Tag Archives: France

114/365 – 36 hours in Paris

We are finally on the overnight bus back to London. This is after a two hour wait for a new bus to come when the one we were meant to be getting was deemed unfit for purpose. Apparently there was an issue with the windows – that’s why we were left sitting on the ground outdoors at Port Mailot bus park until 12.30am. Thankfully the weather was clear and it was still quite warm – we also had some good chat and shared beers with fellow frustrated passengers.

Excluding the second eventful Megabus journey in two days, I had a lovely time in Paris and felt great for relaxing in the sunshine. After the delayed start and on-off sleep during the journey, I was expecting my symptoms to increase. Thankfully my body worked with me and I felt strong throughout the 36 hour period. 

Day one

After we got freshened up in our chic hotel, we made our way through the salubrious streets of Pigalle to the Moulin Rouge and then climbed to to the Sacre Couer (below).  

After wandering in Montematre village, we headed towards the Eiffel Tower. Sarah climbed it while I found a spot in the grass to read and relax. The tiredness began to set in and I realised I was ready to go back to the hotel for a rest – plus there was a bath in our room which had my name written all over it.

After soaking in the tub for a long time, I emerged to find my travel buddy passed out. A bit of Iggy Azalea soon woke us up as we took our time getting ready for our one and only night in Paris – the half bottle of red wine I had treated myself for a whole 3 euros was getting me in the mood for more. 

We headed back towards Moulin Rouge and, as Sarah was keen to try some French cuisine, we chose Le Chat Noir which had all the must try’s – escargot, frog’s legs, duck confit and steak tartare for me.  


  
Meeting a lovely couple from Sheffield, we nearly ventured with them to Bastille but it was already midnight and we had our eye on somewhere near by…a karaoke bar. And so that’s how we passed the next three hours – singing and dancing to many classics (and some unknown French songs). We each had a solo, Sarah with Like a Prayer and me with a bit of Shania Twain. Then collectively we killed Stevie Wonder’s Superstitious but had a blast doing it. The evening was topped off with Sarah blasting out Eminem’s Lose Yourself. We were singing all the way back to the hotel.

Day 2

Lying in as late as we could to make breakfast, Sarah opted for longer in bed and I demolished fruit, yoghurt, pastries and crepes. I knew I would need lots of energy as our main plan for our second day was exploring on foot.

We started at the Jardin de Luxembourg, exploring one of the most beautiful gardens I’ve ever visited. 

  
We then walked through the Latin quarter to the Seine along to Notre Dame. After a quick queue, I took a seat with a view of the main altar and considered all those who have come to worship and admire with hope in their hearts over the several hundreds years. Again it made me think of all the things people with myasthenia can learn from religion. 

From there we walked back along the Seine to the Tuilleries, out into Plaza de Concorde and then along the Champs Élysées to the Arc de Triomphe. The sun was high and warm, so I was making sure to cover myself up completely and keep in the shade as much as possible. 

By the time we reached the Arc, it was almost time to head back to pick up our bags. There was just long enough to admire the intricate friezes of classical rulers who inspired Napoleon.   

As only to be expected for those familiar with the company, there was an issue with our Megabus on the way home – as there had been on the way. This meant we ended up having an hour and a half picnic on the Tarmac of the bus ‘station’ with some fellow passengers – Snow White from Disney land Paris, a New York musical theatre fan and an Orcadian freelance journalist heading home to cover the election. 

After a difficult night of on and off sleep, we got back to London at 9am and headed straight home to bed. It was only when we woke up after the nap that we were able to speak about the fantastic time had. Believe it or not, we even said we would consider doing the megabus again because at least we had plenty stories to tell. 

While I couldn’t do it regularly, making sure I got enough rest in the build up to Paris and taking time to relax meant the overnight journies didn’t affect my experience. Paris j’taime and I won’t leave it so long next time. 

  

111/365 – Overnight bus to Paris

A while back my friend Sarah and I had the genius idea to go to Paris together. It’s only two hours away from London on the Eurostar, she’s never been, I love it and it just so happens she had booked to come down in April – coincidence, I think not. The logistics ( read price tag) however were not so lovely. Unless you book months in advance, Eurostar seems to be only for people with money to burn. Sarah and I are not part of that throwing cash away gang. Flights were almost as bad with the added expense of the train to London’s airports. There was only one viable option – a 10 hour megabus overnight both ways. Why not, we thought. We’ve got the time and overnight travel means no spend on accommodation. It’s kind of perfect, meant to be….

We’re on our way now having ‘checked in’ at the Megabus desk in Victoria station.  

Two hours in and I already have a numb bum. Plus there’s a 2 hour delay due to congestion at Dover Port – not all bad as it means we’ll be arriving in Paris at 8am rather than 6am. 

  
This overnight travel will be a real test for my myasthenia. I’ve not done an overnight megabus since before my diagnosis due to the fatigue involved. As I’m currently stepping down the steroids, I’m going to try to get as much sleep as I can to compensate. Still it will be interesting to see whether my body is affected.

If it is affected, I’ll be in one of my favourite cities in the world. If our check in isn’t first thing I can find one of many amazing parks, like below, to relax in tomorrow or perhaps find a good spot beside the canal. The best thing is when I wake up I’ll be in PARIS…and there will be French coffee and pastries and sunshine.