Believe it or not, this post actually brings me up to date with my weekly roundups – the only one still to write is the week we’re on right now! Through circumstance, the first week of the holidays was a “down” week in terms of training (but certainly still a very active week since I was in Paris!). It was a really fun week, but very little training to speak of:
Monday – Disneyland Paris
Tuesday – Paris
Wednesday – travel home
Thursday – Ashtanga yoga
Friday – rest
Saturday – parkrun open sandwich
Sunday – 8 miles
Yes, you read that right, my week began with a return to my happy place: Disney! This was a new addition to our trip itinerary and it looks set to become a permanent feature after everyone had such a brilliant day. Although some Scottish schools were on holiday, it was far from all areas and English schools weren’t on half term yet. It being a Monday meant locals with annual passes were likely to be at work so in comparison to our visit on Run Weekend the parks were much quieter. This meant I was able to tick loads of attractions off my list, pick up some bits and pieces of shopping I had put off, and see the fireworks (although there was a bit of a technical snag there and for a good 10 minutes I thought they weren’t going to happen. Not going to lie, if I hadn’t been with pupils I would probably have been in tears after I sacrificed the fireworks for sleep on Run Weekend!). It was odd being back there so soon, but I did find the layout of the park felt much more familiar (it is not the same as the Magic Kingdom in Florida) which probably helped me to move quite swiftly through the things I wanted to do whilst still soaking up those magical vibes. Stand by for photos!!
And for the record, although it was covered up by my trip hoody, I was wearing this top:
In one shop a cast member took one look at me in my Beauty and the Beast-inspired leggings, Briar Rose Gold mouse ears and Arendelle Aqua Loungefly backpack (see below) and said, “so you’re a big Disney fan then?” It took every ounce of control I possessed not to reply with, “duh!” or similar 😂
Photo Source: disneyphile.fr
That was probably my favourite day of the whole trip – and the one where there was no rain! Sadly Tuesday was forecast to be the wettest and that is exactly how it panned out, but luckily we had mainly indoor things on our itinerary for the the day.
We started at the Musée d’Orsay, a former railway station which is now an art gallery. I last visited here on my own school trip to Paris (more years ago than I care to count!) and remember enjoying the Impressionist art, so after a restorative cup of tea, that’s exactly where we headed.
From there, I walked the group along the Rive Gauche (left bank of the River Seine) to let them see some of the book/souvenir stalls (bouqinistes) and crossed back to the Rive Droite (right bank) on the Pont des Arts, which until recently was the bridge associated with love locks. Now, the railings have been replaced by perspex panels to prevent people attaching padlocks to them as there were concerns about the weight eventually causing them to fall into the water, potentially causing serious injury since the river frequently has an array of different kinds of boat on it. It’s still a nice pedestrian bridge and a nice spot to view the river and its banks.
This bridge delivers us right to the Louvre and we spent a few minutes getting some photos around the pyramid before heading along Rue de Rivoli to our destination: the Forum des Halles, a huge shopping centre which I can find ok, but I ALWAYS get lost within it’s labyrinthine floors! (Although I can find the Pandora store, so that covers the essentials 😂)
Having sent the pupils on their way, the staff headed to a pavement cafe where we sat under umbrellas, warmed by outdoor heaters, and had some lunch while we watched people scurrying out of the rain. I had hoped for more onion soup but sadly it wasn’t on the menu so I settled for a club sandwich which was really tasty.
Satisfied, we went our separate ways for a bit of shopping. I had a couple of things on my list but took care of those quite quickly so ended up marvelling at some of the creations in the Lego Store.
Around there I bumped into one of my colleagues so we went off for a cup of tea at the cafe beside our meeting point, finishing just in time to meet the rest of the group to head back to the centre for dinner – probably my least favourite selection of the trip as the fish was really bony and not well cooked, the rice wasn’t the best and the veg was cold. At least they had that nice dessert on again!
For our final night, we headed over to the Notre Dame area. Following the fire the actual cathedral is blocked off while it is restored, but we still wanted to have a chance to see it and there are lots of other things to do in the area. Our first port of call was one of my favourite places: Shakespeare & Co bookshop. Not only is it an iconic location, but there is a resident cat called Aggie who is most definitely the boss!
The staff then headed to a nearby cafe for a refreshment and most of the pupils went off to find snacks and souvenirs before heading back to the centre and bed.
Sadly it ended up being quite a late night as we had to solve a problem (not caused by our pupils but affecting them) and with the typically laid-back attitude of the French when it comes to getting things sorted out, this took much longer than it needed to. I can tell you I was not pleased when my alarm went off the next morning.
We weren’t due to be collected from the centre until around noon so had considered heading out on some kind of walk/excursion, but it was clear that the pupils just needed a chance to chill out after several busy days – as did we after our late night! We had to check out of our rooms, but luggage was kept in the baggagerie and there was a fairly nice cafe and seating area, so the couple of hours we had actually passed really quickly. To be honest, it felt like no time at all before we were back at the airport, dropping off the bags and picking up some food to see us until our arrival home.
A highlight of the flight was that this time I was on the left of the plane so saw the daytime view of the Eiffel Tower from the air to complement the night-time view I had when I arrived for Run Weekend. That felt like a nice way to round things off.
Everything went pretty smoothly and by 7:30pm we were back at school and delivering the pupils safely back to their parents. A really nice touch was one parent who turned up with flowers for the staff members to thank them for taking time out of their holiday to take her daughter to Paris. So thoughtful!
My only stop after that was to pick up a Chinese takeaway on my way home since Steve wasn’t going to be in much before me and we didn’t have anything in shopping-wise since I was away. Then I headed for a bath before bed. Wine DEFINITELY needed!
After all that I was EXHAUSTED. I didn’t see much need to run on the Thursday, preferring to get plenty of sleep and tackle some of those real-life errands teachers have in the holidays like getting a dental check-up – quite a comedown from being in Paris!
I did, however, make a point of going to Ashtanga since I wanted to stretch out after all the walking around. I also finally swallowed my pride and asked to be supported for the headstand. Perhaps getting used to being in the posture again, with some help, will be useful in getting me back to doing them solo again. It can’t hurt!
Then on Friday I ended up having another rest day. My errand for the day was my annual flu jab and my arm always hurts a little after so I didn’t bother asking Steve for a session. Instead I made some effort to unpack (properly this time!) and get myself organised. This included opening up this year’s edition of “Nope” magazine from the London Marathon. This year it may as well say “hard cheese” given the image they selected! 😂
By Saturday I was ready to get back to it. Steve was RD at parkrun so he drove down earlier with a warm top etc for me and I ran down. This was the day that Eliud Kipchoge completed his amazing sub-2 hour marathon and in my determination not to miss a minute of it, I actually ran there whilst still streaming the live feed (parkrun in Scotland is at 9:30am, I leave by about 9am latest to run down and he was due to finish at 9:15am so I knew I would probably be arriving, or just about arriving, when he finished). You should have seen me trying to look at my phone screen every time I had to pause to cross a road! By some miracle I reached parkrun without tripping, falling or otherwise making a fool of myself, so there’s that.
I had a fairly good run considering I hadn’t run in over a week. A little slower than I would have liked, but it was actually quite windy which definitely made a difference. I was just happy to be there and enjoyed my run.
I helped to sort the tokens while I waited for Steve, then donned my extra layers while the run was finishing up (I was back in my shorts again after that one super-cold day of capris right at the end of term). Steve being RD meant we headed to the cafe for a bacon roll while he processed the results.
Then it was back to the usual Saturday glamour of food shopping. Oh take me back to Paris!
I spent the afternoon getting myself up to date with Strictly Come Dancing (to be honest, with two trips to Paris I had pretty much been a bit behind from week 1, but had somehow managed to avoid any spoilers. First world problems lol!). And for those wondering, the kitties definitely missed me while I was away, so much so that Smokey has suddenly become a lap cat – this wasn’t part of his repertoire before I left!
For my Sunday run I had considered 10 miles but ultimately decided that this should naturally become a cutback week since I hadn’t run much, and 8 miles would therefore be ideal. I headed out to the path through the woodland park which I like and just kept the pace easy. It felt good to stretch things out with a run after lots of walking. And yes, still in shorts.
So there you have it. Not much running or training but a super-fun week nonetheless. I mean I was in both Paris AND Disney – how could it be anything other than fantastique!
What was the best school trip you ever went on?
Are you in your winter running kit yet?