Arriving at St Pancras at some unholy time in the morning, 11 or something (more painful than it sounds when you are coming straight from a night shift), and after a fairly painless passage through security, its onto the Eurostar for the just over two hour trip from central London into Paris. Thankful for ticking the option to upgrade to the standard premium service we enjoyed the increased leg room and provided food and drink, definetely worth the extra £8.
Arriving at a bustling Gare du Nord a quick stroll down the concourse to the metro, grabbed a book of ten T+ tickets, which are valid within Zone 1 of the Paris transport system, which gets you to all the main sites and you can share them between you. So much cheaper than getting around in London.
From Segur station and a quick walk with an impressive view, we checked into our hotel the Hotel Villa Saxe Eiffel, dropped the bags and headed out unencumbered for an epic mooch.
As we were short on time we hopped back on the metro to Cluny – La Sorbonne station to start our mission of taking in as many sites in a day, a quick stop for a caffeine infusion, then on down the Boulevard Saint-Michel taking in the University on route to take in the Pantheon and all of its domed columned grandness.
Marvelling at the impressive architecture everywhere.
Heading north up the Rue de la Montagne Sainte Genevieve towards the Seine, crossing on the Pont de l’Archeveche you cannot miss Notre Dame Cathedral.
The spire rises towards the sky while the huge flying buttress’ appear to sprout from the building anchoring it into the landscape. Sadly no time to waste in the huge queue to go up the towers and look for Quasimodo (maybe next time)
Over the Pont Notre-Dame and back along the Seine, stopping to collect some provisions for a picnic lunch of salami, cheese, bread and of course macarons (what else would you get in Paris).
Having been previously a fort and royal palace the Louvre is quite impressive and the addition of the vast glass pyramid does not diminish this. Yet another huge queue but we are not here to take in the staggering collection of art, that is for another visit (or two), it does house some of my favourite sculptures. Our goal was the Jardin des Tuileries for lunch, finding a surprisingly quiet spot hidden amongst the hedged avenues we enjoyed our meal with an audience of pigeons eager to assist us by clearing our crumbs.
Fueling up with the addition of an ice cream our journey continued through the Place de la Concorde and onto the Champs Elysees.
A short detour to take in the Grand Palais with its huge green house style roof.
Up through the hussle and bussle of shoppers to the Arc de Triomphe, quite possibly the worlds most famous round-about, you take your life in your own hands driving round it.
Starting to succumb to the fatigue we ambled down the Avenue d’lena, we aimed for the quintessential and possibly most iconic structure in Paris and in the direction of the hotel.
Security is fairly tight around the base of the tower as would be expected given the current situation, our timing must have been good though as the queue to get through the metal detectors was quite short. Unlike the queues to get up the tower using the elevator, but if you don’t mind taking the stairs the queue was pretty short (seems people would rather stand around for hours rather than go up a few steps). We’d walked quite a bit by this point but took the stairs anyway having an almost pathalogical aversion to queuing.
The views are well the effort and our ticket gave us access to the second tier, a further ticket is required to get to the very top (again something for next time). Fortunately you can take the lift down its packed but not sure could take any more steps.
After all that walking the desire to seek out a proper meal was high and with the assistance of our old friend Trip Advisor we found Le Bistrot de Maelle et Augustin, with in walking distance of our hotel.
The food and service in the small bistro where exceptional, and the bill quite reasonable for a city eatery. Tired and with aching feet the hotel was a welcome sight. The room was comfortable and a long bath to soak those achey feet. It is conveniantly located in a pleasant part of town near the UNESCO building and easy walking distance to the Eiffel tower. Definetly a recommended hotel and will be staying their again.