Paris is a place in which we can forget ourselves, reinvent, expunge the dead weight of our past. -Michael Simkins
Travel is indeed more splendid when you have good friends to experience it with. Our London Rendezvous was as expected – short lived! We will be chuckling at all the fun things we did :)) Alas, it was time to part ways as we ventured to our next destinations. Quite disappointed to approach the end of our trip but , of course, Paris was a fitting end. Our last 3 full days were savoury in the World’s most glorious and perplexing city!
It was a breeze commuting via eurail to Paris. We were marveling at how simple travellers could cross borders in a few hours time. If only it was this easy in the Philippines.
Pass the mob at Gare De Lyon, we headed to Hotel Gavarni. Set in a redbrick Haussmann-style building, this modest hotel is 5 minutes’ walk from Passy metro station and about 10 minutes’ walk from the Eiffel Tower. My sister highly recommended this quaint hotel as they were all so happy the last time they stayed here. My constant pre-arrival reminders also assured us of a free upgrade to a Junior Suite :)). Most of their staff were Filipino 🙂 Hospitable and only too concerned to ensure we had a memorable experience in Paris.
We quickly deposited our things in the room and brisk walked to the Eiffel Tower. After some time enjoying the views, we took the train to Champs Elysees. Strolling down the Grand Promenade was an experience of its own. We mused along shops until it was time to select a restaurant for our early dinner. Leon De Bruxelles seemed a popular, no-frills restaurant along the avenue. The sight of mussels cooked in butter and herbs was enough to tip us over. Indeed! It was delicious!
While researching for tours, I came across this site called booking.parisinfo.com. It offered several options to see the city according to one’s interests. We opted for the 2 Day Paris Passlib card which included: unlimited access to buses, metros and trams in certain zones around the City, special entries to a list of Museums http://en.parisinfo.com/what-to-see-in-paris/paris-pass/paris-museum-pass and a 1-hour romantic cruise on the Bateaux Parisien. It was such a good deal while we enjoyed Paris at our own pace.
Day 2 began with a convenient cruise down the River Seine. From the Eiffel Tower stop, we glided past the city’s famous landmarks such as the Notre Dame Cathedral, the Louvre and historic bridges, the Pont Neuf most notably.
We then headed to Montmarte – a lively, bohemian neighbourhood Parisians often hailed as their version of “The Village” (New York). Montmartre has a unique ambience. Joie de vivre is everywhere – at merry-go-rounds, sidewalk cafés, and impromptu street performances. Tourists flock to the stunning Sacré-Coeur Basilica on the highest point of Mont Martyr where the martyr Saint Denis was buried. The atmosphere inside the sanctuary is solemn, but outside, is a celebration of life. Visitors enjoy the view from the Basilica’s terrace; others lounge on the grassy esplanade while listening to street musicians. A few steps away are the open-air art gallery of Place du Tertre and several museums displaying works by Renoir, Picasso, Dalí, and Toulouse Lautrec, who made this area an artists’ colony.
We ventured aimlessly until we arrived at the Boulevard Saint-Germain. Stepping into the Latin Quarter was surreal. The area was artsy and eclectic with its quintessential Parisian cafés, quirky bookshops, and stylish students.
After some R&R by Boulevard Saint-Michel, we made our way through the side streets to Musee D’ Orsay.
It was an action packed day. Dinner was especially outlined for L Entrecote, our favourite.
Day 3 was all about the Louvre. I immersed myself in history and beauty until the end of my husband’s consideration. A day in the Louvre is never enough but I agree – it gets overwhelming.
We decided to spend the afternoon shopping along Boulevard Haussman, sampling Macarons and just absorbing as much Parisian vibe we could take into heart before heading home.
” Breaking away from routine, getting completely away — even through a trip as short as a week — and being ready, inviting healing in, can be that vital catalyst that sets you back on the road to wholeness. No, you’ll never be the same, and yes, you’ll have only memories and photographs where once there was a person who made you feel more alive. But you can start down a new path, just as the journey you undertook pulled you out of your comfort zone long enough and far enough away to help you see that it was possible.”
The trip did us well. It was just what I needed to reboot my senses and priorities. I was reminded to appreciate life instead of mourning the recent loss. I traveled, not only physically, but into a new place within myself.