2010 France – Paris

A Weekend Away in the City of Light

3rd – 6th of June

Paris, the city of light… the city of love… What can I add to it’s reputation, well, let’s start at the beginning. For a change this journey did not start in a travel agency or browsing trough travel websites but came as an unexpected surprise by e-mail to Paul after he had subscribed to a job vacancy website which told him he had won a trip to Paris. Although we were a bit skeptical at the beginning it turned out to be true so a couple of months later we planned and booked our free weekend away in the city of Light…

As the 3rd of June was a German bank holiday the train to Paris was fully booked so we decided to drive ourselves and leave the car in a garage in the north east of Paris. From there we took the Metro to our hotel where we we’re told that unfortunately they were overbooked and we had to stay one night in another hotel, close to the Eiffel tower. Needles to say we were a bit disappointed but all was arranged well and we decided not to let this ruin our trip. A taxi brought us to our alternate hotel and once checked in we were on our way to the Eiffel tower.

After a short stroll through the park we decided to go all the way up as the queue was not that long, so less than an hour later we found ourselves on top of Paris most famous landmark. I must admit that neither Paul or myself were very happy in the elevators but with wobbly knees and sweaty hands we arrived at the third platform after which we quickly gained confidence at such hight.

The panorama was magnificent, we had a superb view over all the places we would be visiting the next couple of days, La Défense, Arc de Triomphe, Musée du Louvre, Notre-Dame, just to name a few… The weather could not have been better and only having arrived in Paris less than two hours ago we had already embraced that superb holiday feeling.

We spent quite some time on the third level before we descended to the second level to enjoy a slightly different perspective. As we now could see the length of the queue waiting to come up we realized we had been really lucky to get up so quick. We walked back to the 1st level but unfortunately it was not possible to walk back all the way to the ground floor so we once again took the elevator

Safely back with booth feet on the ground we strolled to La Seine where we enjoyed our first glass of wine at a terrace next to la Seine. As said the weather could not have been better so we certainly felt in 7th heaven, strange what a couple of hundred kilometers of driving can do to you. After a relaxing hour or so (and some more wine…) we started to walk towards la Notre-Dame. We passed some of the many bridges, beautiful buildings but also saw where the clochards lived, the other side of the medal…

Once arrived at la Notre-Dame we took some time to look around and inside before we headed on to the Latin Quarter and enjoyed a lovely al Fresco meal. What a lovely day it had been…

The next morning after breakfast we left our suitcase behind (It was arranged for us that it was brought to the hotel we had originally booked) and took the Metro to La Défense, a total new world of glass, concrete, skyscrapers and a true architectural playground. The whole place had a futuristic feel fabulous for making pictures, something that a professional photo team had also discovered as they had chosen La Défense as location for a photo-shoot. It will not come as a surprise that also my favorite Paris pictures have been shot over here.

A short Metro ride brought us to the Arc de Triomphe from where we started our leisure stroll over the Avenue des Champs-Elysées.

As we we’re not really in a shopping mood (strangely enough) we did not spend to much time over there and continued to Place de la Concorde where we thoroughly enjoyed some spectacular vistas to all wind directions. Time was flying by fast and we headed towards Le Jardin Des Tuileries where we had a nice salad accompanied by ehh, an even nicer bottle of Rosé.

Next on the program was la Musée du Louvre, as the weather was far to nice we decided not to go in (which would have been a full day program the least by itself, something for a next trip) but enjoy the surroundings. The biggest eye-catcher of course was the ultra modern steel and glass pyramid which strangely enough merged perfectly with the much older building surrounding it. And yes, with it being such a perfect day I could not resist the pond….

Having walked that much already (And the first blisters started to appear) we took the metro back to BLC Design Hotel which we had originally booked. Totally designed in shades of white it was an amazing place to stay. The room was absolutely beautiful and we already know that when we return to Paris we will not need to look for another place to stay as this is absolutely marvelous.

In the evening we had an appointment with Cindy and Vincent, a lovely couple that I had met on the top of the Bromo in 2008 when my father and I traveled to Indonesia. It was good to see them after two years again and even better was to hear the news that they are getting married next year. We had some wine in a local bar after which we went to their place. Instead of going out for dinner as we had originally planned the both of them had prepared an absolutely lovely meal which we enjoyed on their cozy terrace.

There was so much to tell that although we were still enjoying the main course it was already 01.15. With the last Metro going at 02.00 we unfortunately had to leave. We were in time for catching the first train but when we wanted to change trains it already was too late so we ended up taking a taxi back to the hotel. Cindy and Vincent, it has been fantastic to see the both of you again (In such a happy state) and both Paul and I are really looking forward to seeing you again at our place in October! This time it’ll be the two of us cooking, hope you will enjoy it as much as we did!

Next morning, after breakfast we started our exploration at Montmartre where we visited the Sacré-Cœur. Again a beautiful place with some of the best views of Paris. There were a lot of artists around which made it a vivid and interesting place to spent some time around.

In spite of my blisters we continued on towards the Moulin Rouge, a place we certainly could not have missed.

Next stop was the Opera House and Lafayette, easily one of Paris most beautiful shopping centers with it’s stunning art nouveau glass dome. The variety of goods was amazing but at a whopping 29.000 Euro we decided to leave the bottle of Louis XIII Remy Martin exactly where it was… We did end up though with some wonderful spices at their food market which fitted much better within our budget.

Slowly we moved on towards la Seine and strolled passed the many bookstalls which were located at the riverbanks. The atmosphere was absolutely amazing. This was so typically Paris, as were the lined up ‘out of range’ dream cars in front of the Ritz and the Clochards looking for something to eat. How big of a contrast can one get in one day…

Back at the Latin Quarter we enjoyed a late lunch after which we headed toward Centre Pompidou, another of Paris’s famous art museums. Just like the Louvre we decided to leave the interior for another trip so we enjoyed the fabulous exterior, the street artists on the square in front of the museum and a lovely glass of wine at a terrace overlooking the Centre Pompidou. La bon vivant….

We could have spent hours on the terrace watching the world passed by but there was one thing we still wanted to do so we headed back to Pont d’Léna, close to the Eiffel Tower where we spent some time on a yet another lovely terrace next to La Seine, zipping from a mojito whilst watching even more of the world pass by….

At 19:00 we boarded one of the many boats on the Seine for a wonderful evening cruise enjoying all the wonderful places we had already seen from a different prospective. How relaxing could things get..

After the cruise was finished (Far to quick for our liking) we slowly headed back to our hotel. However, before going there we enjoyed another fantastic meal at a Lebanese restaurant. Back in the hotel it did not take us long before the both of us were in a deep but very happy sleep in our beautiful white room in an even more beautiful white hotel somewhere in the City Of Light.

The next morning when we woke up it was raining cats and dogs. Water was pouring from the skies and maybe because we had had such a fantastic time we could only laugh about it. Over breakfast we decided to leave Paris on a high and slowly head home again. What a fantastic couple of days it had been. We felt we had done a lot (My feet certainly knew that) but there’s still so much to discover we will certainly come back. What a weekend!