Une Nuit a Paris – Pullman Paris La Defense Hotel
Needless to say that one night in Paris is never enough, but one night is all that I had time for.
It started with a train journey, and I’m sure you’ve all sampled the delights of the Eurostar, but in case you’ve missed out during the last nine years, then I suggest you give it a try. It really is the only way to get to Paris – so very simple and easy, turn up at London St Pancras, settle yourself comfortably into your seat, and a meal and a few drinks later there you are in the centre of Paris.
I was spending the night at the Pullman La Défense Hotel, on the eastern side of Paris just short of the suburbs, “real Paris” as my taxi driver pointed out. Located in the heart of the La Défense business district opposite the CNIT (Centre of New Industries and Technologies), the hotel is around 10 minutes from the centre of Paris overlooking the river Seine.
This peaceful and understated upscale hotel was fully renovated in 2013 and offers new-generation rooms, a comfortable and stylish lounge, WIFI and a Vinoteca restaurant serving contemporary cuisine. If, like myself, you are on a very short stay, I would recommend this hotel. If, however, you are hoping for a more energetic, night-life heavy experience, a centrally located hotel could be a better fit. For my visit, particularly as I was travelling alone, this quiet and comfortable hotel suited me perfectly.
The following morning, business concluded, I had a couple of hours to spare, so hopped on the metro (there is a station only moments away from the hotel) and headed for Odeon. The metro in Paris is wonderful, streets ahead of the London Underground, very easy to naviagate, cheap and cheerful and fantastically reliable.
Stepping out onto the sun drenched streets I was instantly struck by by an imposing and wonderfully classical church. The architecture in this city is truly second to none and brings out the photographer in us all. Paris really is a stunning city.
I wandered over towards the Seine and the Pont des Arts, the exclusive pedestrian only beautiful wooden bridge across the river which can now be found covered in padlocks. This craze started a few years back, when a modern day Romeo and Juliet declared their undying love for each other by writing their names/initials on a padlock, locking it on the bridge and throwing the key into the waters of the Seine in a grand romantic gesture! Ah l’amour!
After a brief glance behind me to the Eiffel Tower, I headed on and reached The Louvre; it soon became clear that a show had just finished, I believe it was Louis Vuitton – it was fashion week after all. The circus surrounding the exit was in full swing as usual: photographers, security, fashionistas, models and wannabes all crying to be noticed. I quickly headed away towards the Jardins Tuileries, and restored my sense of calm.
A brief cab ride and I was at the Gare du Nord; beautiful sunshine streamed through the windows of the train as I left Paris, only to be replaced by a misty, grey, flat sky as we emerged from the tunnel. Home, just as I left it.