Le jour l'un. 08/02/2010.
After spending the weekend at home with my boyfriend I travelled back to Nottingham to catch the coach to Folkestone to get on the Eurotunnel to Calais. Phew and thats only the beginning of the journey! After some last minute packing and double checking and then triple checking that I hadn't forgotten any of the travel basics (i.e. i-pod, magazines, pillow, scarf and all chargers), the excited girls at number 61 booked a taxi to take us to uni for 12.15am to catch our coach. After ringing round almost every taxi firm in Notts we eventually found a cab big enough to fit five fashion girls and their suitcases. We arrived at uni at 12.10 expecting to jump straight on the coach and begin our journey but were waiting in the rain till 1am, so not a great start.
What was even more of a dampner was that after 3o minutes of travelling down the M1 the coach over heated and we were told we'd have to wait an hour for a replacement and would therefore miss our eurotunnel slot. Lots of tired girls, a broken down coach in the rain and then motorway police does not make for a good start to a happy holiday. ARGH. Thankfully the driver had some clue what he was doing, sorted the coach and set off again, second time lucky!
After four stops throughout the night at various service stations, the coach was quiet and we were well on our way to Hotel Balladins. Little did we know what was in store for us when we arrived!
After a lovely refreshing shower, change of clothes and a drink we left the glorious hotel in Bobigny in search of the metro and some substantial food. Originally we set off in a group of about 12 which gradually dwindled to just seven by the time we hit the centre of Paris. We explored the area of Montmartre and came across the beautiful Sacre Coeur. We stopped at a little Cafe at the bottom of the steps for some soup to warm our chilled bones a tad before going off down the narrow little streets in search of Parisian delights. Crepes, Pizza and a visit to Colette finished off the day nicely and we certainly slept well that night.
Le jour deux. 09/02/2010.
The alarm jolted us awake at 6.30am and my body was still programmed to English time so technically thats only 5.30am eeeurgh. The shower and bland breakfast didn't succeed in waking me from my trance either. We got on the coach and set off for Versailles and the Château de Versailles, we got not very far, not very quickly which so immensely frustrating. For some reason I never imagined there to be traffic in Paris, and as traffic is verrrrrrry boring we took the opportunity to catch fourty winks.
We eventually arrived at the Palace, after multiple wrong turns and detours, but at least we got to see the amazing architecture in Versaille.
The Palace was absolutely astounding, with huge golden gates yet barely any furniture (we later found out that space showed wealth apparently). I'll let my photo's tell the rest of the story, seeing as I took so many!
Oh and it snowed!!
In the evening we got the metro to Notre Dame and got a little overexcited, then got the metro again to De La Ville Cafe to meet everyon else. Except we missed the stop because me and Nikki got distracted by a guy wearing a pair of silver Jeremy Scott wing trainers and because we just HAD to take a photo covertly for our Topman project without it blurring, and well.......haha!
At the cafe I had the poshest ever 'Brighton' fish and chips, everyones meals looked very tasty indeed. Good food, good drink, good company, good music and the shabby chic interior made for a lovely relaxed eveing.
Le jour trois. 10/02/2010.
A drill woke us. At stupid o'clock. We were not happy. Moods were made worse by the insistent beigness of our 'full continental breakfast'. Bread with croissants with more bread. Oh and some strawberry jam if you were lucky. We left at 10am for the Yves Saint Laurent Foundation and when we came out of the metro station we entered into a big hick snow storm, which enabled me to get some picturesque phtography done. Finding our way through the thick whiteness was abit of a challenge so we asked a beautiful French man and he walked us straight to the YSL door, how perfect. The Foundation wasn't what I'd expected at all, the exhibition was from YSL's private collection that he drew inspiration and were exquisite garments but I was expecting to see his own work. I bought a few postcards with famous YSL images on and a gold YSL brooch which now adorns my black leather jacket collar. We also had a lovely in depth chat with the guy running the shop, he volunteers, all staff volunteer at the foundation and he had the pleasure of meeting Yves several times before his death 2 years ago. He said he was always a lovely, friendly man, I think you can tell that though just from his portrait.
After YSL we went to a little magazine stall and bought a bunch of French Fashion mags, as you must, then went to a sweet little food market at L'ena, where we had to buy another crepe.
Baccarat Museum was the next on our list of things to do. I was literally gobsmacked by all the glass, mirrors, chandeliars and.......the toilets!
Next stop was Champs Elysees for a spot of shopping. Louis Vuitton, Zara, L'aduree, Citroen flagship, Arc de Triomphe and a little cafe all had a little visit from us. I loved the layered platform interior of Louis Vuitton but hated the attitude of some of the staff even though we bought things!
We got back on the metro and returned to Colette for a better look around which was also a better overall experience. There is such a variety of products for sale I was off in my own little world, ipods, watches, sunglasses, jewellery, books, magazines, notebooks, novelty gifts, wall stickers, albums, toiletries, cosmetics, clothing, knitted books.......you name it, Colette would probably have it stashed somewhere. I bought a Paul Smith graph book and novelty Le Whiff chocolate shots for the boyfriend.
We walked around the corner to Angelica's for the world renowned hot chocolate experience, which wasn't as great as I'd hoped for the expense, but most of the other girls loved it, maybe I'm just not as big a chocolate fiend as them.
We braved the snow to head to the Louvre to pay an old friend Lisa a visit. She was very busy so we didnt stay long. The ceiling artwork was amazing.
Le jour quatre. 11/02/2010.
After complaining about the sorry state of breakfast the previous few days the hotel coughed up some ham, cheese, yoghurt and cornflakes. But still no fruit. Eurgh. So we went in the public guests breakfast room and helped ourselves, we're paying the same rates after all and I really could not stomach any more beige food!
We took the tube to the Pompadou Centre, which was impossible to miss as it looked like a giant space centre on a street full of otherwise 'traditional' looking buildings. I preferred the look of the back of the building to the front, the elevators looked like shuttles that would catapult you to space! The shop in the Pompadou was really interesting, as the queue to get tickets was so long, we took it in turns to stand there while the others browsed the shop's weird and wonderful contents. We also managed to get free admission being students in the EU, RESULT!
The art in the centre was very modern and some quite strange, but interesting all the same.
We then took a detour down the cobbled backstreets and came across vintage store P-Star among lots of cute little vintage boutiques. P-Star was like one big jumble sale where you had to rummage amongst everything to find the best vintage gems at a bargain price. I came out with a HUGE smile on my face after finding a ginger fur coat for 30 euros, a vintage Valentino satchell for 20 euros and 2 silk scarves at 1 euro each! Definitely wouldn't find that back home.
Next stop was Galleries Lafayette, which we entered straight into the footwear department, mmmmm my kind of heaven, I could have stayed on that floor for hours just stroking all the beautiful Chanel clogs and Miu Miu stilettos. This was the day that Kate Moss' collection for Longchamp launched, so I decided I would commemorate my trip with a khaki longchamp bag.
All the Longchamp staff were wearing zebra print scarves for the occasion and I very much appreciated being called Mademoiselle.
All that shopping was taking its toll on my hunger pangs, which was quickly silenced by a Daim McFlurry from good old Maccy D's on the fourth floor.
And then...the ceiling. WOW. If you ever go to Lafayette don't forget to look up, you will be amazed.
Le jour cinq. 12/02/2010.
It was another early start today for the whole purpose of this trip, Premier Vision. I had really high expectation but once we got there I found it slightly reminscent of Birmingham NEC and still can't believe how many fabrics were under one roof. I appreciated being taken to a show like this but think at this particular point in our degree it wasn't a huge benfit to us but the textile design students definitely got the most out of it. After about an hour we had pretty much seen everything and ended up walking round and round in circles. Although it was really interesting to see all the beautiful fabrics and laces it was also slightly dampening to think we still had 5 more hours left here. I ended up collectiong so much paraphernalia that my shoulders were red raw from being so heavily laden. The sweets and buscuits that were scattered around were definitely a nice pick me up. The day was a good experience but much longer than it needed to be.
Back at the hotel we all decided to go for a big group meal at the cafe we went to on tuesday night (the one with the huge portions!) It was lovely to spend time with all the girls on my course as we don't really have time to that back at uni. We spen the rest of the evening drinking wine and reminiscing about dodgy 90's fashion, namely peddle pushers and trouser skirts!Le jour six. 13/02/2010.
Coach journey back to snowy England. Slept.