Arrival into Paris: Bastille, Bercy and dusk at Eiffel Tower

Paris Travel Blog

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Air France A380s lined up in a row at CDG ready for departure

The trip has officially begun!!

If you've read the summary of the trip, you'll know that France is fast becoming a hot favourite. I don't even know how it all started - there was a time where I was just happy visiting the UK, and one trip to Belgium opened up my love for the continent as well. And in each of the last 4 yrs, I've had the opportunity of visiting it at least once. In recent years, this would be my 3rd trip to France. The two contrasted each other - my first trip from 2009 was so museum filled that I soon got museum'ed out. I reached a point where I was getting bored and couldn't wait to leave. Then came the grape harvest of 2011, and I loved how chilled out the Bourgogne ambience is. So in this trip, I made a conscious decision to balance out both - the rich heritage of France (via museums and castles) but also do some random exploring, visit parks and forests and, well chillax.

Random picture whilst walking to Place de la Bastille

Anyway - back to the present - our flight left from Seattle to JFK, was a breeze, the JFK AA terminal is amazing so had a fine time watching the world, or should I say airlines go by. So many airlines fly their A380s to JFK! Our flight to CDG was on time as well, and the veg meal I ordered was fairly good.

The flight arrived on time but was held back from parking at gate because of some other airline (needing to remove a piece of luggage). Sat on the tarmac for 30 minutes but I could tell that it was a very nice, sunny and warm day in Paris. Worst is, after waiting at a tarmac, the plane then moved only to park again at the tarmac before we all disembarked! Baggage reclaim also took a while, infact a really long time and for a flight that landed that 1030a, I could leave CDG only by 1245pm :-( I love Paris, but the airport's always a bad experience -  if it isn't a union strike or lack of gate space, it's the delay of baggage! Anyway caught the RER-B to town, and the Orange line to Republique.

I had to take this picture - touristy yet so Parisian
Finally reached the apartment at 2pm. The landlord waited patiently, showed the place around and I could tell I'd like both the neighbourhood as well as the little flat. The kitchen was very well stocked as well with spices.

It was about 3pm, but time to make a move-on. As we were staying close, well a few stops away from Place de la Bastille, I thought why not? That's 1 place I'd never visited before. I am aware of the significance of the place, but the statue by itself was really very ordinary.

I was  busy flipping my Insight Guides Paris book, and accidentally chanced upon an entire chapter of Bercy. So I thought, why not? Thus far, Bercy had remained a place where all international stars do concerts, and the venue of a few football matches, and I had envisioned this neighbourhood to be a million miles away from the central Paris.

At the Bercy Village
But, it really wasn't that far. Infact there was a direct line from Bastille to Bercy so off I was on the Metro again....

When it's a sunny day in Paris, you can betcha you'll have people wandering all over, Bercy being no exception. The travel books all ask you to visit Cour Saint-Émilion and I can see why. In the most touristy of ways, this is a grid of a series of shops, wonderful walkway and tons of rsnts and outdoor cafes. And on a sunny day, it seemed more delightful. I took a peek around the area as well - there's a park as well, and some fairly modern construction (block of flats). It seemed like quite a semi modern area, an area I really wouldn't mind living in.

It was around 6pm or so, the sun was still up in the sky but this was the perfect time to do a proper Paris ritual - visit the Tower! The thing I love about visiting Tour D'Eiffel is the same buzz I get whilst visiting the Golden Gate or the Clock Tower - it's always surrounded by tourists.

At the Bercy Village
And on a sunny day, one can only imagine how much better (worse?) it gets! The sad part was the one of the lifts wasn't working, so there was a massive queue for those wanting to go up the lifts. As I'd done it last time and didn't gain much, I opted to go for the staircase instead. I'm not going to say much about the views that I haven't said in the past, except that anyone who's visiting Paris needs to start here to get a feel of the place. It's one that never loses its charm. Anyway spent the sunset here, crossed the pond for a view of the tower and headed back to the flat by nightfall. I'd love to say Place de la Republique is beautiful but sadly they're modifying the place so all I saw was barriers and other stuff. Pass!

Final stop of the day was the much talked about Canal St.

At the Bercy Village
Martin. Not sure about this place, I was surprised that school kids would drink and eat and party away on a weeknight. I'd love to go back to school! I did enjoy the walk though, and this is a side of Paris I'd never seen before. Anyway back in the flat by 10pm after a round of grocery (this neighbourhood has a very strong Islam influence including Arab hair salons!).

Phew, day 1 of Paris done! :) I have to say, it not only feels amazing to be back, but a certain sense of familiarity, the same one I have/had with London. Be warned!

 

emmllerg says:
Enjoy the places Paris has to offer you
Posted on: Jun 02, 2013
sylviandavid says:
Congratulations on being featured!!!
Posted on: Apr 27, 2012
monky says:
Congrats on your featured Vikram!
Posted on: Apr 21, 2012
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Air France A380s lined up in a row…
Air France A380s lined up in a ro…
Random picture whilst walking to P…
Random picture whilst walking to …
I had to take this picture - touri…
I had to take this picture - tour…
At the Bercy Village
At the Bercy Village
At the Bercy Village
At the Bercy Village
At the Bercy Village
At the Bercy Village
Fancy chocolate shop at the Bercy …
Fancy chocolate shop at the Bercy…
Fancy chocolate shop at the Bercy …
Fancy chocolate shop at the Bercy…
Fancy chocolate shop at the Bercy …
Fancy chocolate shop at the Bercy…
Bercy Village park
Bercy Village park
Bercy Village park
Bercy Village park
I wonder what this is?!
I wonder what this is?!
Flowers for sale outside my local …
Flowers for sale outside my local…
Place de la Republique
Place de la Republique
Place de la Republique
Place de la Republique
Place de la Republique
Place de la Republique
Canal St. Martin at night
Canal St. Martin at night
Place de la Republique
Place de la Republique
near Canal St.Martin
near Canal St.Martin
near Canal St.Martin
near Canal St.Martin
Paris
photo by: Sweetski