This trip was when Isaac was up in London for the first time, January 2015. As I had just started working up in the UK I was only able to get a week off, but it was well spent. The first few days we dedicated to Paris. We got on the Eurostar from London so it was a nice easy trip up. We had booked our selves a cheap hotel not far from Gare de Lest so we didn’t have far to go once we got off the train. It was an okay area to stay, but as I said on my previous post about Paris I really enjoyed staying around Bastille it was much nicer with more to do in the area. The few days that we had here we tried to make our way through the Louvre, although I doubt we even made it through a quarter of it. It was really busy inside, and this was in January so definitely not a peek season. I can imagine that it would be really busy during the summer time. We made our way through the catacombs (taking so many photos in the hopes of getting a gost on camera) and one night we went to go and see the Crazy Horse show, which we opted for instead of the Moulin Rouge as it was quite a bit cheaper, and it still made for a great night out. After wards we went up the Eifel tower, joining the tourists with our selfies, and had a nice night strolling around the area. On one of the other nights we went to Sacre-Coeur to get a good View of Paris. It would have been a nice place to have a picnic.
We went to Geneva by train, about 4 hours long. My cousin Jane lives here, so we were coming to visit for the weekend. And she took us around and did some amazing things. She drove us about an hour out of Geneva and took us to a chocolate factory and afterwards to an out door spa overlooking the snow covered mountains. It was such an amazing view. The next day we drove up to the French Alps where Jane taught me to ski for the first time. This was a completely daunting experience, but I fell in love. It was my first time in snow, which was amazing enough and the fun of skiing added a whole new dimension. The snow was thick and heavy, making it difficult to see and a dangerous drive back down the mountain at the end of the day. That night we spent getting fondue and going to a whiskey bar, the perfect after-skiing feast for our last night in Geneva! Before we flew out the next day, Jane took us around the lake in Geneva, but that was all we had time to do before heading off. We were able to do amazing things based out of Geneva, it was definitely a weekend to remember.
Time for a girl’s trip to Paris! I have been before and while I had a fantastic time I had a very different experience. I didn’t expect to be heading back anytime soon, but when you have travel buddies, why not. I will go into my first trip to Paris sometime to come, but for now I will tell you about our time in March. We decided that a girls trip was in order, and finding that a lot of my close friends had the same days off, we decided to head to champagne. We looked into options for staying up near champagne, however as none of us were willing you drive (you can imagine why) we decided to stay in Paris and make our trip to Champagne a day trip.
To start our trip myself, Caris and Mel took the Eurostar up together. As a few of us had just landed from work that day, this was our nap time! The Eurostar is an excellent way to travel as anyone can tell you, it can be cheap if you book a little ahead and it is extremely easy to get to St Pancras in London as it is very central and drops you off at Gare du Nord in Paris after a 2 hour train journey where you can get a taxi or trains around the city from there. After enjoying the scenery through France we decided to get a taxi to our accommodation. It would have been just as easy to get the train but we thought that to save us mucking around we would just get dropped off right outside. We stayed in Bastille, booked an airbnb, which was very reasonably priced and comfortably slept the 5 of us. We had a few communication issues on how to get into the apartment, but once we sorted that out it was a lovely place to stay. From here the three of us set out to explore the area and grab some dinner before Caroline and Hannah were due to join us that evening. Bastille has excellent shopping and we thoroughly enjoyed wandering around the neighborhood. While we tried to get something to eat around here at 4pm, we could not find anything except MacDonald’s. It was siesta time. We headed to the loving hut for dinner, a vegan restaurant what we really enjoyed. We had a waiter who was excellent and serving the entire restaurant on his own, and it was obviously a local favorite for some. This was just a few stops on the train from Bastille.
When you are in Paris I would recommend getting a day pass on the train, or even a 3 or 5 day pass depending on how long you are staying. We were getting the day passes for 1-3 zones, which we found was all we needed and was a bit cheaper then the day pass. The girls arrived in the evening, and after a wine we decided on an early night before our champagne day the next day.
To get to champagne we got the train to Gare de Lest, and from there onto Reims. Once arriving in Reims we had a hard time getting a taxi for the 5 of us, but after some waiting around we managed to get one. They took us straight to Duval Leroy, who we had previously emailed saying that we serve their champagne on board at work and would be honored to come and join them to see how they run their business and to taste the champagne (of course). They welcomed us beautifully with Australian flags outside. They took as on a wonderful guide through the champagne process. Everyone was so honored to work for a family owned company, and it was a real source of pride that Carol was the CEO after she was widowed, and how she managed to turn the company around. After the tour we were treated to a tasting, where it was quite obvious that they went above and beyond and brought out some champagnes that they would not usually have brought out. At the end of this they arranged our taxi back to Reims and recommended us to go to Moet on a tour to see there cellars.
While the cellars were fantastic to see and I would absolutely recommend this anyone, we were put into a large tour group and taken around on a very well rehearsed tour. At the end came the tasting of a few standard selections of their champagnes. After this it called for our train back to Paris as our tired and slightly hung over selves were starting to drop. When we arrived back, we stopped for a spot to eat at an Italian near Gare de Lest and then went to enjoy the view of the Eifel tower at night.
The next day we were headed to Champs Elysees to enjoy the view from the arc de triumph. While this was shut due to maintenance on this day we still enjoyed a walk down the street and a tea break at Laduree, where we got very excited about the macaroons and the pretty pink bathrooms. We made our way back to Bastille and went shopping, while stopping at the best falafel place in Paris (rated by us, and trip adviser). While we all got ready to split up tonight, my self and Caris went to Moulin Rouge. It was our first time (and probably last time) to be able to go to this. While having a few champagnes we tried to spot out Caris’ old ballet friend on stage. We had such a great time here, the company just fantastic as Caris listened to my complaining about my blistered feet the poor chook. Maybe it was from us ‘can-can’ing down the street. So after a great view of women dancing in a glass swimming pool with snakes we went to go meet up with the rest of our group and having a few more drinks before the night was over.
Then next day Caris was leaving today the rest of us still had one more day to enjoy. We went to the café across the road from where we were staying, Mokonuts café, for a beautiful and fresh breakfast, and then went out to her recommendation of the best croissants in Paris at Ble Sucre. While you can get croissants everywhere, this truly was the best and we made many visits. After we made a quick stop back at Laduree (because why not), went out to Sainte Chappelle and had a look inside, had a walk by Notre Dame and jumped on a river cruise from here to enjoy the sites of Paris by river, our last night together before heading back to London on the Eurostar the next day.