Politics plus pomposity = Paris

Presidential elections, forthcoming parliamentary elections in June – France is these weeks the scene of more exciting political events than usual. Elysée Palace & Co. flickers across the screens. Taking a look at the locations of these political events – a good excuse to go to Paris again.

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On-site visit: Author Konstantin Groß in the Louvre in front of the Mona Lisa. © Gross

A weekend may be enough for this. Ideal if you are still starting Friday after work. It only takes a good three hours by train, although on the German side it is tougher than a small train and only really accelerates in France – with 320 km / h. In the evening you arrive at Gare de l’Est.

Tips for visitors

How to get there: Take the train from Mannheim to Paris without changing trains, about 3 hours.

Connection examples: departure: from Mannheim at 13.42 to Paris at 16.54. Return: Departs Paris at 9.04, arrives in Mannheim at 12.17.

Accommodation: near the Champs-Elysées (five minutes walk): Hotel Elysées-Bassano, historic building, the interior has just been completely modernized, 4 stars, double room about 200 euros; Directly at Gare de l’Est (opposite the street): Holiday Inn, historic building, modern facilities, 8 storeys, front overlooking the Sacre Coeur, double room from 130 euros; “First place on the square”: Hotel Crillon, right on the Place de la Condorce, next to the US Embassy, ​​normal price from 1800 euros per night.

Stop on the Champs-Elysées, near the Arc: Restaurant “George V.” (No. 120); famous upscale restaurant: “Fouquet” (No. 99); Revyteater Lido (n. 166).

Shopping on the Champs-Elysées: Dior (No. 127), Louis Vuitton (No. 101), Adidas Store (No. 22), Fanshop FC St. Germain (No. 92).

Next event: July 14, National Day (anniversary of the storm of the Bastille in 1789), magnificent parade on the Champs-Elysées, festivals throughout the city. -tin

From there to the hotel, the journey by taxi feels as if it takes as long as by train. We have a hotel near the Champs-Elysées – ideal as a base for activities in the city center. We just leave the suitcases in the room and leave immediately.

Five minutes and we are on the Champs-Elysées. Even though it is already getting dark, there are queues in front of Dior and Vuitton, and only those who have reserved can enter the Fouquet restaurant. We choose the favorite spot for all Paris fans: “George V.” It has its price: two omelettes, pastis, two glasses of white wine, 93 euros – Champs-Elysées.

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Under the Arc de Triomphe

We end the day at the Arc de Triomphe. Simply wonderful to settle down under the arches of the illuminated magnificent building. If you go up the stairs, you can enjoy the view of the whole city from the top. Paris at night.

Day 2. It’s off to Versailles, the legendary royal palace. Feels like the most magnificent thing in Europe, even though Mannheim’s local patriots know their own space should be even bigger. The journey takes you comfortably by metro in half an hour almost to the main entrance. Thousands of photoshoots in front of the gilded trellis with crown glistening in the sun, at least at this time of day.

Generally, it is good to be there early. The later, the longer the lines. Inside, however, one always penetrates the magnificent rooms in the middle of the crowds in one lane – the Mirror Hall, in which the German Empire was proclaimed in 1871, but also the king and queen’s bedroom; to the surprise of many visitors, this one is more magnificent than her husband’s.

It’s already early afternoon when we finally get to eat. It is possible to do so on site: in a classic restaurant or a snack bar. Both have the same entrance, so the lady who asks where you want to go. We choose the snack, enjoy the sandwich between stucco and fireplace – was probably once the homeowners’ wing. Another walk through the park, which incidentally costs extra, then to the hotel. And it totally blew out

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Day 3. Today is May 8, the day the war ended in 1945, a national holiday in France. Traditional occasion for a parade on the Champs-Elysées. Since the morning, the boulevard has been cordoned off with bars, making it impossible to cross it, leaving many passers-by at a loss. Strange feeling to see the wide, otherwise pulsating street without a single car. Only now and then does a limousine with dark windows pull in. The gendarmes pay homage, so it must be an important person. Place where you can see the best: between Fouquet and Vuitton.

At 11.00 tension among the police officers. The Republican Guard arrives. Hundreds of horses with riders in uniform with glittering helmets. In their midst, also escorted by police motorcycles: the President. No, not in a big sedan – in a small car. And unfortunately a closed one. Emmanuel Macron at the back left, waving out the window from there. But we are on the wrong side of the road.

But there is also a return trip. After the wreath-laying ceremony at the Arc de Triomphe, which can only be heard from loudspeakers on the street, Macron is back. Rear window half open, one hand waving.

First an espresso. Stop by the hotel of Madame Paiva, a legendary 19th-century lady. And then go to Tuileries Park. Green metal lounge chairs stand by the large pond. Surprisingly comfortable. We settle in the clear corn sun – like hundreds of most young people. Children can borrow small sailboats to let them sail on the pond.

Finally, the Louvre, once a royal palace, now a museum. Snakes here too. But well organized. One is amazed at how spacious it is under the glass pyramid. The organizers know what is wanted: information signs show a photo of the Mona Lisa, Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece.

And there, in a great hall, she is. Surprisingly small. Hundreds take turns taking pictures. Some go for it. It’s unfair. Because the other Italian masters, even the French, are neglected, including the ancient ones. The armless Venus de Milo on the ground floor is the only one that can take on the Mona Lisa.

Change of hotel in the evening. In a direct at Gare de l’Est. Because in the morning it has to go fast. Sacre-Coeur shines at sunrise. After breakfast just a walk across the street to the train. At the start of our shift, we are each at our place of work. Did you have a good weekend? – to the question of our colleagues, we can say with full conviction: Oh yes! Or to stick to the metaphor: O, la la.

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