I am an all or nothing kind of girl
If you’ve read my emotional London posts on "London, England: Changed my Life" or "London Take Another Little Piece of my Heart Now, Baby", you know that I flew to London on a whim, giving myself barely a month to plan a trip of a lifetime.
I have this bad habit of trying to do too much. Why? Because I have a pretty good grasp on reality, my reality. We all say “next time I will do this” or “I’ll be back” but the truth of the matter is that NO, you will probably not return so why not do everything you can while you are there? So…like the other millions of people who visited London, I booked that day trip from London to Paris and left my fate up to the weather gods.
We left warm and sunny London for this?
“Alright, follow me”, said our lovely Parisian tour guide upon arriving at Gard du Nord. As I was standing there, observing, I noticed quite a few upset faces. They were all looking outside, at a bright but overcast sky that turned into a torrential downpour and gusting winds – that was Paris that day.
“Okay everyone, let’s run.”
And so we did. We ran through the crowds at the station, across the street and into our air-conditioned bus completely soaked and with broken umbrellas. I couldn’t help but chuckle at the numerous comments on how “we left warm and sunny London for this.”
The tour guide was kind, informative and she tried her best to describe most of the landmarks, it is too bad we couldn’t actually see out the windows (or leave the bus). I sat there, completely grateful, but reminding myself to plan a trip to Paris in the future.
Wait, is this what boyfriends are for?
We arrived (early) underneath the Eiffel Tower, shivering in packs and awaiting some shelter, I couldn’t help but feel lonely. I saw men offering their jackets to their significant others, couples embracing for some warmth and friends joking and laughing to pass the time.
It was one of the few times I wished I had a boyfriend. Can someone hug me please, I need body heat stat!
This is where my nonsensical rants become totally incoherent to you readers as I can’t even remember what I ate, drank or talked about. - it felt so rushed. The lovely tour guide told us we had about an hour to finish our dessert, “see” the Eiffel Tower and make our way to the boat tour which would only happen if the weather god’s stopped crying.
Thankfully I met some other solo travellers during lunch and we decided to form our own posse. We took selfies and added each other on Facebook, naturally. You truly have to walk a great distance to see the Eiffel Tower in its entirety and even further out to get a decent selfie with her. Having said that, my newly formed cliché and me, realizing we wasted 45 minutes trying to take a selfie, ran to the docks and barely made our tour.
The water level was so high that I am sure a very tall person could have touched the bottom of the bridges. The figures, reliefs, etc. (under the bridge) we ½ covered in water. Can you imagine if the boat tour was cancelled? A severe storm practically rendered this trip inadequate…rain or shine, culture or no culture.
Is this where Mary Magdalene rests?
Ok, I am totally joking, I know that Dan Brown totally made that crap up but its kind of cool to think about and it was that movie that made me want to visit the Louvre even more.
I think we must have visited 3% (if that much) of the museum but I can totally understand why. The Louvre is a massive museum, a place that houses so much art and history that you couldn’t possibly appreciate it all with one (very short) visit. Our tour guide led the pack with her flag in the air, directed us the hoards of traffic and tried to talk above all of the other guides in the vicinty.
We saw the Mona Lisa, kind of.
And other exhibits and famous statutes.
It didn’t quite live up to my expectations
I know, I know – you guys are thinking I am being way too critical of this trip and that I should be thankful and grateful for this experience. Oh, but I am! I am grateful that:
I made two new friends
I can say I’ve been to Paris
I ate lunch in the Eiffel Tower
I visited the Louvre; and
I got another stamp on my passport.
But…I regret not being able to live in the moment, explore and soak it all in (instead of me being soaked). If I could do it all over again, would I do it differently? Yes!
I would pack a little bag (enough for one night), grab an early Eurostar, wander, have a picnic for lunch, explore some more, get prettied up and enjoy a dinner by myself and wake up with a beautiful view.
If all you want is a photo with the Eiffel Tour and see the Louvre then the London to Paris day trip is for you. But if you want to casually stroll its streets, have a picnic in the park, experience its nightlife and eat pastries for breakfast then you need to spend more than 8 hours in the city of love.