A Perfect Weekend in Paris: New Sights

When Alessio is tired, he gets grumpy. I am exactly the same, so it’s a very good job we are rarely ever tired at the same time. I was exhausted after our first night, so I slept straight away and woke up like a daisy. Alessio did not. He had to be prized out of bed and was grizzly.

Our first task was to visit a food market. I may have dropped the ball with this one. We went to Passy Couvert Market, which turned out to be lovely and made us salivate but there was nothing in the way of breakfast. As a result, Alessio dragged me through it quicker than the time it took me to write this sentence.

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Instead we found a little boulangerie and took some bits, for me a nice, soft madeleine and a financier, and for Alessio a huge indescribable object which was really an oversized, glorified pain au chocolat.

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Passy was a busy area for us to walk around, with a lovely set of steps leading us down to a lush garden.

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We strolled around for a while before heading onwards by metro to Ile-du-St. Louis.Ile-du-St. Louis is quite small, and very quiet, but it was a nice part of town to stroll around before moving onwards to the popular Marais.

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Le Marais, like St Germain was a place I had never been to before, despite how much it was well on the tourist track. It was nice and the architecture was beautiful. We visited a church around Rue Saint Antoine, as I like to find churches to light candles for my Mum and this one was beautiful.

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The part I particularly enjoyed was Rue des Rosiers.

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Unlike the rest of sleepy Paris on this Sunday, Rue des Rosiers was bright and alert, with queues snaking out of the cafés for metres. This district has a lot of kosher bakeries and Jewish owned shops, whose owners rest for Shabat on Saturday, not Sunday.

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I took a baguette from a gorgeous bakery, and Alessio took a schnitzel baguette from a restaurant where the customers were queueing outside.

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Before we could arrive at Place des Vosges, after several scorching days in both London and Paris, it began to rain. The weather remained warm, but all of Paris sought shelter. Dashing under awning after awning, we made it to the Place des Vosges and we took the time to circle under the sheltered walkways until the rain stopped after a few minutes, and the sun came out, hotter than the last time.

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From here, we began an aimless walk around the area, eventually concluding in us walking to the Pompidou museum, and onwards through the second arrondisment to see Les Passages Couverts.

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It was becoming too hot to keep walking like this, and my head was hurting. We decided to return to the room for a little rest stop, and a famous argument. It wouldn’t be a blog post on Trashgirl on Tour without us arguing at least once now, would it?

Being a Sunday in France, I was very aware that finding a restaurant that was open, good and available for walk-ins would not be a simple task. I woke up a little earlier from my nap to some time perusing the open restaurants to see which ones would be open for us to dine. Alessio began rushing me and telling me to hurry up finding the restaurant before they all closed. So I handed him my phone and told him to find the restaurant, and do it quickly. He couldn’t. Exactly.

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St. Germain seemed to have the most open restaurants, and since I was apparently on a timer, we went there and found a relatively decent restaurant where I took a ravioli quattro formaggi in tomato and basil sauce, and Alessio took a pizza with parma ham. We shared for the most part, and although my plan was to quit being pescatarian in Paris, I am still yet to eat meat because none of the meat dishes have felt worth it yet. In Asia I joked that the way we would break up with each other was to tell the other person we’d become vegetarian. Suddenly, after what I thought was a pleasant meal, Alessio became cold and untalkative.

I prized it out of him that the problem was I has spent the whole time on my phone. After making such a big deal out of finding a nice restaurant and arguing over that, I had spent the whole time on my phone. The whole time? Surely not, I remember only picking it up to show him a friend. I didn’t even have wifi. Unfortunately, my reflex is to laugh in situations where I’m being held accountable for being a dick, and this annoyed him further. I had to sincerely apologise if there was any chance of Parisian sex tonight. And to be a good person. I was sincerely sorry. I do hate when people spend all their time on the phone when we go for a nice day. He was right.

We went home via the Champs Elysées again, taking time to snap a couples selfie and pretend we didn’t just spend the whole evening falling out. It set the tone for the rest of the evening, where we indulged in the Paris romantic spirit.

That cancelled out the bad mood, and we headed to bed in order to wake up fresh for our final morning.

It was an early start because not only did we need to eat a good, delicious breakfast but we also needed to visit the Parc de Belleville upon a recommendation. Our breakfast would be at Des Gateaux et du Pain, a restaurant that came highly recommended for croissants. When we arrived, we discovered it was sadly shut for another hour. We had to choose between pastries and Parc de Belleville, and of course, I chose pastries.

It was so worth it. I can now say I’m not sure I’ve had a good croissant until now. The perfect balance of flaky, crisp and chewy, whilst also definitely being filling.

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We had a lot of time to kill, so we found a Richart patisserie to pick up some macarons, and then headed towards the coach terminal.

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At Pére Lachaise we realised we still had enough time to rush to Parc du Belleville, so we did, we admired the views over Paris and headed back to Gallieni with enough time to board our smelly, but less eventful coach back to London.

And so we concluded our trip in beautiful Paris. The city of love, history, culture and food. Despite the beauty, something ate at my core. In some of the wealthiest districts, the reality of the refugee crisis couldn’t be more apparent.  Walking down the Champs Elysées, you will see rough sleepers begging. Many of them are families with a husband, wife and toddlers. These are toddlers who have to sleep on the street and beg for meals because of the disastrous situation in their country. We gave money, but I know in the end even €50 in Paris is probably not enough to fully nourish a family of four with small children, when you don’t have a bed or kitchen. I don’t know what can be done, I don’t even know if it is within my power to help in the smallest way, but it’s harsh and brought home just how lucky I am – however, there but for the grace of God go I.

I will return home with the memory of what a beautiful place Paris always is, but also the more heartbreaking memory of how many families are really struggling.

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