Everyone has a place they spend their whole life wanting to visit, for me that was Paris. So what better excuse than a birthday to book an impromptu visit to the City of Lights.
Setting off from a drizzly London before sunrise, we seemed to sleepwalk our way onto the Eurostar at St.Pancras; it felt like just moments before we were on French soil.
After figuring out the (amazingly cheap) French underground we were soon on the sunny streets of Paris. There’s something so surreal about being mid-conversation and suddenly coming face to face with the Eiffel Tower for the first time.
For a place famous for its fine food, we were surprised that every restaurant around Tour Eiffel seemed to have the exact same menu (one totally wasted on someone who doesn’t like cheese like me) but a little exploring and you soon discover great food in intimate venues like Le P’tit Troquet.
Being my first visit, a little unashamed sightseeing had to be done. Seeing the beautiful colours of autumn leaves in the Jardin du Luxembourg, feeling totally at peace in the Notre Dame and seeing opulent designer boutiques lining the Champs-Élysées were a great intro to the spirit of the city. Later, people watching over dinner and drinks gave us a chance to see how the locals like to party. Apparently this includes singing with gusto along to Stevie Wonder’s Happy Birthday if it happens to be your joyeux anniversaire.
Between croissants aux amandes, macarons and crème brûlées, we climbed the 669 steps of the Eiffel Tower and strolled around the Lourve – seeing the Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo up close are a must.
In sequins and smoky eyes, there was no better way to end my 24th birthday than running through the streets of Paris to catch the light show. Or anything funnier than being offered a ‘French’ kiss by some local guys.
Paris taught me many lessons. Aside from needing to brush up on my French, it taught me everything in life is about making the most of the moments you have. Life is too short to be anything other than the happiest, and very best, version of yourself.