Paris, All Change!

Frédéric Solvel.

14 Jul 2012, 05:07 Last Updated: 09 Apr 2018, 14:04

The Bruxelles-Midi Station is on the way to becoming a major rail junction between European megapolises. Take advantage of it to treat yourself to a stress-free city-trip... All aboard, BrusselsLife is taking you to Paris!

A little more than an hour after your departure from Brussels, the doors of the City of Light will open for you. Take advantage of your transfer to your hotel (which you will have booked beforehand) to treat yourself to a first view of Paris By Night: Ask the cabby to take the great avenues and the top tourist spots... and feel free to let him make a few detours.

A first night after a show or a superb little restaurant and there you are on foot! Before taking the direction of the Marais for an afternoon of cool shopping, appointment at the Porte d'Auteuil in order to get inside one of the temples of world sport: Roland Garros. In the shadow of the Number 1 Court, the former house of the stadium's groundsman has been converted into a museum. But the most confidential areas will open up for you only at the time of the guided tour of the stadium. A quick familiarity with the place, a walk punctuated with anecdotes, practical details and historical facts...

Your pulse accelerates, you climb up the steps of the Suzanne Lenglen Court and you can now think only of one thing: to walk on the Centre Court's clay! The dreamt-of moment approaches. The intensity mounts still further with a visit to the Press Centre, to the players' reception area and to their restaurant. When the doors of the cloakrooms open, one would love to be a Henin or a Federer on Finals Day... There remain only the famous steps to be climbed and the Centre Court (the Philippe Chatrier Court) is finally yours: high point of an exceptional visit where tennis stars are sometimes in attendance!

There are lots of distractions on a Saturday evening in Paris, hardly any need for BrusselsLife... After a more or less short night, it's off once again: to Versailles and its oh-so famous Palace of the same name. An out-of-the-way itinerary to Versailles? That takes courage! No Palace for us: let's take the air in the gardens, take a romantic boat trip on the Grand Canal and wonder at the Estate of Marie-Antoinette. Mind-blowing! You wouldn't believe that you were just a few minutes from Paris!

The gardens offer renewed attraction according to each of the seasons. Autumn: its pallet of colour, its invigorating air... Summer: the freshness of the undergrowth, the joy of a boat trip with the royal residence in the background. Spring: back to basics with the splendour of the Grandes Eaux and the Fêtes de Nuit. There are simply not enough paths to be taken... For this summer, in the context of the "Grand Versailles" project, the Estate of Marie-Antoinette has once again become a key piece of the royal jigsaw puzzle. Between French and English gardens, between rigour and roundness, don't miss the Hameau de la Reine: utterly unexpected! The Queen's own village where she wanted to be able to enjoy the pleasures of the countryside with her children...

And if you have any energy left, then go and climb the steps of Notre Dame! Frédéric Solvel

Visits & Discoveries