I’m just back from Paris (June 2021) and I can’t tell you how fabulous it was to get out and about after being stuck at home and largely confined to a 10km area for almost a year…
So – what’s it like to be in Paris right now? Well, it’s not quite its normal self, that’s for sure. It was certainly buzzing but very quiet for the time of the year. Everywhere I went people asked me where I was from. Originally London I said, but now from Pas de Calais in the north. Everyone was delighted that visitors are starting to be able to come back.
Paris is the same – but different
I sat people watching in the sun (not a cloud in the sky) at cafés and it was clear that visitors really are coming back, I heard Italians, Americans, Dutch and a few other nationalities. If you can go now, and you feel comfortable going, it’s a great time to be there – very uncrowded, welcoming and vibrant. At the moment there are still social distancing restrictions and masks are mandatory inside (not outside any more, that requirement was lifted on 17 June). Book tickets for museums in advance if you want to be sure of getting in, I found it very easy to do it online and I am not good at technical things! There are more terraced cafés than ever before. Paris looks and feels wonderful.
I walked miles, literally miles – the streets of the Latin Quarter, the squares of the Marais, the length of the Champs-Elysees! I went to the opening of the Hotel de la Marine at Place de la Concorde – it is magnificent. It was the former King’s furniture store where he would show of his collection to guests. And wow. Just wow. The rooms have been restored to their former glory – and they are certainly fit for a king who lived at Versailles. The collections are exquisite and you can get so close to them it’s unbelievable. Definitely one for your Paris bucket list. I’ll share my write up next week (and you can see a few photos here on Instagram).
A hotel to be pampered at
I was spoiled rotten at my hotel, historic Fouquet’s Barrière off the Champs-Elysees. It has a legendary brasserie which I love, but this time I enjoyed their inner courtyard restaurant/bar Le Joy, a lush green and seriously stylish oasis in the city. And I slept like a baby in the comfiest bed ever! If you want to be pampered in Paris, you’re guaranteed success here!
I watched the sun set over the Eiffel Tower, wandered along the Seine, gazed at Notre Dame – which is looking fabulous, the restoration is going well, popped into Shakespeare & Co., sat in the Tuileries gardens, indulged in great food, did a little shopping and generally was a total tourist. And I loved it. I just hope that everyone can come back soon and enjoy it too.
Of course I’m back to cleaning out chicken coops, cuddling cats, walking dogs, cutting grass and renovating (the back of the house this year!). But Paris awaits, and it won’t be too long before I can’t resist the lure!
Wishing you a very bon weekend.
Bisous from my little pigsty in rural northern France,
Janine Marsh is Author of My Good Life in France: In Pursuit of the Rural Dream – ebook, print & audio, on Amazon everywhere & all good bookshops online, and My Four Seasons in France: A Year of the Good Life
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