After some wonderful time spent London, the tour of Europe started bright and early the next morning. We departed to make our way through the English countryside to Dover where we would take the ferry and then start the drive to Montmartre.
The ride through the country and passing the white cliffs of Dover was something special, in fact, I couldn’t get enough of it all. I spent the time with friends I had made the night before and meeting new people from the USA, Australia and New Zealand and a few Capetonians thrown in for good measure.
After the ferry ride, we made our way to Montmartre, where our hotel was located, and after a quick checkin we hopped back on the bus and did a tour of Paris by twilight. To say it was surreal, was an understatement. We made our way down The Avenue des Champs-Élysées, past the Arc de Triomphe, Eiffel Tower, Louvre and countless other famous sights.
We then stopped off at a quaint little restaurant for escargot and champagne, as one does when you arrive in Paris. It was my first time trying the delicacy and I loved it. We then headed back to Montmartre for a group dinner, at a Turkish style restaurant which was divine and just a two minute walk from our hotel.
The next day, it was time for a tour of Paris, the Australians, Americans, New Zealander and I had decided to try and cram in as much as possible. We started off at the iconic Eiffel Tower but after standing in the queue and hearing about the two hour wait we thought it best to leave it and try and see as much as possible in the time we had.
That meant it was time for the Champs-Élysées and a trip up the Arc de Triomphe. The view of the city from the top was spectacular and again, surreal. I then convinced everyone we had to find Ladurée, for macarons, which after much broken French and a few hilarious metro rides, we found. It was incredible – keep an eye out for that post!
We took a long stroll through the city, past Pont de l’Archeveche, the lovers bridge, and headed to the Louvre which was nothing short of mind blowing. The room where the Mona Lisa was housed, was awe inspiring but as expected, full of tourists. As for the rest of it the amount of art housed was almost too much to take in.
After a long day touring, we went back and got ready for another evening tour and dinner. We got to La Bonne Franquette after a long winding walk through the roads of Montmarte. The food included some more escargot, the best French onion soup I have ever tasted, beef bourguignon and a chocolate mousse dessert that was too die for.
We then made our way to a cabaret show which was just past, the famous and full, Moulin Rouge. It was an interesting evening filled with can-can girls, more champagne and rounded off an already phenomenal day.
I could hardly believe that I had finally made my way to Paris and got to experience it with some amazing people from across the world. Little did I know the rest was going to be as exciting!
Keep an eye out for Day 3 & 4. The Beaujolais wine region and the French Riviera!