I recently stopped off in Paris, where I really put the ‘mini’ in ‘mini-break’ – giving myself just 30 hours to savour the city of lights and love.
Despite having visited 8 times, it’s never quite lived up to the ‘Passport to Paris’ adventure that my young teen self yearned for…no fancy apartment from Grandpa to stay in, no French models giving me a personal tour, or worst of all, no moped rides! But this time I had more realistic goal – visit as many museums and sights as I could.
I wanted to stay walking distance from the museums on my checklist and found a relatively afforable room at Hotel Therese – it had a bit of an identity crisis, but if you strip everything down: the location was central, the bed was perfect, the water pressure couldn’t be better and the Wi-Fi passed the test too. After dropping off my bag I headed on foot to the the first museum, passing the Royal Palais Garden and the Louvre on my way.
As I left the museum, the Eiffel Tower seemed so close so I decided why not go for a walk! Some 45 minutes and three wrong turns later I made it. I did spend 15 minutes people watching on Pont Alexander III, the best bit was the 4 wedding/engagement/love photo shoots all happening at once – I can still picture them all fighting for the perfect spot!
Can you imagine that in 1889 this was the tallest building in the world? And it was supposed to be scrapped right after the Universal Exposition was over? The view from Trocadero is the spot to get that postcard shot that will secure you the most likes. But as the sun had already set and the fountains were off, it did look a tad dark and depressing. My cue to exit was a street artist who was choking out a really bad cover song.
I don’t mind eating alone, but it sure is more fun to have someone to talk to and it was great to catch-up with this Brazilian girl I met in a hostel in Dublin years and years ago. She recommended a small bistro, where we chowed down on a Steak Tartare followed by a creme brulee and talked successful adulting (and the long road we still have to go).
The next day The Musée d’Orsay was my first stop. It focuses on Impressionist Western art (your Monet, Renoir and van Gogh) from the 1800s-1900s. The museum is located in a former train station (and after years of vacancy, it was decided in 1986 that it should become a museum) so you can imagine how grand it is so you don’t just want to see the art, but also several corners of the museum, such as its stunning clocktower.
I also don’t mind looking at art by myself, but there is no one to talk to while queueing, get annoyed about people cutting queues, or give random theories about masterpieces. Thank God for Europe Roaming. Plus side was that I could stop anywhere I wanted for a quick snap without feeling too guilty.
Centre Pompidou was so much love, it starts off with the building itself: built inside to create an optimal exhibition space and the exposed glass and steel designed to reveal the beauty of the building techniques. If that wasn’t enough, it has a library, restaurant, rooftop viewing point and a modern art museum with the biggest collection of modern art in Europe.
I love modern art and as I can’t even draw a stick man I am easily impressed by anything, but if it isn’t for you get the €5 Paris view tickets where you get to see both Sacre Ceueur and Eiffel Tower.
My 30 hours in Paris ended too soon, and though it’ll never be Olsen level, departing with my baguette and snoozing on a smooth-as-hell train journey I felt I could easily be a straight-to-video star (or maybe save my story for the sequel)…