Weekend Road Trip To Paris, France!
Our first real weekend here in the UK we decided to take advantage of our extra time off work and take our newly acquired little French car on a weekend road trip to Paris, France!
Tom booked us a hotel as close as we could get to the city center without killing our bank account ($80) and a ferry ticket and we were on our way!
First off, how lucky are we be that not only can we drive to Paris, France, but that our ferry left out Dover, England…
Dover, as in The White Cliffs of Dover!!
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I don’t know how it didn’t click to me that that’s where we were headed, but it didn’t until we came down a bridge toward the coastline and saw the most beautiful, white as snow, cliffside.
I felt like such an idiot for not putting the two together…
After an hour trip across the English Channel we landed in Calais, France!
Driving in France
This is where the real fun began. We had a 3 1/2 hour drive through the countryside of France before getting into Paris and it wasn’t easy from the beginning.
In England, you drive on the left side of the road and your steering wheel is on the right side of the car. But in France, you drive like you would if you were in the states; right side of the road, left side of the car.
Not only did we have to instantly switch the side of the road we had been driving on when pulling off the ferry, but the speed limit went from mph to kph and fluctuated ridiculously often.
That’s no exaggeration. Maybe we just had no clue what we were doing, but the speed limit would go from 130 kph then all of a sudden to 70 kph. It was basically like a roller coaster from Calais all the way to Paris.
The view (Not the ladies that argue around the table on tv)
Speed limits aside, the view was beautiful. Really, it was everything I would imagine that the countryside in Italy would have looked like based on what you see on Tv, only we were in France.
Rolling hills, huge green (sometimes brown) pastures with rows and rows of…I have no clue what. Whatever they grow and a lot of windmills.
I didn’t exactly know what to expect from the countryside of France, but it was an amazing drive.
Driving IN Paris, France
Although I love that we are even capable taking a weekend road trip to Paris, France, I definitely will never do it again…
Driving in Paris was a bloody nightmare (that was for my UK friends that I don’t have yet).
Not only is it a huge congested city, but there genuinely seemed like there were no solid rules to the road that anyone abided by.
It was more like, an every man for himself sort of situation.
We were dogging motorcycles, cyclist, pedestrians, buses, electric scooters, etc. No-one waited for the little green man to tell you it was ok to walk or honored the bus lane. Sometimes lanes would just end right in the middle of the intersection leaving you confused and in the way. The markings on the road dividing lanes and showing directional arrows were faded away.
It was just an extremely stressful situation trying to not run anyone over while finding our hotel and a parking garage.
Parking is expensive AF
I don’t know why we expected this to be any different. I honestly just think we overlooked this part of the trip since it was so last minute.
But parking our car was just about the price as our hotel room.
Yea…A whopping 70 Euros to park our little Citroen.
We gladly forked over the money and vowed to not drive again until it was time to leave.
Ah…Good ole’ Hotel Jerry.
What should one expect. It was the cheapest hotel room in Paris that weekend. One could only expect what we got I guess.
A teeny tiny room with no AC (typical for Europe, still super hot), up six flights of stairs with suitcases, a 3 year old and in a sketchy-ish part of town.
Thankfully when you’re on certain vacations, your hotel room isn’t were you spend most of your time. Sleep and leave.
The Musee Du’ Louvre
I honestly never knew about the Louvre until my friend Rachel Valenzuela talked about it being her inspiration for her gorgeous purse she designed and named after it (you can find her company Matchmaven and her purse The Louvre here).
The Louvre is the biggest museum in the world and holds many many priceless pieces of art, one of which is the Mona Lisa!
We knew it had to be one of the first places we would go, so day one in Paris we walked to the train station and went straight there!
We spent the first half of the day at the Louvre trying to see as much as possible while constantly reminding Isaac of his bribe of a Happy Meal and chocolate ice cream if he would just keep walking a little bit longer.
The amount of paintings, sculptures, artifacts and extravagantly hand crafted/painted ceilings in the Louvre were overwhelming. It’s hard to understand just how huge this place is until you’re standing inside and trying to decide which room to go into next.
After all, the place is 652,300 sq. ft. and is impossible to walk through the entire place in one day (especially with a child).
There were so many beautiful paintings and sculptures in this place. Some of which were from the 14th century, 16th century, even 2000 bc.
The Mona Lisa
The Mona Lisa, like everyone else was what we were most excited to see.
Once we made it to the room, there was a huge crowd around the painting with everyone trying to inch their way to the front to get the perfect shot.
I got mine, stared at it for a few minutes and surprisingly was anxious to get out of the crowd pushing behind me.
Unpopular opinion here: I don’t know what I thought I would feel while looking at this super famous painting but, it was a little underwhelming for me…Beautiful, thankful to have seen it. But underwhelming nonetheless.
After leaving the Louvre we did a little shopping then went back up our 6 flights of stairs to our room to charge up cameras and phones so we could make it to the Eiffel Tower and our dinner reservations at 9:30pm.
Walking up to the Eiffel Tower was more than I thought it would be in every way.
It was bigger than I thought it would be. More grand than I thought it would be. And more beautiful in person than I could have ever imagined. Especially at night.
We waited in line for a good hour and a half to get tickets to go up the stairs to the 1st and 2nd floor (top was closed). Once it was our turn to walk up, Tom put Isaac on his back and we made the windy climb!
Making it up those stairs was more than worth it.
The view of Paris from the tower was spectacular. I don’t think I have ever seen a more beautiful or a more romantic cityscape in my entire life. Someone put so much thought and effort into every building, every road, every balcony, etc.
I can’t wait to see it again and go to the top next time!
Dinner at Le Beaujolais
Just like every place here in France, most of the seating was outside. Which was fine by us. The weather was perfect and I loved feeling like a true Parisian, sitting at our table outside under big umbrellas and watching the buses drive by.
Isaac and I shared some pasta, I unintentionally bought a 8 Euro (about $10) small, and I mean small coke and Tom got a steak and some Escargot for us to try.
Now, I had no intention of trying those slimy snails. I’m not one to spend money on food I know I won’t like for the fun of it lol. But after watching Tom try it and him convincing me it was good, I gave it a shot.
You guys. Escargot was actually really good and not at all what you would expect. It wasn’t slimy at all. It really just had a garlic butter flavor and the texture was a mix between a chewy piece of steak and a mushroom…
That may not make sense at all, but I tried. It was good, just take my word for it.
One last view of the Eiffel Tower at night!
After dinner and drinking a coke that clearly cures cancer, we walked back to the Eiffel Tower to see it light up and hopefully catch it sparkling.
I am so glad we did this because somehow it was even more beautiful than when we had seen it an hour earlier.
I can’t say enough good things about our experience in Paris.
Probably wouldn’t pick that hotel again, but everything else was just, amazing.
I am so thankful and grateful to have the opportunity to have a, “weekend trip” here and to know that we can really come back at our leisure. Which we definitely will. A day and a half just isn’t long enough in Paris and there are so many more things to do.
Ryan Airways or Euro Star, we will use ya next time!!
Have you guys ever been to Paris or anywhere in France? If you have, let me know what you recommend and tell me about your experiences in the comments!
Also, if you’re curious about what brought us to England and how it’s going you can read about it here.
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