First it was flooding, then it was strikes, and now it’s the coronavirus that’s messing with my travel plans. This weekend, I was supposed to visit Paris to celebrate my friend’s birthday, but I ended up cancelling my plans over fear of getting quarantined in Paris and also to follow the government suggestion of limiting travel. Even though I won’t be sipping wine on a terrace in Montmartre, I am sipping berry tea in a café as I write this post about what I would have done if I were back in my favorite city.
I originally booked my aller ticket in an intercités de nuit train, which is a sleeper car train. To feed two birds with one scone (cruelty-free metaphor), I would travel the long journey to Paris and save time and money. I would get there early Saturday morning and would leave on Sunday evening rather than arriving Friday afternoon and spending two nights in hostel. It would have been my first time spending the night in a train. Have you ever been in a sleeper car? Was it safe or comfortable?
Because I would have taken the night train, I would arrive very early in Paris the next morning around 7AM at Gare d’Austerlitz. After getting off the train I would walk to Starbucks (because that’s the only café open that early) grab breakfast and a coffee to go then head to the Jardin des Plantes, a park in the 5e arrondissement near the Seine and the university Paris 3. I was planning on bringing a messenger bag for my weekend bag so that I could easily walk around with it. I would find a bench to sit on and think about the last time I was there during the heat wave in June when I was trying not to melt by sitting under a tree with a book. I might have walked around some more remembering when I used to run there, then look for the wallabies that live in one of the areas of the park.
After the park I would stroll along the rue Mouffetard up towards the Panthéon and wander along the Boulevard Saint-Michel where I used to live. I would then visit my favorite park, the Jardin du Luxembourg, which was basically my backyard last year. I would see what color flowers they decided to plant this year and probably take hundreds of photos of them. After that I would make my way towards Gilbert-Joseph, a huge bookstore with multiple floors and browse until I found something interesting. I’d then continue down the Boulevard until I reached the Seine and I would check up on Notre-Dame.
After checking out the reconstruction progress, I would continue walking along the Seine and have my umbrella handy because it would probably be raining and eventually cross over some bridges to the Île Saint-Louis and window shop in the cute, but pricey boutiques. I’d continue on to the Marais, where I would eat lunch because I would be tired from walking morning. I’ve been wanting to try Wild and the Moon, which is a Vegan restaurant I never go the chance to visit last year. I’d probably order some sort of soup or “curry” bowl and an overpriced cold-pressed juice on the side. Afterwards, it would be time to go the Atelier des Lumières – a special art expo that features a light and music show of different artists, this time the theme was Monet, Renoir…Chagall- Voyages en Méditerranée. I think I would have really enjoyed it because I’m a sucker for the impressionists and the Med is now where I call home.
After the expo I would walk around the Marais some more and maybe treat myself to a pastry at Fou de Pâtisserie. It would be finally be time to check into my hostel, which I would get to by taking the metro. I booked one in Montmartre (because that’s where the birthday party would be) this time at Caulaincourt Square Hostel, which had really nice photos and a booking discount on their website! I would rest, shower and get ready for the birthday soirée. Before the party, I would take a little evening walk and admire the picturesque streets of the quartier and grab a veggie crepe for dinner.
I would end the evening at my friend’s new favorite bar, celebrate her birthday, and catch up with my Parisian friends. I’d also be happy that my hostel is only a short walk away from the bar; I don’t miss taking the metro alone at night.
Thanks for reading about what I would have done! I have lots of more time to blog now that schools are closed indefinitely becuase of the virus, so you can expect more frequent posts from me now. Stay tuned for Part 2!
P.S. Wanna read more about Paris: Life in Paris
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