriend had ever been abroad, so it was a big deal.
We got to the airport the night before our 7am flight as neither of us own a car so we had to rely on public transport to get to the airport (trains did not run early enough in the morning so we got to the airport at about 11pm the night before. Regrets.)
We planned to take it in turns to sleep at the airport (which did not really happen!), so by 4am, when we were permitted to drop off our baggage, we were past the point of tired.
When we finally got on the plane, it was so endearing to see my boyfriend get so excited like a child as we flew through the thick, grey clouds and into the morning daylight.
I felt incredibly ill on the plane. I was feeling so sick, maybe from the lack of sleep or the lack of breakfast, but it was horrible. This sickness continued until we landed, and pursued until we got to the apartment we were staying in, until we went out again to have breakfast. I felt extremely guilty about how I felt. I was so happy to be in Paris, but I could not shake this sick feeling. It finally passed by the early afternoon and I could finally enjoy our first day in this amazing city.
We first walked to the Panthéon, which is where my boyfriend in particular wanted to go (We decided to walk everywhere to get the most out of Parisian life. Plus I didn’t want to risk getting travel sick again!). I am not massively enthusiastic about history and religion, but I do appreciate the architecture of the majestic buildings. Originally a church, the Panthéon now serves as a mausoleum for some of France’s most influential figures (I would like to take this time to thank my Lonely Planet Paris guide for the information on these sites and for not getting us lost the whole trip!). For €7.50, we toured the inside of the building, which was surrounded with old paintings and statues and stuff. The iconic dome was unfortunately undergoing renovations so we saw lots of lovely scaffolding.
First time my boyfriend has ever felt small in his life.
After this, we walked to the Luxembourg Gardens. It was a particularly cold day when we arrived in Paris, which was not the best weather to be walking around gardens, but this place was absolutely beautiful.
Situated near Notre Dame, the Luxembourg Gardens is a 17th Century inner-city oasis comprised of lawns with vibrant flowers, it’s own museum, palace and an ornamental pond where children can play with toy sail boats. Although the gardens were dedicated to the children of Paris by Napoléon, it truly is a spot for anyone, giving people a taste of the quiet Parisian life within the city. I think that if I lived in Paris, I would spend many summer days here, wasting time reading and just experiencing a more chilled out Paris.
My photos are not brilliant. As I said, it would look more impressive if we got a hot sunny day.
Exhausted from zero amounts of sleep, but still determined, we walked over to the Notre Dame. This Gothic style cathedral is 852 years old this year and is iconic for its gargoyles, crypt and of course, its famous bells. Unfortunately, we did not enter Notre Dame as the queue was so so long and we were already struggling to walk for much longer. Therefore we took some obligatory photos, admired the noble architecture, and went on our way.
We were really feeling some ice cream by this point, so using my trusty Lonely Planet book, I discovered there was a highly rated ice cream parlour near Notre Dame, called Berthillon. We walked around for a while, but we could not find this so-called glorious ice cream. Beginning to think the legend of the Berthillon was simply a myth, we decided to just eat at the next café we saw. I had a coffee to keep me going (I had plenty of coffees in Paris and acquired quite the taste for them).
We exited the café and walked past this attachment to the café which sold ice cream. It turned out we accidentally had drinks at the Berthillon and did not even realise! Overcome with happiness, we browsed the different flavours of ice cream and sorbets.
We got a little pot each. I had mango flavour which was so nice. So smooth. So refreshing. The boyfriend had a chocolatey one, which I tried and it was so rich and also so smooth and ugh. Just so good. I didn’t care if the weather was cold, I have no regrets for having that ice cream. It transported me to a place where I was no longer sleepy, and everything was just ice cream and glorious. I totally recommend this place if you’re ever in Paris.
After this, we walked back to the apartment. We were staying in Alésia, which is south of the city centre, but still pretty central. I used Airbnb to book an apartment to stay in which belongs to an actual French girl who was very lovely. I recommend using Airbnb if you are on a budget as you can get a cheap place, but also find somewhere pretty close to all the main sites.
Once at the apartment, we instantaneously had a nap (my boyfriend fell into a coma-like state and I could not wake him again for ages!).
After a quick refresh, we went out for dinner in Alésia where we had the typical French dish of… cheeseburger and fries.
We went back to the apartment, chilled out, then fell into a much required sleep ready for the next day.