On Friday morning we relocated to central Paris for a three-night stay at the perfectly decent Holiday Inn Paris Montmartre. With just 54 rooms, it is one of the smallest IHG properties that I have ever seen. The staff were particularly friendly and welcoming. As well as being situated in an attractive part of town, the hotel was well connected by metro to the rest of Paris, albeit with a little bit of initial walking.
We spent the rest of Friday afternoon exploring our new neighbourhood, in fairly challenging conditions of strong winds and freezing rain. While hardly jaw-dropping weather for December, this did come as a bit of a physical shock, immediately following visits to California and Florida!
Saint-Augustin – Les Halles – Le Marais – Place des Vosges – Île de la Cité
We spent most of Saturday exploring parts of the Right Bank on foot, starting at the hotel and taking in the first four districts mentioned in the sub-heading above. Although there was at least one downpour, the weather as a whole was largely favourable. The final area listed is of course the larger and better known of the twin Seine islands in central Paris. It is home to one of the most widely recognised symbols of the city, Notre-Dame Cathedral. With this inexplicably being my first time in Paris for five years, I was keen to see for myself what had become of Notre-Dame following the disastrous fire of April 2019, and how the restoration works were progressing.
Concorde-Tuileries – Opéra – Charles de Gaulle – Trocadéro
Sunday’s plan used the metro at both start and finish, but the walking part in the middle may not have been any shorter than Saturday’s route! First up was an interesting photography exhibition at the Jeu de Paume building in the Tuileries garden, adjacent to the well known Place de la Concorde. Thereafter, after taking some photos of our surroundings, we made our way north-eastwards and found a suitable lunch stop at Café Joyeux, near the Olympia Hall concert venue. Café Joyeux‘s mission is to offer training and employment to people with cognitive disabilities, who might otherwise experience difficulty in the jobs market. We certainly had an enjoyable lunch stop there.
Later, we paid a brief visit to the Place de l’Opéra before turning back towards Place de la Madeleine. Our route then took us onto Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré. Despite its narrow appearance, this is one of the French capital’s most upscale streets, featuring multiple high-end shops, the Élysée Palace, at least two embassies and several galleries.
The weather broke as we reached the Avenue des Champs-Élysées, and it would remain wet for the rest of the day. We reached the Arc de Triomphe and turned left towards the Place du Trocadéro, with its well known views towards the Eiffel Tower.