Our train was due to leave at 1.15pm, not giving us any time to explore another area of Paris except for shop for some charcuterie pieces and special beer for Ollie to bring back. We felt we'd covered a large amount though and there wasn't much else we felt we needed to do. I'd also spent the previous day stocking up on sachets of Ketchup from the cafes we visited... so I finally got my scrambled eggs and bacon with ketchup for breakfast!
I felt nostalgic and quite sad at being at Gare du Nord - but not for the obvious reasons. As my Dad helped me move all my stuff out of the house during my gap year and drove me home via the ferry, the only memories I have of Gare du Nord (except from arriving there) are seeing off all the family and friends that came out to visit me during my gap year, and wishing I could jump on a train and go back with them. My experience in Paris definitely wasn't horrendous, but au-pairing can get lonely at times and I missed my family and my little dachshund who was probably about 15cms in size and two months old when I left. It was a delight to be able to get on a train hand in hand with my boyfriend, and go home.
I've had a fabulous time over the last four days and enjoyed showing Ollie 'my side' of Paris - of course we did all the touristy things but there were various shops, squares, and eateries very much off the beaten track and out of sight from tourists with cameras glued firmly to their palms. I am relieved that there were no awkward moments where I bumped into Florence or William - the scatterbrain parents of my au-pairing family; we were not mugged or conned (although I would happily have handed over my work phone); and despite people saying how expensive Paris is, we came home with a surprising amount of euros (which I subsequently spent on Clarins at the duty free shop on Eurostar).
We did experience an 'attempted con' on Rue Rivoli when a man bent down to pick something off the floor (which we both saw there was nothing) and then tried to offer us a shiny ring he'd 'found'. As I am already an owner of one of these brass rings, we were both prepared and continued walking.
You may wonder if I experienced anything new on my holiday to a place I know like the back of my hand (even after 3-4 years). Showing it to Ollie meant I could finally share this magical city with someone else - and not just my camera. We went up to the very top floor of the Eiffel Tower at a dizzying 300 metre height, something, surprisingly, I'd never done - it's only 4€ to the second floor, or 10€ all the way to the top, which is only accessed via lift. We also visited Jardin du Luxembourg, something else, shamefully, I'd also never done, and I also spent more time around the artists square behind the Sacre-Coeur, as I remember I only discovered this buzzing place during the last week of my gap year. We ate at fantastic recommended restaurants and drunk carafe after carafe of Beaujolais wine (usually I am not a red wine drinker but this...).
An extra day in this city of lights would have probably consisted of a trip to Sainte Chapelle, with its breath-taking starry ceiling (I would have had to drag Ollie in however), Musee Picasso, possibly the 284 steps up the Arc De Triomphe, shop for fur and vintage in the Marais and eat at my Granny's favourite restaurant, Le Verre Volé (67 Rue de Lancry, 75010, www.leverrevole.fr) although booking is highly recommended - sadly we were turned away on Friday night as it's so popular.
the crazy happenings in my life