Who needs a Valentine for Paris when you have a pocket full of euros and a wingman

“City of Love?” Yeah right… The first thing we see after jumping off the Eurostar was a tramp scrounging through the bins looking for food…. decent!!

We step outside the Gard du Nord station and within seconds we’re both drenched. The weather reminds me of my ex missus’ face in the morning… Miserable and dull.

My first impression of Paris is far from Romantic.

With little shock, Lee’s hungry and needs feeding. Directly outside the station is a place called Hippopotamus – he’s a miserable bastard when he’s hungry.

Steak and chips at the Hippopotamus Grill outside Gare du Nord station
Steak and chips at the Hippopotamus Grill outside Gare du Nord station

The metro system in Paris is similar to London Underground – only the tickets are much cheaper. €8 give us access to all the zones for 24-hours, making it our preferred choice of travel.

Within 20-minutes we’d arrived at the Design Hotel Secret de Paris.

It’s a hotel built for couples, with rose petals scattered across the lobby entrance and candles lit in the main reception – it’s the type of place you’d WANT to bring a Valentine.

Design Hotel Secret de Paris
Design Hotel Secret de Paris

The receptionist (who carried an incredibly sexy accent) was helpful and swapped our room so we had twin beds – I think Lee was secretly disappointed.

After a quick shower we were out exploring, well… Until he found some weird barber shop and decided to get a haircut. Seriously who does this?

Planete Rasoir babers and beard shop in Paris
Planete Rasoir babers and beard shop in Paris

We toured Pigalle, a street which specialises in sex shops and is home to the world famous, Moulin Rouge – making the most of happy hour until Lee was hungry (again).

Pigalle, home of Moulin Rouge and a load of sex shops
Pigalle, home of Moulin Rouge and a load of sex shops

After a small pizza and a trip to the pharmacy for some toothpaste and cough medicine ( bloody man flu ), we head back, had a shower and got ready.

First stop of course, and probably the best place to party in Paris is Bastille.

As we get off the metro, we bump into a couple of cute Parisian’s, Laëti and Faten, who direct us to a street stacked with student bars, Rue De Lappe.

We tried convincing the French girls to join us, but failed.

Rue de Lappe Bastille
Bastille (Rue de Lappe) is a student hotspot

The first bar was very loud and making conversation with non-English speakers wasn’t easy.

After an hour of cheap drinks, we decided to leave and attack some of the other student bars until eventually finding the end of the strip.

We departed Rue De Lappe and head for Time Out recommendation, Le Reservoir.

Timeout recommended the Reservoir, in Bastille as one of the best night spots
Timeout recommended the Reservoir, in Bastille as one of the best night spots

The lively venue had a band playing, which was pretty cool but it was more of a dinner scene than party, so we decided to move on.

The next place that caught our eye and for no particular reason was an Australian bar called Bootlegger.

We were just about to leave when somebody touched me on the shoulder and convinced me to stay.

It was Laëti, one of the French girls who give us directions.

We ended up spending the rest of the night with the maths and medicine students, who introduced us to their friends who were celebrating a birthday.

The Bootleg Bar, Bastille Paris
The Bootleg Bar, Bastille Paris

After some interesting debates, some poor dancing and translation issues – we decide to leave and continue our French lessons while trying to find greedy bullocks somewhere to eat.

We gave up searching for food after 45-minutes as it was now approx 3.30am. So after learning the word goodnight (se soir) we left the girls.

On the way back to the hotel, and not so far from the Notre Dame we heard three Danish girls singing, dreadfully.

Notre Dame in Paris
Notre Dame, Paris

We approached the blondes, and asked whether they know of anywhere that sold food.

They said to follow them to Le Marais where we’d find food at their uncles bar/ restaurant.

Fuck it, why not! It’s 4am, my beer coat is still thick and we need food otherwise will no doubt suffer in the morning.

Lee on a merry go round
Lee on a midnight merry-go-round

Randomly along the way, one of the crazy Scandinavian’s jumps over a fenced-off merry go round. We followed.

Needless to say, we couldn’t get it working so ditched the pretend horses for the streets until eventually finding the place they were looking for.

Within seconds of stepping into the bar/ restaurant (or whatever it was) we decided it wasn’t for us.

We wanted to eat, not get eaten!

Gay magazine in streets of Paris, Marais
Found this just outside the bar we entered in Le Marais

As we queued up at a kebab van just down the road, a legless black guy, in a wheel chair started abusing us.

Lee, who’s French is almost as bad as mine, tried putting to practice what he’d learned at Bootlegger.

God knows what he said – but the disabled fella – who looked like a homeless Samuel L Jackson – was fuming and was eventually moved on by police after getting out a gun-shaped lighter.

We grabbed the first taxi in sight, and made our way back to the hotel.

Design Hotel Secret de Paris
Design Hotel Secret de Paris (we had two of these)

The next morning, I was woken up to a text from Laëti, from last night who was just letting us know that they were running 15 minutes late!

WTF!!! I’d totally forgot the girls had promised us a Valentine’s Day tour of the city and we had just 30 minutes to get showered, dressed and to the station.

We somehow made it in time, and our first stop was a delicious crepe place in St Michel called Chez Suzette.

Chez Suzette in St Michel
Chez Suzette in St Michel

After scoffing two reasonably sized pancakes each (I had kinder chocolate and a classic lemon and sugar) we were ready to climb the stairs that lead up to Sacré-Cœur.

Sacré-Cœur - One of Paris' main tourist attractions
Sacré-Cœur – One of Paris’ main tourist attractions

We then tried checking on Quasimodo at the Notre Dame, but he wasn’t around so we moved on to the world famous Eiffel Tower where we witnessed some guy get on one knee and propose to his missus (she said yes, but she looked miserable as fuck! Feel sorry for the fella!).

Time’s running out now, and I need a beer. We settle for some cosy bar and make the most of the reasonably priced drinks while discussing the girls awful taste in music, films and well… simply getting to know them.

Its the first time i’ve spent Valentines with a complete stranger, but it had been pretty good fun.

Sun come out during visit to the Eiffel Tower
Sun come out during visit to the Eiffel Tower

There’s something about the French accent and broken English that’s insanely cute – or as I’d learned, “mignon”…

I’d say the day could not have got any better until Laëti promised us the tastiest burger in Paris!

And fuck it was, decent!

Burger and chips at Le Trente Huit
Burger and chips at Le Trente Huit

For the second time in two days, we have to say goodbye to our new mates and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little gutted. There’s something about that accent!

As we arrive back to the hotel, shattered from a days worth of walking we decide to get some rest before a before heading out for a bromantic Valentine’s meal at the Trocadero, which over looks the Eiffel Tower!

Lee Walpole and Shane Ross in Paris on Valentine's Day with Eiffel Tower at night
How Bromanctic: Lee Walpole and Shane Ross in Paris on Valentine’s Day

We were alone this time, and couldn’t look more gay if we tried!

We left just after the 10pm light show, and like the 5 billion bulbs that twinkle every hour but only for a few minutes, my excitement slowly started to dim as we went from place to place, in hunt of decent nightlife.

From the Latin Quarter to the Château d’Eau and horny streets of Pigalle – we certainly tried, but it was in vein.

Would I recommend coming Paris as a single lad on Valentine’s? Probably not. Nor would i recommend missing the train… That was an expensive lesson to learn!

But did I have a good time? Absolutely.

Here’s what Lee made of the rest of the night.