Today I got to visit my absolute favourite city in the world. A city I fell in love with as a child, loved even more when I visited the first time and still love to this day.
We decided to have a bit of a lie-in this morning so left the caravan just before 8.30. We drove to Compiègne train station and parked the car there (this was €9 for the day).
It cost us approximately €24 for two single tickets into Paris. We didn’t get returns as you have to select your return time.
We waited around for a little while for the train, so perfect time to grab a pain au chocolate for brekkie and then it was about an hour train ride into Paris.
When we arrived at Gare du Nord we headed straight down the stairs to the metro. Neither of us had navigated the tubes alone or even travelled on them for a number of years so it took us a minute to find our feet, but we were soon on the metro heading for Champ de Mars (Tour Eiffel) station.
I was always very anxious taking the underground when I was younger but I was blown away today just by how amazing their public transport is. It took us less than maybe 30 minutes to reach the Eiffel Tower when google maps said it was nearer to an hour and half to walk it. The network is so thorough yet intricate and so so efficient. Also pretty cheap to get around.
Anyways, headed for the Eiffel Tower and after taking a few pictures from a distance and stopping for a crepe, we entered the bottom of the Tower. There is obviously a lot more security there than the last time I visited so you need to go through a bag check and security scanner before you can even get into the central square. The queue for the elevator option was massive so we decided to take the stairs (mad right?!).
It was only €5 each to take the stairs (as you’re classed as a youth if under 25) and this only lets you up as far as the second floor. Well, half way up to the first floor we were so exhausted but eventually made it up. The view from even that high up was amazing!!
We didn’t hang around long as there’s only so much to see. So we headed back to the metro and got on a tube to Pont Neuf (just by the Louvre). We wanted to visit the Louvre and do a bit of shopping here.
Unfortunately the Louvre Museum was closed (closes on a Tuesday) but you can still get into the square where the glass pyramids are. Took some photos there and of the Arc de Triomphe and then wondered around the streets & shops.
I found a Sephora and was so excited as we don’t have these in the UK. Wanted to colour match and pick up some Huda Beauty foundation but they were out of stock so I’ll have to order some when I get home. Also walked into a Luis Vuitton only to find it looked more like their head office! Definitely wasn’t supposed to be in there
After walking around for a bit, and my feet in agony from new Converse rubbing, we got back on the metro to Grands Boulevards. When I came to Paris about 10 years ago with my family, we went to an amazing restaurant which I was determined to return to, and this was the station we needed.
The restaurant is called Chartier and is an old soup kitchen founded in 1896. It’s all still old style inside and the waiters are dressed in their finery with long white aprons. It’s got the feel of a canteen and the waiters scribble your order & your bill on the paper tablecloths. It felt so surreal coming here again after so long as it seemed to be just how I remembered it. The menu is basic and traditional, and as we were there I decided to try escargot (snails) for the first time. I was sceptical but surprisingly they tasted really good – probably because they were just drenched in garlic butter. The rest of our food was good and it’s so reasonably priced; you can’t go wrong.
By the time we finished eating it was about 6.30 so we made our way back to Gare du Nord on the metro where we caught the train back to Compiègne. Got back to the car just after 8pm which gave us enough time to have a shower, chill out and plan our second day in Disneyland tomorrow!!