"So Tumblr, Very Instagram." Paris 2015!

Ali: "It's funny Hannah because the Obelisque is bigger than the Eiffel Tower!"
Me: "Is it?!"
  This was one of many moments that I managed to make an absolute fool out of myself. As though my brain had officially clocked off for Easter or something! I fell out of bed on my bum at one point and sat there laughing, and as my Paris companion Ali said: "just generally forgot how to be human." I think I must've taken one whiff of Paris air and my brain gone into Parisian mooch mode. I wish I could remember other specific moments but I guess we both got so used to it, it became normal and so we forgot. Sad times! :(

I travelled up to stay with Ali the night before so we could travel into London St Pancras early the next morning to get a 7:01am Eurostar across the channel and into the Gare Du Nord for late morning. It was so exciting!! All the talk of wine, cheese and crepes had me bouncing up and down like a little child in my seat when we got through the tunnel.
The tunnel itself takes a speedy twenty-thirty minutes to get through: very quick! It's also cheaper to get a one way ticket to Paris on the Eurostar than a one way from Southampton to Waterloo as well... Bizzarre!

Anyway! We arrived in and made our way to our hostel: Aloha Hostel in the 15th arrondissement. A short walk from the Volontaire metro stop. It wasn't my one of my favourite hostels to stay in but it did the job of providing shelter, breakfast and a smidgin of Internet. One of it's redeeming features was that it was a twenty-ish minute walk to the Eiffel Tower, which we took full advantage of. 

Ali: "What do we think that is?"
Me: "I'm going to say a laaarge building."
 That afternoon we wandered towards the Eiffel Tower, taking a small detour towards an old building with a beautiful gold dome on top. Having researched it now it was the Musée de l'Armée. A museum in the old military hospital. We didn't stop to go in because it looked like you had to pay (typical students) and some of it appeared to be sectioned off for a parade of some sort. We then tried to have a look round the back/side but were prevented from going in by a policeman flashing his "Securité" badge. Yes I see your armband, dude.
So we turned back and kept wandering in the vague direction of 'the Tour'. 
We found a cute little crêpe place on Rue de Grenelle: a little window nestled next to a restaurant that served them to go. I have to say: it was beautiful! 
Stomachs satisfied, we kept wandering up and down cute little streets until we eventually got to the Military School (next to the Champ de Mars gardens).
It's such a tourist-y site but you almost feel drawn to going to "La Tour Eiffel" anyway. Plus the last time I went I went at night so I wanted to go up it during the day to compare!
We paid €4 and took the stairs. It's just like walking up a steep hill. On the first floor they had installed some glass panels into the floor so you could see everyone below you so of course we had to try it. Last time I was there they had just had metal bars to look over, but this time there were glass panels leaning into the centre slightly which must've made for some good "leaning/defying death" selfies. They're now also building a conference room where I think there was a third food outlet or shop before. The view from it is incredible! It'll be overlooking the Sacré Coeur side of Paris.

We laughed at the food prices and then made our way up the second flight of stairs. For some reason it seems a lot scarier climbing up the stairs than when you come down. It's interesting how you feel safe again once you've got to the top even though you essentially would have much further to fall if for some weird freak of nature reason the Eiffel Tower did come down... Anyhoo!

I've said it before and I'll say it again, I find it fascinating how different each city landscape looks the same and how they compare to each other. For example, I love the Parisian landscape! The older, winding architecture of the original city and the white wash, prim colour of it all. It's fairly similar to São Paulo in that sense. (In that it's a white-wash city and all you can see for miles are buildings (although SP has a lot taller buildings and skyscrapers - the self-proclaimed New York City of South America).


Day One Top finds:

1. Abbey Bookshop. (Tucked in between other shops on Rue de la Parcheminerie near the Pantheon and not far from the islands).
Trying to move between the shelves, particularly with wet coats was um, interesting. But it was worth  the caution just to stand in the tall shelves of books. When I have a house, I'll either have a massive library or a cute room kind of like this so I feel like I'm surrounded by knowledge and adventure every time I step in!
Super cute! Only issue for linguists though is that the books were in English... Still, we found some cute little editions of Wordsworth and an old copy of Alice in Wonderland.
I'd recommend going just to have a quick look in on your way round. There was a lot more to be explored around that area but the rain had other plans for us.

2. Crêperie de Cluny. (Rue de Harpe).
A couple of minutes walk away from Abbey Bookshop, the Parisian rain brought us to Crêperie de Cluny!
 *So I actually never took a picture of the crepe (whoops!) but here's the yummy hot chocolate we had instead!*
This is the kind of layout I think of when I think of Parisian bars/cafes. I love it!! You really felt like you got a peak into Parisian lifestyle in this cafe. I felt like Amelie could've walked in at any moment hehe.

3. Nerissa's flat.
This isn't so much of a stumble upon find, but it is rather a cute little flat. On our first evening we were invited for dinner by one of our uni mate's (Imogen) sister's flat. Nerissa you are an awesome chef and hostess!! Thank you for a wonderful evening!
I have to say when Nerissa mentioned her flatmate might be joining us for dinner I did panic a tiny bit because there wasn't exactly much space for any more than a handful of people. But it worked out anyway! (Will no doubt we using the fairy lights up the ladder idea at some point as well!)

Day Two finds:

1. Canal Saint Martin. (Near the Gare de L'Est).
 We'd done some research into some recommended spots by another uni friend of ours Emily (https://emiliajanedesigns.wordpress.com) who'd written about this canal.
 Whether I was tired or maybe just not impressed by the factories on the other side of the bank I'm not sure, but I probably wouldn't choose to go back there again. The blossom however was beautiful and I'm sure there must be more of it now it's sunny!
 We also found another little typical Parisian bar and restaurant called Bistrot du Canal with *the* best Croque Monsieur! Ironically I had the Croque Monsieur and Ali had the Croque Madame aha! Reasonable prices as well :)

2. Le Chat Qui Pêche (The Fishing Cat). (Île-De-France, fiveish minutes from the Notre Dame Cathedral).
If you hadn't gathered by now, this whole trip basically revolved around food! May have had to do with the fact we'd both done the majority of the touristy sites available already or just that we were still recovering from what had been a *very* busy second term for the both of us. I kept wanting to sleep as soon as we sat down.
Coupled with a slice of family drama about shutting doors, I'd definitely recommend this little restaurant for some very yummy crepe deals! 

3. The Jardins du Luxembourg. (Same area as the Abbey Bookshop and Pantheon).
While not really a secret stumble upon find, I'd definitely recommend these gardens on a sunny afternoon! With no beach in site, the Parisians have to "put up with" the lounging chairs provided in the wide open tranquility of gardens dotted around the city. The house here is beautiful and it even provides some 'old-fashioned' - and when I say "old-fashioned" I mean "no motor, remote control  or iPhone App needed" - fun for children with the sale of toy boats to put into the wide fountains dotted up and down the garden.
For some classic Parisian chill out and people-watching time I recommend visiting one of the many beautiful gardens around the city. I loved this one in particular buuuuut that's just me. 

We also took a wander from our hostel down to the Eiffel Tower to take some night time pictures and find another place for dinner. I have to say, it's still worth coming back at night for more photos of "La Tour" because for five minutes on every hour they turn on some twinkly lights as well.
We were stood in front of a group of school children on a residential trip and "freaking out" was an understatement when they saw it happening. The two of us thought someone had been hurt.

The Louvre (Day 3):
Warning: if you go. The pictures you see of the Louvre do not show the actual scale of the place! It. Is. Huge! 
It's open around twelve hours of the day and you still wouldn't get round it all! 
 The Louvre was originally a palace (you can go down and see the old walls and parts of the moat) but is now home to the biggest collection of international art.
It's crazy! You go down one corridor and after five chambers expect to be at the end, only to see another corridor leading to another ten or so!
Instead of heading to the Mona Lisa, we picked the rooms - or in my case artist - that we wanted to see and sought them out instead.
Having studied him at GCSE, I really wanted to see some Renoir. I love his portraits and the ones that give an insight into the model's lifestyle like the theatre collections and the picnics by the river.
Studying Textiles I loved the clothes as well, the colours were amazing!
The Louvre is one of those places where you can appreciate the actual building as well as the contents of the building. I would happily go back and enjoy just wandering around looking at the interior design of the building. It has a different atmosphere each time you walk into another different section.

Ali: "Wasn't that statue famous for something!?"
Me: "Yep, for loosing its arms and legs."

We got our Eurostar out on the same evening (bags complete with wine and cheese), not before me making a few more stupid comments of course. Somehow, once we were back on the English side of the Euro tunnel again I miraculously remembered how to be human again.

Although not one of my liveliest of trips, I thoroughly enjoyed the time we spent in Paris. It was great to get away from home for a bit to mooch and really enjoy another environment. I felt energised once we got back to St Pancras. 
Along with the stoopid side of me, I think a slightly snobbier version of me was revealed. I wonder if the year abroad contributed to that? The tacky souvenirs became exactly that and I found myself wanting to indulge in the local lifestyle of idly drinking coffee and watching the day go by in a beautiful garden. Or maybe that's just growing up?! I dunno!

Sadly I didn't vlog, but in my defence the weather would've stopped me from filming a fair bit, and I don't think I was in a particularly confident place to vlog at the time. Bit sad that I have nothing to edit now though....

I reckon the next time I go to Paris, I'm going to go in September when I can actually take a book, basque in the warmth of the Parisian sunshine and really spend some quality chill time in the city of Amour!

Have you ever been to Paris? Where would you recommend going?
Tweet me @talbstar! I'd love to hear about it!! xxx
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