Bonjour tous le monde!
The day has finally arrived where I visit my ultimate dream destination…Paris, France!!! If you knew me 5-10 years ago you understand my obsession about France and the Eiffel Tower. My room used to be covered in posters, pictures and accessories with le Tour Eiffel and I am SO excited to finally see it in person! This is also a last minute adventure before I begin my travel nursing adventure on October 1st. I am going with my two best girlfriends (Stephanie and Katie), also nurses from back home. We are the concert queens, this year we went to Toronto for Justin Timberlake and we just went to Minneapolis to see Taylor Swift! We travel great together and I’m so excited to go on this adventure with them!!
Taylor Swift Reputation Tour- August 31st in Minneapolis, MN
Kaitlyn was the one who originally brought up going to Paris as she found a super cheap deal online. We are flying with Primera Air, a budget airline without all the bells and whistles. Our flights roundtrip to Paris from Toronto were basically the same price as our flights from Thunder Bay to Toronto and back! Insane! It was pretty hard to say no to that and to another adventure with my girls! All three of us worked 12 hour night shifts the night before we left so we have been zombies the entire day- typical nurses, right?
We flew to Toronto where we had a long layover at Pearson. We used my lounge passes to relax in the Plaza Premium Lounge and enjoyed some alcoholic beverages and naps on the couches. The airline we used, Primera, is like I said a budget airline. I’m not going to lie…I saw many horror stories on TripAdvisor regarding this airline but I also saw many great reviews as well. The biggest thing that I found was that the airline is very strict regarding baggage size and weight restrictions. With our flight we were allowed one carry-on suitcase and one personal bag…together weighing a total of 10 kg or 22 lbs. Easier said than done. If your luggage is heavy they will charge you $120 at the check in counter and I was not into paying that for 5 pounds over the limit. SO! Before checking in I went into the bathroom and put on as many layers of clothes as I could. It was hilarious; I had 5 shirts, a dress, a kimono, and leggings under my jeans. I looked like Joey from Friends when he puts all of Chandler’s clothes on. The employee at the counter never ended up weighing our bags though! So it all worked out in the end. There was a second flight going out to London with them which was cancelled so we got lucky with our flight for sure. Hopefully the way home is as seamless!!
We arrived in Paris and basically just walked through customs…easiest border crossing I’ve ever experienced. We didn’t even have to fill out any paperwork. I immediately bought a sim card for my phone. The company Orange here in France sells a holiday package which gives you 10GB of data and some texts and minutes while you are here. Best 50 euros I spent. It saved us so much during our trip. One word of advice if you buy one of the sim cards is that the little package does not come with the tiny piece that pops open the very small hole on the side of your phone. A bobby pin was too big but we got creative and my earring worked to slide it open. Also the package is made out of super thick plastic so I had to search for scissors in the airport and ask for “ciseaux” at the Starbucks.
Our next stop at the airport was the tourism booth to buy our Paris Museum Passes. Our original plan was to buy 4 day passes so that we could use them the entire time we were there. However, the man at the counter informed us that all museums and monuments had free entrance that day and the next for this heritage weekend here in Paris. Nice! We saved some money and bought the 2 day passes instead. We used Uber to catch a ride to our AirBNB which was about a 45 minute drive away in the area called Montmartre. Our loft flat was absolutely adorable. We loved it and it was perfect for the three of us. The area was great and it was a 2 minute walk to the metro station. We settled in, got ready and headed out to see Sacré Cœur. We grabbed croissants along the way and we fell in love with the area of Montmartre as we walked past all of the little boutiques and cafés.
We walked to the base of Sacré Cœur (a cathedral which sits on the highest point of Paris and overlooks the city) and paid €1.90 to ride the funiculaire up the hill. We entered the cathedral just as a daily prayer service was beginning. This was the COOLEST thing to experience. I will always have a soft spot in my heart for religious music and choirs as that was my life for my teenage years. The choir sang along with the congregation and we walked through the chapel as they sang. I definitely teared up a bit, it was magical to be apart of it. I love that they do not close it off to the public and you can sit and enjoy the service if you wish.
Next we climbed the 300 spiral staircase up to the point of the cathedral to see the view of Paris from the top. INCROYABLE. I cried. The Eiffel Tower was in the distance and it was the first time I had seen it in real life. I can’t believe I’m so lucky to be here and that my dream is finally coming true. I sound dramatic saying that but I can’t really explain how emotional it was to finally be looking at the thing that I’ve only seen pictures of my whole life. Maybe that’s my favourite part about travelling. That’s what it’s all about. I hope you have experienced something similar to this so that you know how great it feels.
The sun started to set while we were up there and we took it all in. We’re in Paris!!! It’s going to be such a great week. We climbed back down the many stairs (much easier than going up!) and wandered to what became own of our favourite spots, a restaurant called La Marmite. We had wine and escargot and mussels and more and had a great meal toasting to the week to come. I have to say that nursing is amazing and brings you the best friends and travel buddies. We began talking to two ladies seated near us who turned out to be sisters from Wisconsin and the one just retired from surgical nursing and this is her retirement trip!! We toasted to her and vowed to come back when we retire in 40+ years!
It was dark now and we were still running on very few hours of sleep from working the night before and the overnight plane ride. We got a second wind and took our first metro ride and rode to the Eiffel Tower. Talk about WOW. Seeing the Eiffel Tower lit up at night is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen… you’re going to hear that a lot during these Paris blog posts LOL! Every one should see it in their lifetime in my opinion. I’ll let the pictures do the talking because I can’t express it otherwise. We bought some beer from one of the millions of guys walking around with buckets of beer and wine to sell and sat on the grass while we waited until 11:00 for the tower to light up. Every hour for five minutes the tower sparkles and it is the most gorgeous thing. Everyone cheers and just sits and watches and it just makes me so happy thinking about it still.
We took the metro back to our flat and collapsed into our beds. Finally time to sleep!! Day 1 of 5 is complete and tomorrow is the busiest day we have planned! Bon nuit!
I hope you enjoyed the first of five Paris blog posts. ☺