Dimanche à Paris

Another long day, but not so much wandering as yesterday. We headed out bright and early in the direction of Porte de Clignancourt, which involved a first go on the driverless Meteor line. Ace – very Maglev-like. We were in search of the marche aux puces at PdeC, but what we found didn’t really meet expectatiosn – it was a mixture of modern market (clothes/accessories/electrical goods) and antiquey covered markets selling large pieces of furniture and reclaimed ironwork…. neither of which really fall into the flea category in my book.

So seeing as it was very sunny and very hot, we decided to abandon all attempts at touristing, opting for Plan B, lazing in Parc de Sceaux. It was a bit of a palava to get there, mainly due to lackof open ticket booths in Chatelet, and my not being 100% sure which RER B station we needed… but we got there in the end, complete with pique nique goods, and spent the entire afternoon soaking up the sun, reading and snoozing.

Walked back to the hotel by way of l’Arganier, a cous-cous restaurant in the Marais, and slept well until early rise and shine required to commute back to Gare du Nord inorder to catch the 08.45 back to Londres.

May-time Saturday in Paris
Heading to Paris for May Day Bank Holiday
We’re off to Gay Paris

December 2012: Following Fotopic’s demise, I’ve uploaded the photos onto Flickr – May Bank Holiday weekend in Paris, May 2003

May-time Saturday in Paris

Out and about à pied. We started off ascending to the Promenade Plantee, beautifully green and above the hustle and bustle of the busy weekend streets of the 12e. The path followed the old raised railway line, before descending and petering out in the streets around the disused Gare de Reuilly.

We navigated ourselves towards Bercy and the Seine, with the centreville to our right, cement towers and factories to our right, and a restored fireship on the water down below. We crossed to the Tres Grand Bibliotheque with its amazing sunken pine forest and four sky scraping towers, and an outdoors sculpture exhibition. Onwards, past the Gare d’Austerlitz, around the Jardin des Plantes (in search of a loo, in vain) ending up at one of my favourite Paris sites/sights – l’Institut du Monde Arabe, with its fantastic diaphragmes and roof top terrace views.

Further along the rive-gauche, we tracked down the Shakespeare and Co, one of the english bookshops, and after a mooch around there (Phil) and a sit in the sun (me), we headed onwards through the latin quarter to the other english language bookshop, (the San Fransisco bookshop I think it was called) around rue Danton which offered peace and tranquility after the hustle and bustle of Blvd Saint-Michel.

Sunshine and hunger pangs dictated that we resume our stroll with the intention of locating a pique nique prior to arriving at the Jardin de Luxembourg…. which we managed, albeit after detouring around in search of sustenance and to use the 40cent self-cleaning-loos.

Camembert and tomato sandwiches, plus half a flan each pepped us up (as did the jolie fleur from Phil – i was in tearful mood that day, goodness only know why) and provided the energy and incentive to fend off the pigeons and to indulge in some people-(and dust-bathing sparrow-) watching before upping sticks and setting off again.

Plan A, to catch a bus back to base, was foiled by the one way system, and plan B, to find a film in V.O. somewhere in town, was foiled by lack of anything on which we felt the urge to see which hadn’t already started. And that was having bought and perused PariScope (I’d forgotten it existed) sitting on a wall in the square outside the Hotel de Ville.

So we ended up sauntering back via Place des Vosges and Bastille, winding up at Hotel Trianon footsore and thirsty, and a touch pink due to the sunny day.

Forty winks later we ventured out in search of a meal, opting for restaurant Byzance, another boulevard diderot restaurant, offering Gastronomie de Grece et de Turquie. We had to return to the hotel via the scenic route to ease our overstuffed stomachs having indulged in the 19euro prix fixe menu. Oof!

Heading to Paris for May Day Bank Holiday

Last minute booking with – wait for it – LastMinute.com saw Phil and I heading for the Eurostar bright and early, rolling into Paris at lunchtime. The hotel, near to Gare de Lyon, could have only just scraped its 3*s, and the double bed proved to be 2 singles rolled next to one another. but fatal flaws, aside from our both being knackered.

Headed out to explore, taking the metro up to Charles de Gaulle-Etoile, and strolling around the 16eme, down to Palais de Tokyo where we went into the exhibition space. All a bit to heavy on the gritty realism, but the videos of Kyupi Kyupi and the morphing packaging containers were highlights. As were the M/F identifiers on the loo doors….

caught in a downpour at Trocadero overlooking the Eiffel Tower and the Champ de Mars, we headed for the sun, back towards avenue kleber, and strolled wearily along the right bank of the seine to S&S Paris, where I’d arranged to meet up Lucy Stewart for a drink. Very impressive offices, as is only to be expected in the 8eme, but most folks had headed home by the time we pitched up at 6.30.

I don’t think we were very vibrant company, and when we got back to the hotel c.8pm we both crashed out sleeping right through to 11pm. Thank heavens for France’s relaxed approach to late night dining – we dined in a local brasserie, still going strong when we left at midnight. Not too busy, or smoky (unusual for France), just right.

We’re off to Gay Paris

After much indecision on my part, I finally booked with LastMinute last night a 3 night stay at the Hotel Trianon Bastille, plus Eurostar return for £159 each for this coming Bank Holiday weekend. Not at all bad! Am now feeling v pleased, and have been seeking out useful info, like:

– Public transport with RATP Metro map, the travel planner, and ticket prices (and smiled at the link to “How to print our maps ? with a Macintoch“.
– The Hotel Trianon Bastille.
– And info on the 12e arrondissement, which is an unfamiliar part of Paris for me:
“Residential neighborhood bordered on the east by the Bois de Vincennes. What was formerly a humdrum neighborhood (Bastille area) rapidly gained chic art galleries, shops, theaters, funky jazz clubs, restaurants and bars, and is now one of the trendiest sections of Paris.” (1st Paris Hotels)