COMMUTING TO PARIS: A relaxing city break

I’ve been to Paris many times, and it’s always WONDERFUL. There’s no way to get it wrong in the French capital, as the city is so beautiful and there’s so much to do.

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We hopped on the Eurostar after work on a Friday and got to Paris still in time for dinner. We ate at Cafe Pinson, a veggie cafe that served amazing food. They also had a very nice quinoa beer. Dinner for two cost 50€.

Centre Pompidou and Notre Dame

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It was a rainy day, so we decided to stay inside and visit the Pompidou Centre. The permanent collection is great, and they also had a Jeff Koons exhibition on. As you climb through the many escalators, you get beautiful views over Paris (even through the rain).

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We had lunch at a Lebanese cafe nearby and then crossed the river to get to the Notre Dame. There was a long queue, but we got in fairly quickly. But with so many tourists inside, it’s often better simply to stay outside taking in all the little details of the impressive façade.

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In the evening we had dinner at 42 Degres, a raw food restaurant. It was Valentine’s Day, so they had a special menu full of pretty dishes. The food was good and the service really friendly. A 5-course meal for two including drinks and tip for 118€ – good for a special treat.

La Villette

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We started the Sunday at Parc de le Villette, a very nice park which has many arts and entertainment venues. It’s only a few stops from Gare du Nord, but it’s already much less touristic than most attractions in the city centre.

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There were lots of people exercising about. We walked around the park, stopping to take photos of the many unusual buildings, such as the spheric Geode (which happens to be a cinema) and the new modernistic Philharmonic.

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Bastille

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We had a quick lunch at MOB, a vegan burger place. Food was nice but a bit expensive (almost 20€ for burgers and chips for 2) and quite pretentious.

We then stopped for a beer around Bastille. This is a good area to go for a drink as there are lots of bars around, and it gets quite busy in the evenings.

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We headed back to the hotel for a little break, then went for a beer at Belushi’s. I don’t normally choose to go to Belushi’s as it’s a chain of bars associated with St Christopher’s Inn hostels (just look at their website and you’ll immediately hate it), but actually this one was actually pretty good.

We ended our evening with a nice meal at Saravanaa Bhavan, a veggie Indian restaurant that served delicious dosas. Dinner for two cost 34€ including tip.

Then it was time to get back to the hotel. Early in the morning we got on the Eurostar and commuted back to work. What a nice little break!

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HOW TO DO IT:

  • Go: The Eurostar is the best option from London, as it’s often cheaper than flying, it’s less hassle to go through security and you arrive right at the city centre!
  • Stay: We stayed at Le Rocroy, which was very convenient as it’s 5 minutes from Gare du Nord. Paris has lots of options for accommodation but prices are generally high, so do your research and book in advance.
  • Do: Paris is really easy to visit as there’s just so much to see and do. Grab a copy of the Pariscope at any news stand to find a comprehensive listing of events around the city.
  • Museums and churches: Museums in Paris cost around 15€ to get in. Check before you go as many are closed on Mondays or Tuesdays. Churches are generally free to visit but you pay to enter specific areas (such a treasury or a tower).

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