The city of love can be appreciated whether you are single or in a relationship. I have enjoyed it both ways and although I definitely got more out of it this time round, I do not pity the lonely hearts that wander the city, more so envy them. Exploring a city alone is one of the most wonderful things you can do in life and it definitely trumps compromising at every corner with a travel buddy or loved one that would rather stay in the hotel than climb the Eiffel Tower or visit the Louvre.
Fortunately, I visited Paris with my darling boyfriend, and we both enjoy similar activities and want the same things out of our adventures. We knew what photos we wanted to take and had the equipment to achieve them, even though it made our daypacks heavier than other travellers and our memory cards definitely filled up faster than our fellow snappers.
During our time in Paris we played the tourist more than we ever had in any other city, despite facing some truly lengthy waits at the major attractions. You just can’t go to Paris and not see all the iconic buildings, paintings and architectural marvels! We even went to Disneyland and it was just as I had imagined it. I transformed from a laid-back 27-year-old to a kid, running around with the biggest smile on my face. We got pics with some of the Disney characters and after finding out Minnie had gone home for the day, we decided to line up to see Mickey, not knowing it would take almost three painful and very hot hours to see Mickey Mouse. Thankfully he definitely didn’t disappoint. However, to really get the most out of the time it takes to get to Disneyland Paris and the money you spend there, you really need to go for at least a full day or get a return pass for the next day. We unfortunately missed out on seeing the late night fireworks that light up the iconic sleeping beauty castle as we had an early flight the next day. But one day I will return for a few days and not feel one ounce of guilt that I use up that time to rekindle my affinity with Disney.
This trip to Paris I ticked off a number of Bucket List items including Disneyland and the famous lock bridge. It wasn’t until I left Paris in 2007 that I realised the bridge was actually there. So, I packed a couple of extra padlocks in my bag ready for this occasion. Funny thing was I actually left them in my Montmartre hostel, that looked up to Sacre Coeur. So, Lion and I stopped at a market stall on the river and paid a hefty price for the lock, which we engraved, with the knowledge it would eventually be cut off the bridge by the local government. I remember watching a news story about how every few weeks or so they come and cut them all off because the bridge was apparently too heavy and bending in the wrong places. Regardless, Lion and I wrote our initials, and locked it among the thousands of similar padlocks. We then threw the key over the bridge and onto the water below for eternal love. And of course numerous selfies were taken throughout the whole process.
One of the other reasons for visiting Paris was to catch up with my gorgeous friend, Sarah. We met in 2009 when our mutual friend asked if Sarah could stay with me while she worked and lived on the Gold Coast as part of her gap year. I of course said ‘yes’ thus sparking a year where I had four and sometimes five Germans living with me at a time in a three bedroom duplex in Labrador.
Sarah was studying in the south of France and she came up for a couple of days around Bastille Day. I remember seeing her for the first time in almost five years and how happy it made me. It was like no time had passed at all. We met at the bottom of Sacre Coeur and went for brekkie in the cutest little cafe. The staff however were typically French and refused to speak to Lion and I in English and made my friend translate for us. The final straw was when my boyfriend asked the waiter if there was a toilet. To which the man replied: ‘no, you must go in the corner’. Lion called his bluff and walked over there, seemingly unphased by the public restroom. The waiter them laughed and said to use the one downstairs.
This sort of blatant rudeness also happened when we went out for dinner to an Italian restaurant in Paris. Yes, I know, we are despicable for not going to a French cuisine restaurant but we are pretty plain eaters. Regardless, in the middle of Montmart, they did not even have an English menu, or they refused to give it to us. So we just tried to read and speak French, which we always tried to do in Paris.
Our highlights in Paris were definitely the Eiffel Tower, having a photo shoot at the Trocadero, finding Sarah on Bastille Day in the park under the Eiffel Tower after not being able to reach her on phone or at the location we had arranged, almost three hours after said time.
The lowlight was Lion nearly getting arrested when he shoulder charged an arsehole right in front of a policeman. The victim went over to police to report it and the cop just dismissed him.