Romance or not in Paris the city of lights and smells....
Paris Travel Blog› entry 2 of 2 › view all entries
We'd arrived at Waterloo and before the journey had even begun; I had successfully managed to lose my friends somewhere in the station! For some bizarre reason my mobile was not accepting calls nor text messages, which made things a little tricky in terms of trying to locate them. Eventually, after having asked EuroStar to page Nurit's name over the intercom, I spotted all of them at the top of the escalators. Three women with excess baggage and a Security Guard chasing them. You see, Nurit had made a comment about a suspicious bag and a commuter had over heard this and sought the attention of security, it didn't help that it was the day before the one year anniversary of the London Bombings. You wouldn't believe it but she had jokingly implied that my bag was suspicious, so the Security Guard looked at me and my red bag and then began asking all sorts of questions. I was completely oblivious as to what he was going on about. The girls were laughing hysterically and eventually Natasha told everyone to shut up whilst Nurit then explained that there was no suspicious bag and in her marvellous attempt to call his bluff she managed to get rid of him.
The train ride to Paris was hilarious and fun. The girls managed to consume four bottles of wine, a bottle of Cava, chocolate, cherries, sushi, etc... Opening the bottle of Cava caused a bit of a riot though, as Nurit jokingly was aiming it at both Natasha and me as well as the ceiling and other passengers. One thing led to another and the cork popped out hitting the ceiling and spraying Natasha, me and the majority of the passengers in our cabin (literally). The people behind us were not impressed, especially the mother who kept cursing at us for wetting her husband's bald head.
When we arrived in Paris, we had our first hand experience with the pong of the Metro. It smelt like a urinal; Nurit later mentioned that apparently people wee along the drainage areas, that mixed with some serious B.O. and the smell of super strong deodoriser, one can only but imagine that the Paris underground is merely an extension of their sewage system!
Having got our Metro tickets we then came across the next hurdle; yeah, Paris doesn't believe in escalators and Mary doesn't believe in packing light! When we eventually got on the next train I noticed that Nivea had posters advertising deodorant (later realised this applied to all of the trains), what an ingenious idea, pity that not many people seemed to bother with using some!
It was almost midnight when we arrived at Nurit's flat, we were all exhausted; however, this didn't mean we went to bed right away. Instead we all sat in the kitchen, chairs and floor, talking about anything, in fact we talked so much I can't remember what we were talking about.
It wasn't long before we were up again, ready to start our day! Four women sharing a flat with one bathroom! That's all I am going to say, I will leave the rest to your imagination (for the record there was no lesbian activity).
That morning we decided on a quick breakfast, so we went to this little bakery at the end of the road; fantastic pastries. I can't recall there ever really being a plan for that day but somehow I ended up visiting the Louvre and this shopping centre located under it. The architecture of the Louvre was really impressive, as far as museums go, and when we got inside we eventually got around to seeing the Mona Lisa, which was much smaller than what I had imagined. Due to getting lost so much, by the time we did find what we were looking for we were exhausted. It also didn't help that we didn't think to rent the headsets with the English translations.
After the Louvre we took a walk through the shopping centre and stopped off at Sephora. Of course being me nothing is ever straight forward. The Shop Assistant (whom had redefined the meaning of Customer Service) was running around spraying a ridiculous amount of different fragrances to try and find my personality in a bottle of perfume! "Mademoiselle, are you Woody, Fresh, Spicy, Fruity, etc..." Thirty five minutes later and I had lost my sense of smell; however, we found my personality (fragrance), Be Delicious by DKNY!
The remainder of that day we visited tourist attractions, Notre Dame, which was also very impressive, and enjoyed fine French food as well as experienced Parisian pride at its best (not). Now I know that my conversational French is not the best by any means but damn it these Parisian's were not backing down. I spoke in English they replied in French, I tried to speak in French they continued to reply in French, I tried talking with my hands and they still replied in French! Despite the language barrier somehow I always got what I wanted but it was never easy.
We eventually made it back to the flat, all of us with sore feet and legs, did I mention that Paris doesn't believe in escalators!
That evening we had dinner at this little French restaurant that had an out house with a hole in the floor - the toilet! It was hilarious using this funky contraption notwithstanding that it really stank! I would give you the name of the restaurant but Nurit might kill me (joking), apparently the restaurateurs don't advertise, as they are keen to maintain the restaurant's exclusivity. I do have to say that the food was really delicious.
After dinner we walked to the Metro and took the next train to Champs-Elysées where we went to Le Pershing Hall (http://www.pershinghall.com/), which was both very trendy and extraordinarily expensive, still it was an experience.
The following day, some of us were just exhausted whilst others were hungover as well. The plan was to get dressed visit the Trocadéro, summit the Eiffel Tower and then have brunch.
We figured that if we arrived at the Eiffel Tower early enough we wouldn't have to wait in queues for long. I guess we seriously miscalculated this as we ended up waiting for two hours in order to take a less than six minute elevator ride to the tower's summit. Despite the long wait, the views were amazing. Everything was so white and elegant; breathtaking. There was even a toilet on the Eiffel Summit, which was pretty cool, as far as toilets go!
Finally, by about 2pm in the afternoon we made it to the Brunch venue, which served white chocolate spread! I ate white chocolate spread on everything from croissants to my boiled egg (accident). I even purchased a large jar of it to bring back with me.
Having stuffed ourselves we then went to les Galeries Lafayette with retail therapy in mind. On the way there we stopped by the Old Opera House with the Chagall painted ceiling. I guess I was not too impressed with the whole shopping element of the trip, as I could do this anytime in London. However, I did purchase two dresses from Mango.
That evening we went to Yamamura (Japanese Restaurant) and ate really good sushi. We also met up with Nurit's friend Laurent, who was the most naturally witty person ever. He was exceptionally entertaining and a down right fun person to hang out with. This proved to be so when we went to Le Comptoir Nomade (Arabic cafe) and he went a bit mad smoking the shisha / s!
When we were eventually moved on from the Arabic cafe, as it was closing time, we decided to walk back to the flat, singing our own version of the French song Champs-Elysées . Whilst we were walking I had a sudden craving for crêpes with sugar and lemon juice, so we decided to visit the local Crêpe Man whom we had befriended on the previous night. It was a great evening and the crêpes tasted pretty good as well.
The alarm went off three times before it actually dawned on Nurit and I that we needed to get up and pack in order to catch the train back to Waterloo. We all rushed around trying to get everything back into our bags, realising that we accumulated a bit more than what we had initially come with.
When the taxi arrived, sure and behold the Driver only spoke to us in French. We were all feeling rather subdued, it had been an unforgettable experience with a group of great friends. The train ride back to Waterloo seemed to pass by very quickly, we had some wine and toasted sandwiches for breakfast and pretty much reflected on our trip.
When we arrived at Waterloo, Mary had decided that she wanted to process the pictures from my digital camera. Of course the experience wasn't straight forward and we ended up wasting over an hour. Now the challenge was to get Mary to Gatwick on time, which we were all convinced wouldn't be a problem. So we said our goodbyes and went our separate routes to get home.
That night when I arrived back at my flat, I unpacked my bags, made some toast with white chocolate spread and uploaded my Paris photos onto my website. My mobile had rung a couple times but I wasn't familiar with the telephone number, so I didn't answer. The caller decided not to leave a voice message, so I assumed that it wasn't anything important.
I arrived at work the next day and bumped into Nurit. I had asked her about her evening, we discussed the trip and then I asked her if she had heard anything from Mary i.e. did she arrive home safely. Nurit went really silent and replied, "Oh no you didn't hear then? Mary phoned me last night. She got to the check in gate a couple of minutes too late and missed her flight. She stayed the night at my flat and went off to the airport again this morning." I wasn' t sure how to react with the news so I started laughing hysterically.
We didn't think anything of it, in our minds Mary would be back in Ireland by the afternoon. Well, you wouldn't believe this but she missed her second flight as well. Apparently, she had made it past check in this time but instead she was too busy in duty free and overheard the intercom message asking her to board the flight! The good news was that she did eventually make it home, three times lucky I guess.
Written by: Evete Van de Saar