A tale of two trips

When I was a lot younger, we went to Paris for my dad’s 40th birthday. It was a fantastic trip.

We stayed at a lovely hotel just off the Champs de Elysees, so we were right in the heart of it all, as opposed to the cheap hotel my boyfriend and I stayed at which was a little way away from everything, near the Gare du Nord. However, this really wasn’t an issue, as we were barely there and there was a Metro stop right around the corner.

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It’s a thrill to be staying up such an exciting street, and right round the corner form he Arc de Triomphe! This was our first stop after we settled into the hotel, and we marvelled at the ornate carvings. Then we took taxi to the Eiffel Tower. The taxi driver didn’t understand my dad’ interpretation of ‘La Tour Eiffel’, and so we reverted to English. This also was different to being in Paris with my boyfriend. Students don’t take taxis! It was the Metro or walking for us. I must say, although the metro was fine and convenient it is definitely not as nice as getting a taxi.

This is where I let myself down when I was younger. Rather than going up the Eiffel Tower, my silly-14-year-old brain thought ‘Look at all those stairs. I’ll give it a miss thanks’. What the hell, Past Laura? I stayed at the bottom with my mum who was happy to give it a miss also, whilst my brother and dad went up and lived out the dream I would experience on my second trip to Paris. Definitely better seeing the Eiffel Tower when I went with my boyfriend.

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When I went to Paris with my boyfriend in June 2016, it was a time when the Seine had experienced floods, and as a result the river boat tours were cancelled. This was a real shame, as I’d been on a river boat when I went with my family and it was brilliant! A great, fun way of seeing lots of sights in Paris, I recommend it. Billy and I had to use our legs instead, as the boat was not an option. Whilst nice also, it just wasn’t as fun as the cruise.

The Sacre Couer was better when I visited it in 2016, because I looked inside it, as well as at the outside. I’m not sure why my family and I didn’t look inside it when we went – queues? Running out of time? Simply not bothered? It was something we shouldn’t have missed.

One big advantage to going with my family was that we had more time! We did two nights and three days in Paris, so had time to leisurely look at everything, spend time in cafes and we also had time to hit the Louvre (shut when I went with my boyfriend, unfortunately). In contrast, Billy and I only had one and a half days to explore this amazing city, so we had to really pack everything in. It is doable though, and we saw all the major sights, apart form the Louvre and the Pompidou centre. Saying that, I wasn’t too impressed at the Pompidou Centre when I went with my family. Perhaps this is silly because I’m graphic designer so it should interest me, but I’m not a fan of art galleries. It’s just not very me. The Louvre was better, but still – I’m not a gallery kind of gal.

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Although I love my family, I have to say that Paris was better when I went with my boyfriend for this simple reason – it’s the city of love. Being there with him made it all the more special.

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