A Weekend in Paris – Friday and Saturday

Earlier in May, we went to Paris for a couple of days before our bigger adventure to Disneyland Paris. With Jaxon starting school in September, we decided we would try and fit this “big” holiday in before the schools break up for the Summer.

A Weekend in Paris

The last time we were in Paris was May 2010. We’d won a trip just for a night so we got the Eurostar to Paris just for two days. On that trip we visited the Eiffel Tower and the Sacre Ceour amongst other bits. (It starts here)

This time it was for the weekend before our bigger adventure to Disneyland Paris.

Friday Evening (Traveling and Our Arrival in Paris)

Having got the train from Bedford to St Pancra’s and then the Eurostar to Gare du Nord. We’d made it to our hotel room very late, we were all excited but tired too.

Jaxon hiding from me!

Saturday (Day One in Paris)

Saturday began with a bit of a lazy start but we got going and found a local supermarket to get some breakfast. (The Hotel was lovely but on the breakfast front a little pricey).

Jaxon and I went for Pain Au Chocolat and I think Chris risked one until we could find something more him friendly. The little supermarkets don’t seem to have “Sans Gluten” ranges. We would later find gluten free bread in a health foods shop and that kept Chris going.

After eating our breakfast outside we headed off to the Arc Du Triomphe. According to Chris it wasn’t too far for us to walk so we set off an adventure. Between the adventure this weekend and then the week we had planned, it was going to be a long one so Jaxon did a lot of time in the buggy. Chris was right that the walk wasn’t too long. Having looked it up on Google Maps, it says it was 45 minutes roughly but actually the exploring of Paris on the was definitely made it seem a lot quicker than that.

There were a couple of dodgy spots that we could have probably avoided but I guess that’s a risk with Google’s directions that it doesn’t know what’s a good area and what’s a dodgy area.

We got to the Arc du Triomphe and Chris decided that if Jaxon could, we were all going to climb up to the museum and viewing platform that is above the main arch.

PAUSE

Right, at this point I’d be saying to Chris “No I’m sitting down here, I’ll wait for you here” but over the last few days I had been reading “The Year of Yes” by Shonda Rhimes and something about it made me want to try and say yes instead of saying no. So here came my first yes. (Actually maybe my second after saying yes we’d walk to the Arc du Triomphe, but we’ll count it as the first).

"The point of this whole Year of Yes project is to say yes to things that scare me, that challenge me. So in order to YES a problem, I have to find whatever it is inside the problem that challenges me or scares me or makes me just freak out - and then I have to say yes to that thing," - Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes

PLAY

We join the queue to buy our tickets and all those “what if” questions go round my head. What if I fall down the stairs taking out a bunch of tourists? What if I break a bone or something worse while falling down the stairs? What if I am so out of shape that I have an asthma attack on the way up the stairs? Why did I leave my inhalers at home?

Well soon enough we were moving along into the next queue and had to sort out other bits. The security lady supplied us with a special pass so that the buggy could be padlocked to a railing (like how you’d lock up your bike). We then went through an X-Ray scanner and got out tickets scanned at the next member of staff. Time to climb the circular stairs.

So I later found out that it’s 284 steps from the bottom to the top. That’s about 50 metres.

As we got to the top I was feeling it. Not only were my legs really hurting and my lungs were going to explode (or collapse who knows!) but that little voice in my head was telling me I was going to throw up or that I couldn’t do it. But we did it, one step in front of me other, Just Keep Going. We were in the foyer that leads to the museum bit that runs across the top of the arch. I parked myself on a bench and tried to pull myself together.

To go up to the viewing platform there were a few more steps but they were relatively easy after the crazy of the circular staircase.

From the viewing platform, you could see La Grand Defense in one direction, La Sacre Ceour in another direction and the Eiffel Tower in another direction. One section of the roof was closed off so you had to do a funny half lap of the roof then go back the other way to see the rest of the fire.

After plenty of photos to prove the achievement, we headed back down to the museum floor again. We had a look at a display all about Victory Arches around the world. Marble Arch was on there as it’s the same style as the Arc du Triomphe and one we had seen in Rome was also on the display.

Achievement Unlocked: Climbed to the top of the Arc du Triomphe and didn't die!

Lunch was a stop at McDonald’s. Jaxon had worked hard climbing the tower and we needed something that would be a “safe choice”. Getting food in our tummies was the important bit instead of trying new things. I ordered a “Golden Meal” by mistake. This meant that as well as a Big Mac, I had four chicken nuggets with it too! Really I didn’t need both of them for my lunch, I guess it was a good job that I had climbed the Arc du Triomphe in the morning after all! I had a Cola Light (French Diet Cola) with my lunch and wished I hadn’t. Not all Diet Cola are equal lol. Minus maybe one other cola based drink this was my last Cola Light all week! Yeah I know – am I crazy?

Following lunch, we headed to the Eiffel Tower. Jaxon is a huge fan of the film Home so when he knew we were going to Paris where there is the “great antenna”, we had to try and fit in a trip. (Just in case you don’t know which bit I’m talking about try this video)

Between the long day on Friday and then the exertions of the morning, Jaxon had fallen asleep in the buggy. We let him have a disco nap until we got to the Eiffel Tower then Chris gentle woke him up. I think he was a bit discombobulated but then came to and got excited about where he was.

At this point, we decided we’d head back to the hotel room. Given the past 48 hours we were all a bit shattered and needed to relax a bit. When we got to the hotel, we put on French TV to see what we could find. We ended up watching a bit of a documentary about Eurovision before putting on French music channels. I watched about 20 seconds of The Mentalist in French before changing channel again.

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