It's time for the hustle and bustle of the city. From nature back to the hectic pace of life. After four months of quiet life on the beach and in the countryside, it's time to head to Paris for a few days.
The first few hours are an overwhelming assault on my senses. Loud, all kinds of smells, a permanent stream of information and constant movement in my field of vision. A feeling like eating curry vindaloo after a long period of eating unseasoned food. It takes me a while to pick up the city pace.
I spend my first afternoon and evening wandering around the Latin Quarter and Notre Dame, browsing the books at Shakespeare & Co. and ending the day in one of the many bars in Saint-Germain de Pres.
The next morning, the bustling city feels more familiar. I have a relaxed start with a coffee at the Palais Royal and plan my day's itinerary. First I head north through the covered Galerie Vivienne, then further north through Passage Jouffroy and Verdeau. Here I do some window-shopping, passing by the still very special and unique shops.
In the afternoon, I took a trip to Montmartre. Coming out of the Abbesses metro station, the Art Nouveau church Saint-Jean de Montmartre surprises me. Above the mosaic entrance, three friendly Art Nouveau angels invite you to enter.
And now it's time to climb. First up the hill to the Sacre-Coeur and then to the top of the church. The effort and sweat are rewarded with breathtaking views over Paris.
The Tuileries are the best place to end the day with a new book from Galignani.
In the morning it's already clear that it will be a really hot day. I opt for air-conditioning and spend the day at the Musee d'Orsay and the Louvre.
After the museum day, I am drawn to the eastern edge of Paris, to Vincennes. An area still unknown to me, despite my many visits to Paris. In the Bois de Vincennes is the Jardin d'Agronomie Tropicale. It is the remains of a colonial exhibition from the beginning of the 20th century. In a forest of ghosts, it reminds us of a dark past of colonialism.
I walk on through the forest to the Chateau de Vincennes. This is a former fortress and royal residence, with a very impressive chapel in the grounds.
On the last day of my visit, I went to two places that could not be more different from each other in terms of their historical and architectural context. In the morning, I go to the tombs of Napoleon Bonaparte in the grounds of the Hotel des Invalides. Here I found a gigantic production of the cult of personality. It seemed to me that in many places this cult had produced strange stylistic and representational blooms.
After a short ride on the metro, I arrive at the other resting place of two of the most famous figures in the history of France. The Chapelle Expiatoire is located in a small park in the middle of a residential area. The tombs of King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette are located in this relatively small and inconspicuous chapel.
After so much concentrated French history, I end the day with an aimless stroll through the city before heading back to Brittany the next day. Enough urban life so far.