23 July 2018

Prancing Again in Paris

We seem to have a habit of going away for a long weekend during the Easter holidays. Back in 2015, we went to Paris. The year after it was Dresden. And finally it was Oslo last year. This year we decided to go back to Paris, as after all I didn't have a good visit last time, due to food poisoning. And yes, there are plenty of things to see in the city after all. This visit would be my fourth visit to France, and I want it to be better than the previous ones, for obvious reasons.

Timing-wise, we luckily avoided strikes this time. We were booked on Eurowings, which wasn't striking at the time, unlike Air France. And the trains were also not striking during the days we were there; they were striking before as well as after, so it was a good timing I must say. The only wrinkle was the schedule change by Eurowings: we were supposed to be on a direct flight from Berlin to Paris, but somehow they apparently cancelled that route, so we had to change flights in Düsseldorf. There were also some delays, but thankfully we made our connection. This was during the evening of March 29, which was a Thursday. So we left work slightly early, and went direct to the airport.

We stayed in the 13th arrondissement this time, in the southern part of the city, near Place d'Italie and close to the Quartier Asiatique. Foodwise this location was a good choice. Oh, and we had a very lovely hotel, with staff that were the most cheerful and welcoming.

On Friday, March 30, we headed to the islands in the morning, and checked out the Conciergerie. The tickets for the Conciergerie also allowed us to see Sainte-Chapelle next door, but we saved that for the next day. In the afternoon, I actually met up with my former PhD adviser (he's French, and was in Paris during our visit), and spent the whole afternoon just walking around various districts in Paris while catching up with each other. It's been a while since I last saw him so it was great to see him again.

Saturday, March 31 was a day spent in and around the islands. Somehow we concentrated on this area of Paris this time. So apart from strolling the streets of the islands, we also checked out the Saint-Chapelle, which had amazing stained glass windows. After that, we headed south and checked out the Institut du Monde Arabe, which featured a very engaging museum on Arab culture. Since the day was long, we later on headed to the Château de Vincennes, which is actually outside of Paris in the east.

We opted to do a day trip on Sunday, April 1, by heading to Chartres. So we rode the train (which thankfully wasn't striking that day) and headed to the small town of Chartres a couple of hours away. We spent the day here exploring not only the famous church, but also the nice old town. The macarons here were divine!

Our last day was Monday, April 2, when we finally checked out of the hotel. But since our flight was not until the late afternoon, we still took the time in the morning to explore another area of Paris that we haven't been to yet. This time, we went to the Guimet Museum, which has one of the largest collections of Asian art. This museum is located in the 16th arrondissement, which is a fancy place I must say. The collections were fascinating, and we actually didn't have enough time to see everything.

After lunch, we headed back to our hotel, picked up our luggage, and headed to the airport. It was time to go home, and I must say I had a great time this time around. No food poisoning! There nevertheless are still plenty of things to see in Paris, and I can definitely imagine coming back again to check out other things I have missed this time.

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