Day 1: Streets of Marais
It was the first time in Paris for both of us. We flew from the opposite directions and met in the middle (near RER B train station that goes express to Paris). Though we spent 10 minutes looking for a bathroom (50 cents per visit) before boarding the train.
The train took us to Gare du Nord where we transferred to subway. There was a direct line to Bastille which is located in Marais district of Paris. I’d never heard about this district before, but after this trip I would highly recommend it to anyone.
Our Airbnb was a cozy place on Rue de la Roquette. To get to the apartment we had to climb four floors of windy stairs or take the tiniest elevator I’ve ever ridden.
We checked in in the afternoon and it was too late to do sightseeing. So we decided to go on a walking tour of Marais based on Rick Steves recommendations.
Place de la Bastille: We arrived on May 1st, which of course is a big holiday in France. And Bastille, apparently, is a popular gathering place for this sort of holidays (there was another big demonstration on the square 4 days later).
It was all very peaceful. We walked around and got some delicious steet food (merguez sausage sandwich):
Statue de Beaumarchais was the first monument on our list, hence, I was very eager to see it. Due to my poor navigation (I improved with time), we looked for it for a long time. But then it was nothing special.
Place des Vosges: very cute park/square where people were chilling on the grass (despite cool weather). We decided to join them for like whole 30 seconds (just enough time to take a selfie).
Victor Hugo’s house is in the corner of the square. It was closed, so we just took another selfie.
After wandering for a bit we decided it was time for dessert. Conveniently, Rick Steves had a recommendation for a place nearby: Le Loir dans La Théière (how can anyone remember that name?! it doesn’t even translate clearly…). Apparently, Rick Steves is not the only one who likes the place as we had to stand in line outside for about 20-25 minutes. The line meant that the place was good, right? It was the end of their business day, so the selection was rather small. We ordered the most popular option citron meringuee and rhubarb tarte. Our meringue fell apart… but it didn’t reduce our craving for it 🙂 Verdict: totally worth the wait.
High on sugars we continued our walk. The next stop: the Centre Pompidou. Only we didn’t go inside or explored it much. Instead, our attention was drawn to Stravinsky Fountain (I had to read up about what it all meant) right next to it. That’s a really cool place!
And the last stop on our day 1 tour was Hotel de Ville, which I think is like a city hall. Supposedly it’s beautiful inside, but there was no sightseeing on a holiday evening. So we just admired it from the outside.
Since we were still kind of satiated with desserts, our dinner was a gourmet meal from a supermarket: saucisson sec (the only french item on our fancy menu) and gruyere on rye bread.
And the rest of the night we spent people watching on the street outside:
And here’s a map of our wanderings: