Weekend in Paris

Scenes of Paris – snoozing beneath a shady tree

Friday marked the start of a new year, and the start of our summer holiday.

Having experienced consistent three-layer merino days, we decided to seek out actual summer and the EU heat wave which seemed curiously absent here in Norway.

We began our break with a weekend in Paris.

This would be our second visit to Paris; we had stayed there previously for a week around five years earlier, and loved it.  So, we were looking forward to a reminiscing visit.

Walks along the Seine, chilling in front of the Notre dame, strolling through the park by the Eiffel tower, and enjoying gorgeous delectable bread, pastries and drinks.

Unlike our last visit via a grueling 30 hour long-haul flight, we left our apartment Friday morning, and were strolling along the cafe-laden Parisian streets a few hours later that afternoon.

Walking along the streets of Paris

Everything was exactly as I remembered, gorgeous, romantic, and beautiful.

And we found summer.

Temperatures were well above 30C.

We had also arrived during peak tourist season, to the world’s most visited city, averaging around 30 million visitors per year (or 80,000 per day).  This is a city which can expect its population to increase by at least 15% over the summer months.

We expected severe clumping.

However, Paris is also a massively sprawling metropolis, with attractions on every corner, and easily able to absorb the visitors.

While there was scattered tourist-clumping in the less isolated places, it was nothing too intimidating.

There were some queues at the Notre dame.  There were queues at the Eiffel tower (although why anyone would want to climb the 1600 steps in 34C heat was baffling.  Paris is a flat city.  The view of the Eiffel tower from a shady tree in the nearby park is much, much more impressive, than from the viewing platform itself.)

We avoided the queues and watched the tourists, while having a delightful picnic lunch of Parisian bread, Brie, and pastries, beneath a shady tree, before succumbing to the midday heat and lapsing into a snooze.

Lunch beneath the Eiffel Tower

We continued the rest of our weekend aimlessly strolling through the city engaging in urban exploration, and evening walks under the bridges along the Seine (the urban equivalent of moonlit walk on the beach)

A perfect weekend.

We will return.

(Meanwhile in Norway it rained.)

Parisian photo essay below (click to enlarge).


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4 Responses to Weekend in Paris

  1. Anonymous says:

    Why didn’t you choose France and Paris instead of Norway and Bergen, when deciding to emigrate somewhere?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Let’s see… less hiking opportunities, real pressure on learning French (Norway probably copes fine with English), necessity to adapt to the lifestyle in a huge, dense city, and a culture deeply and truly different from Mother England and all its English-speaking offsprings. Not an easy decision, I admit. One really needs to accept challenge to move to Paris. That’s the best part, I mean, if you do like challenges.

    • michelle says:

      Alas it’s easy to be seduced by the good weather, and glorious cheap food and drink. And the variety of food is overwhelming.

      But the statistics do speak much less favourably – high unemployment (10.2% vs. Norge’s 3%), ranked #20 on the HDI vs #1 for Norway, expensive real estate and lower home ownership (55% vs 80%), the list goes on. Plus, Norway doesn’t have the economic burden of supporting the EU.

      But, if you want to learn a foreign language, as an English speaker, France is probably the best place to go. In Norway, English is effectively a second language. Your only opportunity to speak Norwegian will be with Russians who don’t speak English, and you end up evolving a weird new Nor-rush-lish dialect.

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