Day 12: Paris

Our train departed at 5.40am but, the alarm I set for 4.30am didn't wake us up… At 5.20am I got up, woke Emma and said that we have missed our train as we had to be there at least 30 minutes prior. I was gutted. We quickly got ready and made our way to the station. At the ticket desk, I explained that we missed our train and gave them the boarding passes. The lady swiftly changed us to the next available train at 7am for no extra cost!!! 

We went back to the hostel, brushed our teeth and walked back to the station. We managed to sleep the majority of the way as it is such a smooth ride. 

We got off at Gare du Nord station and went to the toilet. You have to pay 0.7€ to use the bathroom!! 

At the Paris underground, we found an information desk and asked for a map and some help to get to the Eiffel Tower. The metro system in Paris compared to London is very dirty and the trains aren't as frequent. One bonus of the Paris system was all public transport was free today (unsure why). We got off at the station that was closest to Eiffel Tower and climbed the several stairs to the ground level… Then.. Bang! The Eiffel Tower appeared in all its glory! 

The queue to climb the tower was exceedingly long at 11.30am when we arrived so we just walked around it and took some photos. It was a glorious day; very sunny and not windy. 

People around the Eiffel Tower come up to you and ask you to sign petitions. We were warned prior that when they do this, they distract you and pick pocket your bags. This didn't happen to us as we were on the ball! Another trick they do is tie a string to your finger and make a bracelet.. Then make you pay for it - we didn't fall for this either!

W walked along the Siene River and got the underground to somewhere near the Champs Élysées. Emma and I walked several back streets until we came to a nice looking cafe/restaurant. We ordered escargot for entree and had lamb shanks for main. The escargot was wonderful! It tasted like a mussel with garlic sauce. The lamb shanks were also great, it reminded me of food from home.

After lunch, we walked to the Arc de Triomph and admired how big it is. 

My feet were killing me (plus I had a croissant in hand) so we didn't climb it. We decided to stroll down the Champs Élysées instead. 

Despite being so busy, it was lovely to wander through expensive shops and take our time looking at things. There were specific shops showcasing the latest Mercedes Benz, Cartier, make up brands etc. I decided to buy a m.a.c lipstick which was actually cheap in comparison to prices in Australia. 

We jumped back on the train and got off at the Notre Dame Cathedral. After walking through a market selling vintage books and paintings, we stopped to have creme brûlées and apple tarts… I have had better creme brûlées in Melbourne. 

We decided to head back to the international station and wait for our connecting train. Unfortunately, we got there so early that we weren't allowed to enter customs. Emma found a cafe outside of the station and we sat there for several hours. And ate more food, 

Finally, at 7pm, we entered customs and waited at the gate. 

Overall, I enjoyed my Paris experience as we did ‘touristy’ things at our own pace but, it is dirty, full of scammers and rude French people. Next time, I'd like to explore the country side of France.