Tag Archives: paris

Travel Post: Paris with many parks and a fond farewell

It’s Wednesday, and I’m sitting in a train that has just departed from the Gare de l’Est and is rapidly gaining speed.  My initial destination was going to be Reims, but I got home last night and discovered an anxious message from my penfriend – apparently, Paris had been having big and rather violent protests during the day (several of which I appear to have just missed), and the SNCF strikes were on again.  I considered my itinerary – Paris to Reims, Reims back to Paris, Paris to Kaiserslautern – and decided that the odds of at least one of these trains being cancelled was quite high.  I have been *extremely* fortunate with strikes and everything else in Paris, but there is such a thing as pushing one’s luck.  So I cancelled all my Reims bookings and am now headed straight for Mainz a few days early.  I’m sad to miss Reims, but I had visions of taking days to get myself to Germany from there if the trains stopped…

I decided that Monday, the day when most museums are shut, would be a good day for walking around the 19th and 20th arondissements and crossing off some of the parks on my list (I had a LIST, oh yes.  It had chocolates and patisserie and museums and parks, all sorted by arondissement and by priority, and with the arondissements grouped by proximity, so that on any given day I could choose which collection of items to cross off.  It is possible that I am a tad over-organised, but I was a Catherine with an AGENDA, which included at least a brief visit to every arondissement in Paris, and there was no time to waste!), so I started the morning by exploring the park at Buttes Chaumont.

My inner Metro geek was delighted to discover this involved going on line 7 bis, which I haven’t been on before.  I spent a little bit too much time on my journey trying to work out which Metro lines I had been on during this trip.  Certainly 1, 2, 3, 5, 7 and 7bis, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14.  Probably 4 and 6.  Probably not 8 and 9.  Certainly not 3b.  I did a fair bit of walking and bus travel, and didn’t take notes.  Next time, I shall be systematic…

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This is actually a modern park, and I think a constructed one.  It’s very hilly (if you look at the Crypte Archéologique in my previous post, you can see the Butte Chaumont even on the map of the pre-settled area of Paris), very popular with joggers, and has unexpected water features and a gazebo.

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Travel Post: Paris and the Subterranean Weekend

On Saturday, the floods having retired somewhat (I sent out a dove to check), I decided it was time to start my proper underground exploration of Paris. And with garbage strikes allegedly over, but rubbish nonetheless still piled high on the streets, it seemed timely to investigate the sewers of Paris.  (My hostess warned me that it might be smelly, but I pointed out that right now, I was probably as used to smells as I was going to get.  It’s not that Paris has been unremittingly stinky, but with the warm weather, one does detect a certain aroma as one passes the rubbish bins…

I began making my way down towards the seventh arondissement, but then realised that I was going to be too early for the sewers, and decided to stop by the Rodin museum on the way.  As you do.

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Travel Post: Paris, with Bois de Boulogne, Saint Denis, and some museums

So.  After my perfect Paris chocolate day (which still makes me smile whenever I think of it – it really was an absolute gift), I realised that Wednesday could not POSSIBLY live up to the same level of Parisian wonderfulness, and that was OK.  Really, one fantasy-Paris day in a visit should be enough for anyone.

On Wednesday, therefore, I decided to get started on my project of walking through as many arondissements in Paris as I could.  Having already explored the Tuileries Gardens (before getting distracted by chocolate), I took the Metro to the Place de Concorde, and began heading westward along the Champs Élysées.

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The Champs actually starts out quite leafy and green, but pretty quickly becomes a very busy and rather touristy and expensive shopping strip.  There is even a McDonalds, which I thought was a little sad.  I walked along, and snuck into a FNAC to pick up my concert tickets for later in the week and continued my approach to the Arc de Triomphe.

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Eating Good Things In Paris

I am, in fact, still writing my travel diaries, but adding pictures on this laptop is an absolute pain in the neck, and they still come out sideways half the time, so I probably won’t post any more of those updates until I’m in Australia again.  (And have dealt with the 16 ungrouped independents on the Senate ballot, aargh.)

But since tonight is my last night in Paris, I thought it was timely to write a post about the best meals I’ve had here, and also about the best patisserie I’ve had here.  I will add photographs at a later date, but good food information is always urgent, and now you will know why I will be radio silent until after the election, probably.

Edited on October 14 – I have finally added the photos!  Sorry this took so long.

Excellent Meals In Paris

I have to admit, I have found some terrible meals in Paris.  I had quite the run of bad luck last week, culminating in Café Panorama in Montmartre, which managed the brilliant combination of really poor service and really terrible food (I didn’t know you could make steak that tough and dry), with the waiter then getting terribly offended that I didn’t stay for dessert, even though I’d paid for it.

But I have also had some amazing meals.

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Travel Post! Shakespeare’s Globe, and a Preview of Paris!

Up until now, I’ve been virtuously writing up events in the order they happen, but I really do have to start with Paris today and go backwards.  You see, I’m sitting right now at a beautiful, old-fashioned, fold-out desk like my grandmother used to have, with the fireplace on my right and the open window on my left, through which I can see a courtyard garden and hear what I suspect is a blackbird singing.

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My bedroom has wallpaper with little sprigs of flowers, and antique-looking furniture and a rug on the floor, and is basically the most idyllic possible place to be writing.  I might never leave.

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This is my room in Paris. Continue reading

Travel Diary: Paris part 3 – Chateau de Vincennes, and farewell Paris!

In which our heroines are reunited, and discover the most perfect castle that Catherine has ever seen.  And then they go on a Ferris wheel!

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Travel Diary: Paris Part 2, with Farmers’ Markets and the Bois de Vincennes

In which our heroine actually has the day she envisaged when she first thought about going to Paris.

(This almost never happens)

And then she goes to Versailles, and finds beautiful gardens and too many tourists, but not the exit…

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Travel Diary: Paris Part 1

In which I manage to totally avoid tourists, mostly by staying in parts of Paris that are completely un-picturesque…

Also, I buy a lot of chocolate.  And a cookbook.  Nobody is surprised. Continue reading