Ahhh….just as wonderful as we remembered. Staying in a different part of Paris (near the Canal St Martin) was a real treat. Found the Hotel Alhambra with no problems in the Rue de Malte. Tiny place, but clean and tidy and our room had a lovely view over an inner garden. Very sweet. John did feel like he was showering in a tiny cupboard, though. Our first evening was spent strolling along the Canal St Martin pretending we were in Amelie…well, Nic pretended to be in Amelie, John was running around taking photos of the prettiness. We ate at a great place on the Canal called ‘La Marine’ and were spoiled by a friendly waitress who spoke excellent English (as did the lovely woman in the patisserie where we went for breakfast the next morning).
Spent most of our 2 full days there just wandering where we wanted. Went down to the Latin Quarter for the morning (didn’t really explore this last time), strolled around the markets and checked out ‘Shakespeare and Co’ bookshop – lots of literary history there. Had a lovely lunch in a little Vietnamese place in the area.
Headed across to the Ile de Cite to look at Sainte Chapelle, the most amazing gothic chapel with phenomenal stained glass windows. It also had an interesting history re: the class system in worship. The lower chapel, beautifully painted in the most intricate detail, was for the commoners, and the upper chapel (entered from another upper doorway) was for the aristocracy. This upper chapel had the illusion of having almost no walls, it looked like it was nearly all stained glass. Breathtaking!
Decided to do a very touristy thing and took in a river cruise on the Seine in the evening. It was a lovely time of day to do it, but, bloody hell was it cold! There were lots of vessels on the river, and those of us in open topped boats were laughed at by those in the covered, dining vessels, drinking their wine. Bastards!
The next day we walked north all the way to Montmartre and Sacre Coeur. It was a glorious day and we got to see more of an area we visited briefly last time we were here. John got some great shots in Montmartre Cemetery.
When we got to Sacre Coeur we nearly turned around immediately and walked down the hill again – it was pretty much wall-to-wall people. We shuffled our way through to the stairs at the front and had a brief 10 minutes in the sun before escaping the hordes and ducking off around the back of the church for a quick exit down a quiet, secluded street. By this time we were a tad knackered and so stopped at the bottom of the hill for a beer before catching the Metro back to the hotel for a rest (how old do we sound?!)
Spent our last evening in Paris in our old stomping ground, Le Marais. It is still one of the loveliest areas of Paris. Found a couple of nice apartments there – both over €1,000,000! Shame.
Enjoyed a delicious hot goat’s cheese on toast, duck pate, tiramisu and caramelised apple tart (we go halves so we can try more stuff). We then wandered through the Jewish Quarter before Metroing back to Oberkampf for an early night.