02/24/2013 09:55 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Your Weekly Travel Zen: Paris


Sometimes there is peace in the most unexpected places. This week's Moment of Travel Zen comes to us from Anatoly Soshilov on the busy streets of France.

"I was visiting a friend in Paris in August 2008. She'd take me everywhere and I always had my camera ready. One day we were walking on the square in front of the Hᅢᄡtel-Dieu de Paris which is the oldest working hospital in Paris, built between the 7th and 17th centuries. The square is next to Notre-Dame and it was literally packed with tourists, and all the foreign languages spoken at the same time around us were giving me a headache. I happened to look inside the hospital and past the reception desk I saw a glimpse of the most beautiful and solitary garden. I urged my friend to walk in to check it out but she explained that idle visitors would not be allowed on hospital premises. Still, we put on busy faces and sneaked in. It was beautiful and calm and not a single soul in the middle of the busiest city in the world! I heard my friend gasp and she's a seasoned Parisian guide; she later told me she had no idea this place was there. It was hard to believe that behind these windows and arches a modern hospital bustles with activity... We were truly transported in time and out of time."

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