With the slightly longer summer holidays this year to adjust the calendar for the school year, the first term became quite a short one at just 7 weeks. Perfect for those counting down to the holidays, but quite quick in terms of getting back in to the routine. That said, in one of the most jetset moments of my entire life, just two weeks after my Disneyland Paris trip, I was going to be immediately getting back on the plane to Paris…this time with 37 pupils and 4 colleagues in tow! I’ll confess I didn’t entirely unpack since many of the bits and pieces I needed for the first trip would still be needed for the school trip (plus any number of additional things to make sure the needs of such a big group, on a packed schedule, could be taken care of easily), resulting in my suitcase doubling as a cat bed In between! But even with the excitement of a return to Paris ahead, I did manage to fit in plenty of training:
Monday – Hatha yoga
Tuesday – 4 miles
Wednesday – rest
Thursday – 4 miles + Ashtanga yoga
Friday – PT session with Steve
Saturday – travel to Paris
Sunday – Paris!
As you can see, much of the week was my usual routine. A new block of Hatha yoga started so that returned me to my habit of some quiet headspace on a Monday evening and was most welcome.
On Tuesday I got out for my usual pre-work run of 4 miles at an easy pace. Nothing unusual here but I did notice the air feeling a bit cooler and wondered how much longer I would get away with shorts for.
No workout with Steve that evening as he had another event to go to so I took the chance to get on top of a few things at work then had a relaxing evening at home. The trip is always really busy so being sure to get some extra rest ahead of time is a good idea.
With Wednesday still scheduled as a rest day, I took the chance to sort out my packing. Or at least, have a first go at it. I always take much more when I’m travelling with pupils (and in a situation where looking reasonably well groomed is expected, as opposed to a largely running-based weekend where I can get away with being a bit more sloppy!) so I like to pack everything a few days beforehand then go back through it the night before we leave to jettison a few bits and pieces I really won’t need. I’ma list maker, but also a “just in case” packer so for me it’s worth doing.
I actually didn’t sleep too well on the Wednesday night. I’m taking part in a programme through work this year which involves some training/coaching session and filmed (yes, FILMED!) lessons where I use some of the new ideas I’ve been trying as a result of that training. The Thursday was the first of my filmed lessons and I didn’t think I was particularly on edge about it – being observed doesn’t tend to worry me too much – but I woke up far too early with the lesson running through my head. I suspect it was because I was taking a risk and trying something completely new so I had no idea how it was going to play out and it was useful to think things through once again to be sure I had considered everything.
To clear my head a bit I still went for my run – definitely needed on this occasion – and for the first time this autumn it was far too cold for shorts at just 3C! In hindsight, had I worn gloves I would probably have been fine in my shorts, but it just hadn’t crossed my mind to look out any gloves yet and my hands were really cold. The condensation on my car windscreen looked suspiciously solid, and this was confirmed when Steve had to scrape ice from his car before going to work!
Cold front aside, it was a good run and the last I would get for at least a week, so I made sure to enjoy it.
Since it was Thursday I had Ashtanga that night. I was really looking forward to it after the extra early start and filmed lesson (which went really well – so proud of my pupils) as I had expected to totally crash afterwards, but I was still on the go and ready to use the yoga session to help me relax and settle into the evening. That said, I did feel tired so my headstand remained pretty poor. I’ll be turning my attention to this post-trip again.
Once again it was a dash from yoga to get my nails done ready for the trip – priorities! I couldn’t possibly got to Paris without a fresh gel manicure!
Friday was the last day of term and a really busy day. I had my own classes, a cover class and the feedback/coaching session from my filmed lesson which was a really positive experience. At the end of the day all of the staff involved in the trip got together to make sure we had all the admin sorted out and had all the things we needed before leaving school, so I was a bit later (for a Friday) in getting away, but still had time to head down to the studio for a workout. This one was the TRX and a resistance band.
I had enough to time to then take a second look at my packing and re-think some of it before we went out for some food. I know we do this every Friday but it feels so good at the start of a holiday!
For the trip this year we had actually been booked onto much better flights – Edinburgh rather than Glasgow – which meant we didn’t have a really early start. I had to be at school around the time I would normally get there in the morning and once we had all the pupils on board the coach to take us to the airport, we were off!
I had realised that with our flight being at lunchtime, the first meal that would form part of the trip itinerary would be our dinner at night. That seemed so far away so I made the obvious decision – a full cooked breakfast at the airport to see me through (and some emergency snacks in my bag!). It didn’t take much arm twisting for my colleagues to also see the sense in the full breakfast, and with plenty of time to spare before our flight, we got settled and ordered. There were actually 2 breakfast options: the small breakfast (who were they kidding!) or the full one with more items and some toast – obviously I ordered this one!
I also made a point of popping to the duty free shop to get some salted caramel M&Ms. As it turned out it was a far better offer to buy two bags than just one. One of my colleagues was also buying some and there was a comedy moment when we both picked up two bags and another colleague confessed that she had assumed we were going to get a bag each and split the deal. Oh how we laughed! 😂
Before too long it was time to board.
The flight itself was fine. I read a bit of my book and had a little doze, then before I knew it I was back in the familiar territory of Charles de Gaulle airport. We collected our bags, cleared passport control and found the coach for our transfer to the Paris centre. Then from the second we arrived it was pretty full-on. I barely had time to put my case down in my room and quickly transfer some essentials to a smaller bag, than it was back down for dinner, which was edible but nothing special.
Our evening excursion was to the Arc de Triomphe and part of my role on the trip is to navigate us around Paris – I know, it surprises me too, but if there’s one thing I can do it’s find my way around the Paris streets and Métro system so on this occasion, I’m your girl!
Although I’ve been to Disneyland a couple of times in the last year or so, I actually haven’t been in Paris itself since the last school trip in 2017 so it was nice to be straight up on a high platform to see the city below me and the Eiffel Tower in all her nighttime glory. The pupils who had never visited Paris before were so excited to see it!
Of course we hit the gift shop and spent a few minutes on the Champs Élysées so that we could get a drink/snack, but then it was time to head back to the centre to get a bit of sleep before a busy Sunday.
Sunday actually began with rain, but we had been expecting that and there were actually no complaints.
The worst of the weather was while we were waiting to get on the Eiffel Tower and by the time we were up at the top, the rain had cleared and we had fantastic views. Having missed out on this part last year as I drew the short straw and waited with a pupil, I had been really looking forward to getting back up there.
From there, we had a boat trip on the River Seine. I’ve done this one many times so initially sat inside to eat my packed lunch but made sure to go up on top in time to see Notre Dame. So sad to see the beautiful cathedral so damaged, but I’m glad efforts are being made to restore her. I’ll never forget watching the news unfold earlier this year as the fire took hold and those spires looked like they might fall.
Next was a walk via the Trocadéro to see the Tower from a raised platform.
Then back on the Métro to head up to Montmartre and the Sacré Cœur.
I had a lovely bowl of onion soup up there as well as picking up some souvenirs. Top tip – the best prices for Paris souvenirs tend to be up there so don’t be fooled into picking things up elsewhere unless you really need to.
We were back at the centre for dinner, which was passable but not the most inspiring (although I did enjoy the dessert!).
Then we were off out again, this time to walk (under my navigation!) to the Monparnasse Tower.
I love this one as it’s the highest point from which you can see the Eiffel Tower. Let’s face it, if you’re actually ON the Eiffel Tower than you can’t SEE the Eiffel Tower. When people ask me for Paris recommendations, this is always the one. Stunning views!
And this time I found this incredible model of Paris. The colours are so vibrant and you can pick out all the key landmarks. Amazing!
I could stay up there for hours, but after a quick poke about the gift shop it was time to gather everyone up to return to the centre. It had already been a couple of packed days with much more to come…
When do you know it’s time to put the shorts away for the year?
Have you visited Paris before? Any highlights?