It’s an early crisp autumnal morning, but London's King’s Cross St. Pancras station is surprisingly alive. The tall lavishly dressed Christmas tree lures my eyes into exploring the warm festive colours and decoration in detail. The tree is silent, but you can hear the playful sound of a piano echoing through the hall. I love this soul-tingling sensation of excitement that sharpens my senses.
It is as time has stopped and a brief pause to appreciate the moment is due. However, living “now” in the actual moment feels like a long-forgotten skill and one that requires a great deal of concentration. The noisy crowd hastily arranges in queues, focused on their end-destination and somehow unaware of neither the Christmas tree nor the beautiful sound of the piano. This, of course, is an excellent chance for a couple of photos to capture this unique moment and serve as a reminder of this sensation I felt.
This is the first time I'm using the Eurostar train service and the whole journey was extremely pleasant and enjoyable. Around 2hrs 30mins later we were walking through the concourse of Gare Du Nord, but this time no one was playing the piano. It felt good I took the time to appreciate the moment earlier!
Bonjour Paris, city of love! We are eager to fashion moments that will last a lifetime!
Since we were staying minutes away from Sacré-Cœur, it was also the first place of interest we visited. Located at the highest point of Paris, Sacré-Cœur offers some fantastic views over the city, which prepared us well for what was ahead of us. All those stairs were worth it! However, if you don’t feel like climbing stairs, you can use the Funiculaire de Montmartre. The funicular will take you up in a minute and a half and at the price of a standard metro ticket. Also, don't forget to take a peek in the Basilica. The acoustics inside and overall divine feel are likely to take your breath away.
Next we headed to Moulin Rouge, located only 15 mins away on foot from Sacré-Cœur. The bright neon lights of the legendary cabaret as well as the lipstick-red façade of the building are all the ingredients you need to capture a Sin City style photo!
The metro stop Blanche is the closest one to Moulin Rouge and we jumped on a train to Charles-de-Gaulle – Étoile and Arc de Triomphe. One of the most famous and perhaps magnificent monuments in Paris, the sight of Arc de Triomphe is one to be seen in person.
Paris has world fashion capital credentials and one of the best ways to get a feel for this is to take a walk down the iconic Avenue des Champs-Élysées. My first impression was that Champs-Élysées is actually much wider than Oxford Street in London, but an interesting fact is that both are more or less the same length, approximately 1.2mi/1.9kms.
Our leisurly stroll on Avenue des Champs-Élysées had an end destination in mind, La Tour Eiffel. The sight of the Eiffel Tower is overwhelming and will take your eyes 324meters up in the sky. It is the symbol of the French capital and one of the most recognizable man-made structures in the world. In fact it has been visited by more than 300 million people since its opening back in 1889. At night the 20,000 bulbs light up the Eiffel Tower and the sparkly view is glamourous. However, do note that taking photos or publishing photos of the Eiffel Tower at night is in fact illegal! The light show is considered an artistic work and it is therefore protected by copyright laws! Taking photos during the day is perfectly fine and seeing this marvel of engineering in bright light is equally impressive and provides a very different perspective. For some of the best views, you can head to the Palais de Chaillot close to Trocadero metro stop.
You can go all the way to the top of the Eiffel Tower or the 1st or 2nd floors for some panoramic views over the city. Tickets can be purchased onsite, but most of the time there are long queues, so it is a good idea to book in advance through the official web page.
After admiring the Eiffel Tower at night and day light we were keen to see the Louvre Museum. It is the largest museum in the world and since we were visiting only for the weekend we decided to only take a few photos outside and explore the inside during our next visit. Similiar like the British Museum seeing all that the Louvre can offer in one day can be an overwhelming experience if not impossible.
We did however elect to visit Angelina and warm up with some hot chocolate and treat ourselves with the a gateu selection among which the emblematic Mont Blanc and L'Africain. Established in 1903, Angelina soon became the place to be among Parisian aristocracy and built a reputation of sophistication and indulgence. Celebrated names like Proust and Coco Chanel rubbed shoulders with the biggest names in fashion in Angelina's salons.
The end of our romantic weekend in the city of love was approaching, but we still had a couple of hours to spare and managed to step into the world of Quasimodo of Victor Hugo’s infamous novel “Hunchback of Notre-Dame”. If you ever visit Notre-Dame and you are a literature enthusiast do visit the nearby Shakespeare and Co bookstore. If the cat on the second floor doesn’t look very responsive, know that it is because Aggie has been reading all night!
Looks can be deceiving, but inner beauty prevails! I leave you with this thoughts and hopefully the idea of recognising the beauty of the moment and “living now” in the present. As Mark Twain once said: “Life is short, break the rules, forgive quickly, kiss slowly, love truly, laugh uncontrollably, and never regret anything that made you smile.”
Au revoir, until our next post!