Paris, December 2023

  • Post category:Europe / France

Our final train journey was booked as 2.5 hour fast train between Rotterdam and Paris.  Instead of leaving Rotterdam @ 13:30 and getting into Gare du Nord at 16:00 we arrived after 21:00 having sat on a siding 20 kilometres outside Rotterdam for an hour, returned to Rotterdam. Then, because the train was unable to travel on the fast tracks due the maintenance issue, we took a convoluted journey around the Netherlands, before heading to Belgium.  Once we got to Brussels, we rejoined the fast networks and were in Paris in the blink of an eye, 8 hours after leaving Rotterdam. On the positive side the Railways refunded 50% of our ticket price for the delays. 

Seeking a bit of culture we visited the Museum Carnavalet  which focuses on the history of Paris – an underrated and free museum with a huge and diverse collection of historical Parisian items. 

On another day we went to the museum of the liberation of Paris .  It gave insight into various aspects of the city and Parisians around the time of the liberation .  It also focused on 2 of the key French players of the time General Leclerc, a Free-French General, and Jean Moulin, a resistant.  It was a good collections that felt interactive and was a well-done installation. 

Visiting a Christmas market was a must.  Even though they are pure consumerism, it was nice to wander about and eat, drink, and enjoy ourselves around lots of other people having a nice night out.  The mulled wine was good, and even perhaps traditional.  The Churros made by a cheery team of Indians, were probably as non-traditional as the people making them, but they were very good anyway.

We revisited the Les Papilles bistro for lunch.  We arrived as they opened and were initially worried we were going to be the only patrons for their entire lunch service, but the locals arrived just a little bit later than us.  At the other end of the dining scale we returned to Chartier , where the history is long, the food simple and the bill written on the paper tablecloth.  The sausages with creamy mashed potato could not be faulted and cost a few euro only. Andrew made a small error and ordered a Pitcher of Sangria rather than a Pichet of wine – but it was nice Sangria, even if not entirely expected.

At one point  we walked past the Pantheon and decided neither of us had been inside before.  We thought it would be a short look and explore. Instead it was far more extensive than expected with hidden corridors, extensive interment crypts, and monuments. While we hadn’t expected the scale of the Pantheon we very much enjoyed

It was also time to revisit to the Louvre on our last day.  We were in the 1st admissions timeslot and as we spread out into the galleries, it was as if there was no one there. By the time we were finished our visit the museum was crowded, so the experience of have entire galleries to ourselves was remarkable. 

There was a little bit of symmetry to finish the trip seeing the replica Caryatids in the Louvre when our trip had started  seeing the replica Caryatids in Athens at the Acropolis.

Stayed near Gare de l’est

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Jane Jordan

    I loved reading of your visit to Les Papilles Bistro, brought back super memories thanks to your recommendation 7 years ago!!

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