During the summer months, urban escapes are our preferred choice. This deliberate decision grants us the privilege of experiencing cities as locals do, unencumbered by the typical tourist throngs. As we wander through quiet streets, dine in uncrowded cafes, and explore cultural treasures at our own pace, we find a sense of tranquility that is often elusive in August. Such is also a weekend escape to Paris – in August, the city is uniquely charming amidst the backdrop of many closed establishments when most Parisians stay away from the city.
After a smooth and short train ride from Brussels, we arrived in a rain-drenched Paris. The arrivals hall of Gare du Nord was packed with people seeking shelter from the rain. Fortunately, our hotel – 25hours Hotel, conveniently located just 10 meters away across the street, offered us a refuge inside a cozy hotel room. From our window, we enjoyed an unparalleled view of Montmartre and the breathtaking Sacré-Cœur. As raindrops painted the city in glistening hues, we embraced this beautiful view with some drinks from the minibar, not bothered a bit by the storm outside.
In the morning, we returned to the Canal Saint-Martin area, which was just a short walk away. Strolling along its banks, we encountered locals leisurely sipping coffee at quaint cafés, artists showcasing their talents, and elegant footbridges that seemed to be plucked from a postcard. We couldn’t help but notice a canal cruise boat passing by, and it left us mesmerised as always – a warm recommendation for anyone who has not experienced this yet. Canal Saint-Martin embodies effortless sophistication, making it the perfect place for an unhurried experience of Paris away from the usual tourists spots. We also eagerly checked out the new location of the ‘Buddy Buddy’ coffee and nut butter shop, which had recently opened in Paris, and it was every bit as adorable as its Brussels based original shop.
As the day went by, we wandered through the Marais district, stopping here and there for a dose of culture, a bit of shopping, some bites and a glass of wine. We were particularly enchanted by the Institut suédois and Bibliothèque nationale de France, site Richelieu, where the grandeur of the reading room and the beautiful gardens left a lasting impression on us. We will be going back.
At sunset, we reached the Seine. As the sun dipped below the horizon, Paris revealed a completely different side while we cruised the river. The Eiffel Tower, Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Louvre Museum, and the bustling banks of the Seine all came alive in a new light.
Sunday morning was dedicated to art at the Musée d’Orsay. Entering the Musée d’Orsay is like stepping into a daydream, where art and history converge. The grandeur of the Beaux-Arts railway station architecture envelops you, and as you cross the threshold, you are transported into a world of artistic brilliance. The museum’s vast, light-filled galleries are adorned with sculptures and paintings that evoke the spirit of the Impressionist and Post-Impressionist movements. Everything here tells a story – leaving an indelible mark on the soul of any visitor fortunate enough to enter.
Afterwards, we wandered the streets of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, a charming district that has captivated artists, intellectuals, and wanderers for generations. As we navigated the cobblestone lanes, we decided to make a cultural detour to the Bourdelle Museum. This hidden gem in Montparnasse houses the works of the sculptor Antoine Bourdelle. It provides a fascinating glimpse into the artist’s world. His former studio is preserved as if frozen in time, and the entrance to the museum is free.
Staying near the station offers a plethora of conveniences. Foremost among them is the freedom from the burdensome chore of lugging your luggage through the city’s streets, ensuring your seamless arrival and departure experience – a convenience we value more with each passing year. Furthermore, the proximity of the station grants you access to a myriad of transportation alternatives, facilitating your journeys to different corners of the city. If you ask us, these are unbeatable advantages for a weekend trip.
We’ve had the pleasure of experiencing the charm of ’25hours Hotel’ already in Florence, Italy, so our affection for it runs deep. This brand stands out for its innovative and one-of-a-kind approach to hospitality. Combining a fresh and contemporary outlook, 25hours Hotels effortlessly harmonise design, comfort, and an invigorating ambiance, while encouraging social interaction – making them a perfect choice for modern travellers.
In just a weekend, we experienced the timeless allure of Paris, a city that effortlessly marries its rich history with contemporary vibrancy. From the quiet charm of Canal Saint-Martin to the artistic treasures of the Musée d’Orsay and the hidden wonders of the Bourdelle Museum, our journey was a testament to the city’s endless capacity to captivate. See you soon, Paris!