Friday 28th September
Our Eurostar was booked for 5.40am, and being so rock n’roll we decided to just stay up all night. After finishing work at 6pm, I headed out to Kent for my first trapeze lesson (which is much harder than I optimistically imagined it would be). I got back to London and met LactateDawns around 10pm, and we spent the night at a couple of my favourite Soho haunts, Ed’s Easy Diner and Balan’s before going to the Eurostar.
I managed to grab a power nap on the train, and felt quite refreshed by the time we got to Paris. We went to Sacre Coeur for breakfast, admired both the church and the view over Paris, and dodged the portrait artists in the Place du Tertre (I really did not want someone to immortalise my ‘I stayed up all night’ appearance) and the Hakuna Matata Men selling string bracelets. I did manage to persuade LD to buy me a cute keyring from the Poodle Man who sits at the base of the Sacre Coeur steps making these poodles from pipe cleaners – he’s been there every time I’ve visited the area so seeing him is like bumping into an old friend.
After breakfast we headed to Cimetiere du Père Lachaise and spent a couple of hours walking around the necropolis. Yes, I know, closet goth! – but the architecture is fascinating and you can pay your respects at the final resting place of Edith Piaf, Molière, Oscar Wilde and Jim Morrison.
By about 4pm I was seriously flagging (having been awake for nearly 36 hours), so we had a late lunch at a cafe near the cemetery and then began the trek across Paris to retrieve our bags. I felt like I was sleepwalking as we headed back out to Versailles to check in at our
Château chalet. We picked up some breakfast essentials (French coffee – C’est délicieux!) and baked goods from the boulangerie near the woods. I managed to stay awake long enough to eat an apricot pastry and take a shower before falling into bed and sleeping for the next 14 hours.
Saturday 29th September
A very lazy morning, I didn’t even stir until after 11am and then enjoyed a leisurely breakfast while listening to MC Solaar and reading ‘Queen of Fashion: What Marie Antoinette Wore To The Revolution’.
That afternoon we went to Hammam Medina in North Paris. A hammam is a series of warm rooms, sauna, steam room, cool plunge pool and also offers treatments such as massage and gommage (which is the best exfoliation I’ve ever experienced). I felt so relaxed after going through all the steam rooms and the gommage was very invigorating, leaving my skin feeling seriously silky smooth.
After the treatment we relaxed in the lounge with mint tea and almond pastries – the perfect end to a perfectly relaxing afternoon.
Sunday 30th September
We stayed local and spent the afternoon exploring the gardens at Versailles. I have always wanted to visit Versailles when the musical fountains are on but have never timed my trips right. This time I was especially lucky because not only were the musical fountains running, but we scored two free tickets from a kind man who was just leaving.
After admiring the fountains and some of the more ostentatious parts of the gardens such as the outdoor ballroom, Grove of Apollo and the coliseum we hired bicycles and did a lap of the cross-shaped lake. I haven’t ridden a bike outside the gym for quite a while and I was really nervous when I started out, not only keeping control of a strange bike with dodgy steering but also trying not to mow down any of the hundreds of other people milling around the gardens. It was worth it though – the views of the lake and the colours of the Autumn leaves surrounding it were glorious.
Monday 1st October
After checking out of the chalet, we headed over to Denfert-Rochereau visit the Catacombs (the closet goth surfaces again). Unfortunately they were shut due to ventilation problems so we decided to go to the Eiffel Tower instead. A Champagne Bar has opened on the top floor of the Tower since my last visit, and we sipped champagne while enjoying the scenery.
Our last stop before our 6pm Eurostar was to Pont de l’Archevêché, a bridge which crosses from Notre-Dame Cathedral to the Left Bank of the Seine, and is covered in love locks. After leaving our mark on the bridge we had just enough time to get to Gare du Nord and buy some wine for the journey home.