I have the extremely good fortune to have a job that allows for a little travel each year, so at the end of May and the start of June, I had a few meetings that I extended into weekend trips on my own time & dime. First, Florence (for only about 2 1/2 days) and a few weeks later, Paris (again, only for a few days, but I probably walked about 12 hours a day).
Florence was a quick visit – I had to go straight to the University for a reception & early the next morning we had a editorial summit. The next day or so I covered Florence, from the Duomo Di Firenze:
And night walks
Paris was great. The meeting went much better than I thought it might, which was a tremendous relief. Athough I have to give very regular presentations in my work, they always give me huge anxiety. I’ve generally figured out how to cope. There was so much I wanted to do and see – especially the catacombs and flea markets – but had to leave a little bit for next time.
I took the Eurostar from St Pancras to Paris Gare Du Nord, which is really such a luxury. Train travel to foreign countries. I was really pleased to find out that you can bring back as much wine and cheese as you can carry with no extra charge, taxes, fees or limitations. Take advantage!
My free time mostly consisted of night walks, nice cafes, park reading, flea market browsing…
Recommendations to pass along:
Le Loire Dans La Théière
Marché aux fleurs
Rose Bakery (there are several)
Saint-Ouen, Seine-Saint-Denis (flea market that’s nearly impossible to find)
For night walks, you can’t miss the obvious. Start near the Louvre and walk from there to the Eiffel Tower. It’s just under 5 miles if you don’t meander. But you should meander.
The next day, at Le Loire Dans La Théière:
Tower of Meringue!
Marché aux fleurs Paris ile de la Cité. Peonies.
Café Allongé and a little quichelette from Rose Bakery
Near Sacre Couer
At Luxembourg Gardens
And Notre Dame Cathedral
And Saint-Ouen flea market (les pupuces)
If you want to visit (you definitely should!) make sure you don’t follow your iPhone’s suggestions for directions. I found a really helpful bloggers instructions an absolute life saver after hours and hours of wasted searching: http://ohhappyday.com/2011/03/how-to-get-to-the-paris-flea-market/