Paris again

PARIS, FRANCE

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I couldn’t wait to head back to Paris. I’d enjoyed it so much the first time and yet there was still so much to see. Round 2 didn’t get off to good start though.

I had booked my room through lastminute.com and specifically opted for the secret hotel deal where you pay a heavily reduced price for a ‘top hotel’. The catch is you don’t know the name of the hotel until you book it and you don’t know the exact location either. I bought my hotel stay (Novotel Paris Est) and after doing some research I thought that it would be great. It was advertised as a four star but once I arrived I was unimpressed with the room and hotel in general, not to mention the dodgey location. It was appalling with tattered carpets and old furniture and so it didn’t take me long to check out.

Luckily I got reimbursed from lastminute.com and was able to purchase a new hotel room (Eurostars Panorama Hotel) in a better area near Gar du Nord that allowed me to get around Paris with ease and safety. It’s small but clean and modern and the staff were brilliant. I’d like to stay here again. I really, really like France. I’m thinking of learning French! Oui.

Bottom line: Don’t purchase secret hotel deals on lastminute.com The risk is too great. Take the time to find a nice hotel. It’s worth it.

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Les Deux Abeilles: Best hot chocolate in Paris

PARIS, FRANCE 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALast time I was in Paris I discovered to Les Deux Abeilles and decided I wanted to head back for round TWO.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt was a nightmare finding it and I walked around for almost an hour before I remembered where it was. When I got there it was still early enough that there was only one other patron there so the still quiet calmed me down.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI read up on TripAdvisor about Les Deux Abeilles and people were saying that it has the best hot chocolate. So that was what I ordered for breakfast. I’ve always thought that Paul’s served really good hot chocolate. But this was by far the best hot chocolate I’ve ever had. It comes in a small jug. You pour as much as you like into your cup and top it off with thick, thick cream. The hot chocolate is viscous and mixed with the cream on top it’s more than heavenly.

 

Inside Notre Dame Cathedral

PARIS, FRANCE – The most visited sight in Paris is Disneyland. Notre Dame Cathedral is in the Top 5.

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It’s a free venue to visit and if you’ve read Victor Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame, you’ll want to pass by.

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As it’s so popular be prepared to line up outside. But once inside there’s a lot of space to roam at your leisure and find a quiet place to meditate and just look up at the stained glass windows.

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Out and about in Paris, France

PARIS, FRANCE – Just got back from a four day whirlwind tour of Paris. It was my first time to the city of lights and I loved it.

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Most of the trip was spent hitting the major sights so it’s no wonder that I came back to London without having spent much.

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I decided early on that I couldn’t leave Paris without a trip to the Musee d’Orsay. It sits on the banks of the River Seine and is easily accessible by the Paris metro. It is housed in what was once a railway station and has gorgeous clocks on the inside and outside.

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After purchasing a ticket for 9.5 euros, you can check your handbag, coat and small luggage in at the cloakroom (in fact, they insist that you do). I spent about 4,5 hours walking around the Musee marvelling at the extensive collections. The entire fifth floor is all about Impressionism and so there is something of a crowd there, but at this time of year it wasn’t too bad. 

There are also many works by Vincent Van Gogh. Apparently he did several self portraits as he couldn’t afford to pay a model. I saw one of them up close. You can really get a glimpse of the mental anguish he experienced just by looking into his eyes. It’s unfortunate he never lived to experience his success.

I loved seeing the paintings by Henri Toulouse-Lautrec. I first learnt about him in my teens when I saw a film on TV one day that was a biography of his life. He was born into wealth, but chose to live in Montmarte where several artists lived. He is now well known for capturing the life of the performers and patrons of the Moulin Rouge.

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I left the Musee at around 4:30pm but there were still crowds of people waiting to get inside. I recommend getting there as early as possible and make sure you wear comfy shoes. You aren’t allowed to take food inside or eat in the galleries but there are a few restaurants and cafes inside. Also, pay 5 euros for the audio guide. It makes the entire experience more interesting and informative. It’s easy to just drift past paintings and not learn anything new. 

By the way I did head to the Louvre but only had 2 hours to peruse the work there. I’d still say that the Musee D’Orsay is my preferred art museum in Paris, so far. Have you been to both? Which did you like better?