We will remember this trip to Paris as the coldest one we’ve ever done’! Temperatures range between 0 and 10 degrees, with a freezing wind on top of that … In April. But we had fun nonetheless!
The train leaves around 8.30 AM, meaning we have an afternoon to spend in Paris.
We take off at Gare du Nord (we only have a small backpack with us) and head to Bassin de la Vilette. This is some kind of a ship lift: the bassin fills with water (or discharges of water), till it has the same level as the canal where the boat is heading to. We don’t go to La Vilette (but it is a very interesting site!), our first real destination is Parc des Buttes-Chaumont and more specific the ‘Temple de la Sybille’.
This is not a temple as you would usily imagine, but more like a charming kiosk/tower. Built on the highest point of the park, the view is beautiful! Paris is at our feet! Belleville is the area neighbouring the parc, and known for its streetart. This makes for a perfect combination! We have dinner at Hanks Pizza and just make it to our hotel (CitizenM La Défence). We are exhausted after walking an afternoon in the freezing cold …
The second day is just as cold, but we don’t mind and have an early start. We sleep at La Défence. In the morning we are basically walking alone.
Next stop is the Foundation Louis Vuitton at Bois de Boulogne. We would love to go inside, unfortunately you can only enter if you buy a ticket. But the outside is marvellous and we take our time to have a good look around. We really appreciate the style of Frank Gehry: very photogenic!
We take our lunch (just some delicious croissants) at Arène de Lutèces. Can you imagine this amphitheater was build in the 1st Century B.C.?! It has a rough history ever since, but Paris did a good restauration job.
A more significante building is the Panthéon. It was build in the 18th Century with a church in mind, but it has turned out to be a mausoleum. Only important personalia are burried here. It is quite special to visit the last resting place of Voltaire, émile Zola, Victor Hugo, Marie Curie or Jean Monnet. We can also recommend the view from the top (only with a guide). We paid € 12 per person, a bit expensive but you get a lot for this price.
We stay around the 5iéme arrondissement, and end our day at the Isle de la Cité.
Our train leaves on Sunday just after midday. But as we are early birds, we don’t leave any chances to explore the place we are. We find out we happen to be in Paris the same time the marathon takes place. So … today’s exploration is limited to the marathon parcours in the middle of Paris (which is cut off from traffic). We are amazed by the open (literally) and positive atmosphere and encourage the thousands of runners passing by. Respect is at its place! We have to leave and stop for a quick picture at the Grand Palais, before taking the metro to the Gare du Nord.
Tip: always check if there’s something to do in Paris when you’re there!
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