A return of scarves and black articles of clothing has to mean one thing–> The Parisians are back! I might have been watching movies at an open air cinema in Paris and doing day trips. :-) Not a bad deal!
I’d actually been anticipating August since getting here after hearing all about it in the travel books I read. Would it live up to the hype? Does everyone really leave Paris for the entire month? But how?
Well I’m here to confirm that yes indeed Paris is dead! I saw a funny post on Facebook the other day showing pictures of major streets with absolutely no people.
It is so weird!!
One day I woke up at 6am to traffic outside my window and a couple days later, quiet. No it wasn’t the weekend, just the beginning of August.
If you’re planning a trip to Paris, I wouldn’t plan it during this month – It’s so hot! And so many things are closed! Well because they’re clientele are all out of town!
Something neat is that the city puts on events for the people that are in town- music concerts, outdoor movies, and the famous Paris Plage! A beach on the banks of the Seine.
There’s actually a law in France that a certain amount of boulangeries are open at one time – 400 to be exact. You can visit a website to see where the nearest open bakery is!
Following August, there’s what is called “La Rentree” aka. “the return!” – a return from vacation and a return to school!
Check out these mega- cute candies in a store window!
It was the first rainy day in my new apartment and despite a couple rain drops coming in through the open window above my bed, I didn’t want to get up. Didn’t even want to close the window. But, the thought of being homeless mid-September if I missed my RDV at 11:30 however might have jolted me awake. I had a meeting to see an apartment one boulevard off the Champs de Mars (the garden in front of the Eiffel) toward the middle of the garden. It happened by chance, I was looking at the Roommates in Paris FB group and someone posted about renting out their apartment for 6 months while they were in Beirut starting in September. Bingo! A very intense interview later and we set up a RDV! So I grabbed my umbrella and headed out in the rain.
The apartment was so cute! And bigger than I thought (never happens in Paris). The view … A small window but it looked right through the middle of a break in the street right into the park. Amazing! I’ll save pics of the apartment for September.
Then I was off to the train station- Gare de l’est to catch a train to Provins with Anna and Tina. The rain had let up so we were feeling pretty good about the trip.
No sooner did we step off the train and take two pictures, did it start to pour. Soaked to the bone and freezing pour! And the town? Well I’m always up for an adventure, but it didn’t look too exciting. And of course all of my research on the town had left me with my hungry belly!
We headed toward the middle of the city past some buildings that looked a little sad, and several restaurants that were closed and stopped at an express pasta place. Warm pasta (that wasn’t so good) and a little while later, it was still pouring. The store owner started to close up shop so we headed out, bought some stamps, turned a wrong direction, and somehow made our way up a hill where we saw some more tourists. Hmm…
Then the rain cleared up! Another turn toward a huge church and ah ha! This is where we were supposed to go!! A turn at an amazing tower and we kept walking and bumped into the cutest little square.
Provins as I was now remembering has two parts, the lower village, and upper village. The lower village in the center was rather cute with a Hotel d’Ville decked out in flowers and a couple cute restaurants, but the upper village is the place to be. The town is a UNESCO site and an amazingly preserved site of Medieval France. You can see and walk (!) on the walls surrounding most of the upper village.
After getting a coffee and dessert at a cute little café and hitting up way too many shops that’s where we headed to finish our quick trip.
The town is also known for their Medieval Festival, medieval themed shows, and roses! Rose products were everywhere from tea to chocolate to soap to creams and syrups.
It ended up being an awesome day trip. Give girls great shopping, a cute café, and some beautiful views and we’re set! We’re hoping to go back in a couple of weeks for the Medieval Fair!
Practical Info: Catch a SNCF train from Gare de l’Est in Paris. Trains leave every 30mins to an hour depending on the day. The trip is free with a Navigo pass if you’re traveling on the weekend or an inexpensive ticket from the automated machines. Check out the TV screens to find the number of the train platform for PROVINS. The train usually gets there just 10 minutes before departing so keep an eye on the screens for the platform number to pop up and head that way! Once you get to the town, head to the left across a bridge and follow the signs to the city centre, and then uphill to the upper village. Tourist information is located off the town square amongst lots of little boutiques.
I feel at peace in my new apartment. Even though I’ll only be here for a month and a half I’m so glad that I was able to make it my own during that time.
It’s been a rush looking for the perfect place (14 visits in 2 weeks) but it was worth the wait. The apartment is just two streets over from the magnificent Madeline. I actually really disliked this church when I first visited Paris 6 years ago. The doors were beautiful but the inside lacked the clean renovations that were going on in other huge churches. The walls are black with age, so dark you can barely see the paintings. Only the main fresco above the altar is carefully restored. When my sister visited she asked if there had been a fire in the church because it looked like soot covered the walls.
I think that’s why I like the church now though. Very few tourists have it on their must see list. Unlike the Notre Dame, there aren’t massive posters and TV screens plastered along the perimeter. It’s a peaceful oasis if only for a little bit from the hustle and bustle of the area.
The apartment itself is up 6 flights of winding, brutal stairs. The type where you would get nervous if there wasn’t a handrail.
When I first visited, I didn’t know what to expect. A couple of tiles were missing along the way and the wall was a bit scraped up.
But I’ve learned that you can’t judge an apartment by its stairwell or door for that matter. What’s behind could be quite the gem. :-)
I love the apartment itself but I think my favorite thing is the view. I’ll stand by one of the five windows feeling the breeze and watching what is going on below.
Oh and I love the full sized oven too. :-D
Moving in was an experience in itself. My amazing friends showed up at 9:20 in the morning took a look at my multiple suitcases and grabbed the biggest ones. Leaving me with a rolling bag and two smaller bags. Walking to the metro was a hoot- we got so many looks. Hahaha Luckily it was a straight shot on Line 8 to Madeline. A block walk and we were there facing a 6 story walk up in what was already 80 degree heat. Who steps in though to help? The construction guys that we met along the hike up! Each one kept taking a bag to where I was left with a small bag, Kathrin had just a backpack and Tina- no bags at all! Haha
When we thanked them they said- it was the Parisian way, no need for thanks. :-)