I was so excited to have the oppotunity to spend New Years Eve in Paris. I’ve never been a huge New Years Eve fan – maybe because I’m an introvert and prefer a quiet night in to a busy night out with tons of people. But the thought of counting to midnight with my loved one while watching the fireworks go over over the Eiffel tower sounded magical.
Except it was all in my imagination.
There are no fireworks over the Eiffel tower on New Years. You would think that there would be – but apparently after looking it up I learned that there are only fireworks over the Eiffel tower on Bastille Day. So there went my magical NYE at the Eiffel tower.
So I hit the internet to learn that the celebration on NYE is actually held on the Champs Elysees. They close the street to cars, the the Christmas market food stalls are still up, and the Arc de Triomphe does a count down and then there is a laser show on the front of it. Still no fireworks, but definitly a celebration. Before we leave for Paris, I am excited to go.
Then the day of, I don’t want to go. See previous point about being an introvert. I’d rather go somewhere quiet.
But I talk myself into it. Sitting in our hotel room at 8:00 PM, I convince myself that we are here! In Paris! on NEW YEARS EVE!! I have to do this.
So we leave the hotel room to embrace the free transit (smart – got to get people around safely!) and head to the Champs Elysees.
Problem #1. The stops are closed. In preparation for the mass craziness that comes with NYE, the metro system closed all the stops adjacent to the Champs. This means that to access it you had to go to a neighbouring stop, and then walk in. The nearest stops were about 25-30 minutes walking away from the street. We didn’t learn this until we were locked on a metro car that wouldn’t let us off stop after stop. My claustrophobia starts to set in.
First stop we can get off, we do. Trocadero. That’s okay. We’re at the Eiffel tower. We begin planning out walk – but then start to think about it. It’s freezing out. We would need to walk 30 minutes to a jam packed street, where we would then have to stand in the cold for 2.5 hours, and following midnight walk 30 minutes back to our station where we would have to wait to get on the metro, to commute 25 minute back to the hotel. This did not sound like fun.
So we decided we would find a seat across from the Eiffel tower and enjoy the quiet. Nothing happens here on NYE, right?
Problem #2. So apparently, there are about 30,000 (or 40, or 50 – I didn’t have time to count) to did NOT read the internet. So at 9:30 the steps, mark, streets were shoulder to shoulder tourists, jostling for position for a view of the tower. The tower sparkles every hour, one the hour. The 11 PM sparkle is the same as the midnight sparkle. But I can’t judge them too harshly. Had I not done the research, I would have been in their boat as well. So this wasn’t going to work.
Abandon plan. Time to go home.
There is no way to get home. I can barely move through the crowds. And the Trocadero station was barely moveable. Out best option was to walk 20 minutes, across the river, to try and get to a less crowded station and take the long way around. The main bridge was unlovable, and the surroundings to the Eiffel tower were packed, so we walked the long way around, to the next bridge down the way, so we could cross – where we caught the twinkling lights of the 10 PM show. We stopped to take them in for a few minutes, and pretended it was midnight. Our walk took much longer than planned, and at 10:30 we were finally next to the metro station we needed, and relieved that an end was in site. We were 2 hours in to our NYE adventure, and so far it was just dodging crowds. Oh – hold on – what happened to dinner?
Failure in planning was not our friend this night. But we were in luck – a crepe stand was still open. NYE dinner of champions. So we grabbed a couple to go, and ate them while waiting for a train at Bir-Hakeim. Paris. City of Love.
A train, then a switch, then a train, then a short walk and 40 minutes later we were finally back in our neighbourhood. The corner store was still open, where we stood in line with the rest of the desperate unplanned for some juice, a tequila beer, and a prepackaged chocolate mousse. You’re salivating, right? Me neither.
And so there we were, curled up in our PJs in front of the hotel room TV as we counted down the last 5 minutes until midnight, watching the Arc de Triomphe in it’s many colours on our adequate hotel room TV. Asleep by 12:05. Living the good life.
So there you have it. New Years Eve in Paris. Not everything we hoped it would be, but definitly a memory to last a life time. Sometimes the best memories are not the things you did, but the things you didn’t – and I think this day turned out exactly as it should have.