When we woke up on the Tuesday, we checked out of our hotel, Le Chambre du Marais, and left our coats and bags behind to explore the local area. Our first stop of the day (surprisingly) wasn’t breakfast, but the Musee Picasso Paris. A gorgeous, modern, brightly lit building filled with some of Picasso’s greatest works; I was pleased to find that the Olga Picasso exhibition was still running. I love modern art and really enjoyed delving into the history of the artist himself. The museum focuses on his relationships with family, particularly his son, wife and lovers – and I’m nosey, so I loved it. Mum, on the other hand, wasn’t overly impressed and was keen to move on…
Before we did though, we were in desperate need of some caffeine and Parisian pastry, so we headed up to the roof of the museum to soak up some Vitamin D and indulge in a little breakfast. Everything was really warm and fresh and very fairly priced, so head up there if you’re after something light on a sunny day.
After a lengthy turn about the gift shop, we then headed off on our walk, heading towards a garden where a grandiose statue stands in a perfectly preened square. It’s here where you feel like you’re experiencing true Parisian architecture. Everything is immaculate and beautiful and romantic. I would have liked to have stopped for a coffee on this square as there were plenty of places to choose from, but we had lots to fit in, so kept on.
Mum is in charge of the productions her school puts on at the end of each summer, and last year, she chose Les Miserables – an ambitious choice for a primary school. Since then, she has wanted to visit Victor Hugo’s house, so in we went. We had a not-so-chic moment here where mum thought the security at the museum asked her to leave her bag at the door (and she did?!) and the guy on the door also thought I was under 22 – win.
His house was a little old and spooky and I was fascinated by the fact his wallpaper and carpets matched and clashed, something mum tells me is a trend returning to the world of interiors. (Even if it isn’t, I’m into it.) There were no English guides left as we walked around, which was a shame, but we sort of got the gist of what was going on. Once we had browsed the floors of Hugo’s house (definitely worth a visit if you are a fan, not so much if not), we strolled towards the church a friend of mine got married in just before Christmas. It’s such a gorgeous church, and is worth a visit even if it’s of no sentimental value. It’s epic, with high ceilings and statues adorning the sides, so definitely go if you like impressive buildings.
After we left the church, we grabbed a coffee to go and strolled towards the Notre Dame. Over bridges, along gorgeous streets, we followed our old school map towards the cathedral.
I was so, so impressed. I have only ever seen it with scaffolding across the front, but the building itself is what can only be described as epic. The intricate detail of the exterior and the huge spires that catapult from the top of it are so impressive. And the queue goes down super quickly, so don’t be put off and take a wander inside.
We crossed over the bridge towards the Latin Quarter (a very busy part of the city) to find Shakespeare & Company, a bookshop I have seen featured on Olivia’s blog a couple of times. A shop you’d expect to find on Diagon Alley; it’s all old and higgledy – piggeldy and you can’t take photographs inside. Look out for the quotes and clippings on the walls – I found these more impressive than the shelves of books they have inside.
On the doorstep of the store, you’ll find a lucky dip box, where you pay 6 euros to take a chance on their literary taste buds. Mum bought one for her friend, to say thank you for the clippings and recommendations and I walked away with a tote bag I use almost every day.
The night before, we checked out prices of boat rides along The Seine, as we wanted to see the city from a different angle. We chose to go from Du Pont Neuf, where tickets for an hour long boat ride cost just £12.00 (and if you grab a leaflet, you get a couple of euros off, which was a bargain!). You don’t have to book, so we just went along, picked up tickets and had an ice cream while we waited for it to arrive.
I normally hate tourist sodden attractions such as these but I honestly had the best time. The trip was so informative (mum was most pleased the guide looked like Paolo Nutini) and we learnt so much about Paris – my favourite piece of trivia being that the city expanded from an island and they built outwards, which is why there are so many bridges. I found that fascinating. The boat rides span across the whole city, and take you right back to where you started. If it’s a sunny day, I would highly recommend this boat tour. Once we got off the boat, we found a little square, Place Dauphine, where we sat on a bench and enjoyed a coffee outside a coffee shop, watching the world go by.
We wandered around St Germain for a while (I have to say, I wasn’t overly impressed) before crossing the bridge back over to The Louvre, to see if we would get in. Unfortunately, it’s closed on Mondays – worth noting – so that was a little unsuccessful. However, we enjoyed wandering around all the same and I got to take my favourite snap of the trip.
We went back to our hotel to pick up our things and wandered around Le Marais to find a quick bite to eat, but ended up grabbing a baguette and jumping on the Eurostar instead. We slept most of the way home and dad was waiting to pick us up from King’s Cross.
We honestly had the best 48 hours in Paris you could imagine. Of course, we didn’t see absolutely everything – The Pantheon; inside the Louvre; Musee d’Orsay; another church mum had her eye on. But I suppose it’s a great excuse to go back.
If you have any questions about any of the places we visited, do give me a shout, or if you have any further recommendations for our next trip, let me know. I hope you have enjoyed these posts. I know they’re a little different from my usual ones, but sometimes that’s not such a bad thing.
A bientot, mes amis!