Paris in August
A little throwback to our citytrip to Paris in August this year, the second one after the freezing edition of April! This time we sleep at the CitizenM at Gare de Lyon. This train station is easy to reach from the main (international) railway station Garde du Nord.
The hotel is just a few minutes away. A small setback however at the start of our weekend: the room is not clean (or at least, not to our standards). The cleaning lady doesn’t care, we are given a new room but this one doesn’t have the view we paid for … So we go back to our first room, but not after we get the promise the room will be cleaned again.We lunch at the river side across the road and by the time we go back to check the room, it is clean and the chef of the cleaning staff apologizes for the inconvenience.
We spend the rest of the afternoon in the neighbourhood of the hotel. We start our walk at the Seine, towards the city. Our first stop is the Coulée verte René-Dumont. This used to be an elevated train track linking Place de la Bastille to Varenne-Saint-Mauris. Nowadays it is turned into a park from Place de la Bastille to Bois de Vincennes. Amazing to walk in this crazy city in complete tranquility!
We turn of nearby Parc de Bercy, and cross the Seine river again over the Paserelle Simone de Beauvoir. At the other side of the river we visit the Jardin des Plantes (the botanic garden), at least the free part of the garden. Our dinner place is in the city, so we continue to walk along the Seine. Apparently this is also a dance and street busking practising place, so cool! Just before the regretted Notre-Dame church, we pass the river again.
In April we almost neglected the church, used to her presence. The day after our visit in April, the Notre-Dame burned down. It is unreal to be here again and see half of the church. After our dinner at Hanks Pizza (delicious and light vegetarian pizza) we end our day at the Louvre and the Tuileries (the park in front of the Louvres). We take a metro back to the hotel and watch the sunset from the bar of the hotel.
Day 2 starts as early as day 1. Before all the tourists flock in, we visit the Montmartre area, where there is street art in about every street. Once we get at the Sacré-Coeur church, we decide to wait till the dome visit is open. We are well in time, according to the information sign outside. The gate should open at 9am. After a visit inside the church, we wait on the church steps. 9 o’clock passes, but the gate remains closed.
After another 45 minutes of waiting (yes, this is well worth it), the gate finally opens. The lady at the counter appears to be the lady who was chatting for at least an hour with the security guy just minutes ago, and apparently she left all of her friendliness with that guy.
Tip: if you want to pay by card you have to buy your ticket outside. Inside you can only pay by cash. Luckily the view is worth the hassle. We take our time and walk around the dome a few times. Once we get back downstairs, the tourists and scammers have arrived en masse. Time to leave!
We meet a friend who’s in Paris too and do something we usually never do: taking the time for a drink and a small bite on an actual terrace. In the afternoon we visit the rooftop of Galeries Lafayette. From there you have a nice view over the inner city and the opera across the street.
From the Galeries we walk along the Elyzée (the residence of the president of France) and end up at the Grand Palais (by accident, we actually wanted to go to the Tuileries). Unfortunately, the Grand Palais is only open for events. So this interior, which appears to be mezmerizing, is for another time.
The Petit Palais is open, and we cool down a bit in the main hall and the lovely garden of this palace. It still is very hot, which means ice cream time after dinner! We find a very good and reasonably priced crèmerie at the Jardin du Palais Royal. While watching the recording of some back-in-time movie, we enjoy our last evening in Paris.
We saved this night to visit the Tour de Montparnasse for sunset. We hurry to the tower, which is quiet far from the city (but closer to our hotel). After queueing a bit, we get on the roof and find out we are not alone. In fact, it is crazy … Loud music, a rooftop bar, and dozens of people. The place is just too small for this. We have to knock ourselves literally to the edge to see something of the sunset. For 20 euros per person, we feel like this is a major tourist trap!
Our last day of this trip starts early again, and especially on a Sunday, not too many people are in the streets yet. We want to take metro line six. No other line. No, it has to be metro line six. Because it goes mainly above the ground, in a beautiful part of the city. Unfortunately, we only find out after we are on the metro, that the line stops before the interesting part starts … Maintenance works are important, but too pitty they are taking place right now!
The change of plans takes us unexpectedly to the most famous tower in the world. We walk back along the governance area of Paris, cross the river again to the Tuileries and after some people watching, we go back to the hotel to collect our bag. Before we know, it is time to go back home!
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