Friends reunited in London and Paris

OK, prepare for the onslaught. This is the first post of a few which will constitute my attempt to cover the last month of my travels.

After much anticipation from both ends, Natalie arrived in London. It was very exciting to see such a good friend after almost six months. But equally exciting was to host her in my halls, to introduce her to my friends, and of course to show her around my favourite parts of London.

Friends reunited

I will spare you the details of our day-to-day activities, because most of them would be documented in the earliest posts of this blog, when I was a tourist in London myself. We covered all the obligatory sightseeing, and filled the rest of our time with shopping and socialising. Highlights included a ride on the London Eye, watching the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, and seeing ‘Legally Blonde’ the musical (I realise I may have just lost all credibility).

We had a really good spot for the changing of the guards

Our five days in London sped by, and after I’d packed up my room in Hampstead (which was no small feat) it was time to board the Eurostar to Paris. I guess I would have preferred to spend my time somewhere that I hadn’t been before, but it was more than understandable that Paris was at the top of Nat’s list.

Of course, we had a fantastic time. I think in Paris, it’s virtually impossible not to. Once again, I won’t bore you with a recount of every single thing we did. But I will tell you about the things we did that I hadn’t done before.

First of all, we went to Musee D’Orsay, a fantastic display of famous French artworks housed in an old train station. My personal highlight was the Pompidou Centre, a modern art museum. The outside of the building looks like a funky machine, while the inside is filled with some of the coolest modern art I’ve ever seen. Here are some of my favourite pieces:

One afternoon, we went to the world’s most visited graveyard, Cimetiere du Pere Lachaise. Among the thousands buried in the enormous cemetery are Frederic Chopin, Oscar Wilde and Jim Morrison. What struck me, though, was the aesthetic value of the place. Every grave was something special.

An idea of what the individual graves look like

A friend I lived with in London comes from Paris. She was already back home when we were there, so we met her one day and she was happy to show us her area. She’s lucky enough to live near Sacre-Coeur, so we got an insider’s look around Montmartre. It’s one of the coolest areas in Paris, and my personal favourite. It was great to have our own personal tour guide, and fun to catch up with Camille. I have no doubt that we saw many things we wouldn’t have seen if we had been on our own.

Although not so well located, the hostel we stayed in was great. With a bar attached, we were able to meet lots of other young travellers.

The Parisian lifestyle certainly got under our skins. We climbed to the top of the Eiffel Tower, walked down the Champs-Elysses, and ate many a baguette. Perhaps it was my third time there, but I can tell you, I didn’t love it any less.

View of the river Seine from the Eiffel Tower.

Our next stop was Barcelona. So stay tuned for some Spanish adventures.