Paris – A Day in the Life of a Francophile Dreamer

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The Glass Triangle in front of the Louvre

This post is real time – why not mix it up with a bit of “Back to the Future” in amongst the ongoing trip report!

Bus, Train and Tunnel from London – Simultaneously!

“What time is your Eurostar train?” everyone asked. “Oh No!” I replied, “I’m on the bus! £34 return!” Go hard!

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Paris here we come people!!!

The bus was luxurious: heaps of leg room, great seat recline, toilet and wifi on-board and a personal power point for charging phones and laptops.  A second lever increased the gap between adjoining seats. Wow!

The trip was overnight (saves on accommodation costs!) and I was lucky that the girl beside me moved to two empty seats giving me two whole seats to spread out over also.  I had a fair sleep! Except, I had to stay awake to watch our bus, board a train, to go through the underwater channel tunnel. Mad.

1.30 am – time to sleep with the subtle rocking of the bus on the train.

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The Bus driving onto the train ready to go through the Channel Tunnel

A Coffee, a Man and a Newspaper

7 am – Paris arrival. Decide not to use the toilet at the bus station – 50 cents and I have no change. Walk to a café to use their toilet and have coffee. The café bar was crowded with guys having their stand up shot and croissant before heading out into the rush hour crowds.

“There’s someone in there”, said an older man, as I made my way to the loo. We soon were chatting over coffee (the merits of rugby versus football, travel versus being happy where you are, you know) which ended with an invite to his village 180 km away. Definitely one day Jean Louis! It was great to know that I could still make some sense in French.

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“Pain and Chocolate” or “Bread and Chocolate” – You choose! 🙂

8.30 am – Off to the metro. Collect free newspaper at entrance (in London, it’s the “Metro” in the morning and the “Evening Standard” in the evening…. Here its “Direct Matin”). I felt immediately like a local, living my dream, at least for one week, of “living” in Paris!

The Francophile Dreamer Admission

I found my mother’s old “Teach Yourself French” book when I was about 7 and around that time also discovered that the old red box in the laundry room, which happened to be a record player, also had shortwave radio. If I twiddled the knobs carefully, I could listen to French radio from New Caledonia or Tahiti, among other languages. I used to try to understand or guess what languages they were. My first love, languages (and some would say talking too much!), grew from there!

From wandering the farm as a kid imagining living in Paris, staying up all night in smoky bars with philosophers and revolutionaries… and/or living in a French village, marrying a sexy Frenchman and having bilingual kids… (Oh my God, am I admitting to that??!), here I was at last.  Previous trips had been great but this time I was on my own, just me and my daydreams. Heaven.

A Chat and a Promenade

9.30 am. Checking in. Free upgrade from 10 bed dorm to 4 bed. Speak French again with the (it turns out) Swedish receptionist. Speak Japanese with some guests. My dream international life!! Have free coffee (more!) and croissants. Charge phone. Viber a few people to confirm my safe arrival.

11 am. Free map of Paris having been reviewed, I set off. I walked all day until 7.30 pm or so, except for a half hour in a café when I needed to re-charge my phone, camera. Ceasar salad. Unfortunately due to my late start, I didn’t complete the full journey, out there again tomorrow!

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Boat on the River with the Louvre in the background

I love the old shops and cafes, the millions of independent little book shops, the canal boats on the river, the historic buildings dripping with ancient Greeks, Romans and brazen hussies, flower markets, the law school and court buildings emblazened with “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity”, packed cafes with people enjoying creamy sauces and wine for lunch, oozing tones of the French language, and all the other people and languages here too. Aaaaah!

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The Eiffel Tower!

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A Crazy Market

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School of Law – Liberty, Equality, Fraternity!

A Chocolate, Cream (and Wine?) Finish

6.15 pm – Finish at Sacre Coeur, the Basilica up on a hill overlooking Paris and just a block from my hostel. No sunset tonight, bit hazy. Cannot say “No” to a hot chocolate sauce and whipped cream combo with a chocolate coated marshmallow and caramel sauce on top. Mmmm.

My first view of the Sacre Coeur – from my hostel’s street!

Hot chocolate sauce, cream and a marshmellow on top! Mix!

7.30 pm – Back to hostel. Blog to type up and emails to do. Someone has a whole bottle of wine at the next table … think they might be my new friend!

More photos here.

Paris is romantic for sure! What springs to your mind when you think of Paris? Where’s your favourite romantic place? 🙂

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5 Responses to Paris – A Day in the Life of a Francophile Dreamer

  1. kjw616 says:

    Great pictures. What’s with you and cemeteries??

    • Bumblebee says:

      I know! I was thinking the exact same thing as I posted the photos!! And, I was at another cemetery today! Thought of you and our shared adventure! 🙂

  2. Moira says:

    Hey Sarah,
    Loved the blog, can’t believe you gave a bus that takes the train – that really is mad!
    I also wondered if they had the scam artists still working the sacre couer with their bracelets?
    So want to be there right now,
    Moira

    • Bumblebee says:

      Sure do! They’re quite intimidating actually and have physically grabbed some tourists I have spoken to. Once you’re in through the gate and up the stairs though they seem to drop off thankfully. I love sitting up in the grass at the end of each day. Then its old French men spotting a woman on her own you have to watch out for!! Gotta love it! X

  3. Your post sums up why everyone falls in love with Paris. A beautiful, living dream and much, much more.

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