Another weekend, another day in Paris…but I’m not complaining! Last week, I decided to make a day trip over to the French capital once more, to see a friend back from university. She was visiting for a week from the States and we thought it would be nice to meet up, catch up, and explore the city together. Plus, I had the day off (I don’t work Mondays), so it was a good opportunity to enjoy myself for the day.
With that said, I hopped the train on Monday morning and around 9h40 arrived in Paris. I went on foot over to the Montmartre district, which wasn’t as far as I’d thought it would be (according to Google Maps, it was about a 25-minute walk from the station; I got there in about 20 minutes). We met up at 10h00 at the base of the hill, from which we would take to go up to the Sacré Coeur, a basilica made famous by the French film Amélie and is situated on top of a hill in Paris, offering excellent views of the city from above.
…and so we began our ascent up to the Sacré Coeur. However, instead of choosing to take the funiculaire (cable car) up to the top, we took the iconic Rue Foyatier, a street/flight of stairs (222 steps total) which from the top can one get that romantic view of Paris. The pickpockets at the top, however, weren’t as romantic (hella annoying, to say the very least).
Nevertheless, we made it up to the Sacré Coeur; we did a quick visit of the inside before going around the corner to enter and climb the dome for city views. Had to pay 6 euros, but it was fine. The stairs were dizzying, to say the least, but I’ve had worse moments; my friend, who wasn’t used to what I call “European walking” (aka lots of walking in Europe), was struggling, but all the same we made it to the top and were rewarded with stunning views of the city. Paired with a looming shot of one of the domes, the views of the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame cathedral, and the Montparnasse Tower were worth it. Considering that my goal is to get as many views as possible from all over Paris, this one from the Sacré Coeur certainly didn’t disappoint!
Eventually, we descended the stairs and exited the Sacré Coeur. We hung around the terrace near the basilica before making our way down Rue Foyatier once more, making a sharp right at one of the small, narrow winding streets to visit le mur des je t’aime (“Wall of Love”), a large art piece constructed in 2000 which consists of the phrase “I love you” written in over 300 languages, meant to symbolize the universal language that is that of love. The red streaks scattered all over the wall is used to represent heartbreak, and the wall is a popular tourist spot, especially for couples. I might have recalled visiting this back when I studied abroad in Paris during university, but I can’t say for sure. All the same, it was a lovely place for plenty of photos (and photo shoots!).
Afterwards, we descended some more before returning to the base of the hill. We stopped by Moulin Rouge for a quick second before making the walk all the way to the Galeries Lafayette and the Printemps Haussmann, two rival department stores which feature floors of *very* expensive clothing brands including Gucci, Hugo Boss, Giorgio Armani, and the like. Of course, we didn’t buy anything, but rather just to take the escalators up to the top floor for terrace views of the city. The terrace was free at the Galeries Lafayette, but unfortunately, it was necessary to pay for the view at the Printemps Haussmann, since the only way to access from there was by going through a restaurant and buying something in the meantime. We decided to forgo the latter, and in any case, I assumed that the views were similar to those at the Galeries Lafayette, anyway. Stunning views, regardless of the overcast weather (typical of northern France in the early springtime).
We got a formule déjeuner (a set-priced lunch at the boulangerie, consisting of a sandwich, pastry, and drink) and took it to go to the nearest park to sit down and eat at. Afterwards, we wandered around some more near the Galeries Lafayette and Printemps Haussmann before deciding to buy some macarons at the latter, then popping into another boulangerie for an afternoon tea/coffee break. The reason why we bought macarons was that it was International Macaron Day (“Jour du Macaron”) that day, so why not celebrate it? I got three different flavors– cranberry, cheesecake, and Russian tea– and along with my tea, enjoyed them all (although the cranberry one was my favorite of all). 😛
Next, we decided to head over to le Marais district, where I’ve been countless times so far this year, just for the hip atmosphere and delicious food. It was about a 40-plus minute walk from where we were and granted, we got a bit lost trying to reach there, but eventually around 17h00, we made it over and popped into a small bar for “Happy Hour” drinks (5-euro beer for me, 4,50-euro wine for my friend). After shooting the breeze and enjoying our beverages, we headed out to L’As du Fallafel, a famous falafel joint which sells 6-euro falafel sandwiches which are absolutely divine. It’d been almost three years since I’d last been, and it was nice (and filling!) to have it again!
By the time we finished up our food, it was starting to get dark (around 19h00). We decided to call it a day, taking the metro and splitting off to go our separate ways (me back to Normandy, her back to her hostel). I took the 20h20 train, arriving back at my flat close to 21h30, tired, but satisfied with my day. Granted, my calves were hella sore for the rest of the week, but it was worth it.
Overall, it had been a great time returning to Paris once more this year. Every time I visit, I discover something new, and to see an old friend again, it made it even better. I hope to do the same with the subsequent visits I make to Paris in the following weeks (you can bet that I will do so!).
Thanks for reading- more travel adventures to come soon! 🙂
— The Finicky Cynic
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