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Paris 2012 (20120723)

Maybe because I have stayed in Paris several times before, I decided to venture out a bit this time to see some different neighbourhoods.

I couldn't find a room right away, as the train station tourist office and a taxi driver wouldn't help me, so I was going to take the metro and look for one where I have been before, but then I thought, I'll first ask right across the street, so I ended up in the first hotel I went to, directly across from the Gare du Nord. {:-) There were many hotels in this area, and it was pretty clean and interesting. If you ever need a taxi in Paris, there are many parked right outside the station. The hotel, besides being directly across the street from the main train station, was even closer the the metro entrance.

I went for a walk later on the first night, and wandered past many previously unseen buildings, eventually coming to the opera house. I guess the area is called "Opera", and it is definitely up-scale. I originally wanted to see where my Air Madagascar office was on Hausmann, but after seeing that it was going to be several more blocks away, I headed for the Seine. I came across the huge Madeleine church, and then saw it was just a block away from Place du Concorde where they were constructing some ugly modifications. So, I had already impressed myself with two new neighbourhoods before I even crossed the Seine.

After, I walked up the left bank for awhile, keeping an eye out for a casual Italian restaurant for some more pesto pasta, and then I shot the Notre Dame in the evening light. I saw a small alley on the way that looked interesting, so I returned across the river for a few blocks and entered the alley. Holy shit! I don't know why I never saw, nor knew about the Saint Severin area in the Latin district before, but there were several narrow streets just saturated with vibrant restaurants, bars, shops and people, and it was almost midnight. So, I found a nice little Italian place, and had an excellent supper, even though the pesto was more creamy than I normally prefer. The wine and insalada caprese were superb.

Afterwards, I walked about 60 m down one narrow street to the west looking for a metro station, there one was, AND, it was the exact #4 line I needed to go directly back to my hotel. I think the Parisians have the metros figured out correctly, as I have read criticism about the stations being too close together, but it sure makes it convenient. So, my adventurous evening turned out to be way better than expected. {:-)

The next day I had planned to go to Reims to see the cathedral, and to Versailles to see the gardens, but after I found out that a train ticket to Reims would cost over 70 €, I decided that was a little steep to see a church. I also neglected to visit the Versailles gardens, as I figured it would be a nicer trip when it was sunny. Anyway, I did manage to get my Air Madagascar tickets at their office, which is the only place in the world I know I can buy them.

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