My journey from Munich to Paris was the actual worst. Well “actual worst” may be an exaggeration, but it was a case of, you get what you pay for..!
Upon checking out of my hostel at 1pm, I was already starting to regret getting such a late bus. It’s not like there were any earlier buses, but a train would’ve cost an extra 40 euros plus a night’s accommodation. I thought I could rough it on a bus for one night. I survived it in Asia, surely it couldn’t be any worse.
The driver was absolutely crazy. Sharp, sudden breaking followed by swerving in and out of lanes. He shouted lots at passengers too, totally unnecessarily. Luckily a new one took over when we stopped at Karlsruhe (he was Turkish, of course).
The worst part was the smell of some of the passengers. A group who boarded just smelt like they hadn’t showered in weeks. It was horrible and anyone sat near them at the back moved forwards to the front!
I managed to nod off shortly after 1am. I tossed and turned a bit, but when I was woken up at 2am when there was a pit stop, I realised how asleep I had actually been. I had my hoodie on backwards, so the hood covered my face from the front. For one thing it blocked the smell. Secondly, it was a good black out from the coach lights.
Although I saved quite a bit of money, I wouldn’t like to use Eurolines again. The coach was too old for such a long journey. I’ve experienced it once, that’s enough!
We arrived in Paris over an hour early, and I sleepily made my way on the metro to my hostel at 6am. Obviously it was too early to check in, but I was able to dump my bag off (for a fee, which really isn’t cool), and chill out a bit.
The access to wifi made it easier to plan a few things too. I already knew I was going to spend most of my day at the Louvre, but where was I going to eat?!
A Buzzfeed article recommended a boulangerie about 10 minutes walk from my hostel, so I headed there for breakfast.
This is a small section of the pastries on offer:
I had a croissant and an escargot chocolat pistache, which was a pistachio cream with dark chocolate chips pastry swirl. Not my usual thing, but really tasty. And how bloody yummy does it look too..!
Walking and eating at the same time, I got the metro to Palais Royal Musée du Louvre. Arriving at the opening time, I barely had to queue at all. Hearing so many bad things about the queue length, I was really pleased I waited mere minutes to get in to the building.
And oh what a fantastic day I had.
I saw the Monna Lisa, which I never knew had two ‘n’s. I felt like Mr. Bean.
I also saw the four seasons paintings by Arcimboldo, which I studied in Art History at school.
Actually I spent about three hours looking at all the Italian art!
Buuuut my faves I found on the top floor. Original Monets, plus a few other Impressionist works. I sat there, just staring at them.
I also explored the Egyptian and Greek Mythology atefacts, as well as the sculptures from this time.
I spent five hours in total wandering around all the exhibits, and I barely scratched the surface.
I also had the best cappuccino ever in the museum cafe. It was almost €6 which is outrageous, but it was a Nespresso, and like I said, the best I’ve had. Coming from a non-coffee lover! Plus I was practically sleep walking so needed the caffeine no matter the cost!!
After walking down the Louvre gardens, I headed over to another Buzzfeed recommendation, Angelina.
Expensive and full of couples, I had high expectations for this place. Supposedly the best hot chocolate in Paris, well I think it probably was.
The hot chocolate is thick and bitter, with the side portion of cream, necessary to balance out the flavours. Along with my lunch of a raspberry macaroon. It was topped with vanilla bean cream balls, white chocolate curls, red berries and half a mini macaroon. It was delicious!
You’d think the excitement would stop there, right? Well you’d be wrong!
For dinner, I Googled where to buy the best French onion soup. Well, Google came up trumps.
Located near the Odeon Metro station, this restaurant was hidden down a side alley. I felt quite content and happy, sat on my own watching people walk past. I wandered what they thought too… Was I pitied because I was in Paris eating alone? A waiter in the restaurant opposite kept on talking to me too, which was sweet.
I opted for their house special salad for my main. The entire meal was expensive, but I haven’t had a salad like this in a long while. Olives, tomatoes, cucumber, carrots, melon, aubergine, artichoke, mushrooms (which haven’t made me ill, yay!), chicken, lettuce, beetroot, and the magic ingredient, a slice of quiche!
I needed a stroll after dinner to help burn off everything!
Just a lovely, perfect day!
My second day in Paris started on a walking tour. I had already seen a lot of the sights on the walking tour, but I thought it would be a good way to meet people in my hostel. It also meant that someone could take photos of me!
I befriended a girl called Brandi from Arizona. We got on really well; being similar ages, we had a similar mindset. We walked up Champs-Élysées together where I stopped off at Paul for a Camembert baguette. Could this be any more French?
We posted for photos under the Arc de Triomphe. Brandi has mad selfie skills.
And then we walked across the bridge where the Princess Diana memorial was, as this was the spot in the tunnel underneath where she was killed.
Across the pavement, we saw the iconic Eiffel Tower..!
It definitely looks better without me!
Especially up close…
But I had to take a selfie anyway…
We climbed up to the second floor, and then took the lift all the way to the top!
Once back on the ground, Brandi had to head back to the hostel so I got the metro across the city to the infamous Moulin Rouge.
After seeing the infamous windmill, and failing to get a photo without any people or traffic in it, I headed up a steep hill behind the building with a mission to visit the Sacré Cœur.
Wandering around Montmartre, well to me felt like the real Paris. Cobbled, narrow streets, restaurants with chairs lining the pavement and decorative signs, everyone drinking and laughing. And I was so pleased that at the spur of the moment, I decided to visit.
I had another pastry in hand (it was 7pm after all), this time a raspberry swirl, and on I walked. My ankles were so sore and swollen, but I persevered.
At the top were hundreds of people, sat on the steps watching the street artists perform. Mimes and classical musicians mainly, but it was absolutely brilliant. Plus the views were fantastic.
I walked down the gardens in front of the Sacré Cœur, heading to a restaurant near my hostel that I had heard many a good things about.
The view on the walk back was mesmerising. I just don’t understand how this was real…
And then in the restaurant I had escargot! I finally tried the French delicacy of snails. I didn’t have a Pretty Woman “slippery little suckers” moment because they came de-shelled in a French blue cheese sauce.
I didn’t dislike them, but I didn’t love them either. The smaller ones were tender, but the larger ones were potentially over-cooked. Or maybe that’s just the texture of them. Reminded me of over-cooked mussels. They were alright; if I hated them I wouldn’t have finished the plate clean! I think I ate too much cheese late at night though – I had some weird dreams during the night!
I was so exhausted, I fell straight to sleep after I packed by luggage. Up a bit early this morning, I walked to that bakery again and stocked up on supplies for my journey home, including one of these fig tarts.
Yet again I had to queue in this bakery, which I think tells you how good it is. Plus, half the stock had sold compared to when I was there two days before, two hours earlier!
I’ve had such an amazing trip, I think perhaps better than Asia and Australia. I felt so much more sure and confident in myself this time, that I have been more “get up and go”. I also feel incredibly lucky I have been able to do this sort of thing again; to quite literally get up and go travelling around mainland Europe for a few weeks.
I’m telling you, it’s the life! Or not… Haha 🙂