First of all, I'd like to thank everyone on the Paris and Lille forums who helped make this trip such a memorable one. :)
My partner and I arrived in Paris on a Sunday morning. We caught the RER from CDG to Chatelet-Les Halles and dropped our luggage off with our host (Ghislain of Delareynie B&B). Then we walked to Eglise St Eustache and the small open air market on Rue Montorgueil, which was lovely and quiet. We then walked slowly back to our studio apartment near Notre Dame via the Pompidou Centre and the Hotel de Ville. Everything was so close together, it didn't seem to take long, and the buildings were amazing to look at.
After a rest, we went for a walk in the Latin Quarter, seeing the Sorbonne, the Pantheon and the Eglise St Etienne-du-Mort. This was the first church we looked at inside, and it was impressive. We returned via the Luxembourg Gardens, which were lively on a hot and sunny Sunday afternoon (in September) and Eglise Saint-Sulpice, another beautiful church.
After another rest back at the apartment, we went out for dinner at a French restaurant - Les Ronchons on Quai de la Tournelle. The food was good but I was already beginning to feel sick so couldn't enjoy it as much as I would have liked. After such a long journey and my internal clock saying it was morning at dinner time, I think my body reacted badly - however, it didn't stop me from enjoying myself in Paris.
The next day (Monday) we walked through Ile Saint Louis, then down to the Louvre - this walk was much longer and it was very hot, but it was still good to walk the streets. After looking at the Louvre (we didn't go in) we walked through the Tuileries Garden and had a picnic lunch; then on to the Champs Elysees (busy with traffic). We caught the Metro from there up to Montmartre and had a wander around, stopping at a cafe for coffee. We were going to do a free tour of Montmatre at 5 pm, but I was feeling too sick so we just went home after that. I stayed home while my partner explored the Latin Quarter at night and loved it - it was so vibrant and lively.
On Tuesday we caught the RER to Musee D'Orsay - unfortunately, there was a huge queue and it took us ages to get in - and then inside, it was very busy, so we couldn't really see the paintings up close and look around in a relaxed way. It would be better to go at a quiet time, if there is such a thing. After this, we caught a train to the Eiffel Tower - we didn't go up but we went right underneath and it was spectacular - I love it. We then caught the train to Pont Neuf to take the Vedettes du Pont Neuf river cruise in the evening, which was the highlight my trip because it was so refreshing being on the boat with a cool breeze (we were in Paris during a heatwave) and relaxing watching the world go by on the banks of the Seine. I didn't realize how many old, beautiful, historic buildings are on the riverside.
Afterwards we had something to eat at a cafe in the Latin Quarter - I got to see how lively it is at night. Next day (Wednesday) we took the RER to Gare du Nord to catch the train to Lille. Travelling by fast train is great. Once in Lille, we caught the tram to Roubaix (about 30 minutes) where we stayed for the next two nights. Roubaix is a town near Lille (almost an extension of Lille now) and is where my partner's father grew up. We stayed at a beautiful B&B in Roubaix call Au Paravent - the hostess, Isabelle, was so welcoming and friendly. She gave us a map of Roubaix and we walked to the museum, La Piscine, which is one of the most beautiful museums I've ever seen. It's small and quiet comparted to Musee D'Orsay, but well laid out, has great artwork and is relaxing to walk around.
After this we walked to Grand Place and looked at the church and town hall before returning to our B&B. We went to a local restaurant for dinner called La Fonderie, which is an old foundry that has been done up and looks amazing and is very atmospheric inside.
The next day (Thursday) we caught the metro to Lille (about 15 minutes) and spent the day wandering around Lille. Lille is a fascinating city - the streets and squares are so interesting and fantastic to photograph. We didn't go to any of the museums but just walked around, through the Jardin Vauban (which is beautiful) and ending up at the Musee des Beaux Arts. After this, we went back to our B&B and were picked up by a relative of my partner, who took us to his home in Tourcoing (near Roubaix) for a 5 course homemade French family dinner! - his wife is an amazing cook and hostess.
The next day we left for London via Eurostar train (which is a great way to travel - fast, efficient and relaxing) to began our UK adventure.
All and all, we had a wonderful time in France - thanks again for helping to make it so smooth. :)