Thursday, June 21, 2012

Sore Bums and sore feet - Paris we have arrived

Europe is a long way from Australia, a bloody long way.  By the time we go to bed tonight it will have been 48 hours since we last properly slept.  However the pain is most definitely worth it when we look out our window at the Parisian street below.

International flights are never fun.  We left Canberra before the sun rose, made our way from Melbourne to Singapore where we spent 6 hours in transit, before the final marathon journey to Paris.  They were ok flights, just the usual issues of trying to fit very tall people into small seats.  S barely napped, we were both not at our best by the time we landed in France. Sleep deprived and sore all over.

Fairly quickly however we were through immigration and had our bags - almost too quickly really because we could only get into our accommodation at 10am and we were on the train into the city by 7.30!  But we found ourselves a cute little cafe to wait in and before we knew it we were entering our apartment.

We have booked much of the accommodation for this trip through the Airbnb website, which means we are renting apartments directly from the owners.  In this case we have rented a tiny but gorgeous apartment in a traditional building.  The lift is so tiny it barely fit me and the bags in it, S had to hoof it up the stairs, but it has everything we need and looks out onto a street of typical Parisian houses.

We were exhausted but decided to power through the jet lag and head out.  I had been informed of a good market near us.  It was somewhat disappointing (might be better on the weekend I think) but we found ourselves a gorgeous bakery to purchase some lunch and a supermarket for the other necessities.

Then it was on to being a tourist.  We jumped on the metro and headed straight to visit Notre Dame.  We got off the Metro at Pont Neuf allowing us to walk down the Ile de City taking in the sights of the river and the gorgeous architecture along the way.  The sun was out an it was really lovely and warm.
The crowds of tourists made it easy to find Notre Dame.  It is an amazing building.  I'm just blown away by the achievement of creating such a huge and intricate structure with the limited tools that were available to the builders.  It was of course packed with people so we didn't join the huge queue to climb the towers, we instead wandered around the inside, then the outside and further along the river.

I had heard that there was another fantastic church to visit on the Ile de City, Sainte Chapell, so we wandered back in its direction, stopping for some ice-cream - Berthillion of course.  I had raspberry and S had tiramisu.  They were both absolutely delicious and just the refreshment we needed.

There was a massive queue to get into Sainte Chapell but we joined it and about half an hour later made our way in.  It is located within the Palace du Justice so we had to be security screened etc which I'm sure is what was coursing the line of people.  We bought our tickets, headed in to the church and were just blown away.  It was quite small but the amazingly ornate decorations were just overwhelming.  We made our way around the chapel admiring the amazing work when we noticed a small spiral staircase in the corner.  Up we wound and when we made it to the top, I actually gasped.  The chapel below is only a precursor to the amazing church above.  With 15 huge magnificent stained glass window, including an awesome rose window depicting the apocalypse it is filled with beautiful light.  The incredibly high graceful ceiling is painted a deep cobalt covered with gold stars.  The church is in the process of being restored and you can imagine how amazing it must have looked when new, it was definitely worth the line up.

We rounded out the day with a wander in the Twilleries gardens.  We sat under the shady trees watching all the tourists wander by and feeling absolutely spoiled by the luxury of being there, enjoying summer on the other side of the world.

It will definitely be an early night tonight, we can both barely keep our eyes open, but we are here and the adventure is on!


  1. Goodness, you certainly hit the ground running!! The ceiling on that chapel is just gorgeous. Oh and blue skies and sunshine, how nice :)

  2. You're in Paris! Utterly jealous. I haven't been there for four years. Tip re: flying, which I know probably sounds really facetious of me, but flying business or first makes such a big difference. The Pharmacist just can't sit in economy on long haul flights, and I worry about DVT and the like being cooped up for so long. I know its expensive (like, Chanel handbag expensive), but it's really worth it.

    Now, onto the big question - when are you going to Laduree, and what are you going to eat?!

  3. What a jam packed first day! I greatly dislike long distance flights (like you, my legs do not fit!) and find it hard being 'normal' when landing early and having a whole day to get through before sleep is permissible. Clearly, you pushed on through the jet lag and made no excuses for tiredness! It looks like a wonderful day :)

  4. How jealous I am of you!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. I don't know how I found this blog, but I'm glad I did. I've been to Austria and Italy. Next is France. Get private tours, aside from the big crowds. It's done under the table, so be discreet. Those are worth every penny and yet some. Also, I know what it's like to travel and have pain in my feet. Here is what I do when I am away from. I take small and medium size towels from your hotel room and tie very tight knots. Set them near a wall and try to stand on the barefoot. At the end of the day, it has saved me from excruciating pain in my feet, and I was in good shape in the morning to go do some more traveling.
    If this works for you, please acknowledge it somehow.
    Good trip to your, safe, fun, and full of wonder.

  6. Berthillon FTW! Their salted caramel was incredibleness. Ahhh, AirBnB! I've heard of this; you trust it? It works? I'm trying to figure out my own options at present :)

    1. The raspberry was awesome!
      So far AirBnB has worked well. My tips are to read all the feedback really closely plus check the list of inclusions, oh how we hankered for a washing machine in Vienna! Also given that you don't have the usual luxury of asking hotel staff for directions, try to pick a place on main transport routes and ask the owners for lots of things like where the supermarket is, where good cafes are etc. But overall we are loving the freedom of space and being able to self cater as much as we want. With so much gorgeous fresh food around, it has been a delight.