What started as a cheerful and supposedly relaxing weekend in Paris turned into a trip full of thoughts.
We were still on our way to Paris when the news of the tragic attacks reached us. At that time, nobody fully understood the extent and impact of the incident. We had chosen our airbnb because of its convenient location in the hip area of Le Marais and it was just a few hundred meters away from Place de la République. Late at night, we considered the options we had and decided to try to get to the appartment as quick as possible.
The streets were oddly silent and every occasional siren or sound made us cringe. Luckily we made it there with no problem, but the steady sounds of sirens kept us awake for a long time.
The next day, we checked the news and then headed out to visit a friend. We avoided Le Marais but saw a glimpse of Place de la République where people had gathered to pray for peace and brought flowers.
Police and military was highly present everywhere in Paris and the unusual silence added to the uncomfortable atmosphere in the city. It was hard to comprehend what has happened, tension was almost visible everywhere in Paris. Paris was in shock.
We stayed clear of the city center and visited the Cité Universitaire which is an area full of student housings. Each house belongs to a different country and as a consequence, each house represents a different architectural style.
We had planned to visit the Musée Quai Branly because of its interesting facade which is located near the Eiffel Tower. It was closed on that day and the area was almost empty.
Later that afternoon, we headed to another hidden gem in the 15th arrondissement, the Paroisse Notre-Dame-de-l’Arche-d’Alliance, a small catholic church.
On Sunday, we spent our day in the far northeast of Paris in the Parc de la Villette. Sadly, the Musée de la Musique was closed, but we were happy to see a lot of people being active in the park. Hundreds of joggers ran besides the canal, people were playing soccer, using the outdoor gyms or participating in fitness classes which were held outside. For us, the park offered great photo opportunities because of its modern architecture. When I visited Paris a few years ago during summertime, the park offered a great open air festivals with lots of live music and public cinemas.
The most iconic object in the park is La Géode, a metal sphere holding a cinema. It is part of the Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie, next to the Science museum. It consists of little triangular mirrors reflecting the sunlight and casting a brilliant play of light and shadow on the adjacent walls. I have loved it during my trip a couple of years ago and I still consider it one of my favorite places in Paris.