Our second day in Paris started with a bit of a hiccup as a combination of too much walking and a fairly new pair of Converse had left Matt with battered and bruised feet and barely able to stand let alone walk. Luckily we has seen most of what we wanted to the previous day but of course there was no way I was leaving Paris without seeing the Eiffel Tour!
We checked out of the hotel at 11am and meandered towards the closest metro station, Boucicaut. Having not eaten any breakfast at the hotel we were a bit peckish and spotted the small Zinc Zen cafe very close by. One of the waiters spotted us perusing the menu outside and came to see if we needed assistance. When we told him we didn’t read much French he immediately swept inside to get us an English menu.
Given all that you hear about the rudeness of the French I was very impressed by the helpfulness of all the wait staff we encountered on our trip. In fact on this occasion we were actually too early to eat as the kitchen wasn’t supposed to be open until noon but they very kindly served us anyway which we were very grateful for.
I went for the lighter Latina Salad; oak leaf, mozzarella, tomato, cucumber, Serrano ham, pine nuts and black olives which was ridiculously delicious and generously proportioned.
Whereas Matt went for the Zen burger with fries and coleslaw. He wasn’t too impressed when it came out with cheese all over it but the situation was soon rectified. I washed mine down with a rather unhealthy but extremely delicious hot chocolate while Matt was impressed that not only was there tea on the menu but he was given a selection to choose from!
Restaurant le Zinc Zen
114 Rue de la Convention
Later than planned we were off for our days adventuring with our first stop the Arc de Triomphe. The arch stands in honour of those who fought for France throughout the wars in the middle of one of the most ludicrous roundabouts I have ever seen.
The whole area was just chaos and we didn’t hang around for long. We jumped back on the Metro for a couple more stops to the Trocadero where the best views of the Eiffel Tower can be seen. Of course this means that there are a lot of street sellers in the area too but thankfully less intrusive than those we had encountered at the Sacré-Cœur.
Not far from here is a little place called Merveilleux (there are a few of them dotted around the city apparently) which was recommended to me by a colleague at work who happens to be French. Unfortunately it was at this point that Matt’s feet completely gave up and we faced a bit of a dilemma. We weren’t too far from the river so decided to take a river cruise along the Seine to fill in some time.
Bat(o)bus to the rescue! Yes we did choose this cruise company over the others simply because the name reminded us of Batman.
The tour runs on a hop-on, hop-off basis and as such there is no commentary in any language but for €16 for one day or €18 for two you are free to use it as much as you like for the duration. There are 8 stops along the way and it’s a one-way circular tour which takes about 90 minutes to go all the way round. The boats are extremely clean, comfortable and excellent value for money. In hindsight we would probably have been better off getting the two day ticket the day before and not done quite as much walking!
It was a lovely relaxing ride seeing many of the areas we’d covered the previous day from a different angle including going directly underneath those wonderful lock bridges.
We got off at the Champs-Élysées and slowly made our way back to Gare du Nord for our train home. We were far too early so popped into Hippopotamus just across the road for a bite to eat and a farewell cocktail.
It was a lovely trip, only slightly spoiled by Matt’s inability to walk on the second day. While I enjoyed it and would like to go back some day I’m not desperate to return anytime soon and I definitely think I’ll save the next visit for summer time when it’s a little on the warmer side!
Have you been to Paris? What did you think?