Helen’s birthday trip 01/07/2011 – 03/07/2011
Helen decided that she wanted to go to Paris to celebrate her birthday this year. Liz, Harry, Kayleigh and I took the Eurostar out to Gare du Nord to join Helen and Aimee who were already there. We had decided to do mainly touristy things as Harry had never been to Paris before.
I’d never travelled on Eurostar before, having previously used ferries to get to France. Apart from a slight cock up on my part about what time to arrive (I’d read you should arrive 45 minutes before the train and thought we’d be ok with only 35 but the checkin closes 30 minutes before departure) which was resolved by kindly check in staff and a delay, the journey was enjoyable. We met Helen and Aimee outside the wonderfully named My Pants building and started our Paris adventure!
First we headed over to the apartment we were staying at which was only a few minutes from the Metro station. The apartment was an odd mix of new and very old. The communal staircase leading up to it did not give a good impression; there was bare concrete with pipes and wires sticking out of the walls all over the place. The doors leading off to the apartments all looked worn but ominously reinforced. Once we got inside our apartment though, everything was new (and mostly from Ikea which appears to be the default furnisher even in France these days). There was an open plan living/kitchen/dining/bedroom with another small bedroom off it and stairs up to a mezzanine bedroom which was just a double mattress on the floor. This was where Kayleigh and I were to sleep, you could just sit up on the bed without banging your head!
From our new home, we headed straight out to see some sights. First we went to the magnificent Montmartre where they were having some kind of skate jump world record attempt and then we went on for dinner to celebrate Helen’s birthday. Unfortunately you aren’t allowed to take photos inside the church but there were some nice views outside.
After dinner we wandered down to Boulevard de Clichy where the famous Moulin Rouge is located. It also appears to be where all of the sex shops, lap dancing establishments and other dodgy places are located. We stopped at a cafe which sold ludicrously overpriced drinks and then went looking for somewhere cheaper to drink. On the way we stopped of at the erotic supermarket (complete with shopping trolleys to) gawk at the sheer quantity and variety of wares on offer! There was also an erotic museum which was disappointingly more a museum of erotica but we didn’t go in, maybe next time.
After a drink in the (slightly) cheaper bar we found in the back streets, it was time to head home and rest before a full day of sight seeing on the morrow!