A Short Overnight Stopover in Paris

In this destination trip report, we will stay for a short overnight stopover in the French capital of Paris in between two flights.

Arrival

When I disembarked from my Air France plane at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport I felt pretty much like European Commission chief Jean Claude Juncker during meetings, having indulged a wee bit too much into the refreshments served on the flight.

Unfortunately, due to the relatively early Azerbaijan Airlines flight departures from Paris to Baku, I could not book a same-day flight connection and was forced to stay the night in Paris.

I had previously thought about just getting an airport hotel and having a decent rest there, but in the end I decided it would be a boring option and I could as well head into town during my overnight layover.

Towards Montmartre

Paris accommodation being generally overpriced, I found what looked like a decent hotel in the Montmartre area. I’ve visited Paris on a few occasions before and even did some field research there while in university, so I know the city a little bit.

Having only a short overnight layover, I liked the idea of staying in the Montmartre area of Paris as it would allow me to have a nice walk in a picturesque neighbourhood without having to spend hours in public transport.

From Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport, I hopped on board the RER suburban train towards Gare du Nord. At Gare du Nord, it was a long-ish underground walk towards the interchange station of La Chapelle where I would connect to metro line 2 towards Blanche. It was already dark by the time I arrived at Blanche, from where it was just a ten minute walk to my hotel located a few feet up on Montmartre hill.

rer paris
Into the crowded RER suburban train towards Gare du Nord. As you might have thought from the blurry image, I was not exactly sober at this point! ©Paliparan
la chapelle paris overnight stopover
Changing trains at La Chapelle metro station. ©Paliparan
moulin rouge paris overnight stopover
The Moulin Rouge! I guess I have made it to Montmartre! ©Paliparan

Bonsejour Montmartre

For my night in Paris I had opted for the Bonséjour Montmartre, a hotel with a good price-quality ratio which seemed like a decent bet given its great location.

I paid 69 EUR for a double room and opted out of the 10 EUR surcharge for breakfast as I needed to get to the airport early the following day and planned to have breakfast in the airport lounge.

The room was perfectly acceptable: it was clean, fresh and recently renovated. As a slight downside it was a bit on the small side (with especially the bathroom a bit cramped) but that is a given in many lower to mid-range Paris hotels.

At the time of my stay (winter 2018) there were also some reconstruction works ongoing in the corridors and stairwells, which made the public areas look like a bit of a mess.

Despite the strong odors of fresh paint, the room certainly was good enough for the purpose of a short night in town and I think the hotel would make a decent place when renovations are completely finished if I need to give some quick review advice!

bonsejour montmartre hotel double room paris
My double room at the Bonsejour Montmartre. ©Paliparan
bonsejour montmartre bathroom
The small bathroom at the Bonsejour Montmartre. ©Paliparan

French food in Montmartre

Due to the drinking binge on my flight to Paris I was getting quite hungry so priority number one after check-in was to take a quick shower and to go somewhere for dinner.

I had researched absolutely zilch beforehand so I just decided to walk around the area a bit to see if I would come across something that looked decent enough for a meal. Two restaurants in the area with high ratings and rave reviews which I spotted on Google Maps unfortunately turned out to be completely booked for the night.

Not wanting to walk too long around on the streets, let alone hopping by metro to other areas of Paris, I decided to just enter the first place I would encounter that had acceptable enough reviews and looked like a local enough place.

After some 15 minutes walking around the area I stumbled upon a local pub which did the trick. While not exactly haute cuisine, it did have some tasty and authentic French staples and friendly service. Two courses and two beers set me back 25-30 EUR, which is certainly acceptable enough for Paris.

onion soup duvel paris food
Starting the meal with onion soup paired with a Duvel beer from Belgium. ©Paliparan
beef bourguignon paris dinner pub food stopover
Beef bourguignon and a Belgian tripel beer for dinner. ©Paliparan

A walk around Montmartre

Having completed the dinner I already felt much more fresh and alive. With my batteries reloaded, I decided to have a late evening walk around Montmartre. Having been to Paris before, I did not feel the need to do any real sightseeing. Just soaking up the atmosphere would suffice, and that was exactly what I did.

Montmartre, a large hill in Paris’ 18th district, is an excellent place for this – especially so in the evening hours when the tourist crowds have dwindled down. Montmartre is known as an area of artists, with many painters such as Monet, Van Gogh, Renoir, Degas and Picasso having all lived here.

The area down Montmartre hill known as Pigalle is famous for its theatres, night clubs and sex shops, with of course the Moulin Rouge being the most famous dance revue of them all.

Even though the area is historically known for its vice, it does also have some virtue with the famous Sacre Coeur church nestled on top of Montmartre hill. There are some sweeping views over Paris from the steps in front of the church.

montmartre sacre coeur paris overnight stopover
Walking on a deserted Montmartre street towards Sacre Coeur. ©Paliparan
montmartre night
Montmartre at night. ©Paliparan
dalida statue paris
Statue of the great singer Dalida – one of my favourite artists. You can see people like to touch her at some particular bodyparts! ©Paliparan
sacre coeur montmartre paris
The Sacre Coeur (Holy Heart) Church on top of Montmartre hill, ©Paliparan
sacre coeur view montmartre paris
View over Paris from Sacre Coeur. ©Paliparan
paris view montmartre
View over Paris from Sacre Coeur. ©Paliparan
old mill montmartre
Old mill in the Montmartre area. ©Paliparan
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Walking back to my hotel after a walk around Montmartre. ©Paliparan

In short

After a good, quintessential French meal and a nice walk around Montmartre I headed back to my hotel for an early night of sleep as I had to get up at 6am the next morning for my flight.

Despite my initial thoughts that I should have gone for an airport hotel after all while navigating myself in a slightly intoxicated state from the airport into Paris, I was glad in the end that I decided to stay in the city.

Even if you only have one evening to spend in Paris it will still allow you to have a memorable meal and a walk around a picturesque neighbourhood to catch a bit of that typical Parisian vibe.

That said, do take into account that it can take up to two hours by public transport to travel from Paris Charles de Gaulle into the city centre and vice versa, something which I would learn myself the next day when returning to the airport.

Trip report index

This article is part of the ‘Siberian Shuffle – A Crazy Winter Trip Around Eurasia‘ trip report, which consists of the following chapters:

1. Review: Wizz Air Bucharest to Oslo Sandefjord Torp (Airbus A321)
2. A Day in the Norwegian Capital of Oslo
3. Review: Norwegian Railways Night Train Oslo-Stavanger in a Private Sleeper
4. Review: Radisson Blu Royal Hotel, Stavanger
5. Stavanger – A Great Norwegian City Trip Surprise
6. Review: North Sea Lounge Stavanger Airport
7. Review: KLM Cityhopper Business Class Stavanger to Amsterdam (Embraer RJ-175)
8. Guide to the Carnival Celebrations in the Netherlands
9. Review: KLM Crown Lounge (Schengen) Amsterdam Airport
10. Review: Air France Business Class Amsterdam to Paris (Airbus A319)
11. Review: ‘Salon Paris’ Business Class Lounge Paris CDG Terminal 2C
12. Review: Aeroflot Business Class Paris to Moscow (Airbus A320)
13. Review: Aeroflot Domestic Business Class Lounge Moscow Sheremetyevo
14. Review: Aeroflot Domestic Business Class Moscow to Irkutsk (Boeing 737-800)
15. Review: Matreshka Hotel, Irkutsk
16. Irkutsk Trip Report: Exploring the ‘Paris of Siberia’ in Winter
17. Review: Mayak Hotel, Listvyanka (Lake Baikal)
18. A Winter Trip to the Frozen Wonderland of Lake Baikal
19. Review: Ibis Irkutsk Center Hotel, Irkutsk
20. Review: Domestic Business Class Lounge Irkutsk Airport
21. Review: Aeroflot Domestic Business Class Irkutsk to Moscow (Boeing 737-800)
22. Review: Pushkin Hotel, Moscow
23. A 24 Hour Stopover in the Russian Capital of Moscow
24. Review: ‘Moscow’ and ‘Jazz’ Business Lounges Moscow Sheremetyevo Terminal D
25. Review: Aeroflot Business Class Moscow to Paris (Airbus A320)
26. Review: TAROM Business Class Paris to Bucharest (Airbus A318)
27. Review: TAROM Business Lounge Bucharest Otopeni Airport
28. Review: Air France Business Class Bucharest to Paris (Airbus A320)
29. A Short Overnight Stopover in Paris (current chapter)
30. Review: Sheltair Business Lounge Paris CDG Terminal 2D
31. Review: Azerbaijan Airlines Business Class Paris to Baku (Airbus A320)
32. Review: Old City Hotel and Apartments, Baku, Azerbaijan
33. Destination Baku: An Intriguing Mix Between Old and New
34. Guide: Train Travel in Azerbaijan
35. Sheki: Azerbaijan’s Most Lovely Town and Springboard to the Caucasus
36. Must Be the Ganja! A Visit to the City of Ganja in Azerbaijan
37. Review: Shah Palace Hotel, Baku, Azerbaijan
38. Review: Azerbaijan Airlines Business Lounge Baku Airport
39. Review: Azerbaijan Airlines Business Class Baku to Paris (Airbus A320)
40. Review: Air France Business Lounge Paris CDG Terminal 2F
41. Review: KLM Business Class Paris to Amsterdam (Boeing 737)
42. Review: KLM Business Class Amsterdam to Bergen (Boeing 737)
43. Blissful Bergen – Is It Really Norway’s Most Beautiful City?
44. Review: Bergen to Oslo on a Norwegian Intercity Train (Bergensbanen Railway)
45. The Flamsbana Railway – From the Myrdal Mountains to the Fjord at Flam
46. Review: SAS Economy Class Oslo to Brussels (Boeing 737-600)
47. Review: Diamond Lounge Brussels Airport Pier B Non-Schengen
48. Review: TAROM Economy Class Brussels to Bucharest (Boeing 737-800)

Koen

Koen works as a freelance journalist covering south-eastern Europe and is the founding father and editor-in-chief of Paliparan. As a contributor to some major Fleet Street newspapers and some lesser known publications in the Balkans, he travels thousands of miles each year for work as well as on his personal holidays. Whether it is horse riding in Kyrgyzstan’s Tian Shan mountains, exploring the backstreets of Bogotá, or sipping a glass of moschofilero in a Greek beachside taverna, Koen loves to immerse himself into the local culture, explore new places and eat and drink himself around the world.

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