Well, I’m finally here. At a place ready to sit down, write this out, and share these amazing images with you from an adventure that pushed our limits in many ways.
In the middle of our visit to England we wanted to dedicate a day going to Paris to explore. So, we hopped on the Eurostar for its first trip of the day (really, really, really early) from the Ashford train station for a day trip into the city.
It took us into Paris’s station called Gare du Nord. And after exiting the station and walking along our first streets of Paris, we were greeted with the classic architecture right away as we headed toward the famous Notre Dame.
Next we headed to what was called Sainte-Chapelle… and I think it was honestly my favorite part of the day.
My dad knew about this place from a philosopher he spent nearly his entire 20’s studying, Joseph Campbell. Joseph Campbell did some mythology teaching here and explained about the concept behind this building.
When you first go in, you walk into a what felt like the basement of the building – what they call the lower chapel. There are two very tiny spiral staircases that lead upstairs into the main Chapel. One for going up and one for going down. Campbell talked about how each one was symbolic. That each staircase represented your spiritual journey into heaven. And that the main chapel upstairs represented Heaven on Earth. That when you were inside the Chapel, you were in a sort of enlightenment. And exiting the chapel down the 2nd staircase was you returning to your mortal life.
I actually quite liked that concept.
And honestly, walking into this place in all of its 13th century awe was absolutely breath-taking. I think my jaw actually hit the floor. Can you imagine being a person in the 13th century and seeing this place for the first time?
We left Sainte-Chapelle quicker than I wanted to for sure. I wish I got more photos of that place… the downstairs… and full lengths of the chapel without people. But it was packed. And we were onto the next thing. The Lourve. So our next walk began.
After the Lourve we decided to tackle the enormous walk to the Eiffel Tower. Because.. when in Paris…right?
My dad didn’t want to use any public transportation because he wanted to really see Paris and not be underground at all. So, another long walk began and we took pictures along the way as well as making an accidental stop on the Locks of Love bridge, adding our own little lock to the amazing touristy cuteness.
And then after about an hour’s walk, there it was in the flesh. A world icon.
When we did our little lap around the front of the tower, we quickly realized it was time to head back to the train station asap. With us being short on time, we started looking for alternative means of travel back to the station. And that’s when we saw the bike guys!
One of the guys offered us a ride back to the station for $25. But with his foreign accent (not French actually) it made communication really hard! So, we just all hopped on one of these things for the strangest adventure of the entire day.
We were actually all laughing the entire way! I was literally sitting on Paul and my mom was sitting on my dad to actually fit in this thing! The guy drove like a maniac but with rush-hour traffic, there wasn’t a whole lot of time being saved.
When we got back near Notre Dame, we decided to get off because there was so much traffic! And it was actually slowing us down. That’s when the guy demanded $100 from us. Turns out it was actually $25/person. And since there was the language barrier, there was no communication with him. Only threats to the police. So, we clearly got taken advantage of in the midst of our crazed hustle back to the station.
Although this was very stressful at the time, it will always be a running joke between all of us, haha!
After that whole ordeal, we hustled back to the station only to realize we still had an entire hour left to get there. We forgot about the time change between England and Paris giving us extra time than we thought… the entire day. But it at least gave us time to wind down, relax, and get to where we needed to be.
I wish we did have more time to explore around the city more. If you are traveling in from the Eurostar like we did, I would definitely recommend making less plans for the day and really only plan to do a couple things. Give yourself more time to really do the things you want most and time to really soak it all in.
In hindsight, I’m glad we got to see as much as we did though. Next time we make our visit there, food will be my biggest priority!