I’ve been living here since ’94 but this is the first time I’ve used one of these things. Initially, they cost a French franc coin and were of the squat variety. Eventually, it was decided they really ought to be free. This one worked just fine, but remember, always carry one of those little packets of tissues with you here, because you just can’t count on finding toilet paper ANYWHERE. Even at the Bastille Opera house, I’ve found. You must leave the toilet IMMEDIATELY after opening the door to leave, as they then lock and an automatic cleaning process takes place. You have five seconds to get out.
This was in the Batignolles neighborhood in Paris’s 17th arrondissement. We never see tourists in this area, although there are now quite a few large (and small) hotels in this area, as the Olympic Village would have been here had London not won the Games in 2012. I love Square de Batignolles, where many cafés and restaurants are open on Sundays (rare for Paris, which tends to close on Sundays except for “tourist traps”) and there’s a very nice park here, too — it features water fowl. There are some impressive residential buildings, many from the 1880s, and a pleasant vibe to this part of the city, which is very, very easily accessible via public transportation. If you visit Paris and stay in the center on Sundays, you might feel a bit lonely and left out, especially if you don’t have any local personal contacts here, and whatever you do find open, well … the center of the city is usually quite expensive. I suggest attending a Sunday Mass (most are at 10 am), whether church interests you or not, and then stroll and sit in quieter, more genuine, less costly, peaceful parts of town. I am available as a private guide.
Try to do your shopping on Saturday. Tobacco, food, wine, whatever you think you might need for “quiet Sunday.” I’m not saying you won’t find anything open on Sundays, but you may have to look harder and it could be an inconvenience. If the weather is nice, there are so many parks and green spaces to enjoy. If the weather is harsh, try to remember that the Ville de Paris has a huge number of museums all over, and admission is free! These places are seldom crowded, also. Two which come to mind are the Carnavalet in Le Marais, and the museum of the Romantic Period near the Blanche métro and Le Moulin Rouge. These are only two which come to mind. There are many and a little research in advance will reward you.
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