I hadn't gone to bed until 2am (such is the distraction of unlimited WiFi) and woke at half 7, yet I hadn't felt so well rested all week. Having a warm, dry bed must have that effect I suppose.
The gentle morning sun tickled through the crack in the curtains and everyone else slept. I silently slipped into some clothes and headed out the door after drinking a horrendously stewed filter coffee.
I went down the surprisingly quiet streets and boulevards of Paris, the golden morning sun bathing them in a warm light. After some time I emerged through the Louvre to Les Ponts des Arts. I'd been here 2 years ago with Alex to attach a padlock to the railings on the bridge so thought it a good idea to go back.
When we came 2 years ago I'd not been in any rush to revisit Paris. In fact - I hadn't even planned to come here on my trip. I'd been too hot and sweaty, totally lost and just generally left with a negative view of the city (although the trip itself with Alex was great). Yet whilst rolling around Paris in the morning light I developed a total adoration of the place. By virtue of being on a bike and not a subway I saw so many coffee houses, shops and old buildings all teeming with people speaking the addictively romantic French language.
I was a little disappointed with Les Ponts des Arts though. I'd gone hoping to find the padlock we'd left there, I even remembered where it was. However when I got there the steel mesh had been replaced by perspex. A tad disheartened I sat on the bridge looking out over the Seine towards Notre Dame, it was beautiful.
I then slowly rolled back to the hostel, loving the feel of the bike without the heavy touring bags on. Things had gotten a tad busier now but I enjoyed weaving and dodging in and out of the cars, soaking up the atmosphere and feel of the city.
I then fretted around the train station trying to change my train ticket for a day longer so I could watch the Tour de France but it didn't happen. So I'd miss watching the Tour de France by only a few hours.
I returned to the hostel, had a shower and a second breakfast before heading out on the road to Versailles at around 11am. I'd not eaten much so the hours bike ride there passed relatively slowly (I also got lost plenty of times). It was a great way to see the city though as I passed through so many different suburbs.
The Champs Elysee was lined with barriers and grand stands awaiting the Tour tomorrow and whilst there I deemed it customary to complete a lap of the Arc de Triomph, the mad famous roundabout Paris is famous for. Cars were flying everywhere, it was crazy, somehow I made it out alive and continued on to Versailles.
My wrong turns took me over some steep bergs which were unexpected but eventually I was riding up a long straight drive lined with high walls and tall trees. Hundreds of stately homes lay the other side of the wall. As I went around the corner of the drive the Palace finally revealed itself. It was far bigger than I'd expected. It dwarfed Buckingham Palace in both size and grandeur, being covered in gold. It was truly beautiful, but it would have to wait. With almost no breakfast and an hours cycling I was ravenous. In search of food I headed into Versailles itself.
The town was pretty and littered with overpriced restaurants. I cruised around the backstreets in search of somewhere more reasonably priced and sat down. I was interrupted seconds later by a Frenchman asking if he could take my seat for him and his 6 friends because I was on my own. I didn't have the patience for an argument - never mind an argument in French. I got up grumpy and even hungrier than before, after balking at the prices of more restaurants I finally caved in 2 hours after beginning my search for food and went to McDonalds. I was so hungry by this point I didn't care what I ate.
I watched a large Chinese girl struggle to order in French after refusing my assistance and then rode back via Versailles Palace. I didn't actually go in, there was nowhere to leave my bike and a horrifically long queue, but having seen the garden walls and gazing through I'm sure I'll be back there shortly.
I rode back and spent the rest of the day sat on the bridge just outside the hostel, just in reach of WiFi. After absorbing some rays from the sun I set about working out how to feed myself for the next 24 hours with €2.50. A 150g bag of crisps and 8 cakes later I went to my room with a full belly to find everyone from my room had returned. We planned to go to the Eiffel tower and headed out around half 8.
My remaining €1 bought me salted peanuts and a bottle of water and by jumping through the Metro turnstiles with someone else I managed to make it to the Eiffel tower too. Despite this they were checking our tickets at a station transfer, I managed to slide through undetected but Nick in our group had bought himself a child's ticket and got slapped with a €30 fine.
We spent the evening sat in front of the Eiffel Tower chatting and looking at the Eiffel tower, lit up as the German flags in the 24 hours following terror attacks there.
After catching the last train back I eventually fell asleep 4 hours before my train back to Calais departed.