Paris – July 2018 🌍

This trip was originally a spontaneous festival ticket purchase, but it ended up being our most expensive trip of the year! In July 2018, my boyfriend and I travelled to Paris for 6 days, and honestly had an amazing time, but if you’re looking for a budget trip maybe don’t do what we did….

WEDNESDAY

We decided to take the Eurostar (which honestly was a great choice, it wasn’t too expensive and it takes you right into the centre of Paris) and very nearly missed it as we didn’t factor in that we’d still have to go through security and passport control…. However, it was a lot faster than I expected and relatively comfortable for what it is! We did get quite a late train just as we had to travel down to London as well, so we arrived in Paris at around 8pm, and met my friend who is living out there for university. My boyfriend and I then went for a small snacky dinner of nachos which definitely should not have cost us 15€ but there we go.

THURSDAY

We woke up quite late and left the apartment at around 11am and went to a little Parisian bakery. We sat and ate our unbelievably cheap pastries (the only cheap thing in Paris) in a park before catching the metro to the centre of Paris. We had a little mooch around some shops and streets and were in absolute awe of the architecture of the buildings. We ate some brie and baguette in another park, and then walked over to the Eiffel Tower. We had previously tried to book tickets for this but couldn’t find any tickets for any time slots that we were free, plus they were looking to cost about 50€ for the 2 of us. We decided to just walk around the bottom and look up at it before heading back to the apartment. My boyfriend and I went out for dinner to a little Italian restaurant which had somehow managed to fit what felt like 100 tables in a very confined space.

FRIDAY

We started our Friday off with a bit of a lie in and then travelled back to the centre of Paris. We had a look around Galeries Lafayette in which I could not stop singing songs from Hamilton. We found a cute little cafe to get crepes in…worst mistake ever; the bill was just shy of 50€ for two lunches and drinks. I definitely recommend opting for the shop bought pastry lunches, probably around 49€ cheaper. We then decided to head back over to the Eiffel Tower as it was going to be our last opportunity to see it, and accidentally ended up finding tickets for just 19€ for the both of us! It did include us walking up most of it and I’m fairly certain I nearly died but the view was amazing and completely worth it. That evening we were taken to a club practically on the Seine, which was interesting however again, EXTREMELY expensive. As in my boyfriend ended up paying 30€ for a double JD and coke… twice. Would not recommend…

SATURDAY

This was the first day of the festival that we had come for, Lollapalooza Paris. We had a look at the timetable and realised there was no one we were too bothered about seeing till the evening so we had a pretty lazy day until I realised I hadn’t printed our tickets off yet… I had to practise my GCSE French and try and find a “bibliothèque” but unfortunately they were all closed as it was the weekend. Luckily, we found an electronics shop, oddly in the Red Light District, that let us print them for free. We then got ready and got an Uber to the festival because by that time we were too late to take the metro. We were given wristbands that had contactless chips in them, meaning we could go the whole weekend without carrying cash which felt so much safer! It was also probably the cleanest festival I’ve ever been to; everyone had to pay a deposit for their cup and if they dropped the cup they had to pay it again for a new one, but got a fresh one each time they bought their old cup back. The one thing I wasn’t a fan of was that the only two alcoholic drinks on offer were Heineken or Desperados but I quickly adjusted my taste buds. After the festival had ended there was tonnes of public transport, and we got a free bus back to a metro station close to our friend’s flat. 

SUNDAY

On this day we were leaving our friend’s flat and moving to an airbnb near Disneyland, but not before attending the festival all day. It has to be said this was one of the more stressful days of the trip. We arranged to pack our suitcase and leave it by the door, go to the festival and pick it up after before taking an Uber to our airbnb. So, we packed our suitcase up and left it by the door, and headed off to the festival. We had another amazing day, and had decided between us that we preferred one specific design of cup given from the bars and wanted to keep it as a souvenir however every time we took our cups back we were given different ones, and we just had to keep buying drinks until we got the ones we wanted. I can’t say this was a problem for us but our bank accounts probably weren’t massive fans. After the festival ended, we caught the bus back to the apartment, picked up our bags, and then I went to book an Uber…the price of which I do not want to talk about. I then realised we still had valid metro tickets for that day so we took the metro to the furthest point we could get at that time that would make our Uber trip a bit shorter. It did help and I believe our Uber ended up being about 50€ for a 1hr30 trip which I really don’t think is too bad. 

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MONDAY

We then had two days to spend at Disneyland. We decided to spend the whole first day in Disneyland park, and thoroughly enjoyed all the rides they had to offer. If you’re a thrill-seeker then I definitely recommend the Star Wars Hyperspace Mountain ride and the Rock n Rollercoaster (in the Studios park). For some reason, I was not expecting the rides to be too exciting, but I was happily proven wrong. I bought an obligatory pair of Minnie ears, which actually really hurt my head after a while… The whole park was just beautiful, the detail was impeccable and consistent. The castle was gorgeous of course, and we didn’t realise until after we were home that we’d missed the Dragon’s Lair underneath it! The queues for rides weren’t too bad either, I think the longest we waited was an hour in the Studios park, but other than that nothing was really more than half an hour. We purchased both lunch and dinner from the Park which I wouldn’t do again as the quality was low but of course the price was sky high. We watched some of the fireworks before realising neither of us had much battery on our phones and we were supposed to be getting an Uber back to our airbnb. We unfortunately had to get a taxi which was over double the price of the Uber so I would recommend taking a battery pack with you..

TUESDAY

This was another moving day, but this time we were heading home at the end of our day. We packed up in the morning and took our suitcase with us to Disney, which luckily had a storage facility (and a long queue). We ventured into the Walt Disney Studios park which as I mentioned before was home to the amazing Rock n Rollercoaster along with Toy Story, Ratatouille and Marvel attractions! Unfortunately we had to get a relatively early train to Gare Du Nord and left the park at around 3:30. We had to get a metro between two stations in the centre and there was a delay meaning we were stuck underground, between stations, in 30 degree heat for 40 minutes. This was meant to be a 3 minute journey and as we were already a bit tight on time, we missed our check in for the Eurostar, and had to pay £160 for new tickets. We queued straight up for the next train after waiting for ages to buy the tickets and due to problems with the automatic passport readers, we nearly missed our second train. After many tears, we found some seats and headed back to London. 

The moral of the story is leave check in time for the Eurostar and keep your phone charged at all times! (Also don’t spend 30€ on one drink!)

Natalie x

Instagram: @penpalsandbooks

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