Summer week-end getaway to Paris
Paris is always a good idea, especially when summer’s around the corner and we’ve got 2 airlines serving the destination from Vancouver (Air France & Air Transat). For all of you who are going soon, here is an inspirational 4 days / 3 nights week-end gateway filled with ideas to make your Parisian stay a memorable experience.
Flying out on a Wednesday, you’ll land on Thursday morning. Arrive in style with someone waiting for you at the gate, whisking you through customs. Having no checked luggage – you know how to travel light – you find yourself in your private car on your way to the City of Lights in no time. Drop your bags at the hotel – St Germain des Prés is a good option – and head to Bar du Marché (corner of rue de Seine & rue de Buci) for your café-croissant and some people-watching.
Once you’ve had your fix of people-watching, head for a long walk to fight the jetlag. If you’re into exploring Paris off the beaten path wander North-East for a stroll along Bassin de la Villette where you can have lunch at Pavillon des Canaux.
In the afternoon, head towards Parc des Buttes Chaumont to get a break from the urban side of Paris, before heading for apero (pre-dinner drink) at Rosa Bonheur.
Wrap up the day in the up-and-coming 9e arrondissement at one of the numerous restaurants dotting rue de Paradis. I like I Cugini for their large antipasti platter.
Wake up Friday morning to discover the recently opened Fondation Louis Vuitton. Located in the Bois de Boulogne, Frank Gehry’s latest creation is hosting a remarquable temporary exhibition until July 6th, 2015 “Keys to a passion” This is the MUST SEE exhibition of this spring !
In the afternoon, enjoy a photo tour with Better Travel Photo, a great way to improve your photographic skills while exploring the city. To get a feel for what it’s like, read my post A different perspective on Paris with Better Travel Photo.
This evening, if you’re into Jazz and in Paris during the last week of June, you’re in for a special treat with the Django Reinhardt festival at Samois sur Seine (June 24th to 28th). Outside of these days, if you’re craving jazz, try Duc des Lombards near Centre George Pompidou.
Saturday is your last day in Paris and it will be a feast worthy of a king! Start your day with a visit to the recently reopened Musee Picasso. Home to more than 5,000 works by the famous artist, it is also worth going for the architecture of the building originally known as Hotel Salé – rumoured has it that it was built using the tax collected on salt, hence it’s nickname which means “salted”.
Musee Picasso being located in Le Marais, there will be no shortage of restaurants to satisfy your palate. For its tapas style and its patio, one of my favourite is Chez Marianne (rue des Hospitalieres St Gervais).
This afternoon, enjoy a walk through Le Marais before heading back to St Germain des Prés via L’Hotel de Ville (Paris City Hall) and Notre-Dame.
Now brace yourself for an evening that will take you back in time to the 17th Century, when magnificence had no limit. Tonight you’re going to Louis the XIVth Finance Minister Nicolas Fouquet’s castle Vaux-Le Vicomte. Fouquet, who’s tagline was “Jusqu’ou ne montera-t-il pas?” which can be translated by “sky is the limit” hired the best artists of his time to build his castle and create the beautiful gardens and ponds that surround it: architect Louis Le Vau, interior designer Le Brun and landscapist Andre Le Notre all contributed to what was going to become Versailles’ blueprint. Unfortunately for him, Fouquet did not enjoy his castle much as he was arrested on the very night he was throwing a lavish party for Louis the XIVth. Sending him to jail for the rest of his life, Louis the XIVth hired the same artists in order to create an even more magnificent castle: Versailles. Every Saturday evening, from beginning of May to beginning of October, Vaux-le-Vicomte offers visitors the opportunity to rediscover the 17th Century Château and its jardin à la française in the flickering light of 2 000 candles. You can also enjoy dinner at the refined restaurant Les Charmilles (reservation needed). This is a spectacular evening and a perfect way to end your extended week-end in Paris – Happy Travel !