10 March 2011

Two Days in Paris

Technically, I only spent 24 hours in Paris rather than two days (and those 24 hours were infinitely more pleasant than the two days spent there by Julie Delpy and Adam Goldberg). Leaving work slightly early to hop on a Eurostar to Paris is very exciting indeed, especially for a Tuesday. You arrive in Paris 3h15 later (with the time difference) but that's OK because Parisians eat and go out later anyway (we ate at Les Editeurs, a favourite of mine near Odéon). Besides, they have such powerful heaters that you can eat dinner and sip your wine on the terrasse (well, pavement, anyway) even though it's March and still pretty nippy.

Giant leap in front of the Louvre, 2011

On the second day, a relatively early start is needed if you want to do a full Bex Tour. I like to walk a lot and I walk pretty fast so we managed to cover the 8.5 mile route shown below, starting in the 6th arrondissement and with stops for coffee, lunch and crêpes) before catching the métro from Trocadéro to Sevres-Babylone for a visit to Le Bon Marché (my favourite Parisian department store, although surprisingly disappointing on this occasion). Finally, as it started to get dark, we ambled back through Saint-Germain -- unlike much of the rest of the city, which was pretty dead, Saint-Germain was as heaving as ever.

View A Paris Perambulation in a larger map

There was just time for a quick dinner at Kong, where the 360-degree views over the Pont Neuf and the river are wonderful (as long as you book a table with a view) and the fillet steaks are perfect. And yes, I went there before the Sex and the City finale was filmed there. The time difference, of course, works in your favour on the way back so you can take a Eurostar from the Gare du Nord at 9.15 and be back in London for 10.30 p.m. local time.

The map shows the 8.5-mile route that took us from about 11 until 5.30, including the aforementioned pit stops. We weren't hurrying but I do tend to walk quite quickly, although there were also plenty of stops for photographs. If you're less familiar with Paris, you should definitely factor in more time or perhaps cut off either the Marais segment or the Eiffel Tower segment. Even so, the route manages to take in many of Paris's most famous sights (the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, the Louvre) and many places that are a little further from the beaten track. I've also included the places where we ate, drank and caffeinated, as well as a number of my favourites from previous trips.

The leap that started them all - April 2008
Of course, you don't have to make a fool of yourself by leaping in front of the Louvre (or the Eiffel Tower) but it is a lot of fun and for me, almost three years ago, it started a hobby. Besides, everyone else is too busy taking silly photos of themselves to pay too much attention to the girl who thinks she's really a five-feet-ten volleyball player...

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