Just over a month ago, my beau Jamie and I jetted off for what was a beautiful week in La Ville-Lumière. Inspired, I planned to get stuck into the blog on our return, but working full-time, studying part-time and having over a thousand photographs to go through has meant I’m only getting around to it now. I think I’m going to post a couple of different ‘parts’, as to put it all into one post would be a little long, and I don’t want to leave anything out as it was such a special time.
On 2 September, we landed in Charles De Gaulle at lunchtime, making our way to our hotel in the charming neighbourhood of Montmartre. Checked in, bags unpacked and a quick change of clothes, we had a bite to eat on the chic rooftop terrace of the hotel, which offered a seriously impressive vista of the city in very comfortable surroundings. We could see the Eiffel Tower and those beautiful Parisian rooftops from our room too!
It would be easy to spend the day on this terrace, especially in the heat (we managed to hit it lucky and arrived in a heat-wave; 30 degree days!) but we had lots of exploring to do. We would return to take in the views by night… the way the city is lit up at night is just so perfect. But, more on that later!
We strolled down the hilly cobbled streets (regularly stopping along the way to admire the local florists, fresh fruit and veg stalls and, of course, the bakeries! Naturellement…) to our local Metro station, hopped on and made our way to La Tour Eiffel! I know it sounds daft and obvious, but when it first caught my eye as we walked around the corner, my jaw dropped at the sheer scale of it! And there’s a surreal feeling to seeing it right there in front of you, in all its glory – photos just don’t capture how it truly is. Il est incroyable!
It’s so easy to get snappy-happy at this landmark! So many photos were taken, I just couldn’t help it! We crossed this bridge, walked underneath the tower and joined the crowds sitting on the grass at the other side, taking it all in before walking along the Seine. We marvelled at Pont Alexandre III, Paris’s grandest bridge, before continuing our walk right up to the Champs-Élysées where we strolled at our leisure and got a delicious dinner.
Now, I love the Champs-Élysées as a street, with it’s perfectly manicured trees nestled inbetween picturesque buildings and of course meeting the Arc de Triomphe at the end. It is known as ‘la plus belle avenue du monde’ after all! But unfortunately I feel that it is not what it once was. The old Champs-Élysées, which had always been considered one of the world’s most chic avenues, has become exploited by commercialism – the charm it once held has been tarnished by tourism and global chain stores, which I feel ought to be somewhere else…! The way of the world – money money money – would get you down. It’s stolen the character of many a place, but particularly the Champs-Élysées.
For example. We spotted an incredibly grand building near the bottom of the Champs. It had magnificent, tall black gates with gold detail, behind them was a haven of leafy trees and a fine pale gravel pathway leading to what looked to be a building from the 19th Century or so. I thought, “I wonder who lives here?!” as it looked like seriously exclusive apartments, or a museum/gallery. Well, I was wrong – it turned out it was the flagship store of Abercrombie and Fitch. I mean, really?!
(PS. I’m not slating A&F, I just feel such a store is not worthy of this spot, and think it says a lot about the way things have went!)
Part 2 coming soon :) x