Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Trip Recap: Paris and London

The final leg of my journey was spent in Paris and London. Boy did I go through a lot to get to Paris. I was supposed to fly out of Florence at 6:50 PM and arrive at Charles de Gaulle around 9 PM, leaving me plenty of time to go by the Eiffel Tower at night and then head to my hotel. Well, due to wind in Florence, we couldn't take off there, so they loaded the entire flight on two buses and took us about an hour away to the Bologna airport. We didn't end up taking off until after 10 PM! Needless to say, I arrived in Paris around midnight, after all public transportation was closed, and had to take a 60 euro taxi ride to my hotel from the airport. I was a little bummed, but hey... I was in PARIS!!

In the morning, I dropped off my bags in a locker at the nearby train station and headed towards the closest pick up location for the hop on/hop off bus tour I booked with Les Cars Rouges. My first true site of Paris in the daylight was this- the Paris Opera. I walked up the stairs from the metro and was facing this building head on. I don't think I could have been any more excited to be in Paris at that moment!
I boarded my double decker bus and despite the bitter cold wind, I decided to sit up top so I had better photo ops. From the Opera, we headed down the Champs Elysees and ended up at the Arc du Triomphe. So cool! I hopped off the bus for a sec to capture this photo.
I jumped back on the bus and we headed in the direction of Trocadero, which has a prime view of the Eiffel Tower. I had to find someone to snap my picture! (I'll tell ya, if anything made me stand out more as a tourist, it was that stinkin pink rain jacket! I really needed an actual coat. And its too bad you can't see my oh-so-Italian looking tennis shoes in this picture that I picked up in Florence.)
Not too far after I got back on the bus, I was presented with even more beautiful views of the tower, so I captured some more pics.
Soon after that, we stopped at the Louvre and I spent some time in the courtyards admiring those picturesque glass pyramids. I didn't actually go inside the museum for the sake of time, and I'll admit, I'm not much of an art buff.
Across the street from the Louvre, there was a bridge crossing over the Seine to Ile de la Cite that was covered in locks. It made for a really cool picture!
There was also a great view from the bridge.
The last major thing I saw on the bus tour was Notre Dame. So pretty!
After the tour, I decided it was time for lunch, and time for shopping! I hopped off the bus at the Arc du Triomphe and headed down the Champs Elysees to find a cafe. I ate at Le Deauville and had my first ever croque monsieur!
Next door to the cafe was Laduree, which is a world famous macaroon shop that originated in Paris. It was the most adorable place I've ever seen!
Check out these sweet little desserts!
I came out with a box of six macaroons, which were delicious! I then headed across the street to do some shopping Champs Elysees style. After shopping, it started to rain, so I figured what better time to stop into a cafe for a nutella banana crepe!
My time in Paris was coming to a close, so I had to make one last stop at the Eiffel Tower to see it at night, which is so much cooler than in daylight.
And off to London I went! I took a train from the Gare du Nord in to London St Pancras station. When my train arrived, I had another "I'm in LONDON!!!" moment... haha. I took the Underground to my hotel and immediately noticed there was a Daniel Radcliff look a like on the train car. Coincidence?

The next morning I started off with some shopping at Primark (LOVE!!) I spent two whole hours there! (Well, part of that time was spent on the phone with my credit card company to prove that yes, I was in London, and yes, I was trying to buy a bunch of clothes.) I then headed off to Leicester square to join up with the Harry Potter walking tour I booked through Celebrity Planet London. If you make it to London and are even remotely a Harry Potter nerd like me, go on the tour! We walked for about two and a half hours and got to see filming locations, places that inspired J.K. Rowling, took a short river cruise on the Thames, and ended up at Platform 9 and 3/4. It was pretty cool, plus I got to see some less touristy parts of London that I wouldn't have gotten to see otherwise. Here are some photos I took during the tour, starting with the London Eye.
Big Ben and the Parliament Buildings through the London haze
The Millenium Bridge on the left and the dome of St Paul's Cathedral on the right
Shakespeare's Globe Theater
The Tower Bridge
And finally, Platform 9 and 3/4!
After the HP tour, I headed on to meet up with my bus tour, The Original Tour. The tour was great; had a live tour guide instead of headphones like in Paris, but it was soooo cold at this point and raining. I sat up top again, but I was in a covered section. I hate that I didn't get better pictures, because I absolutely LOVE all the buildings in London, but pictures through a rain covered window don't really turn out all that well. I did manage to get some good shots of Big Ben.
After the tour was over, I walked over to The Rock and Sole Plaice in Covent Garden for some fish and chips. Looks good, tasted a little bland. I was just happy to try some authentic British food.
The rest of my evening was spent shopping. I made my way in to Topshop, Dorothy Perkins, Superdrug, and Primark (again!) to buy a suitcase so that I could fit all my purchases in to bring home. Plus at this point I was really sick of that backpack and glad to squeeze it into my new rolling suitcase. I was a little disappointed in Topshop because I had been dying to get my nails done at WAH Nails, but they were too busy and couldn't fit me in :( If you haven't heard of WAH, look them up on instagram @WAHNails - they do some seriously cool nail art!

The next morning, I headed to the airport and flew home. I LOVED Europe. So many people have asked me what my favorite thing was. For me, I loved all the jaw dropping moments I experienced when I got to see places and things I've only ever seen in pictures- the view of Athens from the Acropolis, the impressiveness of the Colosseum, walking out of the metro to be standing in front of the Paris Opera- just so many WOW moments!

My favorite city, if forced to pick, would have to be London. I loved the architecture, I loved learning about their government and the monarchy, and they had by far the best shopping! I could have spent several more days there. Of course, I'd love to also go back to Paris, Rome, and Athens one day. They are all such spectacular cities!

I hope you've enjoyed getting to see and hear about my trip to Europe! Tomorrow and Friday I'll be showing off some of the goodies I purchased (aside from clothing, as you'll see that in upcoming outfit posts).

Linking up with Amy for Keeping it Casual Wednesdays!

<3 Katie

7 comments:

  1. What a trip!

    I took a trip to LDN a few years ago- fell in LOVE with that city. So many incredible buildings, things to do and see, etc.

    Glad you're home safe and sound, and that you had a great trip!

    -Ashley
    http://lestylorouge.com

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    1. Thanks Ashley! I did have such a great trip and I already can't wait to go back :)

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  2. Those pictures are amazing. My favorite is of the one of platform 9 3/4. I"m a huge Harry POtter fan. Don't forget about my link up tomorrow. HOpe you can join me.

    Agi:)

    vodkainfusedlemonade.com

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  3. that's so great! glad you had a blast- Josh and I are most likely going to honeymoon in London/Oxford/Scotland...:) can't wait to hear all about your trip in person!!

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    1. Yay! That sounds perfect! London is AMAZING!

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  4. Gorgeous photos!!

    Would love if we could follow one another? Let me know!
    http://cbijicollection.blogspot.ca/

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Thanks for your sweet comments!