Paris Part 1: The time I went Ice-skating on the Eiffel Tower.

Exam results Friday. It’s always a tense day, constantly refreshing your emails, desperate to find out if all that revision was worth it (or whether winging it was a bad approach to take).

But thankfully mine were OK and thus my hard work paid off (because I did actually work bloody hard this year!).

But no matter your results, exams in general are just pretty horrendous, so it goes without saying that you have to reward yourself after they’re all done and dusted. I mean, how else are you expected to make it through mind-numbing hours of revision in a freezing cold uni house without having something to look forward to on the other end, because there is a definite limit to Dairy Milk’s and Digestives’ motivational properties.

Conveniently, my university lets its students reward themselves for all their hard work with a little thing called ISB, or Inter-semester break to all you non Bath-onians. This is a one week holiday between end of exams and the start of term again. Most people go on the Ski-trip, but for those of us who can’t ski/don’t have £700 just lying around, there’s plenty of other places to pick from.

For me, it was the city of dreams and Romance and Moulin Rouge (because who hasn’t seen that film a hundred times).

Le Paris (said “luh-pareee” with a French accent)

I had high expectations and it did not disappoint.

It was honestly the most fun I’ve had on a holiday ever…and I didn’t even spend that much money on account of being under 25 and all (seriously get traveling in Europe if you want to make the most of all the free stuff).
Look at all the fun we are having!
With all the main attractions (apart from the Torre d’Eiffel obvs) being free that meant more moneys for FOOD, and we all know how obsessive I get about trying food.

No idea what these were- but they were amazing!
Basically what I came to Paris for!

Much. Baguette.

Can't get more French than this!

Much. Cheese.

I discovered Camembert is pretty much Brie and it’s hard to spread with a plastic knife.

Probably the best part of the trip (apart from spending it with my boyfriend of course) was the large amount spontaneity and unexpectedness that just seemed to follow us wherever we went.

Unexpectedness No1. The Eiffel Tower We all know it’s an obligatory part of any trip to Paris- nothing unusual about that BUT upon ascending to the first level (by stairs because the lift costs 4 euros more and we be students) we found not only a beautiful view of Paris but also an Ice-Rink.

An Ice-rink…on the Eiffel tower?! How did it even get up there?

And even more surprisingly it was FREE.

Which meant we couldn’t refuse, because being British, getting free stuff is as exciting as Christmas (almost) and because how awesome is it to skate and be able to look at this view!

Realising we should probably see what we came here to do and were at risk of being attacked by a child with a death wish, we left the ice and continued on our journey upwards.

I don’t really need to describe the rest of the Eiffel Tower – you know what happens, selfies, wind swept hair, pretending to hold the Eiffel Tower...

Sadly there were no proposals- which is the only reason I can think why they had a champagne bar OUTSIDE on the top of the Eiffel Tower. Brr chilly indeed!

By the time we finally left, the day was pretty much over so it was a nice amble down the Champs Elysees in the dimming light with the Arc de Triomph standing gloriously illuminated behind us as we made our way back to our hotel and to food of course.

Now, I appreciate that when I’m holiday I am by definition a tourist- but that doesn’t mean I have to eat like one. I’m talking about hours of research here to avoid all the traps and over-expensive but terrible food that it’s so easy to fall into.

Luckily our hotel was far away from these awful places, in an arrondissement with a very “local” vibe, so it was fairly easy to find “proper” food that French people would actually eat and at a reasonable price…for Paris. (you know it’s expensive when Time Out calls budget restaurants £20 a head).

Going on a French friend’s recommendation we found Chez Gladines– unassuming from the outside but buzzing inside, filled with students and the healthy clatter of forks devouring rich and homely specialties from the Basque region.

Oh and did you know… you get FREE bread in France for the table? Just another reason to live there really.

And what better way to end an evening after gorging on crisp potatoes, duck and (in my case) the most flavoursome omelette my tastebuds have ever had the joy to experience?

A quick Crepe before bed, filled with what was probably half the jar of Nutella. Seriously though, there was a lot of Nutella. This abundance of Nutella is just another reason to move to France really!

I was so full, but couldn’t bear to throw it away so popped it in the fridge for a super sugary breakfast the next morning, which turned into a solidified bar of Nutella. So sickly… but #noregrets

But I didn’t feel too guilty -we were going to be doing a LOT of walking that day. So the sugar was actually medically necessary… for my err energy levels?

We took a leisurely stroll along the river from our hotel, past the Notre Dame and hoards of runners with the Louvre as our first tourist stop of the day.

This place is HUGE guys. You could so easily go in and never come out.

It was like an underground city of Art.

But there was only one thing we were here for….

The Mona Lisa!!

Do I feel bad that this was the sole and only reason for visiting the Louvre?

Do I feel bad that this was the sole and only thing we saw in the Louvre?

Nope, not one bit.

Yep –we were in and out in 30 mins (when we had actually found the painting- the signs were suspiciously hard to follow) 

I’m sure some of you are aghast at this and subsequently judging us for our lack of culturalness but really…I’m not that interested in Art and we had more pressing matters at hand – like finding Lauduree for Macaroons! 

Sorry about the rubbish picture- I was scared I was going to get told off

Ok comparing macarons to the Mona Lisa isn’t exactly doing it justice but when it’s FREE to get in… yes I did say FREE (another reason to visit Paris before you’re 25), why not? And when you are on a tight sight-seeing schedule…

For example, we also had this to find:

And this marks surprising find No2.- apparently the huge one (and unfortunately probably much more impressive) in New York was given to the Americans as a gift from the French. How nice eh?

And then we walked all the way back (told ya we did a lot of walking that day!) to the Arc De Triomph, just in time for the Eiffel tower to light up.

Surprising find no.3. Did you know you can stand on the top and be treated to another lovely view?

Did you know this is also FREE for those of us lucky enough to be under 25?

After admiring Paris at night, it was a speedy descent to meet a friend who I had met on my Year Abroad in Milan. Oh so international!

It was nice to catch up over my first Cheese Fondue!

Far from being sickly, it was a delicious mix of cheese and white wine accompanied by mountains of bread and potatoes and ham.

Why is there only a chocolate version in the UK?  – I think I might have to move to France at this rate!

According to my friend Elenore there’s a forfeit if you drop the bread.

After a quick drink we parted ways again (sad face) – she had work and we….

Well, we had an early start because...


D-I-S-N-E-Y L-A-N-D.

Yes we, as 21 year olds were going to to Disneyland and let me tell you, the excitement was very very real.

And you’ll have to read my next post to find out just how exciting it was. 

(and why Disneyland is possibly the best place on Earth .Ever).