The Burns Sisters Conquer Paris: Encore Une Fois

You may recall that we have conquered Paris before. We had such a good time doing it, in fact, that we decided to go back again. This time, however, we only had twelve hours.

Wait, what? Twelve hours in Paris? How does that happen?

I tell you how that happens, that happens when you get an idea in your head and it won't go away. And the idea smells of freshly-baked pain au chocolat and whispers mon chou, j'adore in your ear and sends you articles about Parisian flea markets like an elderly aunt from the hinterland, with post-it notes taped to them that say "saw this and thought of you."

My idea did this and it wouldn't let up. My idea found out that I was going to be in London anyway, and my idea was relentless. What if, my idea said, you just went to Paris for the day? First Eurostar in, last Eurostar out. You wouldn't have to pay for a hotel, so you'd really be saving money! You've already seen all the sights, so you wouldn't be shortchanging yourself. Just walk around Paris, eat, and shop. Twelve hours is enough for that.

You see how persuasive that idea was? Of course I had to say yes.


I'm here to tell you, this is the way to do Paris. Well, as long as you've been before, and you've got sturdy walking shoes, that is. I didn't have sturdy walking shoes, I had a pair of gold flipflops from Old Navy, and I'm still paying for that mistake. The first thing I bought in Paris was a package of band-aids. Luckily, even band-aids are glamorous when you buy them in Paris, so the transaction was nevertheless imbued with a certain degree of enchantment. 

But still. If you're going to be walking around for twelve hours straight, wear better shoes than me.

We started at Les Puces, the famous Parisian flea market. We went straight there from the Gare du Nord, after the Eurostar dropped us in just after 9am. (It's only a two hour ride from London, but we were both too excited to nap. Instead, we bought coffee and the Saturday papers and read every word ever written about the Royal Wedding, which had happened the day before.) Despite following Jordan's excellent directions, we got slightly lost on the way to Les Puces, but it was all worth it once we arrived. Also, we found a patisserie on the way, know. No hard feelings, Paris.

How can I get everything in this picture home in my purse?

After some major flea market browsing (but no purchasing, unfortunately, though the eye candy was enough) we caught the Metro back into town and decided to seek out something to eat. If you know me, you know my favorite way to eat in foreign countries is to picnic, and there is no better place to picnic than in Paris. Susie and I, in fact, are first class Paris picnic experts (don't be mad, it comes with practice). So we gathered our supplies and headed over to the Eglise Saint-Eustache to eat.

Stinky cheese, fresh apple juice, green olives, pepper salami, a baguette, and chocolate pot de cremes for dessert. Yes please, I will take all of it.

The weather in Paris was glorious and we spent much of the day just walking around. There is no better place than Paris to just walk around, and since we had no real agenda---apart from just to be in Paris---we actually managed to cover a lot of ground. We spent a couple of hours in a department store called BHV, which is perhaps the French equivalent of Macy's, just marveling at all of the wonderful things. Take me to a hardware store and I'll yawn with boredom; take me to the "bricolage" floor of BHV and I'm rapt. (To be fair, we headed to the bricolage floor because my French wasn't quite up to snuff and I thought, mistakenly that "bricolage" meant home decor. In fact, it means DIY. Didn't matter, we spent twenty minutes looking around anyway. Turns out that, much like French bandaids, French screwdrivers are interesting enough if you want them to be.)

From a man on the banks of the Seine, I bought a poster from a 1950s biology classroom showing the different parts of a flower. Sounds weird, I know, but I loved it, and the fact that I managed to bargain for it entirely in French---let's hear it for the teacher's pet!---meant that I sort of had to buy it. The bad part, unfortunately, of only coming to Paris for a day, is that if you buy a poster from a 1950s biology classroom, you will have to carry it around with you for the rest of the afternoon, and it will be quite a bulky purchase.

Here is the poster cramping my style all over Paris, from Notre Dame to the Metro station.

So we walked and we shopped and we chatted and we laughed and we ate things that were terrible for us and so we walked a bit more. I've been to many cities but Paris is my favorite, and as much of a cliche as it is to say it, it's true. Doesn't matter if you're staying for twelve hours or twelve weeks, the city expands and contracts around you to fill the time you're there. We never felt like we hadn't seen and done what we came to see and do. We packed a whole vacation into a day.

But that day came to an end, of course, and it came to an end in Montmartre, where we bought more supplies for a train picnic---pretty much identical to the afternoon's bench picnic---and caught the last evening light in front of the Sacre Coeur. Then it was back to the Gare du Nord, two more hours on the Eurostar, a tube ride from Kings Cross to Kensington, a five minute walk home from the tube---which I didn't so much "walk" as "hobble"---and then finally, finally, finally back to our hotel. We'd been awake for eighteen hours and on the move for twelve. Worth it, all of it. Every single second.

Lots and lots and lots of pictures from Paris here. Many of them include foodstuffs. Whatever, I'm only warning you in case you're hungry right now. This is only going to make you hungrier. You're welcome.

Filed Under:
May 16, 2011

A friend and I did a Eurostar day trip to Lille and, I kid you not, I walked out of the train station to the sound of accordion music and the smell of cigarette smoke. Just in case I had any doubts about where I was. I do so love living in the south east and being able to "pop to the continent".

May 16, 2011

I did Paris in a day back in 2001, but we visited the touristy sites too. Was amazing, I'd love to go back again.

May 16, 2011

Have you seen the latest Woody Allen, "Midnight in Paris"? If not, you will love it!


May 16, 2011

Did you deliberately wear stripes to Paris?! It's tres chic! I love Paris, and I love that from London, we can hop to Paris for lunch. I did that for my birthday a couple of years ago, and it was a perfect day.

I actually have those very same Old Navy flip flops, and probably matching blisters from a trek around Manhattan. ("You'll want to be stylish but comfortable!" I thought. "How smart of you to be wearing flats instead of heels!" Um, NOT.)

I love the idea of visiting Paris just to eat and shop, and that you ended up with something as weird but wonderful as an old Biology poster. In my next life, I think I would like to be you.

May 16, 2011

I would gladly spend a small eternity on public transportation if I could go to Paris for 12 hours and just EAT.

Pretzel Thief
May 16, 2011

I'm 26 and have yet to see Paris (...I KNOW, I KNOW!), but this will hopefully be rectified come northern summer next year...eeeep!

And dude, I sooooo would also do 12hrs in Paris, easy.

The picnic looks awesome (::drool::), as does the biology poster.

Yay for stubborn Paris-related ideas!

Aleya Bamdad
May 16, 2011

I love, love, love Paris and there's no better way to go than with a friend who's a girl. I know everyone wants romance, but I had such great times with my friends that I can't imagine any other way of seeing it. I'm waiting for my daughter to get a little older and then my husband and I are going to take her there just to show her Rodin's house.
Looks like you had a great time- I'm so jealous.

May 16, 2011

How lovely! Sounds like a terrific time, and I am appropriately jealous. And I have so been there with the flip-flops!

May 16, 2011

I'm planning my own trip to Paris and I'm pretty sure I'll plan to replicate this afternoon exactly. Looks so lovely.

Reading (and chickens)
May 16, 2011

Paris and I broke up a long time ago, but these photos and those on Design Mom and Oh Happy Day make France look so beautiful and friendly and fun that I want to give it another chance. Maybe.

Reading (and chickens)
May 16, 2011

Oops, take out the "maybe" hanging off the end of that last comment. Makes me sound dangerous to Paris, or like someone who edits her comments poorly. I'm one of those, but you will never know which!

May 16, 2011

I haven't been to Paris since 1997 - I keep daydreaming about a spontaneous weekend trip over and this is definitely feeding that dream (which coincidentally also smells like pain au chocolat but looks like beautiful pastel macarons all lined up in neat little rows).


I want to go to Paris so badly, I can't stand it. It's on the short list of "vacations to take as soon as possible."

Savvy in San Francisco
May 16, 2011

Paris is my favorite place in the world. I could never get tired of it. I could go to the same places over and over again and love every minute of it. I have been living vicariously through Jordan Ferney and her family. Love that you did the day trip!

May 16, 2011

I remember breaking my shoes walking round Paris (to be fair, they were cheap plastic but nice looking knock offs bought in North Africa) and buying cheap silver sandals in some store and they helped a bit but I was still hobbling. But I didn't even care! Paris in 12 hours sounds perfect! Also I love your cardi.

I did the EXACT same thing when I went to London. It's like when you go to London you must go to Paris, if only for that one 18 hour day simply because you CAN.

I think everyone should see Paris, even if only for 12 hours.

May 16, 2011

Paris is my favourite city in the world. It's where I went (alone) to heal my broken heart, and it brought me back to life. The second time alone was even better, and lately i've been thinking about a 3rd. I miss walking around with no plan yet still having the most amazing day - seeing things you've seen before and it being even more beautiful that you've remembered or turning a new corner and seeing something so stunning, you can't believe you've not seen it before. Paris, Je te manque. You and I share a love that words cannot explain. I cannot wait until we meet up again. Je t'aime.

May 17, 2011

I'd love to go to Paris again. I've been a couple of times but I want to go for two or three weeks. Truly BE there, because it's been tourist o'clock whenever I've been before.

May 17, 2011

Love love love this entry. I did 24 hours in Paris once, with a friend. My parents were there while we were in Germany, visiting my friend's parents. I had never been before - it was a whirlwind. An awesome whirlwind. Lunch on a street corner - we were in a rush! - topped off by THE most fabulous dinner at La Coupole.... ah, memories.

May 17, 2011

So. Jealous.

May 17, 2011

I am so glad you gave into your idea! And I am so happy your shared the adventure with us. I felt like I just had a mini travel break from my cubicle! Thank you!

May 18, 2011

Strangers are tutting me. This is how badly I am suppressing my giggles at the picture of you jumping in the air with the caption, 'Yes!'

May 18, 2011

Strangers are tutting me. This is how badly I am suppressing my giggles at the picture of you jumping in the air with the caption, 'Yes!'

May 19, 2011

I did such a thing many years ago for 2 days. Not enough but also plenty. Excellent description - it does contract and expand with what you have to give. I've not been back since though (2005ish) and THAT is a crying shame not only because first, clearly experiencing only 2 days of Paris out of an entire lifetime is a travesty of epic proportions but second, because I minored in French. Et j'oublie tout ça.

May 23, 2011

I'm stopping in Paris for like 24-36 hours on my way to Niger next month, so I'll definitely be going back to look at your other trips- I want to look into that hotel you mentioned a long time ago.

Unfortunately, I've never been before...unless you count when I was 6 months old (and I don't), so I'm going to have to squish EVERYTHING into those few precious hours.

That flea market is on the list!

melanie cardin
Jun 09, 2011

oooo Paris, this city is so beautiful.. Normaly i gonna to the next month fort two weeks :)

bonjour Paris, ses champs élysé et sa tour eiffel




S'il existe une superbe console de jeux c'est sans doute la wii u de nintendo qui vient remplacer la wii, le tout avec une manette hyper innovante.

Jun 10, 2011

hey, congratulations.. :)




il y a eu beaucoup de console de jeux, mais aucune n'est aussi développée que la nintendo wii u et aucune ne possède une manette doté d'un écran tactile.

Jun 20, 2011

Nice work.

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