“The City of Light” left us with mixed emotions. We love traveling and this was a trip we were very excited about. It is hard to get to know a city as grandiose as Paris in just one weekend but it is enough to feel the vibe and culture especially if you spend your time wandering the streets. That is exactly what we did. Not waiting hours in a queue for museum tickets left us with plenty of time to enjoy the architecture and to absorb as much of the Parisian lifestyle as possible. This is our favorite way of exploring a new place: intuitive street roaming.
We arrived early in the morning and managed to get from Charles de Gaulle Airport to our hotel in the 9th arrondissement within an hour using the metro. It was quite busy considering it was the weekend. Once at the hotel we left our bags and followed the advise of the receptionist to visit the famous Montmartre and the Basilica of Sacre-Coeur. This is where the unpleasant part of our trip happened. The neighbourhood around the Boulevard de Clichy and metro station Pigalle is apparently famous for the pickpockets and the so-called Bracelet Scam. I will not get into details as the internet is full of articles regarding this topic. My advise is, be careful if you decide to visit this area. We lost half a day trying to resolve the robbery and needless to say our first impression was completely ruined by this stressful incident. Thanks to the Paris Police however there was a happy end to our story.
Unfortunately the bitter aftertaste lingered for hours and we couldn’t completely enjoy the rest of the day. Nevertheless, we visited the Eifeltower and the overly crowded and full of lights Champs-Elysees.
This is the day when Paris showed its beauty to us. The moment we woke up we were out of the door and on our way to Le Marais. This is the district where you can fall in love with the city. So much history, so many exceptional buildings and monuments. The narrow streets, the cafes, the balconies full of flowers, the flea markets, the art galleries, the hip boutiques. It is all there. Our starting point was metro station Bastille and down Rue Saint-Antoine. We visited Place de Vosges, the oldest planned square in Paris where was once Victor Hugo’s house, now turned into a museum.
In the heart of Le Marais is Le Village de Saint-Paul, a pedestrian area with cobblestoned courtyards connected through small passages. This is where you can discover unique pieces presented by antique dealers, artists and designers. The atmosphere is serene and very inspiring.
Later on we followed our intuition and decided to go north from Rue de Rivoli. I believe in Le Marais you just cannot make a bad choice. Everywhere you turn will be magical and you will have no regrets.
There is everything you need. Historical buildings animated by the creativity of people. Small thrift shops, street art, handmade jewelry and hundreds of Boulangeries, Patisseries and Fromageries. Not the best place for vegans so we managed the whole day on fruit and chocolate. I believe what nurtured us was the euphoria from all the beauty surrounding us.
As we were hungry for more, the next logical step was to pay a visit to the Ile de la Cite and the precious Notre-Dame de Paris. The Gothic architecture leaves you breathless and filled with admiration. The statues, from the biggest to the smallest ones, are perfectly crafted; all the ornaments flawlessly decorating this majestic building.
Next stop was the Pantheon in the 5th arrondissement. First crossing Seine,
exploring more from the romantic streets of the district,
and then finally reaching it. Built as a church, the Pantheon functions nowadays as a mausoleum storing the remains of famous French people. “AUX GRANDS HOMMES LA PATRIE RECONNAISSANTE”.
After a day full of unforgettable emotions we had to finally find a place to eat. Fortunately Paris offers a few places even to the ones who do not favor meat and cheese. We managed to locate the vegan restaurants using the trusty Happy Cow App. The one we chose for this night was Hank Vegan Pizza on 18 Rue des Gravilliers. It was a cosy restaurant with pizza slices, salads and desserts. We left happy 🙂
On the way back to the hotel there was one last place we needed to see. Although only from outside.
Marvellous! Next time we are going in.
As if that was not enough. Look at this lovely, bejeweled metro station.
Thank you Paris for managing to erase the not so good first impressions. Your history and culture are worth more than a few people trying to overshadow it.
Ciao 4 now ❤