Towards the end of my time in Europe I spent 3 days in Paris and let me tell you it was one of the most amazing 3 days I had ever experienced.
My train to Paris was an early 7am ride. I didn’t want to waste any time, I wanted to experience everything that I could. It felt just as if I was at the airport. I had to go through security, get my bag checked and there was even a duty free. I didn’t have to wait long till it was time to board the train, before I knew it was getting on board.
I was lucky enough to go first class, one of the perks of being a wheelchair user in Europe. It was a pretty quick and comfortable ride; breakfast was delivered about half an hour into our journey and their was free wifi included on board.
I arrived in Paris at 10am allowing me a full whole day to explore. While I was on the bus to drop off my bags I was in awe of everything that was around me. The buildings were beautiful and in the distance I could see the Eiffel Tower. It was such a sight.
After dropping off my bags, I went to have a look around Paris. I loved all of the streets with restaurants and little laneways filled with people around. Everything was so beautiful; there were gorgeous buildings with outdoor restaurants, shaded paths along the river and laneways leading to hidden spots.
Throughout the 3 days it always peaked about 30 degrees. Some may have found this to be a blessing but for me it meant that I had to plan everything so that I was able to be out of the heat. This meant that I would leave my hotel at 7:30am to enjoy the morning sunshine, head back to my hotel at lunch time to cool myself down and then head out the evening when the weather was starting to cool. It was a bit tedious but it worked.
On the first night in Paris I went to visit the Notre Dame Cathedral. As I made my way to see it up close I could see it across from the river, it looked completely hollow with the sides still up but the top completely burnt off. Sadly, you couldn’t really get close to the Notre Dame, there was a metal barrier all around so the only souvenir was a photo. Like I had done before, I stood looking at the heritage site and then asked a friendly tourist if they would take my picture.
The next morning I woke up early to ensure that I was able to see everything that I wanted to, I had planned to see the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre. I had gotten used to pushing everywhere and it was a nice stroll to the Eiffel Tower because as I made my way I passed numerous museums, parks and statues.
I stopped to get multiple photo opportunities before I got to the very front of the Eiffel Tower. It was great to just stop on the grass and look at the sight around me. There were tourists taking pictures of themselves, street salesman asking people if they wanted to buy a cheap souvenir and walking around the bottom of the tower. I noticed that there was another tourist who was taking pictures and so I kindly asked me if she would help me take my picture. She was lovely; we ended up sharing our instagram handles and talking about ourselves. I felt so much more at ease in my emotions of solo travelling by this point, before this I had been feeling so many emotions that by the time I had gotten to Paris I had really embraced what I was doing and who I am.
After stopping to take a picture I decided to go inside to go up the tower. I made my way to the glass barrier around the tower and tried to ask one of the workers for help but got ignored, the french. Luckily a girl heard me to which I then asked if she knew the way around, she did and to make everything better she was also Australian. My new Australian friend and I went up the Eiffel Tower together, we were in awe of the sight that was before us. Looking out from the 2nd floor of the tower you could see the whole of Paris, it was beautiful. It was such a sight. My new friend and I kept taking videos as well as pointing out the spots we could see. This was my highlight, seeing the view was much better than seeing the actual thing.
After the Eiffel Tower my friend and I decided to get lunch together before going our seperate ways. We got on really well discussing different things about our lives and the adventures we had been on during our travels. It was really nice spending time with a fellow Australian when I was so far from home, the familiarity and common understandings made it so nice to create a solid friendship.
Next, I made my way to the Louvre. It was much bigger than what I had expected. It reminded me of a little ants nest with different areas all with their own mini exhibit. If you’re going to go see the Louvre. I highly recommend leaving a long time for viewing, it took me over 3 hours and I am not a very thorough viewer. It was really amazing seeing the different pieces of artwork. A awesome perk about being a wheelchair user is that when you want to go see the Mona Lisa you’re allowed to go around past the general public. I was surprised at how small the actual painting was, I had always thought that it was bigger.
On my 2nd and final full day in Europe I went to visit the Arch De Triumph and see Moulin Rouge, stopping along the way to pick up some vegan snacks. It was pretty cool seeing the Arch De Triumph but sadly I could only see it from afar because there are steps to get to the other side. It was big and sculptured to work as an a archway for people to walk around as well to work as a round about. I stopped to get my picture then continued to explore Paris.
It was my last night in Paris so I went to check out Moulin Rouge, I wasn’t prepared to go see it but once I saw the theatre I decided to ask. It was awesome how vibrant it was with red neon lights and the signature spinning windmill went around. The performance went for 2 hours with numerous dance acts with different themes and music.
Paris was beautiful and I loved every day that I spent there. I definitely want to go back and explore more of France, in fact I just want to travel around all of Europe forever.