Weekend Getaway to Paris

I have wanted to explore Paris solo ever since I was there with my family in 2013. We had a wonderful time, even pushing our two kiddos around in strollers, but it left me wanting more. Solo explorations are truly unique. They give you the opportunity to focus on yourself and discover things in a new light. My weekend trip to Paris this May was exactly that!

Originally, my plan was to spend my three-day getaway by myself. I had hopes to explore the city, enjoy quintessential Parisian cafes and document the city through my lens. After a couple days of solo travel, however, I realized that I wouldn’t mind some companionship. Thanks to my amazing cousins A and S, we were able to pull off a mini reunion while I was there. This gave me the best of both worlds! I spent half of my trip exploring the city and enjoying photographing on my own and the other half just hanging out with my cousins -- One was visiting from Germany and the other from India en route to Germany.

Cobblestone Streets of Montmartre

Solo wanderings in Montmartre

My personal agenda involved visiting Paris flea markets (Les Puces de Saint-Ouen), walking around Montmartre, taking in all the chic and unique of La Marais and visiting a residential neighborhood to get a feel of local life. 

My husband and I have never been a fan of guided tours. We’ve always enjoyed touring cities at our own pace and in our own, unstructured way. This time, since I was alone and had to make the most of my short stay, I decided to give guided tours a shot!

I started off with a tour of Montmartre on Friday evening. Old Montmartre is where the likes of Vincent Van Gogh and Pablo Picasso had their studios. It was the hot spot for jazz in Paris, and it was where the iconic (and my favorite) street photographer Henry-Cartier Bresson walked the cobblestoned streets with his Leica rangefinder. It was a no brainer to walk and experience Montmartre. It was also fun to learn the history of Moulin Rouge, Plaster of Paris and see some of the more popular tourist destinations like The Basilica, La Maison Rose etc.

    Meeting place for early 20th-century artists

La Maison Rose

    The Basilica of the Sacred Heart

Flea markets and antiques galore

Saint-Ouen Flea Market is only open on the weekends, so I headed there first thing Saturday morning! I booked the tour beforehand and enjoyed our tour guide, Sean, and the small group of four Canadians plus a couple from Minneapolis I was paired with.

Saint-Ouen Flea Market consists of several different markets which are known for their antique art and collectibles. Some of the ones we visited are Vernaison, Dauphine, Paul Bert and Serpette to name a few. I don’t remember the exact scene in the movie Midnight in Paris but I was told one of the scenes was shot at the Paul Bert market. I’ll have to watch the movie again!

After the tour, I decided to spend more time at the Vernaison market - specifically at a vintage poster shop. I was so excited and overwhelmed, I don’t even remember the name of the shop! My online research is telling me it might have been Poster Paul. They had a massive collection of original poster art (remember my collectible poster obsession from last summer?) and lithographs by some of the most famous artists - Alexander Calder, Picasso, Matisse, Miro etc. I felt like a kid in a candy store. I spent an hour browsing and walked away with an original Bernard Villemot Bally poster (You’ll get to see it in a future blog post once it’s framed and ready for display!)

If you ever happen to be in the area, leave some room in your schedule to listen to live Gypsy jazz at La Chope des Puces.

Local gems and authentic neighborhoods

A trip to Paris isn’t complete until one visits a residential neighborhood. When I visited Cite Florale, I was greeted by a parisian cat and kids playing hide-and-seek and kickball. A true local experience. It was a quiet and picturesque neighborhood. 

Cite Florale

It was now time to head back to La Marais, where I was staying, to relax with a cappuccino and a sweet treat! (Whenever I need an early evening pick-me-up while on vacation, I can never decide if it’s time for coffee or wine!) Once I felt revived, I explored fun stores and chic boutiques of bustling La Marais before it was time to get ready to meet my cousins for dinner!

Terres De Cafe

La Marais

I was glad that I was able to squeeze in pretty much everything I wanted to do in a day and a half! I saved the museums (and more) for when I get another chance to visit with my husband and girls. There is SO much to do in Paris, even a month may not be enough!

It was now time to put away my camera and enjoy Saturday night and Sunday just eating, drinking and relaxing by Seine with my cousins.

1 comment:

  1. Paris is a travel destination for all of us. It is really astonishing country to visit. You should pack you bags according to your travel destination. You should carry the walking accessories, walking frames walking sticks, sock aid, etc for your user comfort.