Wanderlust: Paris, July 2014, Part 1

This is a bit of a belated post, as I actually visited Paris all the way back in July! (It's almost October now, how crazy is that?!)

I was extremely lucky to get the chance to visit, as I tagged along on my boyfriend's trip to study for two weeks at IRCAM (Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique.)

I thought I would share with you some of my snaps from the trip which document the places we visited, food we ate and the city in full summertime glory. I think our trip was slightly atypical, in that we got off the beaten path somewhat and stumbled across some quite marvelous places, however we also did do a lot of the more usual tourist sightseeing.


We stayed in a functional, but clean, hostel in Montmartre which was just around the corner from a wonderful bistro, le Cépage. We had afternoon coffee and dinner here a couple of times during our stay, I fully recommend the steak as the highlight of the menu, though the salads on other tables also looked pretty spectacular. It was just a great place to sit in the afternoon/evening sun and soak in the atmosphere.


Part of the famous Lady and the Unicorn tapestry series
 As a former medievalist, I couldn't pass up the chance to go and see the medieval treasures at the MUSÉE DE CLUNY/Musée national du Moyen Âge. It was well worth the trip south of the river! The museum is filled with a large variety of pieces, ranging from tithe bowls to reliquaries and tapestries. Even if you have a general interest in History or Art, this is definitely one to visit as the collection is large and impressive.


After a rather abortive attempt to see the famous Catacombs (top tip; don't try to go at midday on a weekend, the queue is huge!) we inadvertently stumbled upon the nearby Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, a beautiful glass and steel building which houses an impressive modern art collection. 

Opened in 1994, the foundation "promotes discovery, by revealing young artists to the public or by unveiling the secret side of world-renowned artists. It promotes creation through the commissioning and production of works. By opening up to the most diverse realms of creation and knowledge, it stimulates curiosity and discovery through its exhibitions." 

Again, this is another hidden gem which is slightly off the usual tourist track, but I really would urge you to go, if not just for the peaceful gardens which nestle around the building, providing an urban oasis away from the metropolis.

Beef in sticky sweet sauce (sorry I completely can't remember what it was!!) with rice and salad. Be assured it was delicious.

Seafood soup with mussels, squid and prawns

Now onto my favourite stuff! Food! whilst we ate a hell of a lot of brioche and baguette, we also went out for quite a few meals. One of the highlights in my memory has to be at the Restaurant Tin Tin, a Vietnamese establishment near the Belleville metro stop. The seafood soup in particular was full of flavour and extremely hearty. I also seem to remember that prices were very reasonable here, as the place is off the tourist trail.

Please forgive me, the selfie seemed like the only way here.


Of course, a trip to Paris would not be complete without a visit to the Louvre. I went on a Saturday and arrived just as the doors were opening, however there still was a sizeable queue. I think this is typical of a Saturday, so my advice would be to go during the week if you can. It was well worth the wait though and i particularly enjoyed the Napoleon III apartments, which were jam packed full of Georgian splendour. 

I really do think the Louvre is a museum which requires several visits, like the British Museum, there is far too much to digest in one sitting. I only really got a taste for a very small proportion of the collection. Though this of course provides an excellent excuse to continue visiting Paris!

Has anyone else been to Paris and have any top tips for places to visit?

Bethan

P.S - Look out for part 2 of this post!