I celebrated my quarter-century birthday this week and as a treat to ourselves, my boyfriend Mike and I booked a little two day adventure to Paris! (It was his birthday too so double celebration YAY).
We last visited Paris for New Years Eve 2012/2013 with his brother and sister-in-law, which was a pretty magical time to go and see the beautiful city for the first time. I couldn’t believe it was just 2 hours on the Eurostar, less time than it takes to travel to my parents in Wales(!), so I vowed to make the most of it and go back again in the summer to experience the city in the sunshine.
I normally like to organise and prepare trips abroad well in advance – I’ve been known to draw up an itinerary of activities and spend hours online researching the best landmarks and eateries. Well, not this time. Things have been hectic recently and I’ve been trying to be a bit more spontaneous, so the thought of surrendering and just seeing what happened had a sort of romantic appeal. I left it to Mike to book dinner and the Eiffel Tower tickets, rocking up to St. Pancras bleary-eyed at 6am ready to go.
I wish I could say that we had a perfect trip with no hitches or glitches, but of course that wasn’t the case. Not having looked it up, we walked to the Pompidou on Tuesday to discover that it was closed (as are a few Paris museums/galleries on Tuesdays – who knew?!?!) We had tickets booked for the Eiffel Tower on Wednesday but the weather was horrendous – the rain poured non-stop all day. Of course I hadn’t paid much attention to the forecast, so all I had were shoes that left me walking the streets of Paris with trenchfoot on my birthday. Not ideal!
Can’t let bad weather ruin Eiffel Tower photo ops!
When trying to escape the rain we tried a couple of museums only to find other tourists similarly seeking shelter and queuing under their umbrellas for about a mile. Needless to say, we gave up and made our way to the nearest cafe for wine and crepes.
Now my little weather moan is over I’ll tell you about all of the AMAZING things that happened in Paris. Like I said, Mike booked dinner for the Tuesday night at Bistrotters, a tiny bistro and wine shop that only opened for five hours a day, five nights a week. The food was reasonably priced at 37 euros for 3 courses, and it blew my mind!
Starter – Tomato and Fig Gazpacho with bread emulsion and chorizo butter toast
Main – Red Mullet with Small Squid Risotto & Bouillabaisse. Mike’s was an insanely good Crispy Pork Belly with Cider and Roasted Fennel.
Dessert – Chocolate Fondant with Mango Sorbet and Berry Coulis
It wasn’t vegan, but it was bloody good!
We also had fun strolling through the Luxembourg Gardens, seeing new places and having a mini digital detox (we both forgot our adaptors so this was self-inflicted, but it was actually quite liberating!) I got a bit nervy going all the way to the summit of the Eiffel Tower in the middle of a thunderstorm but the view was spectacular all the same and once I got used to everything being out of my control I managed to stop stressing about the queues, the weather etc.
It was a unique way to spend mon anniversaire, and I hope I’ll see Paris again in the not too distant future.