Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Easter in Paris

Eiffel Tower in Paris

This Easter weekend we went to Paris to visit my husband's brother and show Paris to our children. Paris, o Paris....

My first stay in Paris I was a student (studying at ENSAM and ESCP for those who know about French schools) and living in Cité Universitaire, a huge student area. I had a cosy room of 8m2 all for myself, with WC and shower in the corridor, in a building that was situated about 2 metres from the périphérique, the ring road around the centre of Paris. From my second floor I had an excellent view over the six lanes and quite some noise from the cars.
But that was OK. The heating pump was running at maximum capacity, creating a near tropical climate in some rooms, forcing my fellow students to strip to T-shirt and boxer shorts, while other rooms, like mine, were further along the pipes and received no heating at all. My room was a fridge and I routinely put on two thick sweaters when I entered. When I said I had never been so cold as in Paris, I wasn't joking. In spite of all that I still spent one of my best years as a student in Paris.

My next stay in Paris, a few years later, my living conditions significantly improved. I had a fancy job and a fancy apartment a block from the Eiffel Tower. I also fell in love with my husband to be. Since then, Paris will always have that rosy shimmer of happiness, a glow from those young years of no worries and much fun. Being in love in Paris is hard to beat.

There was a third stay, living in Rueil Malmaison, a posh suburb just outside Paris with a small child, but I am not sure it enters in the Paris category. Let me just say I think it was closer to the true experience of the Paris region that most Parisians live, being at the mercy of repeated transport strikes and relying on a nanny to get everyday life to function.

To me, Paris is a compulsory stop if you want to visit France, but do not believe that Paris is France.  Like for most countries, the capital has a life of its own, sometimes pretty far from the rest of the country. For worse or for better. Go there, but don't believe you know France because you know Paris!

This time we were not so lucky with the weather. Mostly rain for two days. It generally started to rain as soon as we stepped out of the car. But here you have some photos with little details that speak to me, little things that are different, of all the things I love about Paris.

Café at Palais Royal
I love the cafés. I love watching people, taking it easy, sipping a coffee. Essence of Paris for me.

Tourist posing in front of the Louvre Pyramid
Look at these tourist photographers and the people posing in front of the Louvre Pyramid. I have a hard time admitting that I am now one of these tourists that real Parisians look at with a sigh. Paris needs the tourists, but doesn't really love them. Nah.

Easter chocolate shop window
Everywhere chocolate shops and bakeries with exquisite, magnificient cakes for every taste. Daily temptations.

 Raspberry Charlotte cake
Just one example. The cake we had at my husband's brothers place. Raspberry charlotte with rabbit decoration.

Bikes for rent in Paris
This was new to me, all these bikes that you can rent. There were many bikers around, parents with young children - no one with a helmet of course. Special lanes for bikes.... I was impressed.

Street Mozart concert in Paris
I love this! Suddenly we turn a corner and there, on the pavement, a small orchestra playing Mozart. Culture is everywhere in Paris.

Best in Paris, the carrousel
Number one on the children's list of top ten in Paris. They do have the most beautiful carrousels, old style, they look like they are hand painted.

Porsche on rue Rivoli
I had forgotten how rich Paris is. Porsche is everywhere... and we saw many Cayenne, the Porsche version of a four wheel drive, which cost (at least) 100 000 euros. These cars are much more rare in my village...

Japanese restaurant Matsuri in Paris
A Japanese restaurant called Matsuri where the food is put on small plates on a transport band. You pick any plate that looks nice and pay according to the number of plates you have taken. The children loved the idea, but finally few of the dishes where to their taste.

Transparent waste bin in Paris
I remember when these transparent waste bins came for the first time, to avoid terrorists to put bombs in there. Now they are still there - still because of bomb threats? Or maybe just practical?

Colonnes de Buren in Paris
Love the contrast of this striped decoration at a the Palais Royal. It is called Colonnes de Buren. 

Ornate balcony

Statues around a window

Golden angel
Some examples of archtectural details that add to the charm and beauty of Paris. The ornate balcony, the statues around a window, a golden angel. Look out and you'll see things that this everywhere!

The Louvre Pyramid
Finally, another contrast I love. The Louvre and the Pyramid. Old and new, living together.


  1. Encore un billet très agréable. De belles photos. Quelques émotions...Bravo

  2. Åh, vad jag längtar till Paris och Frankrike när jag ser dina bilder. Jag har samma historia, lite drygt ett år i Paris i min ungdom och känslan lever kvar. Däremot bor jag kvar i gamla Sverige men besöker Frankrike så ofta jag kan, minst en gång per år. Längtar alltid tillbaka.
    Tack för fina bilder.

  3. Merci Armelle! C'est une ville magnifique notre capitale!

    Tack a-m! Lite annorlunda med barnen i släptåg och den här helgen hade vi otur med vädret, men Paris behåller sin charm för mig... men nästa gång ska jag försöka åka 'en amoureux' för att verkligen kunna njuta av flanerandet och caféerna... och kanske lite shopping!

  4. Ça me rappelle de bons souvenirs!!!

    Grosses bises!!!


  5. Salut Toni! On a bien profité de Paris, n'est-ce pas! bises Eva


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