Bonjour les gars,
Incase you don’t speak french, the introduction for today’s post says ‘Hello guys’. As you can probably tell from the title, the boyfriend and I took a last minute trip to France. I love to travel but unfortunately can’t always afford it but this week I had a few days off work and decided that I wanted to go away for a little bit. We looked at going away at a caravan site somewhere in the UK but soon turned to the idea of a trip to France. Myself and my partner both live in Kent so it only takes 40 minutes to drive to Folkestone and another 40 minutes on the Eurotunnel to cross the Channel. However, the trip didn’t go entirely as planned.
When we first arrived at Folkestone’s Eurotunnel we were pretty excited about going away for 2 days… Until we entered in the booking reference number. It turns out, we had booked to leave the day before… The man on the intercom kindly printed us a receipt to go to the customer services desk to get the problem resolved. We hoped that they could just switch the dates over but unfortunately we had to pay an extra £48.00 on top of the £60.00 we had already paid. By this point, I just wanted to get to Calais.
As soon as we arrived in Calais, I was getting nervous about driving on the left side of the road. In the UK we drive on the right side and it’s all I’ve ever known but in France it’s completely different. On roundabouts, you check your left side for oncoming cars and steer right. Turns out, there was nothing to be worried about. Driving was fine! Roundabouts and junctions took a little getting used to but it was a lot easier than I had thought it would be.
Our first stop was the Musee de la Guerre (Second World War Museum) situated in the middle of Parc Saint Pierre (a park). We were looking forward to taking a look round this museum, both myself and my partner like seeing things and learning things so this interested the both of us. However when we arrived, it appeared shut or closed down. The sign said it was meant to be open but the door was locked and there was fallen sticks in front of the door. So we were quite disappointed but moved on…
Right outside the Parc Saint Pierre was the town hall. It looked beautiful, although we never really got a chance to look inside. Standing right in front of the town hall is The Burghers of Calais statue. It’s an original 19th century monument that consists of six men recalling the final year of the Hundred Years War. It tells the story of how these six men were willing to sacrifice themselves to save the people of Calais from being mascaraed by Edward III in 1346 but their heroism moved the kings wife and she pleaded that her husband spared these six men. King Edward III gave in to his wife’s wishes and spared the six men and the rest of Calais.
Our next stop was a trip to the Cite Europe Shopping Centre. It was a short drive, roughly about 10 minutes. We didn’t buy anything but enjoyed looking around. I must say, their toilets were very fancy! We left Cite Europe and headed to our hotel, Hotel Meurice. It’s situated directly behind an art museum, from the outside it doesn’t look like much but on the inside… it’s a whole different story. It’s old fashioned but beautifully designed. Checking in was easy, we stayed in room 41 and wasn’t disappointed at all. The room was cosy, warm and homely. We’d been up pretty early so we went to bed pretty early.
We were up at 9am, that’s early for us… We checked out the hotel at 10am and begun a 3 hour journey to Paris. This wasn’t planned at all but it was amazing! The drive to Paris was pretty straight forward but driving in Paris was a whole different story. It was horrible! Motorbikes were everywhere, cars pushed in everywhere. There was one horrible roundabout, the Arc de Triomphe. There was no lanes, no structure, no organisation. Cars, lorries, vans and bikes just flew at you from all directions. I had to worm my way through a crazy scene and dodge all the vehicles. I had to take the seventh exit meaning I had quite some time on the roundabout. I also had to do this on the way back out of Paris…
The Eiffel Tower was absolutely beautiful. Much better than I had ever anticipated! We queued for about 40 minutes which was a little bummer because we only had till 3pm before we had to leave. Our train back to Folkestone was at 18:50 and it was a 3 hour drive back to Calais. By the time we got on the lift to the summit it was 2:55pm… Once at the top, the views were amazing. At an incredible height of 276m, it’s safe to say my legs were a little shakey. The weather wasn’t all that great but at least it wasn’t raining!
We took the lift to the 2nd floor and quickly picked up some souvenirs. I collect fridge magnets from every place I have ever visited and have recently started buying a tshirt from every place. So far I have a tshirt from Copenhagen, Ireland, Menorca and now Paris. We went to get the lift to the ground but there was a huge queue and a man working on the lift… We both decided the stairs would probably be the safest option. The entire way down, my legs were shaking. Even though the experience was incredible and one I wont ever forget, it was certainly nice to be back on the ground. The walk back to my car was pretty fast paced and my legs were still trembling by the time I sat down. It was now 4pm. We were an hour late leaving… It was so worth it though!
The drive home was eventful, after nearly being squashed by a lorry, taking the wrong turn and being blinded by a car with full beam headlights on… The maps app on my iphone said our arrival time would be 19:15pm, late by 25 minutes, but we took a wrong turn and ended up adding an extra 40 minutes, making our arrival time 19:55pm.
We finally arrived at the Calais Eurotunnel at 19:45pm and luckily they bumped us to the 20:20pm departure without having to pay any extra! What a relief.
A 2 day trip that was only supposed to cost us around €40.00 – €50,00 ending up costing us around £100.00+ each! This is including petrol. I don’t regret any of it, it was an amazing trip and experiencing the Eiffel Tower was incredible. I just wish it hadn’t of cost us as much as it did.
All in all, our trip to France was eventful but amazing! I would definitely recommend going.