After arriving at Gare du Nord at noon and checking into my very basic hotel (very cheap and central – you can’t have it all), I strolled leisurely to my first stop: the restaurant Marcel on Rue de Montmartre for a very late breakfast. They have great iced coffee, waffles, eggs, sandwiches and salads – I found the place in this blogpost.
Afterwards I walked over to the Louvre to NOT see the pyramid – and it looked even cooler than on the many photos I had already seen on Instagram. Here’s mine:
JR is a genius and I love everything he does, from his large-scale paste-ups to the Inside Out project to Wrinkles of the City, to work he did with the NYC ballett a few years ago. On my way I also walked through the beautiful Galerie Vivienne and stopped by the Palais Royal court with Daniel Burens black-and-white-striped columns:
My next stop was the Bercy village. I took the metro line 6 from Etoile to get there which is a bit of a detour but the line runs mostly on elevated tracks and you get nice views of the city. My favourite part is crossing the Seine river on the Bir-Hakeim bridge and catching a glimpse of the Eiffel Tower.
In Bercy I first stopped by the Cinematheque Francaise – Frank Gehrys first building in Paris. Then I strolled through the super cute Parc de Bercy – such a nice and relaxed park compared to the super busy parks in the center like Tuileries for example. Then I got to Bercy Village which used to be the largest wine market in the world. Now its 42 warehouses are turned into shops and restaurants. I had cake and a smoothie at Factory & Co. and they’re were both fine but not spectacular.
My next stop was the Jardin de Reuilly and then a walk over the Promenade Plantee, the original High Line: a linear park built on an abandoned railway. With the flowers in bloom I liked it much better then during my last visit in December 2014. From there I walked past Gare du Lyon to the super instagrammable Rue Cremieux with its colorful houses and cobble stoned street.
On Thursday (my birthday!) I took the metro crosstown to Montparnasse – I wanted to walk but it was already almost 30 degrees and the heat really gets to me these days. I had breakfast at the American restaurant “the coffee club“: Iced coffee, fresh grapefruit juice and a perfect avocado toast. I can highly recommend this place!
After, I walked over to Tour Montparnasse, the tallest tower in Paris which has a panoramic floor on the 56th floor and a rooftop observation deck with a 360 degree view of Paris on the 58th. General admission is 15€ but for 20€ you’ll get a ticket that allows you to visit twice in 48 hours: one time during the day and one time at night and that’s what I choose to do.
The views from up there are breathtaking! I can highly recommend doing that instead of the Eiffel Tower: It is cheaper than going up the Eiffel Tower, the lines are shorter (or non-existent) and you’ll get to see the cityscape including its most famous landmark.
After a nap and a cold shower at home I revisited the Fondation Louis Vuitton. I had visited in December 2014 shortly after it opened and loved the building (as I do love every Gehry building) and the addition of the colorful panels by Daniel Buren on the 11 “sails” made it even better! It is still on view until May 2017 – go and see it if you can!
Taking the shuttle bus back to Charles De Gaulle (Etoile) I walked down Champes Elysees which is way too crowded for my taste but beautiful nevertheless. I love the views along the Avenue towards the Arc de Triomphe or the ferris wheel at Place de la Concorde.
Later on I took the metro back to Tour Montparnasse to see the city from above at night. And it was also absolutely stunning: I spent almost 3 hours up there (they’re open until 23.30h) watching the sun set behind the Eiffel Tower, the lights going in and then at 22.30 the light show in the Eiffel Tower. People around screamed with excitement when the light show started but I find it to be absolutely tacky.
On my third and last day I had breakfast at La Recyclerie: a hip restaurant in an abandoned railway station, which I had already visited on my last trip and had loved it.
After that I visited Parc de la Vilette in the north of Paris which is Paris’ biggest park that hosts concert halls, a cinema, exhibition halls, lots of playgrounds, lawns and the Cité des sciences et de l’industrie and so much more.
Walking along the water (Bassin de la Vilette) I found myself at Pavilion de Caneaux, a little house right at the water which is turned into an café. I had read about it my last trip but didn’t make it there then, and I’m so happy that I got there this time. It’s the cutest café I’ve ever been to: you can sit, drink & eat in every room of the house including the bathroom! They also have a beer garden around the house which is absolutely beautiful in summer. Definitely a new favorite in Paris!
After lunch there I kept on walking along the Canal de Saint Martin. Several travel books & blogs told me that the Parisians don’t hang out at the Seine in summer but at the Canal instead. It runs through Paris in two parts (it’s under a tunnel in the center) and is such a great spot to chill. Lots of people were sitting at the riverbank reading or pick-nicking with friends. I wish I had more time to just sit down under a tree and read a book and people watch for a while.
Before heading to the train station to take the Thalys back home I had coffee at Le Comptoire General, a hidden spot near the canal and also a new favorite:
I would have loved to stay longer in this beautiful place but I was running out of time and could only enjoy a quick coffee. But you can read more about it in this blogpost.