It's raining cats and dogs in London at the moment, so trying to cheer myself up, I decided to reminisce about a three day trip my son and I did a couple of weeks ago in Paris by writing a short trip report to share on TA.
We arrived at our hotel (Hotel des Arts) in Montmartre at 8 p.m. on 10 August, after a journey without hitch on the Eurostar from London. We had single rooms, Stu's was on the ground floor and mine was on the 4th. Lovely hotel, would recommend. We literally dumped our bags and went out to explore – alas, it was raining, but Montmartre was empty and looked great; I think everyone was indoors in the inclement weather.
The next day was my son's birthday. We skipped breakfast at the hotel (an extra 10 euros and not really worth it) and found, quite by accident, Amelie's café, in Rue Lepic. After breakfast we decided to explore the Left Bank area around St Sulpice and the Luxembourg Gardens (I've been to Paris many times but this was something different for both of us). We took the metro from Abbesses to Sevres Babylone and walked to the church of St Sulpice which is huge inside but not very atmospheric. Our tour took us through a small corner of the Luxembourg Gardens – my first time here, very impressed! We then found ourselves walking towards Odeon and the river, passing through a small cobbled street called Rue Ancienne Comedie. This street has an amazing history; the oldest café in Paris, Le Procope, is here, along with the residence of one Dr Guillotin. Crossing the river, we made our way through the Louvre courtyard and the glass pyramid – the queues to enter the Louvre were tremendous. We decided this might be a good winter weekend activity and plan to come back in the New Year. Strolling through the Tuileries, we ended up at Place de la Concorde and after a photo stop walked past the Madeleine, grabbed something to eat, and then went back to the hotel for a rest before our evening activities. We took the No. 30 bus from Place Blanche direct to Trocadero for our Eiffel Tower visit.
I'd booked Eiffel Tower summit tickets online before we left England. I'm glad we did! We were there for 6 p.m. and had no line in front of us. We went straight up. We spent quite a while at the top.
We ate that evening at Hard Rock Café, my son's choice as it was his birthday! I know we should eat French while in Paris, but the food is very good at HR and we both enjoyed the meal.
Getting back to the hotel by bus was quite an adventure that night! There was a lot of roadworks around Pigalle, closing off the main road and diversions were in place. We didn't realise this, and not knowing the area and as it was dark, ended up at Porte de Clichy instead of Place de Clichy! So we had to get a metro back to Blanche! By this time it was well past midnight but as we emerged from the Metro at Blanche, there was the Moulin Rouge with its sails turning – we stood for ages taking photos.
Thursday, we had breakfast in a boulangerie near Place des Abbesses. This was my absolute favourite. The "bowls" of coffee were something else" Again we took the 30 bus to Trocadero, walked from Trocadero, under the Eiffel Tower, to Rue Cler, past Les Invalides and into the Rodin Museum. We visited last year and couldn't wait to get back. I would say this is a must see in Paris. There was a fascinating exhibition by a Dutch artist in the grounds of the museum which caught my son's eye but didn’t really do anything for me! We had an al fresco lunch at the very pleasant café in the museum grounds before leaving. We went back to our hotel for a nice long rest before going back to Trocadero for night time photos of the Eiffel Tower.
Friday was our last day – breakfast at our favourite boulangerie and then a tour of Montmartre. I'd read on this forum about the "Man walking through the Wall". We found this just at the top of the street where our hotel was. I've posted some photos so you can see – quite fascinating! We did our little tour, passing Place du Tertre and Sacre Coeur before taking the Montmartrobus back down to Pigalle. This is a great bus route, how the driver manipulates the bus up and down the hills and round the tight corners, I'll never know, but well worth the trip. From Pigalle we took a bus to the river and just generally strolled around the area of Notre Dame and St Chapelle, up to Beauborg (Pompidou Centre), Les Halles and then back to our hotel to pick up our bags for our trip home.
We'd had a great three days, rain and sun, hot and cool! We used the bus more this trip - I know the metro is quick and easy, but walking between interchange stations and lack of escalators is quite tiring, whereas the bus is direct.
I always say before I go to Paris, "must find something new this time", but the "usual" tourist spots are just so nice, I'm drawn back again and again! But anybody going, who hasn't done so before, do visit the Rodin Museum – I'm sure you won't be disappointed.
In case anyone is interested – a few photos to go along with the report