Wasn’t it in the classic Audrey Hepburn movie, Sabrina, that they said that “Paris is always a good idea”? I seem to recall it was, and I have to say they were tres tres right. France’s capital is an absolute joy to behold and having just recently visited it for the first time since 2004 I have to say that I have fallen in love with it once more. Oui, mes amis, je suis tombé amoureux!
The reason we headed to gay Parie was to meet some lovely American friends who were weaving their way across France with their mum, which was reason enough in itself for le voyage. Delicious food, the tastiest wine, the most atmospheric of bars and the most joyous of conversation were an absolute treat and it’s lovely when you can share so many fabulous things with people you adore. But how anybody can fail to enjoy the majesty and the grandeur of the city of Paris itself is beyond me.
As my partner has never been to Paris before this was the perfect opportunity to really hit the tourist trail and visit as many of the city’s massive attractions as possible. First stop was Notre Dame, the gargoyle-bedecked cathedral famed for its two striking towers and its love affair between a beautiful gypsy girl and a hunchbacked creature. Staring up at the huge round window on its facade you can’t help but get swept away by the romance of it all. I was ready to reach for my tambourine and start dancing as soon as I spied it on the horizon.
The same has to be said for Paris’ most famous landmark, La Tour Eiffel. It is truly amazing and deserves its accolade as the most visited paid-for attraction in the world. One of the most famous erections on Planet Earth (yep, hands up if you’re expecting a cheeky quip from me now!) the journey to the top within the windowed elevators as you stare down across the intricate layout of the city takes your breath away (and in my case takes my mind off the fact that I’m not overly good with heights). Having booked in advance there was no need to queue (the best move ever – especially as you breeze past the ever-lengthening caterpillar of visitors) and as you peep through the meshwork nearly 900ft above the ground, you can’t help but wonder how Gustave Eiffel even began to imagine the construction of “The Iron Lady” back in 1889. Although in a completely polar-opposite point of reference I was also busy picturing Grace Jones as Mayday the Bond villainess as she launched herself from La Tour in A View To A Kill. But that’s moi for you…
I could spend les heures trying to persuade people to visit the Parisienne joys of the Sacre Coeur, how climbing the 300ish (I think) steps to the top of the Arc De Triomphe was so worth it (there is a lift, but it ne marched pas when we were there) and how a visit to the decadence and opulence of the Palace Of Versailles is nothing short of spectacular. Strolling around and feasting your eyes on the feather-decorated boudoir of Marie Antoinette and the magical musical fountains in the Versailles Gardens are an experience that tout le monde should try.
I am not employed by some French PR agency whose job it is to big up the sights of Paris, although I would thoroughly enjoy the job and do it with ease. I just think it’s fabulous that there is so much wonderment and grandiose joy a mere train journey away from the UK. It has everything you need and is accessible with no baggage allowances, no lengthy check in queues and no trying to squeeze your hand luggage into an overhead locker. J’adore la France! Especially if I have some comfortable walking shoes and some fabulous friends alongside me.
The only trouble is I’ve been speaking ‘Franglais’ ever since I arrived back home…but you may have noticed that, n’est ce pas?
Nigel is a TV Presenter, writer and Craft Personality http://www.nigelmay.net/blog