Much to my excitement, Paris was next on the map. I have always had (as I think everyone does) a romanticised idea of Paris in my head. From bicycles to baguettes and croissants to fine wines, Paris was always going to leave an impression.
We arrived at our aire which is located just outside the airport (location, location right?) and only cost five euro a night. Score! Even though the planes were a little noisy, they also zipped amazing pastel contrails across the setting sky in the late afternoons. Unfortunately, we didn’t realise that the aire had over 800 camper van parks on site AND there was a campervan show on that same weekend. To say it was busy was an understatement of epic proportions. Every serious campervanner or wannabe campervanner was there with kids, dogs, cats, trailers and smart cars in tow. Sassy was easily dwarfed and we felt like instant outsiders knowing our van’s worth versus the worth of these monstrous motorhomes and huge pop out loungeroom/bedroom buses. The monetary value was definitely no object for some of these people and it was pretty crazy to see just how far the home on wheels idea could be pushed. In the aire, there was no view, no facilities and it was a 10km+ ride to the centre of Paris through what can only be described as the ghetto suburbs but, we happily paid the cashier and spent a couple of days enjoying all that the city of love had to offer.
On our ride in and out of the city centre, we noticed that we passed whole neighbourhoods which were almost like little countries all of their own. There were distinguishable differences in the culture, decor, food and people as we progressed every couple of blocks. This was the first thing I did not really expect: the huge cultural diversity in Paris’ outer ‘burbs. The inner suburbs were very much what I expected to find and the French people that we engaged with unfortunately inclined towards living up to their snobby status, not that we minded at all, we were in Paris!
We meandered through the streets, picked through second hand clothes and food markets, marvelled at street performers, discovered trendy shops and drooled over delicious smelling restaurants all on day one.
The second day we purchased one of the hop on hop off bus tours to allow ourselves to get more acquainted with the history and architecture of the city, helping us efficiently tick off all of the main attractions before lunchtime.
Then we walked back to the Eiffel tower with locally made wine and cheese in hand to enjoy the view of the sunset before bicycling home to find Sassy amongst the motorhome maze once again.
Day three was spent back in the city, suburb hopping on the trains as we tried to secure cheaper tickets for one of the cabaret shows from the kiosk vendors unfortunately, we just missed out. We rescued Sassy from her maze of campervan terror that night and free camped outside one of the expensive campgrounds instead. It was quite fancy inside and we creeped in late at night for a cheeky shower, (after extensive baby wipe showers for three days) before heading off the next morning in search of the coastline and waves.