This article is from Flow. One day to Paris and back by train: it's simple and so much fun, discovered journalist Caroline Buijs. No hassle with suitcases and your senses are focused all day.
The feeling of happiness comes over me when I gently close the front door behind me at half past five in the morning and remove my bike. The fresh spring air, the dark sky where a hint of pink appears carefully, the blackbirds that seem to sing to me as I cycle to the station, through a city that is still sleeping.
Three months earlier, on a drizzly day, I booked a return trip to Paris. One day back and forth, to look forward to something during the long, gray winter. And I immediately experience the first advantage of this one-day holiday when I step into the Thalys: no dragging for me with a heavy suitcase or too little luggage space. While at home my family is slowly waking up and cycling to school or work, my train is already racing through the northern French landscape. At 6.15 am I left Amsterdam Central, and at exactly 9.35 am my train enters Gare du Nord.
"I notice much more: it is the bonus of the first impression, the fresh look, that does its work all day"
(Almost) without a plan
The plan was that it would be a day without a plan. I already saw myself sitting on a bench in Jardin du Luxembourg, or any park in Paris, to figure out what I would like. And perhaps the day would not consist of more than sitting on that bench looking around me, sniffing the atmosphere. But because it is too cold today to sit outside, I make a plan anyway. First to the Musée d'Orsay, where the exhibition Le modèle noir - De Géricault à Matisse has just been opened.
I realize that just a beautiful exhibition like this can be a reason to travel back and forth in one day. In the Thalys I have already figured out which metro lines I need today, which means that as a real Parisienne I move smoothly with everyone all day. When I am in the metro ten minutes after arriving at Gare du Nord towards the museum, including a freshly made croissant, I realize how wonderful it is that I don't have to go to a hotel to store my suitcase. Today no misunderstandings about where to get the key, as often happens when I book through Airbnb, and no disappointment about a hotel room that does not meet my expectations. It goes in a kind of flow - without delay.
Everything is good
A day alone in Paris also means that I can do what I feel like. Today, not three pairs of eyes that ask: when are you coming, when I pick out a card at my leisure in the museum shop. In daily life I am rather a doubter, today I simply do not have the time and my options are minimized. And so from Musée d'Orsay I walk into the first cafe on the corner for a pot of tea and a tartelette aux fruits .
I also enjoy the French that is spoken around me - even though I don't understand it: I already dropped the language in the third grade of high school with a four out of my report. "Aren't you afraid you'll feel rushed all day," a friend asked in advance, but I find that doesn't bother me. Just because I only have one day, I know I can't do much. After Musée D'Orsay and the café I decide to walk to the Le Marais district. If I have time left, then Canal Saint-Martin is on the program. But if that doesn't work out, well too: I'll save that for next time.
Of course: I would also like a long weekend away with my husband and / or children, but that is less likely to happen. It is just a little more arranged, costs just a little more money. This one-day vacation requires hardly any time in advance - I don't have to look for a hotel - but the anticipation is at least as great as with a normal vacation. The Tuesday before I regularly think: wow, tomorrow I will walk through Paris. And napret is there too. Moreover: the money I save with an overnight stay, I immediately put aside for a new one-day return in Paris in the fall.
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