December 2021

Under Construction


This is an abridged description of a trip to Paris in December 2021. The intention is to give a firsthand personal experience of how Joy and I together with Delia and Klaus did get to and around in this city. This report may not be as interesting as the other trips to more exotic destinations. And it is only a very small part even of a city anyway. And as far as most of you are concerned, it may not be all new to you, since many may already have visited the capital of France.

This is my third visit to Paris. The first time was in the year 1962. At that time I still worked for the German railway thus I had a very cheap ride. Together with a "gang" of cologne we were roaming the city and had a lot of fun. The second time I was on a business trip when I used the weekend for sightseeing.

Since this is not only a travel report but also a personal memory album, so don't complain that Joy (and sometimes I) is often standing or sitting in the way while taking the photos.

Also, don't complain about the photos. I didn't take my reflex camera with me because I didn't want to carry heavy stuff around this time. The instant camera ran out of power because I couldn't charge the battery pack. My and Joy's cell phone was then only as a substitute left but with limited results. In addition, the weather was so bad without a sun and a lot of rain during our stay. Ok, I don't want to receive a photography award anyway.

And by the way, the aim was not to see as much as possible but to experience the way of live in Paris a little bit, i.e. traveling around with the Metro, watching the Parisians, walking the streets, eating in restaurants while still seeing some of the landmarks. So this is not really a travel guide.

Getting from Berlin to Paris

We decided to make the trip to Paris by train. We took the German ICE train to Mannheim and from there the TGV train to Paris Gare de l'Est. The trip took all together eight and a half hours. For the first class ticket we paid 148.80 Euro per person. We had booked the
Altona Hotel
166 rue du Faubourg-Poisonnière
75010 Paris, France
at for 76.26 Euro per room and night. However, this room rate we will get 6.80 Euro reduced and reimbursed because we found a cheaper room rate at after we have already made the booking. The policy is that if you find it cheaper anywhere else then you get the cheaper price also from Understood?

Now take a look at the following photos. Many are self-explanatory. Others are supplemented with my comments.

Click the small picture to get it enlarged

At the Berlin Main Railway Station Do not forget to put on the mask
Riding the TGV Riding the TGV
After we arrived at the Gare de l'Est station we walked to the hotel. Or better we wanted to walk but unfortunately in the opposite direction. How stupid of me, because I was leading the way. Finally, after we did get lost we took a taxi for 16.00 Euro. The hotel was close to Montmartre thus it was our first destination next morning. And what is the most important landmark there? Sacre Coeur, the Holy Heart. Look up the internet to learn more.
Climbing to the Sacre Coeur We almost made it
Looking down to Montmartre No nice view down in the rain
Inside Sacre Coeur The Holy Mass in full procession
A priest is praying The angel Saint Michael
From Sacre Coeur we walked around and came to the main square with the artists. But there were only a few because of the cold and rainy weather. There were also not many tourists around, thus it was bad business also for souvenir shops and the restaurants.
Looking at the paintings of the street artists One of the paintings I liked
A lot of more paintings for sale Waiting for customers
Then we wanted to visit the most famous department store which was the Lafayette. We found out that it was not so far away from Montmartre, so we walked despite the drizzle. On the way we (unfortunately for us men) passed a Philippine grocery store. The ladies couldn't resist to get in and talk to the owners and even bought some stuff. But at least they did not get the idea to buy something expensive at Lafayette.
And now time for shopping at Lafayette What a nice Christmas decoration inside
Looking up the middle dome All the famous names you find here
Looks like balconies in the opera The Opera Garnier was just around the corner
Now take a look at the kilo prices in Euro of some samples: Oysters for 49.00, lobster for 79.90, Mangrove Red Snapper for 28.90, Côte de Boeuf for 95.00. Joy bought six small tomatoes for 2.99 Euro. The price for a kilo must have been around 9.00 Euro. The reason she bought it was that she wanted to retrieve the seeds to plant in our garden because it was such a special breed. The name of this tomato species is epicurie. Maybe we can grow a lot and sell for a lot to get the money back.
Oysters, etc. Lobsters, etc.
Fish, etc. Steaks, etc.
Next day is flea market day. In France it is called Les Puces. I was very disappointed because it looks very different from the time when I was there in the year 1962. It also does not seem to be famous anymore because the people we asked even didn't know where it is when we did get out of the Metro station Porte de Clignancourt.

Fortunately we had a flier called Les Puces de Paris Saint-Quen with a map which we followed. Oh, my goodness: It was a huge area with around more than ten sections for various antiques, second hand and vintage.

The usual flee market stuff we only found in the Marché Antica. In the many 'allées' are many shops lined up, but many closed. No real flee market feeling. At least we could get shelter from the rain inside some shops. All the other areas either offer all kinds of expensive stuff or cheap used clothes or fakes like on a oriental bazaar.
An expensive shop in Les Puces Many shops like this are around
Should we look inside? Or just stay outside
Honey, do you want to buy it for our garden? Maybe a painting from Joy's country
This looks more like Les Puces But still located in fixed houses
Paved little streets in Marché Antica with all the shops lined up
The next day was a little more like real sight-seeing but no insight seeing. We went by Metro to the Cité station on the Isle de Cité. To get into the Consiergerie you needed pre-booked tickets. I really would have liked to see the cell where Marie-Antoinette was interned before she was beheaded like her husband King Louis XVI before. And Notre Dame was completely closed because of the ongoing restoration after the fire in the year of 2019. But at least it was a nice background for the photo.
The Consiergerie Notre Dame
The only place where we went inside was a restaurant where we had a three course lunch. Better would have been a lunch on a ship. But we had no information where we could get one (I didn't have enough time to get all the information about Paris before we went on this trip).We only saw one on the Seine as you can see on the photo. So we took the Metro again in order to see the next famous sight of Paris: The Arc de Triomphe and the Avenue des Champs Élysées .
We would have liked to eat on the ship This is proof that Joy was at the Arc de Triomphe
The Arc de Tromphe The Avenue des Champs Élysées
We walked a short distance along the Avenue des Champs Élysées until we hit the Lido. The ticket including dinner starts with 80.00 Euro. I remember that I was in a similar show in the year 1962. I still wonder how I could have afforded it at that time with my small railway salary. It must have been very cheap. Maybe the Franc was just devalued against the Deutsch Mark. The nice hotel I stayed in was also just around the corner of the Arc.
The Lido The show
Another day another sight. The Tour Eiffel. But no sight from the top but only from the side. There was already a throng standing in line. And it was raining, raining, raining. So it would not have been worthwhile to look from the top, nothing to see. We walked a little through the muddy grass and ways in the parc in front of the Eiffel Tower and soon hit the road to get back to the Metro station Bir Hakeim.
The Eiffel Tower is a must to see Also proof that Joy was here
The next day Joy and I took the Metro to the Victor Hugo station where we were looking for another Philippine grocery store. Joy was told that she would find there tropical veggie seeds for our garden. She was always searching for it since she could not travel to the Philippines this year. But unfortunately it was a wrong advice. Ok, so we took the Metro again to go to St-Germain des Prés for another historical site, or better historical café, connected also with the Philippines. Joy read an article about that so we had to go there of course.
The building with the café Les Deux Magots Located opposite the church St-Germaine des près
Les Deux Magots is a famous café in the Saint-Germain-des-Prés area of Paris. It once had a reputation as the rendezvous of the literary and intellectual élite. Its two statues of porcelain represent Chinese "mandarins" or "magicians". The french word magot actually means prey or just money. Whatever the connection.

But the connection with the Philippines was that their national hero José Rizal who studied ophthalmology once at the University of Paris nearby around mid 1880 and very often frequented the Les Deux Magots café during that time.
What are these figurines? There are in a famous café

Maybe José Rizal met Oscar Wilde there who ate breakfast at the same café every morning when he was in Paris. Oscar Wilde's father was an ophthalmologist, so there may also have been one common subject to talk about. And Oscar Wilde was not the only one who visited the café not necessarily at the same time, like Ernest Hemingway, Albert Camus, Jean-Paul Sartre, Pablo Picasso, Umberto Eco
Who was here? Some of the celebrities, like Michael Jackson
A lot of celebrities Can you recognize another one?
So it's obvious that Joy and I have to also join with the illustrious society, even if it cost us a 'fortune'. I wonder how some of the poor poets at that time could pay the high prices. That must have been pretty cheap at that time. So accept it now as a tourist exploitation. But anyway we were thrilled to be close to history and that feeling was it worthwhile.
A glass beer for 9.00 Euro and the caesars salad for 22.00 Euro Checking our travel budget while drinking a Cappuccino for 8.00 Euro
While the rest of the gang went shopping I traveled back to the Isle de Cité for more sight-seeing. But no way again to get into the Consiergerie. Also the Centre Pompidou was being renovated thus closed. Les Halles, the former biggest market place, also called the belly of Paris in the old days, has been demolished and substituted by the Forum des Halles with a four stories deep shopping center and cheap shops around.
The Consiergerie again, but no ticket The Criminal Court is in the front of the Consiergerie
Centre Georges Pompidou The place before the Centre Pompidou
A pool with art sculptures beside Centre Pompidou The new building of the Forum des Halles
The entrance to a shop of Les Halles The mall inside the Forum des Halles
Then the next destination was the Louvre but unfortunately it was closed on Tuesday and it was Tuesday. Just having bad luck.
The Louvre with the pyramid
Since the Louvre was closed I wanted to pay a visit to Napoleon, at least his tomb. I took the Metro to get off at the Invalides station. From there I walked to the Hôtel des Invalides. Just happy that it was still open. It is actually a military museum called Musée de l'Armée with a lot of old weapons. Very interesting. But the tomb of Napoleon was put in the Dome previously the Royal Chapel.
Not Brandenburg Gate but Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel Was this some kind of celebration?
The Invalides entrance The Napoleon's sarcophagus
Next day was our final day in Paris. We walked to the Gare de l'Est. This time it was easy because we knew the way. The train was leaving at 13:10 and we arrived in Berlin on time in the evening.

This was the end of our trip to Paris. As it was said before and will be said again: There could have been seen and done a lot more. Also I could have written more. If you want to know more all about the places we have visited, then just look up any of the many guidebooks or the internet.

Created December 2021

© WEW Tours