On the 6.18am Eurostar, with my standard travelling breakfast. So worth the early start to get to Paris before 10am.
Most of my morning was spent going to the Semi de Paris expo to pick up my race number - slightly annoying as it was a bit of a trek from the centre of Paris but a good way to familiarise myself with the starting location. Lunch was purchased from Bob's Kitchen (see my last visit here) and was eaten in the sun outside the Centre Pompadiou as the tiny restaurant was packed. I was starving by this point and the bagel was absolutely amazing. Bob;s is a must visit if you're vegan, veggie or just looking for something green and healthy if you're in Paris for longer than a weekend.
I love the Pompadiou - the building is so different from anything else in Paris and the views from the top are pretty amazing. My only glimpse of the Tour d'Eiffel all weekend. The Jeff Koons exhibtion was so good - the balloon art is so fun and while a lot of the installaitons look simple the work that has gone into them is incredible. The permanant collections were great, as always, too. On Thursday - Saturday the Koons exhibition is open until 11pm so it'd be a great after dinner activity too.
Dinner was at Blends near Republique. I had the chicken burger and sweet potato fries and hoped that this counted as "card loading" for the Semi de Paris (oh, and a Diet Coke - sorry Lent ban). The burger was so good - chicken burgers can be bland compared to their beefy couterparts but this was so flavoursome thanks to the parmesan cheese and satisfyingly messy too. The fries were not as crispy as I'd like them to be but had a great flavour and the portion was huge! The menu is simple but veggie friendly and service was fast and friendly.
Sunday. After the Semi Paris I originally planned to head back to my friend's place for a shower but my craving for falafel got the better of me (I kept seeing other runners throughout the day who clearly had the same idea that exploring Paris is a better way to spend a sunny afternoon than showering). The queue for L'As Du Falafal looked as if it would take as long as the actual run (blaming this NY Times article in part) so I joined the shorter line at Mi-Va-Mi for a €6 falafal feast. This didn't have the same je ne sais quois of my favourite but was delicious nonetheless.
Wandering down to Hotel de Ville to eat in the sun, a huge demonstration came by for International Women's Day. It was great to see so many people out in support of women's rights and with the streets and shops shut the city felt so different.
I hopped on the Metro to Anvers to visit the Sacre Coeur - one of my favourite places in Paris and one I hadn't visited for a few years. The nice weather meant that it was packed with people but the area has a chilled out vibe and I started my climb up to the top, ignoring the cable car and powering up the stairs. I promise the view looks all the better for the walk!
Take a left at Sacre Coeur for the beautiful village of Monmatre. Monmatre used to have an artsy, slightly sleazy vibe (cf. Moulin Rouge) but these days the vibe is more "rammed with tourists". I secretly love the tacky tourist shops and the builidings still have an old world charm. Heading back to the steps of Sacre Coeur I watched the sun go down over Paris and felt so happy at being here in this beautiful city. One of those all too few perfect moments despite my sweaty hair and make-up free face. People played guitars and chatted and laughed while the sky changed colour. Paris, je t'aime.
A bientot, Paris!