Day 3 – Landmark day
The morning saw us venture out around our hotel, we were right by Lamarck station and so walking distance to Sacré-Cœur – a huge basilica on top of a hill, we didn’t bother going inside because of a huge queue, and overhearing a tour guide say that it’s not really worth it, but there was a nice vista up there which we took in before heading back downhill and trying to find somewhere to eat.
The rain really started kicking up around this point, despite the forecast saying we were due nothing for a few hours, it got pretty intense and so we ended up in a little cafe for a while for lunch (Nicoise Salad, yum).
We came across another church while wondering about, which we checked out, before heading across the river towards the damaged Notre Dame.
It’s a real shame about the fire in 2019, I don’t think I’ve ever been inside, and while the structure remains and is undergoing repair, it’s definitely a bit of a shell of what it once was – you can’t even get close due to a big construction wall thing.
In the same ‘strip’ as Notre Dame, is Saint Chapelle – a smaller and lesser known church but wow, I didn’t really know what to expect as I was just kind of dragged in by Cordelia but the whole place was filled with stained glass, truly impressive (and it had seating, which is a bonus for my old legs).
We didn’t really know what to do afterwards so went back to the hotel for a nap and rest (too much walking) while the rain continued, we grabbed some sweets from a nearby patisserie which was nice.
In the evening we headed out towards the christmas market in Jardin des Tuileries – holy shit this place was a nightmare, huge christmas market yes, but somehow managed to be even busier than London’s winter wonderland, at one point we were just shuffling around in a crowd with everyone shoulder to shoulder, as there was no sort of managed entry system.
With the market far too busy to enjoy, we headed over to the Louvre to get some pictures before turning in for the night.
Day 4 – The rest of the landmarks
A lazy wakeup before heading to the sunday Bastille Market, which was a huge and quite impressive outdoor fresh market, I can’t help but wonder how they are all making money and staying busy as there are so many stalls selling the same veg/fruit/meat/fish but they all seemed busy enough so I guess the demand is just there.
We initially hoped to have brunch in the market but there wasn’t much in terms of street food (I guess this isn’t Asia after all), so we ended up in a nearby restaurant to try and tick some more french cuisine off the list – We managed to tick off Beef bourguignon and Dauphinoise potatoes here.
Afterwards, we spent some time walking around and doing some shopping, and checking out the covered shopping alleys in the city (which are exactly what they sound like).
Once night fell, we grabbed an early dinner before heading out towards the Eiffel Tower, passing by the Moulin Rouge and Arc du triomphe along the way. I’m not entirely sure what was happening at the Arc, but there was a massive french flag draped over and it sounded like a brass band was playing the national anthem, made for some nice photos at least.
We’d eventually reach the Eiffel Tower just in time for it’s hourly sparkle session, all very pretty but they have closed off a lot of the area to non-ticket holders now, which is kind of lame. It’s really easy to forget just how big the Eiffel Tower is, much of paris is taken up by 4-6 floor buildings and so even though the Tower is huge, you’ll rarely see from elsewhere in the city because the buildings just block all sightlines outside of the road you’re on.
We headed for one more Christmas market before heading back to the hotel.
Day 5 – Remainder and flight home
The final day was pretty short but sweet, checked out of our hotel, went for lunch at a nearby place (Mussels and fries, yum) and then headed back to the Jardin des Tuileries in the day – much quieter at midday and on a weekday and we could actually walk around and peruse, grabbed some macarons to try, had a walk in the park, and then started heading for the airport for the flight home.
Overall a really enjoyable short holiday, and the first time we’ve been out of the UK since the first lockdown (and since Brexit), the Corona situation did almost significantly derail plans, particularly this Omicron variant, but we got really lucky in that 2 days after we landed in France, they put in additional measures, and 10 hours after we landed in the UK, we also put in additional measures. We did still have to get a PCR test to be able to fill out and submit the passenger locator form (We went with Biogroup as they were the cheapest) so that was £43×2 down the drain, but it could have been much worse.