When it comes to Paris I find most people fall in to one of two categories – the first claiming it’s grotty, dirty, and they couldn’t think of anything worse than being forced to use the Metro to get around. Others, however, don’t see this.
Leaving CDG airport the scenery around was as expected. Similar to Rome, the landscape was industrial and grey but this time it didn’t matter – this was what I had prepared for. In Rome I had romanticised that we would touch down and instantly find ourselves lost within a cobbled winding street, but in Paris I knew to expect more urban surroundings. This is probably a big factor as to why my mind turned on a sixpence as we pulled into Gare Du Nord train station. The building was exquisite and the exterior was a work of art – later I would discover that this was the norm in Paris. It’s for this reason I will never again hear a bad word said about this incredibly beautiful city.
Our first day was spent visiting as many monuments as our legs would allow. The red open top bus was 40 Euros well spent, taking in Notre Dame, Arc De Triomphe, River Seine and many more along the route and, of course, not forgetting the Eiffel Tower. As the evening set in, after a quick change back at our capsule hotel room, we made our way to the bank of the Seine to board the night river cruise. Once again I will reiterate that Paris is beautiful. The mind can forgive the crazed driving of the Parisians, the odd bit of graffiti and rough sleepers, as your eyes stare in wonder at the twinkling lights of the tower at night. I never thought that a block of metal could be a romantic object yet here I was being proven so wrong.
If you’re on the fence about Paris or think to yourself “there are other places I’d rather visit” – STOP. Book a flight or seat on the Eurostar and see it for yourself. Only then will you be able to fully appreciate the passion and skill which went into every stone on every building and, to quote a rather famous Parisian, “you will march home through arches of victory”.