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The perfect Parisian Sunday

Anniversary trip to Paris days four and five


View Anniversary trip to Paris on ToonSarah's travel map.

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View of the Sacre Coeur from the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont

Our Ruby Wedding anniversary! Chris gave me a gorgeous ruby eternity ring, while I had made him a book of photo memories.

After breakfast at the hotel we took the Metro to Jourdain metro station. When we emerged from the station we saw the Église Saint-Jean-Baptiste de Belleville directly opposite, its beautiful façade catching the morning sun. Being a Sunday I thought we might be prevented from exploring inside if a Mass were in progress; but fortunately all was quiet.

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This was one of the first churches of neo-Gothic architecture to be constructed in Paris, 1854-1859. The façade has scenes from the life of John the Baptist and a statue of him between the large doors. The latter depicts him in the desert presenting the Lamb of God.

The interior is relatively simple but has some lovely stained glass which was dappling the walls of the nave with spots of colour in the sunlight. A sign in one of the side chapels told us that Edith Piaf was baptised here in December 1917.

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On the streets of Belleville

Leaving the church we set out on our walk, heading in the direction of the Belvédère de Belleville. On the way we passed lots of good examples of street art and some appealing cafés. But we resisted the temptation to stop for the time being at least.

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Street art in Belleville

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Belleville café

As we neared the park I noticed that the apartment blocks were looking increasingly smart. This seemed a very pleasant area in which to live and one that would appeal to me. I loved the combination of the vibrant cosmopolitan community feel and the wonderful views over the city.

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Smart apartment block in Belleville

The views over Paris once we reached the belvedere were wonderful. We took some photos, of course, before retiring to a nearby pavement café to enjoy a coffee and watch others doing the same.

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View from the Belleville belvedere

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Photographing the Eiffel Tower

The next part of our walk took us back towards Jourdain by a different route, along the Rue de Belleville, with its eclectic mix of shops. Lots of people were out by now, doing a bit of Sunday morning shopping or enjoying brunch with friends in the various cafés and restaurants. I found some interesting details to photograph and more street art.

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On the streets of Belleville

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Street art in Belleville

La Mouzaïa

We passed through a more modern residential area centred on the Place des Fêtes. The food market had attracted quite a crowd; so we steered around it and carried on towards a more picturesque area, La Mouzaïa. The unusual name is Algerian; the district is named after the mountain pass of Mouzaïa, where the French army fought during the French conquest of Algeria, in 1839.

Here we found narrow lanes known as Villas, lined with pretty houses, with even prettier gardens. These small homes were originally built for workers, quarrymen in the local gypsum quarries. Today they are very desirable residences, reminding me a bit of London mews houses. I loved all the little details in the gardens!

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What a contrast! An apartment block near the Place des Fêtes, and a lane in La Mouzaïa

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On a lane in La Mouzaïa

Parc des Buttes-Chaumont

Eventually we arrived at the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont. Before going into the park we decided to get lunch at a café by the impressive Marie (town hall) of the 19th Arrondissement on the Place Armand Carrel, as we suspected (rightly) that the park’s cafés would be too busy on this sunny Sunday.

We then spent a relaxing hour or so exploring the park, where we encountered a friendly lady walking her kitten on a lead, lots of picnicking families, beautiful views and a few steep hills!

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In the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont

This was once the site of the former gypsum quarries. In 1860, Napoleon III decided to have the area transformed into a park what was then the fashionable ‘English’ style. Although they may look natural, all its features, from its lake to its rocky outcrops, were created from scratch by the engineer Adolphe Alphand. The bridge that spans the lake and links the main part of the park to the rocky island was the work of Gustave Eiffel – yes, that Eiffel! But we (I) had run out of steam at this point so were content to simply photograph the bridge rather than cross it.

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Lake and bridge

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Island in the lake

We caught the Metro 'home' for the last Berthillon ices of this trip in what had become our favourite local cafe on the corner of Rue Saint Louis en l'Ile and the Rue des Deux Ponts.

Anniversary evening

We started our anniversary celebrations this evening with Kir Royale at a brasserie on the Ile de la Cite.

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Kir Royale on the Ile de la Cite

Dinner was at the Caveau du Palais in the Place Dauphine. We chose the restaurant as much for its location as its good reviews. We had spent our honeymoon in a very basic hotel in this peaceful square, the Hotel Henri IV, and loved the location. The square may have a more upmarket feel today, with several smart restaurants, and the hotel has long since been converted to no doubt lovely and pricey apartments, but its appeal hasn't diminished.

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The Place Dauphine

And while we may have chosen the restaurant for its location, its food more than lived up to the setting. We had a wonderful outside table from where we could watch the games of pétanque on the square's sandy surface. The meal was delicious, with my John Dory en papillote easily the best thing I had eaten on this trip!

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Burata and anchovy

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John Dory

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The Caveau de Palais

We had a slow stroll back through the Ile de la Cite, past the Palais de Justice and the sad sight of Notre Dame. Hopefully next time we return to Paris she will be on the way to being more fully restored.

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The Seine and the Palais de Justice at night

Time to go home

The next morning we had time for a leisurely breakfast, enjoying a relaxing coffee and pastries at a brasserie with a view across the river to the Ile de la Cite and the Pantheon on the Left Bank.

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Breakfast views

We then had a final stroll around the island before going back to the hotel to check out.

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On the Ile Saint Louis

We took the Metro to the Gare du Nord where there was lots of fiddly checking of Covid-related paperwork. But we were in the departure lounge with plenty of time to spare for a coffee. On board we were glad we had paid extra for the Standard Premier service as we had comfortable seats in a quiet coach with a light lunch and wine included.

At the end of this short but wonderful trip we were very glad to have at last been able to travel abroad again, after about 18 months ‘grounded’. There may be a little more hassle attached to travelling right now, but it’s more than worth it!

Posted by ToonSarah 11:10 Archived in France Tagged churches food parks restaurant paris views city street_art street_photography Comments (9)

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