My three days in Paris
Upon entering 17 Rue St Jacques for three days in Paris last week, I knew I’d have a hard time leaving this 17th century apartment in the Latin Quarter of Paris. It exuded much of the Parisian ambiance that I’d always imagined. From the entrance hallway, we walked up a short flight of stairs to the living area where two large windows provided a perfect view of the amazing Gothic church, Saint-Séverin, directly across the street. It was our first time staying in an apartment instead of a Paris hotel and it is a wonderful option.
The Latin Quarter
The Latin Quarter is a popular area for tourists because of its proximity to many Paris sites, but maintains a character befitting this ancient part of the city. With the Sorbonne nearby, there is also a young, vibrant feel to the area with cafes, clubs and shops. We decided to start the weekend at Café Le Petit Pont just a few minutes’ walk from the apartment and enjoy a glass of Bordeaux. Although being very touristy, the location is excellent with the western façade of Notre Dame and its Christmas tree with blue lights in view. A stop at Amorino Huchette for chocolate bouchées topped off a walk through the brightly-decorated streets of the Latin Quarter.
As we enjoyed breakfast (omelet, café, juice, salad) at L’Authre Bistro on Rue de la Montagne, it started to snow big, fluffy flakes. We then shopped at Place Maubert, where vendors were selling fruit, vegetables, chocolates, flowers, clothing & accessories at the oldest street market in Paris. Back at the apartment, we watched the snowfall as children had a snowball fight in the church courtyard below.
Outside again to enjoy a walk in the snow and see more of the area, we visited the Pantheon, originally built as a church to honor Ste Geneviève, it later became a grand location for the tombs of French notables such as Voltaire, Victor Hugo and Madame Curie. From there, on our way to the Luxembourg Gardens, we watched the Marches des Maladies Rare (a march in support of finding cures for rare diseases) in progress from our seats at Café le Luxembourg.
After dark, we wandered through the culture-rich St-Germain-des-Prés district’s residential and shopping areas and by the Théâtre National de l’Odéon. Close to the apartment, we crossed the Seine to Notre Dame. Although too late to be able to climb to the observation level, we entered the cathedral as mass was in progress at the main altar, enjoying the choir while being taken in by the architecture.
A highlight of the weekend was a walking tour of Montmartre with Michael Schürmann, the author of Paris Movie Walks. Along with the beauty of Sacré-Coeur Basilica, panoramic views of Paris, the character of shops and cafés that line the winding streets, there is the added bonus of seeing well-known film settings and former homes and studios of artists such as Picasso and Dali. At the Places des Abbesses is a Christmas market, which was bustling with families riding the carousel and shopping for toys and ornaments while enjoying holiday food and drinks.
We took the Metro from the Abbesses station to the Place de la Concorde.
Around the Champs-Elysées
Emerging the Metro station on this beautiful night near La Grand Roue (large Ferris Wheel) at the end of the Champs-Elysées. This is also the location of Paris’s largest Christmas market and traditional stalls lined both sides of the avenue to Rond-Point des Champs-Elysées. After a light meal at the self-described “chic et cosy” Le Berkeley on Avenue Matignon, we headed back to our Latin Quarter apartment via the Tuileries, the Louvre and a walk along the Seine.
Au revoir, Paris!
Up before dawn on Monday, Rue St Jacques was quiet with only a few cars making their way on the wet street below. It was time to leave, but the weekend had left a mark and the desire to return to Paris very soon.
A stay with John and a tour from Michael, what a perfect way to see Paris! I love the Latin Quarter too. I love the lights bouncing off the Seine there. C’est magnifique!
Mais oui! It was a perfect way to see Paris — just wish I could have stayed longer!
You nailed it. Paris is one of those cities that should be explored at night.
You have brought back so many memories. I really miss Europe – I miss Paris. Sounds like you are having a wonderful time. Keep the updates coming!
Forgot to ask are you having a lot of snow? The news reports we are getting here sounds like it is snowing heavily yet your photos don’t look thick with snow. The snow definitely adds to the magic of being in Paris at Christmas time.
Thanks for the comments, Kerry-ann. The really heavy snow came after I was already back home, but we did have a lovely snowfall last Saturday. Paris would be a great place to be snow-bound, I think!
You’ve made me nostalgic for Paris. The Christmas lights and the night photos make it look even more magical. The walking tour would have been fabulous. Will you be writing about it soon? 🙂
I’ve accomplished my goal if I’ve made you nostalgic for Paris. Thanks, Corinne!
Cathy, are you doing some kind of tour of all my favourite places where I used to live? =) Abbesses used to be our stop in Paris and before that we lived on the Left Bank. I love both areas so much! Was looking at photos of all that winter snow that just fell and feeling very nostalgic for the place. It’s so cool that you got to walk around with Michael Schürmann!
It does seem that way, doesn’t it? NYC, San Francisco, Paris…. Maybe I should plan on a trip to Australia next. And yes, a walk around Montmartre with Michael was very cool — he and his wife, Marlys, really know Paris!
I love Paris in the winter! Sounds like a great trip. Are you in Europe right now, or did you just fly to Paris from the US for the weekend?
It may seem crazy, but we did just go to Paris for the weekend — actually 2-1/2 days, 3 nights not counting travel time. We’re known to do things like that. Besides, getting there is part of the fun, too!
I wouldn’t mind doing that except flights are usually so expensive to go to Europe. That’s awesome that you guys do stuff like that!
cathy this is gorgeous! it’s been 16 years since i was in paris and you’ve got me longing to get there asap. 🙂
Lorna, thanks for your comment. Sounds like it’s time for a trip to Paris!
Paris in the snow!! How beautiful, I am sooooo jealous. I love Montemarte, I could wander those streets for hours. I know what you mean about staying in an apartment. My brother was once engaged to a Parisian, so each time I went there I stayed at her families apartment which was just around the corner from the Eiffel Tower. It was so great. And so was the four course dinner we had every night complete with a drink to match each course. I was only 22 at the time, and didn’t know much beyond cheap beer and wine in a box. I was in heaven
How wonderful to experience Paris by staying with a family you knew. It does sound like Heaven!
Cathy, you’ve chosen well by getting an apartment in the Latin Quarter. That’s one of my favourite part of Paris, second only to Montmartre understandably. We totally enjoyed your company and particularly so because you are real movie buffs. Till next visit….
Thanks again for your expert tour of Montmartre. I’m making a list of movies filmed in Paris to watch before next trip (whenever that might be)!
It was so great that you could stay at our place in Paris! I was with you every step of the way here!! I’ve just bought a large new painting to go behind the settee in the lounge – I will have to send you a photo when it’s up!!! Happy memories!
Enjoyed it very much. I’ve got happy memories, indeed!
Great post Cathy… It made me think back of the times I’ve spent in Paris. I have to agree with you about Cafe Petite Pont, although touristy it has a great ambiance, perfect location and view and live music. Perfect for a night cap before turning in.
I prefer staying at apartments when traveling to cities such as Paris, NYC, Rome, etc. It makes the experience more real!
Thanks, Raquel. Glad to bring back some of your great Paris memories for you. Staying in an apartment was a wonderful experience that I hope to repeat many times in the future!
What a clever play on words in your title! Right now, I would LOVE to be in Paris with all of the snow. Went to Paris for Thanksgiving a few years ago and it was a wonderful time to visit!
Thanks for mentioning the play on words. I kind of liked it myself!
Glorious. What an amazing stay. Paris at night is wonderful and staying in an apartment is an option I will consider more fur future travel. Thanks for that advice. Great pictures too.
Thanks, Inka. Although there are also wonderful and affordable hotels in Paris, definitely consider an apartment there for your next trip.
Some lovely images. I can never quite believe that I haven’t been to Paris. Thisn post makes me want to go.
So glad that this post may inspire you to visit Paris — quite a compliment. Thanks very much.
Wow! These photos show me what I already thought.. Paris looks amazing! I wish I could just hop on over to Paris for a weekend! Ahhh so lovely!
I still haven’t been to Paris, but I want to go so bad! I had no idea there was a Latin Quarter in the heart of Paris – tres cool!
Could anything over there be any more beautiful? WOW, love the lit up buildings at night, and in general just a huge fan and you’ve certainly inspired us to visit for sure !
Happy Holidays 🙂
The only way I remember Paris is at night. Great observation
I’m officially jealous. Paris is my favorite city in the world. The thing I miss the most about living in London is the ability to get on a train and be in Paris in under 3 hours. Bliss!
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Paris cast it’s spell on me in 1983 for five weeks. Mesmerized by the cafes and people watching, walking all over and riding the metro – Had a Orange Ticket for full month of unlimited rides. Terrific time. Thanks for the memories
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