Long weekend in Paris
From Brussels it is not far to the French metropolis. There are about 300 kilometres between Paris and Brussels. So nothing stands in the way of a long weekend in Paris!
The decision of how to get to Paris is very easy in the end. With the cheap train IZY we pay for 2 persons, round trip only about 60 Euro. The journey with the Flixbus was a bit more expensive at this time with a much longer journey time. With the car we would have had to worry before about a plaque and rent a parking lot expensively. This is where IZY’s offer comes in handy. In only 2 hours we drive comfortably from Brussels Midi Station to Paris Nord.
Paris, je t’aime!
The city is big! 2.2 million people live in the inner circle, i.e. within the city highway. The French capital is divided into many districts, so-called arrondissements, which run from the centre outwards like a snail. We have chosen a room in an IBIS hotel near Place de la Bastille. That’s between the 4th and 11th arrondissements. The Hotel Ibis Paris Bastille Faubourg St Antoine has a good price-performance ratio. Small but clean rooms – completely sufficient for us 🙂
After the hotel check-in at noon we explore the area around us and by chance discover a beautiful courtyard: the Place des Vosges. On a beautiful Saturday afternoon numerous people gather in the small park. The Place des Vosges is connected to the Rue des Francs Bourgeois, with numerous shops for shopping.
The Centre Pompidou is a few hundred metres further on. And further south we come to the cathedral Notre-Dame. On the square in front of it, it is packed with tourists, so we walk relatively quickly on and find a Holocaust memorial on the Seine, just behind Notre-Dame. It offers a lot of space for stories and information about the cruel deportations of the Nazi era. I was very touched by the memorial – it is (however it should be) a place of awe, against oblivion and thoughtfulness.
Long weekend in Paris – quite short
Paris is so incredibly large and has so much to offer. It is impossible to get a comprehensive picture of the city in just one weekend – and to get to know all corners. I always like to explore a city on foot. And so it happens that we walk 10-15km through Paris and get to see a lot of sightseeings.
We start at Places des Vosges and cross the Austerlitz bridge over the Seine. Then we go directy through the Park Jardin des Plants, where we walk to the impressive Natural History Museum. We’re heading for Rue Mouffetard. A very sweet street with market stalls (at least on Sunday). Then we continue through the Jardin du Luxembourg with its Palace Luxembourg to the west. If you like, you can stop by Le Bon Marche. Another of the countless shopping possibilities. But we march on past the Dôme des Invalides and the Military Academy. The Eiffel Tower can be seen from afar. Directly behind the Eiffel Tower we cross the Seine again and walk to the Arc de Triomphe. It is not at all easy to overcome the huge roundabout and reach the triumphal arch – but to be dull and just walk is the motto.
Back over the Champs-Élysées, past luxury shops and the Grand Palais. It doesn’t take long and we are back in a park area that leads us to the Louvre. I save my visit for another time – hoping to find a day when it’s not so crowded there…
After a few hours and a coffee break in between, the long walk comes to an end. For the next day we have the Dôme des Invalides in mind. The cathedral is part of the Hôtel des Invalides and was once a church. In 1840 it was converted into the tomb of Emperor Napoleon I.
An exhibition on Napoleon as a war strategist is currently on display in the local army museum. I was a little overwhelmed (also in view of the short time we spent there) with the many exhibits, weapons, uniforms etc. It was a lot at once and in the end I missed the red thread a little bit. After we had lunch and enjoyed my first Café Gourmand of life, we stroll along Boulevard Saint-Germain.
At the crossing to Rue du Bac we discover the shop Deyrolle. I was kind of impressed by the place. There you can buy books etc. about animals, garden shovels and also animal preparations. From butterflies to polar bears… A bit bizarre … It has something of a curiosities cabinet. The shop and the idea of it has a long history: Animal and nature closeness paired with the desire to impart knowledge.
One weekend in Paris
What I liked:
- very good metro system
- many spacious parks, many beautiful buildings and facades
- Cafés and restaurants on every corner
- there are also quieter streets, away from the tourist magnets
- many shops are open on Saturdays and Sundays
What I don’t like about Paris:
- Paris is very expensive. Clothes, souvenirs, food – you get rid of a lot of money :/
- there are LOTS OF TOURISTS! Especially at the Louvre, the Notre-Dame and the Eiffel Tower it’s very crowded.