Trying to convey the immense number of thoughts and experiences of our trip into one single blog post is close to impossible. We also did not want to flood the blog with a million trip posts, so we thought the best way around this would be for us each to write a personal highlights piece for each of the cities we visited, in seperate blog posts over some time.
First up are Ilaria’s highlights of Paris; we hope you enjoy reading this as much as we have enjoyed looking back on our holiday!
The Streets of Paris
This was my first time visiting Paris and, if you hadn’t picked it up yet, I have never been so excited. That said, I didn’t quite know what to expect – my only thought was that it was bound to be like most other European cities. I WAS WRONG. To me, Paris is unlike any other city I have been to – an amalgamation of beauty, history, allure, people, style, cuisine and mystery all rolled into one. It is so difficult to articulate exactly how I felt about it, but I will start by highlighting one of my favorite parts of the trip – walking the streets of this magical city.
We left the airport on the metro, and the first time we stepped foot onto the road was coming up the famous metro stairs. We were welcomed with the most beautiful crisp morning, blue skies and tranquil early morning streets. It literally took my breath away – this continued with every step we took over the next four days – and boy did we walk! According to Sam’s clever app, we averaged around 10km per day which really allowed us to see so many different parts of the city.
Paris is rare in the fact that it is designed in a spiral form as opposed to a grid, and each distinct area or “arrondissement” is unique with its own characteristics. From the magnificent Grand Boulevards around the city centre, to the tiny cobbled streets in the beautiful St Germain and Montmarte, the luxurious parks around the city and the picturesque banks of the River Seine – wondering around them was my absolute best. I even managed to squeeze in a walk in the rain with my umbrella while Sam caught a nap – the experience was magical.
This specific picture was the moment that I realized that Paris had stolen my heart – we had just left a late night cabaret show, and were waiting to catch a taxi back to the hotel – it was around 1:30am; the streets were empty, the Eiffel Tower was perfectly lit, and the iconic lamp posts were standing proud. This is one of my favorite photos because, for me, it was a moment in time that I appreciated that Paris was now a love of mine. I will treasure that moment forever.
The Eiffel Tower
Yes, it may be the most “touristy” thing to do in this iconic city, BUT it was something that was on my non-negotiable list and it was worth every second. Seeing this structure in pictures cannot ever capture what it is really like seeing it in real life – I was completely overwhelmed by its magnificence.
They say the French hated the structure because its industrial character sticks out like a sore thumb amongst the classically historical buildings around it, but for me, it seems like it just cements the idea of taking big risks. The impressive Eiffel Tower is proof that they really do pay off! (Even more impressive knowing it was built in the late 1800’s)
Being in Paris in Spring meant that the queues were a little less hectic than in the summer months. There were however still hundreds of tourists waiting to get up so we decided to take the stairs up to the second level. We really took time to take it all in – the views, the structure, the air, the 1000 attempted selfies, the look-see’s through the famous brass telescopes and even the gorgeous tourist shop. As amazing as it was to be up there on the second level, we kept noticing the lift going up to the top and we both became adamant about getting up there.
I definitely had a small massive freak out in the lift all the way up to the 300m meter mark, but once we were there it was spectacular! The weather played so well – the sky was a mix of light and dark shades of grey, while the sun peaked out from time to time, gently lighting up the golden rooftops in the city. It was so spectacular that we thought a EUR14 flute of champagne was a good idea – and in hindsight it really was. We do only live once, and it was the cherry on top to the most perfect experience. A must do! #cheerstogustaveeiffel
Le Crazy Horse
I’m definitely not the travel organiser in the Sam/Ilaria friendship; Sam is far too good at it 🙂 I did however do a little bit of research on a few things I wanted to do – one that stood out for me was to go to a Cabaret Show. I mean, when in Paris!!
Sam had mentioned to me that the previous time she visited Paris, they had gone to the Moulin Rouge but she wasn’t that impressed – so I dug a little further and found, what I now consider to be an absolute gem, Le Crazy Horse.
Le Crazy Horse – popularly known as Le Crazy – was founded in Paris in 1951 by Alain Bernardin, an avant-garde artist and insatiable admirer of women. The idea that drove him like an obsession was to build his cabaret around women and design. He gradually developed a genuinely distinctive artistic form featuring dancers with perfect curvaceous bodies – clad mainly in projections – and the latest musical and fashion influences
This is such a great description of what we experienced at this late night show. After sprinting through the metro turnstills and finally getting to the address (sweaty, flushed and anxious at the thought of missing the show) we were greeted by doormen dressed in tuxedos, who took us through the alluring dim red entrance which then lead onto an intimate theatre filled with small tables and luxurious red velvet booths. It felt like we were transported to another world – a world of glamour, taboo, beauty, mystery, music, fashion, art and irresistible charm. All the words I now associate with the city.
The show was about 2 hours long, and was made up of a few different “scenes” of cabaret – all directed and choreographed by different people – thus creating a completely varied mixture of creative displays with the use of lights, sound, music and visual effects. Something so different to anything I have ever seen before. To top things off, the little clothing that the performers were wearing, were designed by the best of the best; including shoes by Christian Louboutin. (unfortunately photos were not allowed during the show)
The likes of Elvis Presley, Liza Minnelli and Dita Von Teese are amongst some of the names that have visited this famous venue.
For me, this was one of the best things I have ever done – at a steep EUR85 per ticket, it was money well spent and something that I would recommend to anyone visiting the city.
I feel like I could go on forever writing about the many things we saw, did and felt but I will save some of that for Sam’s post 😉