Saturday, 7 June 2014

Parisian Photo Diary; Part 3

Since being back home in the UK, one of the main things I have missed has to be French food.  Our taxi driver told us during our trip from the airport to our hotel, that I would come home and be asking Alex to make French food because I would miss it so much.  He was right.  I practically consumed my body weight in crepes and waffles during our visit.  I found myself leaving one restaurant, then trying to find a creperie less than ten minutes later...

An amazing Chocolate crepe from a Creperie in Paris A Parisian breakfast favourite, waffles & Lemonade
A sandwich from a lovely cafe in Paris Chocolate and Pistachio Macaroons from Paris

For the most part of the trip, we tried to find cafes on side streets and away from the busier stretches of Paris.  They felt a little more..authentic?  However, we did fall a little in love with a chain of restaurants, named Bagelstein.   The name is a bit of a giveaway, but they made the most amazing bagels - I went back a few times for the 'Isidore' - made with pesto, mozzarella, cream cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, red & green peppers, all inside an olive bagel. SO, SO good.  The decor was lovely too, with 'quirky' family tree photos to show how Bagelstein came about, and with quotes from celebrities scattered over the walls.  Even writing this is making me hungry.  Send help and bagels.

The best Bagel shop in Paris, Bagelstein An example of Bagelstein's Bagel offering 
Quirky interior within Bagelstein in Paris A photograph-covered wall in Bagelstein in Paris

Lastly, I thought I would sign out with a few Parisian hacks, which will hopefully help if any of you are planning a visit in the near future.

  •  When travelling from the airport to your destination, it is probably a better idea to arrange your transfer before arriving in Paris.  We opted for the first 'taxi' that we saw after landing, and during the drive, we noticed that the driver did not have a meter displayed on his dashboard.  The driver did not appear to be a registered taxi driver, and we were charged 90 euros for a 20-30 minute journey, BAD MOVE.
  • Paris is split up into 20 districts.  To find out which district you are in, you will find a street sign on the last building of any street.  The district will be shown on there, along with the street name - this helped us a lot with navigating as our map missed quite a few of the smaller streets along the way.
  • Keep your bags close to you and carry as little as possible during day trips.  There are a lot of pick-pockets, and we were targeted on quite a few occasions as we were noticeably tourists in the area.  A lot of pick-pockets approach tourists with clipboards, representing 'charities' - it is best not to get into conversation and to move on swiftly.
  • This may sound like an obvious tip, but it is best to learn a few French phrases before visiting.  Especially for ordering in restaurants, or requesting a taxi - a little goes a long way and it is a sign of respect.
  • VISIT THE CHAMPS ELYS√ČES SEPHORA - it is HUGE and any beauty bloggers' dream.  Along with this, be sure to visit the French pharmicies for cheaper beauty products.  They're impossible to miss, just look out for the illuminated green '+' signs.
  • Roads can be crazy to cross in Paris. Despite the green man being lit on the traffic lights, motorcyclists will go through the zebra crossings if they feel that a pedestrian is not trying to cross.  I felt lucky every time I survived crossing a road.
  • The Louvre is worth a visit, especially if you are on a budget.  Admission is free for visitors under the age of 25, however, the descriptions for the artefacts are in French and do not have English translations beneath.  It might be worth paying for an audio guide if you are keen to know more about each attraction.  Also, the audio guides are on Nintendo DS' - tell me I'm not the only person that finds this cool?
I hope you have all enjoyed the trio of Parisian photo diaries!


Sunday, 1 June 2014

Parisian Photo Diary; Part 2

Upon visiting Paris, one of the main things that Alex and I had most been looking forward to, was visiting lots of art galleries and museums.  Naturally, we paid a visit to The Louvre, and the grounds alone blew me away.  The outside building was so magnificent and it was hard to imagine just how much effort went into designing/constructing it.  We were lucky to be treated to sunshine when visiting, and we were able to take in the views and surroundings before going into the museum.  Once inside, I still could not quite get over the design of the building - the high ceilings adorned with paintings were spectacular and no photos could quite display this.  I felt accomplished having seen the Mona Lisa, even if there were crowds of people flocking to the painting...

The grounds outside the Louvre in Paris A breath-taking photo of Parisian architecture
The grounds and fountains outside the Louvre in Paris Beautifully detailed paintings on the ceilings inside the Louvre in Paris

We also paid a visit to the Eiffel Tower - I had promised myself that I would go up to the top, but once the heights kicked in on the first level, I couldn't go any further... we were even going to walk the whole way because I'm equally as nervous when it comes to being in lifts! Minus being a major wuss, the views were breath-taking.  If I ever return to Paris, I will have to make sure I visit the top - it just feels like something you HAVE to experience during your time there.

The approach to the Eiffel Tower through the side streets of Paris Beneath the Eiffel Tower
The Eiffel Tower on a wonderfully sunny day in Paris The views of the Palace of Versailles from the first floor of the Eiffel Tower 

We paid a visit to all of the key 'tourist' attractions, including the Notre Dame, and the 'Padlock Bridge'.  I think the padlock bridge was one of the bits I was most excited for - when we visited Malta last year, people had started to mimick this idea around the bay where we were staying, and we added a padlock with our names to the railings there.  It felt overwhelming to visit the real thing in Paris, and we picked up a padlock at a local stall along the river Seine (the stalls are certainly worth a ponder for trinkets and prints).  It was lovely reading the messages left on padlocks of past visitors over many years.

 photo image_zps091421ba.jpg Outside the Notre Dame in Paris
The 'Lovelock' Bridge in Paris with just some of the thousands of padlocks attached Our own padlock on the Padlock Bridge in Paris

Stay tuned for my third and final installment of the trip!
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