PARIS PHOTO DIARY DAY ONEWednesday, July 06, 2016
Paris has always been a city that I've longed to visit, if not for the fashion or the beauty of the architecture but because of the absolute adoration that everyone associates with the French capital city. And now with having visited the city in question for a brief yet perfectly pleasing city break just two weeks ago, I can finally confirm what all of the fuss is about. What a dream it must be to live in Pairs, what with all of the utterly stunning buildings let alone their vintage shops and THE FOOD but, for me, two full days in the city was all I had to spend - come rain or shine that is - and I adored every moment of those fleeting 48 hours.
Day one in the city commenced after some particularly rainy, British-esque weather the evening before, looking aside that however, at least the food was good (I opted for a Pizza and some rosé wine to match) but, the day that followed after a regrettably sleepless night offered much warmer and thankfully pleasant, sight-seeing suitable conditions.
For such a short trip, I regret to say no prepared plan of action was devised beforehand and so, whatever my friend and I felt like doing on the day was done and all was achieved, I am happy to say, without any major fuss (perhaps because all of such was saved for the journey home to Liverpool but, more on that in the next post). We were staying considerably far out from the centre of the city but this was no bother due to there being a Metro station conveniently situated opposite our hotel and with such transport, central Paris was less than 20 minutes away, the Metro was certainly speedy - and felt like it too.
First point of call was Notre-Dame Cathedral, chosen as first due to its proximity above anything else yet on approach I was in awe. Although I was brought up a Catholic, religion is something I am unsure of at the moment, in all honesty I don't know what to believe but, a short queue for the Cathedral later and I was in wonder at the beauty of the place, regardless of belief. Each stained glass window was astonishing, not to mention the architecture itself, the pictures speak for themselves I think but, while in the Cathedral itself there was a lovely calming atmosphere which surrounded and while this may be due to the sign asking for silence on entry nonetheless, it was a lovely experience and a beautiful Cathedral.
After being enticed by the ever alluring buildings of Paris, wandering from street to shop followed next. Just left of the Cathedral there were a litter of small, tourist shops - you know the kind except, in Paris these seemed a lot more pleasant. I bought some old fashioned prints that I intend to frame and you can bet I bought the cat one, ha. We walked on and explored some more which led to wistful window shopping at familiar shops such as Mango and Zara - not forgetting an insane department store where brands such as The Kooples, Sandro and the best of them all - Marni stole my heart - let's just say I walked away with a heavy heart resisting, telling myself it was all too expensive anyway.
Seeing the Arc de Triomphe in all of its large and stunning glory was probably my favourite sight of the day. With it being such an iconic Paris landmark, flocks of tourists blocking a clear view was to be expected yet even against a backdrop of gloomy skies and among countless heads, it still looks magnificent. The road that follows down from this, I believe it is called the Champs-Élysées was a lovely (albeit long) walk dotted with high-street and designer shops aplenty and many a well-dressed woman. Ladurée, a luxury Parisian bakery infamous for its pastel coloured macaroons was a delightful visit - even with a queue. Despite there being a presence of the sweet makers in the UK, I had never tasted a macaroon prior to such visit but the one I had - salted caramel to be in-fact - really was lovely, if not for the the sweet, the decor of the place was stunning enough in itself.
After a lovely lunch (and more rosé, never too early for wine on your holiday I say - especially when it's the cheapest refreshment on the menu, ha) strolling down the long, beautifully lined road was yet again the route we took, all of which led us to a sightseeing wheel of sorts, a €12 ride surprisingly gave us the most rewarding views of Paris yet.
We wandered into the Tuileries Garden afterwards, a truly lovely park which is also home to the Louvre, the famous museum that we visited on our second day, the first however was somewhat leisurely spent sat by the pond. The ice cream in such park, or rather, gelato - a variation which is far superior to the latter in my opinion - was probably the best I have ever tasted. One thing which surprised me upon strolling around Paris and something which especially hit me while I relaxed upon the grass in this park, eating food and not caring about much but the beauty of my surroundings was the rather relaxed atmosphere that encompassed the city - I didn't once feel anxious on account of the area being busy and that it definitely was however, I was certainly expecting the city to feel more tense, strained, or whatever. Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised and it made me love Paris even more.
By this point, my friend and I had walked a considerable amount (my phone tells it as 8.5 miles on the day in question but who knows if this is truly accurate) yet even in the humidity we both had some search left in us and so, off we went to the Metro station and toward some resident vintage shops. After hearing praise for vintage of Parisian origin from both magazines and blogs alike, a visit to a shop was certainly high on my list of things to do. A little research later and I decided upon visiting just two vintage shops: Kilo Shop and Free'P'Star and, the latter at one of its many locations (the one nearest to Hotel De Ville Metro station was the branch we paid a visit to) was the shop which churned out the treasure. It was an absolute dream - albeit a small, compact, very humid and sweaty dream inside the store which honestly more so resembled the size of cupboard than a shop but it's garments for sale were the best out of the three vintage shops we visited in total (there was a slightly larger Free'P'Star across the street) and, I came away with three items - two tops and a lovely patterned scarf to be exact. The shop in particular doesn't specify by gender (an approach I personally admire) and it's lack of arrangement can make the shop seem a little daunting and while it is easy to feel overwhelmed - especially with even just a few people making the shop seem full in capacity - with only a little rummaging I'm sure you would find something which catches your eye in the cramped store. The prices were certainly wondrous, I paid just €15 for three items, something which would probably be unheard of in British vintage stakes unless tackling the charity shop that is yet, Free'P'Star goes one better - it even has an overflowing trunk filled with items waiting to be discovered for the mere price of only ONE EURO, oh imagine - I just wish I could have spent more time trawling through the clothing unbothered by other rummager's but nonetheless, I left the vintage shop feeling happy and fulfilled with my findings.
| Top - Pull & Bear | Vintage Levi 501s - ASOS Marketplace | Shoes - Topshop | Bag - Zara | Neckerchief - Topshop |
The first full day in Paris drew to a close as we headed back to our hotel (via the trusty old Metro yet again) and out for a lovely dinner (and more wine) in the area which surrounded our hotel. If anything amazed me during this holiday, it was the sheer amount of stamina that I summoned during the trip especially as just lying at home usually makes me feel drained enough but, I know I would much rather be gallivanting around a city right now instead. Day two of my Paris trip will be documented in the next instalment, with more pictures to match of course - and a retelling of a particularly unexpected and certainly stressful detoured journey home.