Saturday, February 19, 2011

My Trip to Paris

In 2001 I went to Paris. I spent a mere two nights/three days there on the way to London, but I’m so happy I have actually been to Paris. I travelled with a female friend who was running the London marathon. She had planned on going by herself and was talking about the trip.

Someone then said ‘why don’t you go too Fiona?’ I was recently single after my first husband deserting me. I had just started a new job and was living in a new, much bigger city (by my choice, I didn’t want to be single in the small-ish town I grew up in). I shared a house with my sister and two other flatmates.

I had the money, I just didn’t know if I could get a month off work. Normally you have to work there for over a year to accrue three weeks, and I had only been there less than ten months. I’d never been to Europe though, and decided that if my boss would let me have the time off, I’d go.

He agreed! Somehow we worked out the extra days, maybe some were unpaid, or he carried them over to the next year.

Paris was our first stopover on the way to London, but funnily enough we flew into London and then onto Paris. From New Zealand it’s a long trip. It was almost a full 24 hours later than we arrived at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris.

My travel companion is much more gung-ho, can-do and gutsy than I am, so rather than pay for a taxi, we hopped onto the train. Amazingly we got to our hotel alright, near the Paris Opera. We stayed in a gorgeous French decor hotel (Millennium Opera), with a tiny lift that the metal cage doors rattled shut.

Our hotel was on Boulevard Haussmann and very central, which meant that Galaries Lafayette, the famed department store was a mere stroll down the road. My travel companion wore knit track-pants, a sweatshirt, running shoes and a bumbag. Oh dear. We weren’t very close friends - my sister had rented a room in her house and that’s how I knew her. In Paris I dressed up more than on any other stop on my trip.

On the first day I suggested we sightsee separately, saying to her that she would be bored with all the shopping I planned to do (she wasn’t a very girly girl and shopping was low on her agenda). Even though I love nice things, I didn’t plan to do much shopping at all, but I did plan to soak up the Paris atmosphere.

I wore a black knit just-below-the-knee skirt, a dark charcoal fine merino round neck long-sleeve top, maxi-net tights (like a large fishnet) or perhaps it was stockings, I don’t remember. High heels, a grey faux-fur scarf, a camel-coloured leather shoulder bag and my blonde hair dried straight and pulled back into a low ponytail completed my Paris look.

I loved just strolling through the shops and up the back streets pretending I lived there and was out for an afternoon’s shopping. Sabine was alive and well ten years ago, in fact I think I’ve always been a day-dreamer.


  1. What a wonderful story to share.

    Paris is such a magical place. I have a close friend who went for the first time last July. She also went to London. I was so excited for her, telling her about how fantastic and wondrous Paris is (i've not been to London). But she was much more excited about seeing London for the first time and didn't seem to think she would like Paris very much.
    But she was wrong. She fell in love with Paris. She liked London, too - but Paris captured her heart. She's has since turned her 15 year old daughter's bedroom into a slate blue and white color scheme dotted with black and white framed photos of Paris.
    Once you have been there, Paris stays in your heart forever.



  2. That is a fabulous story, Fiona! I recognize that metro map from when we were in Paris last summer. I can't wait to go again! xxoo :)

  3. I got chills reading this. Any story of going to Paris is so interesting to me. My hotel was quite close to where you stayed. I loved the location.

  4. such a sweet, inspirational story. you do have guts fiona!


  5. I loved reading this, Fiona. It's like porn for Francophiles.

    I hope you'll follow up with more.

  6. I can just imagine how exciting it would be to actually stroll down the boulevards and browse the shops...
    BTW Fiona...I have never heard of a bumbag...what is that?

  7. I second LuxeBytes' comment. I love hearing how each person's first time in Paris is. It's almost like the first time with a long awaited lover. There is fear of disappointment, then relief and awe. And then you're gone and long to go again. Yeah, just like a lover, actually! :)

  8. Hostess, a bumbag is like a webbing belt with a zipped purse on it, worn on your rear. Perhaps a fannypack to you? Whatever it's called, it's not what you'd want to wear in Paris.

  9. I remember when we were flying over France, into the Paris area, I had tears in my eyes...I was so sublimely happy to finally be in France, en route to my week in Paris--all thanks to my wonderful husband surprising me for our 10 year anniversary. Paris is perfection and no other city compares to it (although, for the record, I really liked London too--actually where ever there is rich, centuries old history...I am going to like it). xxBliss

  10. I love Paris, and both times went at Christmas time when it was really magical. But I am from London......what can I say?

  11. A rush of memories! Like other of your followers, I love reading about a person's time in Paris, no matter how recent or how much a memory. On this summer morn, a stroll through the Luxembourg and the 6e streets sounds like perfection to me--particularly all dolled up in a great coat with scarf.

  12. My first trip to Paris was in 2008. I was going home (to my parents in England) so I decided to take a few days and fulfill a childhood dream. Being in England I was almost there anyway, so I went by myself and spent 3 nights in Paris. I also took the train from the airport and got off at Les Halles. My hotel was a 10 minute walk from Notre Dame. I was awestruck by the beauty the architecture of Paris. I remember when I caught my first glimpse of the Paris Opera house it took by breath away. It was a beautiful sunny day with a blue sky and the gold ornaments on the corners of the building sparkled in the sunlight. Breathtaking!

    My other memorable moment was having a glass of wine on the Eiffel Tower as the sun set. I'll never forget my trip. Yes, Adrienne is right, once you've been there, Paris is in your heart forever.


  13. Fiona,

    This post was so heartfelt. I am glad that you were able to go and spend some time alone that day. I would like to thank you for defining the "fanny pack," although I think the word bumbag sounds much more intriguing!

    One of my favorite memories was my 16th birthday when my Mom took me to Paris. I was a brat back then, but was duly impressed with the beauty and culture and found it very enchanting. *sigh*

  14. Thank you for sharing, Fiona. I'm taking notes from your posting as I plan my own mini-trip to Paris this September. And your outfit sounds very chic - something I would wear myself (I think I have the elements in my current wardrobe, too).


Merci for your comment. Wishing you a chic day!

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