We arrived in France after a long day of traveling in “the coach” (greyhound/coach Contiki bus). We drove from London to Dover, and then got on a giant ferry to make the crossing from the White Cliffs of Dover to France! They didn’t even check our passports! So it was another 4 hours or so until we reached Paris, and we went straight to the hotel to check in and change and then hopped back on the coach to go on a city tour and then went to the top of the Eiffel Tower! The lift takes you right up one of the legs, and then up the middle in a different lift. The view was so gorgeous from the top, and to think that the Nazis had orders from Hitler to tear it (and most of Paris) down but because they had been living there for a few months, they fell in love and felt like they shouldn’t tear/burn everything down. So, thankfully their one act of kindness kept a beautiful city alive!
After being at the (very windy) top for about an hour, we headed back down to the coach, where they drove us to a perfect viewpoint to see the light show on the Eiffel Tower that happens every night from exactly 10:00-10:05pm every night. It was a beautiful and sparkly show. It’s little things like this which made me so happy we were doing a guided tour because they really did give us the “backstage” insights, with a fast-paced, and young vibe! Then we headed back to the hotel to get a good night’s sleep.
After an early breakfast, our first full day in Paris started off with a beautiful bike ride. I absolutely love to bike, and going around seeing the Eiffel tour, love lock bridge, Notre Dame, and so many other big sights in Paris was too much fun! After the bike ride, the bus dropped us off at the Arc di Triomphe, and Brooke, and our friend Chris and I walked down the Champs-Elysees. We were absolutely starving after the 2-hour ride, so we decided to eat a nice Parisian lunch along the avenue. The service was a little spotty, since we obviously showed up at rush hour, and I got attacked by a pigeon (which hit the glass wall behind me as it probably tried to avoid the overhang and then fell into my lap/face, and took off but not before slapping me in the face), but other than that our lunch was delightful and we headed out for more exploring! One thing I never expected was the most extravagant Abercrombie & Fitch I’ve ever seen. Of course we smelled it before we saw it and the front of the store looked more like the entrance to a beautiful palace of a mansion, than a trashy American store, so of course we had to check it out! And yes, though it pains me to say, it was insanely cool inside… (*pictures to come). We kept walking along the avenue, and made it to the Tuilerries Gardens, before continuing along the Rue di Rivoli to do a bit of shopping.
For our last activity of the day, we set off on a real adventure. Earlier in the day Chris had mentioned his girlfriend told him about this art exhibit that was going on, run by Pharrell Williams and we decided to go find it. All we had was a little spot on a map, and a rough name of the gallery it was at. So after a confusing time trying to navigate the Paris Metro, and trying to be scammed by ticket scalpers and then “helped” by a loudmouthed, overbearing tourist who did more to confuse us than help, then we got lost trying to head the correct direction in the rain. But once we arrived at the “GIRL” exhibit at the Gallery Perrotin, we knew it was worth the chaos. It was a very cool exhibit, all about, of course, girls! Different mediums, including video, a couch, and plenty of photos, statues, and paintings. Definitely a fun and very different take on the rest of the art we saw in Paris!
After hustling back to the hotel, throwing on a cute outfit & some lipstick, I was off again on the coach to go enjoy dinner and a show at the famous cabaret show, Moulin Rouge! What an experience it was! Delicious food, and plenty of wine and champagne precluded quite an experience! The music and dancing show was spectacular (although of course I had to throw in my critique of the dancers not doing a very good job lip synching). The whole show was a rush of color, music, dancing, snakes in a pool, acrobatic feats, goofy skits, and of course the Can Can; although I can’t forget the topless dancers. Yes, you read that right! I mean I’m in France for goodness sake! Not the uptight, strict American culture which denotes topless as forbidden, that’s for sure 😉 I mean, there were even kids at this show! Definitely worth it, and I’m so glad I was able to see the amazing venue and show, full of so much history. The night then concluded with our tour manager taking everyone to go experience a local bar, and after a drink or two with the group, a few girls and I decided to cab it back to the hotel to get some sleep!
Paris Days 3-5 to come!