City of Light, La ville des lumières (Paris)


Eiffel Tower as seen from Centre Pompidou

For the long weekend we decided to visit the City of Light, Paris. As it was a last minute decision the train ticket could have been cheaper, but it wasn’t overly expensive for a two way ticket (€100/person). And it only takes about 1.20 min from Brussels Midi Station to arrive in Paris Nord Station.

We booked a room in the charming, but eclectic hotel Eldorado, a few steps away from Place de Clichy and 15 minutes from Montmartre. A single room costs between €35-€60, a twin room €70-€80 and a triple room €80-€90. It’s great value for your money!

Next to the hotel, you can find Bistro des Dames. The restaurant’s fantastic outdoor terrace is hidden in the back, so be on the lookout! The menu is delicious and diverse, the prices range between €15-€30! Visit the restaurant on sunny days, daily 12am-14.30pm and 7pm-2am. Getting your foot in the door after-hours isn’t easy, so I would recommend to arrive around 7.30pm to enjoy your meal as reservations are not taken and the place is getting very popular…

Address: 18, rue des Dames 75000 Paris.

What to do

In Paris there’s no end to the activities, whether you love to visit museums or to shop. As Paris has such an extensive cultural heritage it’s impossible to visit every monument or museum in a few days. Take a stroll along the city’s famous Seine River to explore historic sites like Musée du Louvre, Musée d’Orsay, Cathedral Notre Dame,… amongst others. To enjoy the Paris experience the fullest purchase the Paris Museum Pass. This pass gives free access without queuing for hours to over 60 museums and monuments in and around Paris. There are 2, 4 or 6 day passes. A 2 day pass for e.g. costs €32. Be careful the pass is only valid for the permanent collections in the museums!

During our stay we have visited 2 wonderful temporary exhibitions in Centre Pompidou: Calder and Kandinsky. The Kandinsky exhibition will last till 10 August 2009. We managed to visit the Calder exhibition on the last day, 20 July 2009. Price: €12 full price and €9 reduced price. Opening Hours: every day (except Tuesdays) from 11am till 11 pm. For these 2 exhibitions there is special nocturnal visit organized. I would highly recommend doing the nocturnal visit, the Centre Pompidou is less crowded and after your visit you can head to the rooftop bar. It’s the perfect place to have a drink, take in the sweeping panoramas and watch the sun set over Paris.

If you’re interested in photography I would recommend to visit the exhibition of Henri Cartier Bresson à vue d’oeil in Maison européenne de la photo. Over 320 master pieces are displayed until 30 August 2009.

On our last day we headed to Versailles to visit the famous château and it’s gardens. Be prepared to queu for hours if you don’t have the Paris Museum Pass. The gardens are absolutely magnificent, however it’s a pity that there are so many visitors, therefore you can’t really enjoy the visit of the castle. You can choose from different visits, we did the full tour and the price was €25. However, if you are under 26 years and a citizen of the EU, the admission is free! Opening Hours: every day (except Mondays) from 9 am till 6.30pm.

I would like to thank Aunomi for giving such a good advice to plan my visit.