We only had a measly 24 hours in Reykjavik! When we were booking our tickets, the travel agent told us that we would be changing planes in Reykjavik during our flight from New York to Paris and so we decided to stay! We actually asked for 2 nights but only ended up with one… I can’t remember why that was so, I think it had something to do with the flight times.
Anyway, it was a exhausting but exhilarating 24 hours. We left New York at 9pm on Thursday night and landed in Reykjavik 5.5 hours later at 6am local time. We tried to sleep the entire plane ride since that was basically our nighttime and it was the first time I’d wished our plane ride was a little longer. We were anxious to get into town as quickly as possible as we had booked a bus tour for the day and in our haste, we decided to just get a taxi from the airport.
Before leaving the airport, I got out some cash which I *thought* should last us for our time there. I worked out that 20,000 Kronas was the equivalent to about NZ$200 so thought it would be more than enough… a warning to anyone travelling to Reykjavik, the taxi’s from the airport are the most expensive I have ever encountered! I’d heard that Iceland is expensive, but the taxi ended up costing us 16,000 Kronas/NZ$150! It can’t have been more than a 30-45 minute ride… Anyway, a lesson learnt and you can bet that we researched and bought tickets for the shuttle bus for the trip back to the airport the following day!
Once we got to the town centre and recovered from the shock of the cost of the taxi, we made our way inside the backpackers. It was located really centrally which was perfect but still had 30mins to wait before reception opened. It was too early to check in properly so we just left our bags with them for the day and then went and found coffee/breakfast and got on the tour bus.
The first part of the tour took us around some parts of the town and to the neighbouring towns. Not going to lie, I couldn’t remember/pronounce the names of things at the time, so there’s no way I remember them now! Plus I was a little zombie-fied from lack of sleep, so I’ll let the pretty pictures do the talking.
After 2.5 hours, the bus took us back to the city centre where we had a hour to go get lunch before the afternoon tour. We found a coffee shop nearby the bus station that was warm, had good food and free wifi and sat there until it was time to get back on the bus. Oh and Matt had to get a ‘world famous Reykjavik hot dog’!
The afternoon tour took us outside of Reykjavik and lasted 6 hours. I basically slept in between each stop despite there being the most amazing views… but we were both so knackered we couldn’t help but fall asleep… there’s something about a moving vehicle that just rocks you to sleep!
One of the stand outs of the tour was GullFoss Waterfalls. It was a truly magnificent view! We had a hour there before the bus left for the next stop and there was a nice warm cafe where I had the best slice of pecan pie ever.
Our last stop of the day was the Geysers! Is it weird that I love the sulphur smell that these geo-thermal areas give off? It reminds me of fun family holidays and high school geography trips to Rotorua. It was a pretty impressive geyser and fun watch it bubble away and try to guess when it would go off. One family was standing on the wrong side of it though and got completely soaked!
From there, it was just over an hour to get back to Reykjavik and the weather started to clear. It had been pretty grey and dreary all day with a few light showers but as we drove back, the sun started to shine and by the time we got back to the city, it was a gorgeous evening!
We checked in officially and took our stuff up to our room and decided to go and find something quick to eat. Part of me wanted to find a nice restaurant, eat some Icelandic cuisine and go check out the nightlife but we were shattered and had to be up at 4am again the next morning for our flight out. So we found this adorable place that had a 50s diner feel to it and got burgers and fries- Now I’m not really a burger person and will rarely order one but this burger was one of the best I’ve ever had! Seriously delicious!
That night was a bit of a terrible sleep, the nightlife in Reykjavik is booming and loud, plus we were staying in a backpackers so there were a few noisy guests. It took me a long time to get to sleep but thank goodness for wax ear plugs (not those stupid foam ones, they don’t do anything) and ultimate sound cancellation!
We landed in Paris at 1pm after a 3.5 hour flight from Reykjavik. We caught the RER train into a station that seemed pretty close to wear we were staying and then caught a taxi from there.
We found our apartment (booked though AirBnb) and were over the moon with the area. It was in the 4th district which is just a few blocks from the Seine and then a very short walk over to Notre Dame. So after we had dumped our bags, we walked over and sat in the square in front of Notre Dame eating pastries… yum!
That night we had a quiet one and caught up with some much needed rest, sleeping a huge 14 hours strait!
We caught the metro over to Montmartre/Sacre Coeur. I have to say, the Paris train system has to be the best and easiest I’ve ever used! We starting the climb up the hill, taking in the sights and admiring the beautiful view. The area was swarming with people siting on the steps and on the grass!
There’s one thing about Paris that I remember from last time I was there, was to never engage with the men trying to sell you something. Never stop because once they’ve stopped you, it can be so hard to get away. I had explained this to Matt but unfortunately there was a group of 10 of them at the top of the stairs so there was no way to avoid them. I walked straight through saying ‘No’ (one even grabbed my arm which made me really pissed off!) but Matt got caught. I waited a few minutes to see if he’d get himself out (by this time there were 3 or 4 men surrounding him, trying to do something with a bracelet) but eventually I went over and literally have to drag him out as the men were trying to stop us from leaving. I even had to yell at them not to touch me! It made me so mad! Anyway, I wanted to mention this to anyone who is planning a trip to Paris as it can be a little distressing. Just try your hardest not to get trapped, you might feel rude but it’s better that way. Also do NOT believe them if they are saying something is free- they will charge you for it after!
So anyway, after having to calm down a bit from that, we went inside Sacre Coeur and my goodness was it beautiful! One of the things I was looking forward to the about this trip and Paris was getting to see Matt’s reaction to the architecture as he loves history. New Zealand is a very new country with very new buildings in comparison to those in Europe and this was his first time on this side of the world. Sacre Coeur was the first taste of this magnificence and the painting on the roof was beautiful. Whenever I’ve travelled to Europe, one of my favourite things is to look inside old churches- they never disappoint!
Next to the church there was a line up of market stalls selling cheese, meat, candy and food stalls. We sat on the front steps of Sacre Coeur eating a very cheesy sandwich and looking out over all of Paris!
From there, we wandered back down the hill and spent a hour or so weaving through the streets. I wanted to get out of the ‘tourist’ area and see Montmartre for it’s true self so we just walked around and looked at the shops.
A quick and easy train ride and we were at the Arc De Triomphe! You can actually walk all the way up to the top which I did last time I was in Paris with my mum but having just climbed the hills of Montmartre, we decided to give it a pass. The Arc De Triomphe is situated at the start of the very famous Parisian street the Champs Elysee, so that’s where we walked down next! I spent a good 30 mins inside Sephora and of course had to go into the Disney shop but apart from that, most of the shops were well out of our price range.
We continued walking all the way past the Place de la Concorde, through the gardens until we got to the Louvre. But not without a quick break to eat a Nutella and Banana Crepe… soooooo good!
It was too late in the day for us to go inside the Louvre so we continued the walk home which was about another 30 mins or so. By the end of the day my feet and knees were KILLING ME!
That night we had dinner at a restaurant in our neighbourhood which was absolutely delicious. Escargot and Caprese Salad to start and then I had Duck and Matt had Lamb Shank, followed by a icecream from another local place.
We knew that the Louvre was closed on Tuesdays so we made it our first stop on Monday to make sure we didn’t miss out. We did as most tourists must do and made a bee-line for the Mona Lisa which whilst is great to see… it’s is a little underwhelming compared to some of the other works of art in the museum!
We walked around that wing looking around the other Italian art, then moved onto the French area, The Louvre is huge and you’d need days to see everything but we had other things we wanted to see that day so had to be selective. Looking at the map, I saw that on the opposite side of the museum was Napolean III Apartments… I never knew that they were there so made sure we visited before we left.
My goodness it was incredible. No cost had been spared in the furnishings of these apartments, they were absolutely beautiful! I must have walked around with my mouth hanging open the entire time, it was just so SO beautiful! I was so glad we got to see it!
After the Louvre, we crossed the Seine and started walking towards the Eiffel Tower. Instead of walking along the river, we walked through the little side streets, stopping for lunch at a cute little cafe. Once again, a wonderfully delicious meal, the food in France is seriously outstanding!
It was wonderful to see the Eiffel Tower again, and this time walk through the park behind it which I don’t think my mum and I did last time.
Once we got back to our area, I had a look inside a vintage shop on our street which I’d been admiring through the window but it hadn’t been open when we walked past previously. I bought a few pieces of vintage jewellery and the selection was wonderful! I couldn’t see a name on the shop front but for anyone who wants to visit, it was on Rue de Sicile.
Our last day in Paris… I didn’t want to leave! We decided to go find somewhere for breakfast instead of just eating a croissant on the go like we had the other days. So we walked over to Notre Dame and sat outside a cafe right next to it eating Crepes and drinking coffee! After breakfast, we walked around the inside of Notre Dame. It is quite surreal to be inside a building that has been there for nearly a 1000 years!
Just outside Notre Dame on the other side of the river was a Batobus stop and we thought it would be fun to see Paris from the river. So we jumped on that and got off at Pont Alexandre III which is the most beautiful bridge in all of Paris, probably the world!
We then caught the train to Bastille to experience another area of Paris and found a bakery (so much cheaper than the area we were staying!) and sat and ate lunch at Place de Vosages which was a park surrounded by old houses. Matt said it was the best sandwich he’s ever had and the chocolate eclair I had was amazing… can you tell we love food yet?
After lunch, we took a walk to Born Bad Retro which a number of girls had recommended on Instagram. There were lots of other interesting shops and I think it was a more ‘alternative area’ so we enjoyed looking around although neither of us bought much.
Later that evening, we headed out to find dinner, our last meal in Paris! As we were walking around, I spied these gorgeous pink shoes in a shop window and had to have them! I actually think they are tango shoes as they have leather soles but they are so fabulous! I would have bought the bright emerald green colour too if they had my size!
We settled on a restaurant for dinner which unfortunately was a bit of a let down compared to the other meals we’ve had but hey, c’est la vie! That night, we packed our bags in preparation for leaving early the next morning and I washed and put my hair in sponge rollers since the next afternoon was my shoot at Frankii & Gerrys in Newcastle!
Paris was a amazing city and we completely fell in love. I wish we had more time there but we will just have to make sure we visit again!
In the next travel blog, I’ll be covering Newcastle and London!
x Miss Victory Violet
Categories: Miss VV Around The World