Monday, 1 April 2019

Taking A Day Trip To Paris

What do you do when it's payday and you have a weekend with no plans? You book a last minute trip to Paris, of course! That's what I did when I got paid on Friday. I thought about it all morning and had been promising Matilda that we would visit Paris this year. It was something I wanted to do this year with her and just didn't realise that I would be booking a coach trip at 2pm and be leaving an hour later to collect Matilda and take her to town for some dinner before getting the train to London.

We arrived in London and headed for Victoria Coach Station where our Ouibus to Paris would be leaving from at 11pm. We took a seat on the back seat and we thought the coach might be partly empty and we could lay down on the whole of the back seat but that never happened and a French couple came and sat next to us. I love that having a child sitting near them never bothers other travellers. She is always made welcome on journeys like this. I did manage to doze off a couple of times in the night as we travelled but every time I woke up, Matilda had stretched out and was lying sideways with her legs hanging over the French man's legs! I had to keep pulling her back, she normally has a car seat when we travel, but on this trip, I didn't bring it and she just kept stretching out over the other passengers.

We arrived in Paris at 8am and went straight to the toilets for the loo and to change our underwear and have a wash. The toilets at the coach station in Bercy were absolutely disgusting! I have never been to any so grotty and neglected before. I told Matilda not to touch anything and not to put her bags on the floor. From Bercy, we took the metro line 6 to Bir Hakeim and it was a short walk to the Eiffel Tower. We wanted to do this first because of the queues that can form throughout the day. I had been up to the Eiffel Tower a couple of times already but Matilda hasn't and she absolutely loved it. We paid extra to take the lift up there and went right to the top. Matilda declared there was no way that she was going up there until I told her she had no choice. As soon as we were up there, she was right by the edge looking over and loving the views of the city. Paris is always so white when you look at it from the Eiffel Tower.

After the Eiffel Tower, we walked over one of the bridges where we put a padlock on the bridge and took a metro to Champs Elysees and had some lunch at the Renault Race car shop. It was quite an experience and the food was excellent. It gave us a chance to freshen up in the loos. Then we took in a bit of shopping before heading up to the Arc De Triomphe that is at the top of Champs Elysees.

Then we took a walk.... a long walk to find a metro because all of the metro's near the Arc De Triomphe were closed for the day. We finally got a metro to Palais Royal Musee De Louvre. That bought us right to The Louvre and Matilda was amazed at the Louvre pyramid. We didn't go in there because of it being an hour before closing and we only wanted to see the Mona Lisa so I couldn't condone spending 15 euro's just on that when we were running out of money fast. I took her inside the pyramid and we looked at a poster of Mona Lisa, surely that counts as the same thing!

We headed towards Notre Dame, obviously made famous by the story of Hunchback of Notre Dame, so Matilda was familiar with the story. We got there at 6.30pm and were lucky enough to attend mass that was on at the time. Although it was in French, it was a special moment being there. Matilda was amazed with the glass windows in the cathedral and they are pretty awesome to look at. You can climb the 422 steps up to the towers to get an awesome look over the city. We didn't do it this time, but I have done it with Kim when she was a kid. Across the road from Notre Dame are plenty of places to eat and we found a Subway to have some dinner. There are also public toilets to use near Notre Dame, but they are 2 Euro's to use!

It started to get dark and we were ready for seeing Paris at night. I had never seen Paris in the dark before, but I was excited to see it. Our coach was leaving at 11.30pm and we were running out of time, so I was conscious of how much we still wanted to do. We were seriously flagging now and I have no idea how I was still going. It was 8pm by now and we headed to the metro. We still had the lights of Moulin Rouge to see, so we took the metro to Blanche and as soon as we stepped out of the metro, the lights of Moulin Rouge, didn't disappoint us! Matilda was wowed by them and the windmill. I had seen Moulin Rouge before in the day time but it was magical at night.

Then as one last place to see, Matilda wanted to go back to see the Eiffel Tower all lit up. We were a bit disappointed at first to see it wasn't lit up, but we were looking at the products that were for sale on the sidewalk and all of a sudden the Eiffel Tower came to life! It looked beautiful all lit up in the dark. By now it was really getting on with time and it was nearly 10pm, so we headed back to Bercy where we were going to get our overnight coach back home. We fitted so much in and Matilda had a lovely day, It was a pleasure to take her and do the same kind of things that I had done when I took Kim when she was 11 years old. Tilly was totally giddy all day long and it was worth not sleeping to see her so happy.

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