We were incredibly excited to be visiting one of the most romantic cities in the world and the capital of France – Paris. But, much to our surprise, it was the complete opposite. Immediately we could tell we had arrived in the “ghetto” part of Paris before we had even reached our hostel. However, when we did reach the hostel and were taken to our room, it confirmed our thoughts. It felt like déjà vu, Berlin all over again.
First things first, let’s get the horrors of the hostel out of the way. Online we had booked 2 beds in a 4-bed dorm room, when shown to our room we realized that we had been put into a room that was fit for 2, 3 people maximum. Surprisingly, there were 7 people staying in this tiny room. The bed bunks had 3 tiers and they were so old and rusty that the stairs were literally hanging on by a thread and about 3 screws. There wasn’t even enough space to sit up in the beds! Another disaster – the people in our dorm room were loud, rude and unhygienic, and also all male. Please bare in mind we had originally booked an all female dorm. I should also mention that one of the guests in our room told us that many of them stay a few nights each week. It was more like the English version of a hostel than a holiday hostel. As if all this wasn’t enough, the shock horror set in as I had another vision of déjà vu… BED BUGS, AGAIN!!! Only, this time they were completely visible, we were having to literally flick them off our beds. Absolutely atrocious conditions, I honestly do not know how the place is still running. Obviously, once we had discovered all of this we went straight to reception demanding a refund or to at least change rooms to what we had previously arranged. The manager refused to refund us due to their “cancellation policies” and we couldn’t change rooms because they were shockingly “fully booked”. Taking into account we were paying 90€ a night, we couldn’t spare over 200€ plus how ever much it would be for another hostel. If you’re wondering the hostel is called Friend’s hostel and if you click here you can see the dreadful comments.
Obviously we wanted to spend the least amount of time as possible in our hostel, so after dropping our bags off and having to padlock and chain them to the flimsy bed, we set off to the nearest landmark which just so happened to be the beautiful Montmartre. The building has beautiful architecture and is located in the most beautiful place, the views of the city were absolutely phenomenal and simply breathtaking. A memory from visiting this place was that we saw a group of boys sitting outside the Montmartre and noticed that they were smoking weed. Confidently we walked over asked if they spoke English, one or two of them said yes, and we proceeded with the conversation. We asked if they could get us any. 10 minutes later another french boy arrived, and asked for 15 euros, but the amount we got wasn’t worth that much. But who were we to argue, we’re in a foreign country for crying out loud. All though we were ripped off, it was worth it to take the edge off of the horror that we were currently living in.
After a few hours it was starting to get dark so we decided it was time to make our way back to our “hostel”. We were inside for about half an hour before we decided to roll up and smoke outside of our hostel, when we were approached by a guy who had asked for a lighter. With all our attention and focus on this guy who is making conversation with us, we didn’t realize he was actually with a second guy who was quietly standing behind us. I noticed Elle jolt and put her back up against the wall, but thought nothing of it. The second guy had got involved in the conversation, not long after Elle interrupted the guy talking and we went inside. As soon as we got upstairs, she took off the bag and showed me that the zipper was half open. Still, I was oblivious. She explained to me what had happened, and how the guy was trying to open the bag. This was probably the first time the rucksack didn’t have the padlock on, considering we were just standing outside the hostel, luckily there wasn’t anything of value in the front pocket.
Day 2 in Paris was pretty hectic, we explored and tried to see all the landmarks in the city. We had to get a local bus into the city center of Paris. The first landmark we went to see is the most iconic, you got it – the Eiffel Tower! We had planned to walk up it and see the views, but the queues were ridiculously long and we wanted to see the other landmarks, considering we only had this day left to explore. We tried to use a map to the best of our ability, but that isn’t really one of our strong points.
The next landmark we went to go and view is called Place de la Concorde, which was about a half an hour walk or so. It is one of many public squares in Paris, but this is the largest in the city. Plenty of people around, it was a very busy area. The photographs we took were amazing, even if I do say so myself.
After this, we got a bite to eat and headed over to love lock bridge. Much to our surprise the bridge was no longer filled with padlocks, but instead graffiti wooden panels. Thankfully there were still padlocks on the side of the bridge. We knew that there had been talk about taking down the padlocks because the weight was too extreme and the bridge would soon collapse, but we thought it would have happened after we had seen it. Nonetheless, it was beautiful to see and of course we put our own padlock on. Mind you, we didn’t get it customized nor did we write anything on it, but our lock is on the bridge. Of course we done the whole ritual of each throwing a key into the river, it wouldn’t have been right not to!
After feeling the romance, we thought it was time to go and see the famous Notre Dame. We queued up for about half an hour before we were able to go inside, it was absolutely beautiful, but completely overcrowded. But I suppose that’s what you’ve got to expect in the world’s most popular cities. After a short walk around inside, we were confused as to how you get upstairs as we knew you could scale the building. Then we realized that there was another queue outside that we had to join, another 30/40 minutes had passed before we were at the front of the queue. Because we’re students the entrance was free. 387 steps later we were at the top of Notre Dame and the views were phenomenal.
After exploring the city’s landmarks for the most part of the day we decided it was time to make our way home, as we didn’t really want to be in the neighborhood of our hostel at night time. Despite the atrocity of our hostel, we did have a great time in Paris, and we certainly do wish to return in the future. But we will make sure our accommodation is of a much higher standard!!