What we did in Paris

Paris eiffel towerParis is of course best known as the location for the 1979 Douglas Adams-penned, Tom Baker-starring Doctor Who episode City of Death.

The episode starts with the Fourth Doctor plus companion Romana admiring the view from the top of the Eiffel Tower, so here are the teenager and I recreating the event, as is the modern way, with a selfie.Paris top of the eiffel tower


It really was very pleasant at the top of the Eiffel Tower, even if like me you don’t really like heights. If you’re going, I recommend booking tickets as far as possible in advance. I tried a month before we set off and they were already all booked up. In the end we opted for a late night visit to minimise the queueing – it’s open until midnight in the summer.

We also all enjoyed visiting the bookshop Shakespeare and Company. You might have seen this legendary bookshop in Richard Linklater’s Before Sunset or Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris. You’ll find it on a cobbled street just opposite Notre Dame Cathedral.

It’s where William Burroughs researched Naked Lunch and where countless writers and poets have come to drool. It’s tiny, so you might have to queue, but once you get inside you can understand the drooling.paris shakespeare and company

Then we took a day out to the Palace of Versailles, which was the setting for David Tennant’s Doctor Who in The Girl in the Fireplace. Though that episode wasn’t actually filmed in Versailles – as ever, Cardiff was the stand-in.

Cardiff doesn’t actually look like this:versailles



Though we got there early, Versailles was heaving with crowds, to the point where getting through the rooms was a bit of a chore. If you’ve got claustrophobia don’t even bother – stick to the famous gardens instead, which are free. You can ride a miniature train around the grounds, take a boat ride or just walk. versailles gardens




We also had a few days in Disneyland Paris (which of course isn’t in Paris itself but around 20 miles outside the city). I was a bit apprehensive about this because it’s peak season, but it turns out that you can still beat the queues by sticking to late nights and early mornings.

And if you are prepared to be separated from the kids then the single rider queue is a good way to get into popular rides quickly. We opted for this to try the newish Ratatouille ride because it was one of those ones where the queue never seems to go down. I enjoyed it, but I was glad I hadn’t waited an hour for it.disneyland paris

In complete contrast, Pere Lachaise cemetery is where the good and great come to be buried, and where tourists in black t shirts come for an alternative Parisian day out. Not so many queues here.

And I will devote a separate post to my visit to legendary house of skincare City Pharma because …well..it was quite the experience.

Until then, adieu!