Tuesday 13th February 2024

Bonjour et bienvenue à mon journal parisien.

Comme d’habitude, j’écris un journal pendant mes voyages, donc voici, c’est ici.

And now, for English.

I didn’t get a chance to write yesterday because we were travelling and I’d been so busy getting ready that I didn’t have any energy left. We hadn’t slept much the night before and then I had a client call and all of my cleaning to do. We were cutting things pretty fine because the Eurostar train had been brought forward, and so Shay nearly had a combination of an asthma attack and a panic attack on the way to the station.

Neither of us had eaten, and so we stopped off at Greggs in Marylebone before taking the tube to St. Pancras via Baker Street. Despite the initial rush, we were there with about an hour to spare and so we had time to grab a hot drink, with Shay paying £3 for a bottle of Sprite. I nipped into Pret a Manger, where I grabbed a VLT sandwich and a Vietnamese mushroom baguette. Hey, I was hungry. If I’d had more cash on me, I would’ve also picked up the vegan berry croissant.

The Eurostar journey was pleasant enough, mostly because we both fell asleep, although I read a little bit of my book. It was dark outside and Paris isn’t the best at night, but then neither is London. We walked to the hotel to get a feel for the city, which mostly seemed to be populated by homeless people and scaffolding.

We were tired and stressed by the time we checked into the hotel and it was also getting late, but we were hungry and so we found time to nip to God Bless Broccoli, a pizza joint that had a couple of vegan options. I thought it was delicious, but Shay wasn’t a fan. That meant I got to eat her le3ftovers. We could have dined in, but it wasn’t long until it closed and so we took it back to the hotel, stopping off at a shop for crisps and drinks to see us through the night.

We didn’t sleep particularly well and so getting up in the morning was a struggle, but we managed it. I hit the shower (grateful to have access to one given that my boiler doesn’t work at home), while Shay did her makeup to make sure that she looked satisfactorily chic and emo.

Our first stop was the Eiffel Tower, which took us maybe 40 minutes to get to via the underground. We had tickets to go all of the way to the top, which saved us some time in the queues. There was a notice to say that the summit was closed, but that turned out to not be the case. That meant I got to go to the top for the first time, and the views were so much better from up there that we barely even bothered to look out from the other floors. I finally go to see Gustave Eiffel’s office, too.

Shay got upset on the way down because we’d bought some memorial coins and she’d dropped hers and an Asian woman had taken it and then pretended not to speak English when Shay tried to talk to her. She later found the coin in her bag, so perhaps it’s a good job that there was no confrontation.

We were hungry and would’ve stopped for some food if we’d found anything vegan, but no dice. We got some cool stuff from the gift shops though, and we also walked down from the first floor just so we could say that we had.

At the bottom, I had to queue back up again to collect my Buzz Gym padlock, which I’d forgotten was in my bag and which had been confiscated on the way up. Like I told Shay, I’m weirdly attached to that thing. I recognise the dents in it and so can easily tell which locker is mine.

On the way to the Tower and as we went up, we spotted that there was an athletics track, so we tracked that down afterwards and I set a new personal best for the 5k. That’s not saying much though because of the perfect conditions. But it was fun to get a run in, and Shay took a great photo of me running against the backdrop of the Eiffel Tower.

From there, we went to get food at Naked Burger, but disaster struck because someone stole Shay’s purse while we were on the tube. We managed to cancel her card and get reimbursements for a few transactions that had been made on vending machines, but she liked that purse and it also had some money in it.

On the plus side, the food was good. We had the “chicken and bacon” burger and I had dirty fries with mine, and I also stole a few bites from Shay’s cheesecake. The actual venue was pretty cool too, and so if you’re looking for vegan food in the city of lights, be sure to check it out.

Next up, we went to the Catacombs! I don’t have too much to say about that because it was a repeat of what I did during my last visit on my 33rd birthday. You can read about that in my previous journal, if you’re so inclined.

What was different this time was that I bought 50 euros worth of stuff in the shop, although that pales next to the 150 euros that Shay spent. Which I had to lend her because of her missing purse.

Then it was time to head back to the hotel, stopping off at a boulangerie because I wanted some bread. It’s just a shame that I didn’t have anything to eat it with, although that didn’t stop me. I’d like to take some home, if I remember.

We’ve spent the evening chillin’ and sorting through stuff with NCIS on the TV in French. We’ve written our postcards and stuff and had a little tidy, so we’ll probably watch Spongebob and then sleep so we can get up early in the morning.

Shay wants to go back for a run and then we’re going to the Louvre and then Pere Lachaise.


Wednesday 14th February 2024

We didn’t sleep so well, and so we skipped the run and went straight to the Louvre. There was huge queue to get in (as always), but we’d pre-booked and so it only took us ten minutes. We were joking about how dumb it is to not pre-book, and Shay “accidentally” made eye contact with someone in the regular queue and called them a silly bitch.

It’s true what they say about the Louvre. It would definitely take a couple of days to see everything. We were there for three or four hours and made it through about half of one of the four wings, but that was enough for us to see the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo. Shay felt a huge affinity for the Venus, and it was cool to see the world’s most famous painting, even if that meant queuing up like cattle at an abattoir.

Which reminds me, it’s not a travel journal without a poem or two, and it seems fitting to write a follow-up to Panic Attacks at the Louvre from my last journal.


Panic Attacks at the Louvre Redux

It’s not my party

but I’ll cry if I want to,

eighteen months older

but none the wiser

and the people press together

like cattle in the abattoir,

an eternal Treblinka,

and the lady in front of me

is wiping sweat from her face with a handkerchief

which presses against me in the crowd

when people push me from behind

to photograph a painting.


That enigmatic smile,

those eyes that follow you around,

if those famous lips could speak

they’d smile for a selfie,

times have changed

since the Renaissance.



Aphrodite sings with missing limbs,

and my girlfriend is scared,

she can’t find me.


Someone coughs on my neck

as she controls her breathing,

but at least I’m not hungover

and a quarter century.



there’s a gift shop.


It was nice to wander around and cool to see those works of art in particular, but I enjoyed the few ancient Egyptian things we saw the most of all. We also spent an obscene amount of money in the gift shop and then we headed off to the food court in the nearby shopping centre.

That was an adventure in itself because Shay queued for a McDonald’s for 20 minutes behind the most indecisive people in the world, only to find out that there weren’t really any vegan options. We went to Thai Street Food instead, which sold exactly what it sounds like. I had the pad Thai while Shay went for a vegetable stir fry with added tofu. She didn’t think she’d like it but it turned out to be better than mine. It sucked to queue for another 20 minutes with a back that felt ready to give out on me, though.

From there, we took the metro to Pere Lechaise, but it was getting close to closing time and we were both tired, hungry and tetchy. We stopped by Jim Morrison’s grave so Shay could get a photo to send to her dad (Paul), and then it was back to the hotel for a nap. I had some super weird fever dreams.

It was pretty late when I woke up, but it was Valentine’s Day and we wanted to dress up and go out for dinner. Shay looked stunning in a black dress with split sides, and I looked pretty sharp myself in black jeans and a lumberjack shirt. We found a vegan place that goes under a variety of names, presumably for the purposes of search engine optimisation. Shay had the New York style sandwich, while I went for a spicy hot dog with sweet potato fries, which was delicious. I also had a peanut butter cookie and then we both had “cake” that was actually bread with some sort of vegan cream and either raspberries or blueberries inside. That was… interesting. But it wasn’t cake. Cool place, though.

After dinner, we took a slow walk back to the hotel, stopping off to collect vital supplies like fizzy drinks and rhubarb jam. We also went for a drink at Le Pachyderm (Pornstar Martini for Shay and overpriced diet coke for me). Then it was time for Spongebob Squarepants, heartfelt conversations and Plants vs. Zombies 3.


Thursday 15th February 2024

After another night without enough sleep, we got up at about eleven and packed up in time to be out for check-out at twelve. It was a tight squeeze, but we just about got everything into the case, thanks to Shay’s Tetris skills.

Given that we knew we’d have a heavy case with us all day, we didn’t have too much planned, and Shay was also feeling rough. However, she wanted to go on a bus tour and that seemed like something we could do without over-stretching ourselves, so we headed off via the metro and almost ended up in a horror movie. Shay asked me a question about Parkrun and I was so busy tracking down some info on my phone that I didn’t realise we’d reached the end of the line until Shay said, “Look, we’re the only ones on here.” Fortunately, the driver saw the funny side, and the tube looped back round again to drop us off at Chatelet.

We also had a little mooch through the street bookshops that line the Seine. They’re called the bouquinistas and are UNESCO listed, leading to people saying that the Seine is the only river in the world that runs between two bookshelves. I bought a half dozen books, including some Agatha Christie.

The bus tour was okay, but we’d been hoping for a live guide and instead it was all pre-recorded. Still, it was a good way to explore the city, even if the price was a little steep. We rode the full loop, then went back into the Carousel du Louvre to go back to the Thai place we’d visited for the same again.

We also had tickets for a Seine cruise, which departed from the Eiffel Tower. Given that we had free bus travel, we hopped back on that for a seemingly never-ending trip through the Paris traffic and arrived just in time for the 6:40 PM Seine cruise.

It was cool to see Paris from the river by night, because my last boat tour had been in the daytime. However, the previous tour had a live guide who was super entertaining and charismatic, while this one was another recording, and the recording kept cutting out. But Shay enjoyed the cruise and I got some good photos.

Oh, this particular cruise was by Bateaux Parisiens. I try to note the names whenever I can so that I remember to leave reviews on TripAdvisor.

The cruise lasted an hour, and so we disembarked at 7:40 with an hour and a half until our Eurostar train at 9:11. Google said we’d make it in half an hour, but Google didn’t reckon on there being huge queues at the ticket machines. We booked an Uber instead, but it still took forever to travel the three miles to the Gare du Nord.

We got there at 8:50, with 20 minutes to spare. Problem is, they close the gates half an hour before the departure for regular passengers and 15 minutes before for business class passengers. And we still had to get to the gate.

Fortunately, it seemed that we weren’t the only people who were running late, and the gate team was good enough to let us through. I think it also helped that there were no other trains scheduled and so there were no queues to deal with. We ran as fast as we could (despite the heavy case), rushed through check-in and made it to our seats by about 21:00.

That was a relief, because otherwise we would’ve had to book a hotel room and pay £250 each for another ticket. Just one of those tickets would have cost about the same as our original return tickets and three nights at a hotel.

I gave the Uber driver a five-euro tip.



200+ km/hr

train beneath channel

clock goes back

approaching LDN

would say more

but I gotta go

get thru customs

there’s a bed somewhere

w/ my name on it.


That pretty much brings us up to the end of our adventure, bar the journey across the city. Shay was feeling super rough and we were both dead tired, so we took an Uber back from Wycombe Station. She got straight into bed and I went straight back to work.

The end.