And just like that…we were finally back in the city of love: Paris, our first trip together and our summer escape from the short and intense Belgian life.
We arrive in the city early in the morning and reach our hotel in the Marais. We walk the surrounding streets looking around while the daily dynamism starts again. The marble tables and the multicolored wicker chairs already occupy the sidewalks. The shop windows of cafes and patisseries display exquisite pastries while huge teddy bears serenely sit a the tables.
Before dedicating ourselves to the classic spots, we do some unusual stops that are less besieged by tourists. We start with a stroll in the neighborhood that hosts Square Gardette where are elegant buildings, graffitis, gardens and numerous cafes and restaurants. We have classic galettes for lunch and have tasty treats at Broken Biscuits for dessert.
Crossing some arrondissements of the suburbs we arrive at Bassin de La Vilette, where a canal crosses a pedestrian promenade with a relaxation area full of restaurants and cafes, then we head to Belleville and the Buttes Chaumont park to observe the city from other panoramic points . The park is also perfect for the aperitif hour or to take a break along with a good book.
In the late afternoon I oblige Gio to take an instagrammable mini-tour by dragging him to Pigalle Basketball Court, to the Wall of Love in the Jehan Rictus Garden square and to Le Consulat café where we stop for a refreshing apple cider. The atmosphere of Montmatre is always dynamic and lively, the elegant Basilica is populated with visitors and its stairways are the perfect place for lovers of beautiful views. From the stairways it is even possible to see the “crooked house” that emerges from the green hill that surrounds the mountain.
Watching the sunset cast its warm light on the sumptuous buildings of the city is a sight not to be missed. We savor it while strolling in search of the Passage Jouffroy, a metal and glass gallery built in 1836, which houses shops with a taste of the past. We enjoy some live music in the Palais Royal Gardens and let ourselves be carried away by the combination of classical and contemporary architecture that makes this place an unmissable destination.
As the sun sets, we enjoy two steps around the Louvre pyramid and then dine in the first nice restaurant that happens to be within reach “Fabourg 34“. Before going to sleep we go to Avenue de Camoens to watch the glitter of the Eiffel Tower up close.
The next day we have breakfast at the hotel and leave when the rain starts to fall. We take some photos of what remains of Notre Dame and then take refuge at the Center Pompidou and stock up on art while we wait for the rain to stop. There is nothing more relaxing than enjoying modern art in a contemporary design space while it’s raining outside.
Not having booked a restaurant for lunch in Paris is a bad choice. Luckily we are able to find a place at Hardware Société, where they serve dishes with an Australian flavor. While we are sitting for lunch the sky clears up and so, when we walk along the Seine, we are able to enjoy all the bright splendor of Paris. In front of us are the stalls of used books and trinkets, Notre Dame illuminated by the sun and the famous Shakespeare & Company bookshop. After browsing inside – for the umpteenth time – we enjoy a coffee break in the small adjacent café. Meanwhile, the clouds are impatient and do not give respite to the sun, even when we stop at the Parc du Luxembourg to feel a bit Parisian too.
The third day begins with a tradition that we cannot give up, taking a selfie at the Concorde metro tiles. We shot one every time we came to town to capture the change during these long 14 years together. Having accomplished the mission and exiting the subway we enjoy Piazza della Concordia, we walk the Champs Elysées on foot until we reach the Arc de Triomphe – which would shortly be packaged to become another famous installation by Christo and we stroll around enjoying the latest hours in the city.
Although there is still a lot to see and review, we spend a few hours shopping in the shops of the Marais, have lunch at the LouLou Friendly Diner‘s table and walk the sidewalks that line the Seine to see Notre Dame light up.
Enthusiastic and with a baggage full of new memories, we are ready to go home this intense, multi-stage travel on-the-road in France.
Read the previous stop > France
SLEEP: Sleeping in Paris has become prohibitive but good opportunities happen. We were lucky to find on Booking the Hotel Jeanne d’Arc which is very nice and was available at an affordable price.
EAT: Any place in the city will be perfect for enjoying something fast, traditional or trendy. Here are some tips for all tastes and budgets.
- Strada Cafè – ( 24 rue Monge 75005 Paris)
- Cafè de Flore – (172 Bd Saint-Germain, 75006)
- Pink Mamma – (20bis rue de Douai 75009)
- Hardware Société (Australian) – (10 Rue Lamarck Paris 75018)
- Les Nicois
- Fabourg 34 (European)
- Lou Lou Friendly Diner (Hamburger)
- Beans on Fire (a Coffee Place)
- Broken Biscuits (Scones, Pastries e Cookies)
- Le Double Dragon (Asian)
- Bastringue (French)
- Septime (Asian)
- Les Maquereaux (Terrace spot)