I was in Paris last week. France is in some turmoil at present. President Macron was so enraged by the poor performance of his own party, and the better-than-expected showing of the hard-right National Rally, in the European elections last month that he ordered new domestic elections, as if in a “I’ll show them” mode. This shock move led to one of his own MPs saying: “Can’t we lock him up until July 7?” Which is this coming Sunday, when we will learn the outcome. Based on the first round of voting last Sunday, the National Rally look certain to be the largest grouping in the next parliament but without an absolute majority – which should at least keep M. Macron in his job for another three years. But it has been a bitter and divisive scenario. Like I said, it’s a mess. But Paris is still Paris.

Whether they’re stopping to eat or having a coffee, or simply enjoying the view, the banks of the Canal Saint-Martin are generally thronged with people throughout the day

I caught the Eurostar from St Pancras and stayed in very pleasant accommodation quite close to the Gare du Nord, the train’s destination. More specifically, I was just off the Canal Saint-Martin. I’m not looking to buy anywhere in Paris but given its central location and the general environment I can see why a one-bedroom apartment around here could fetch around €350,000.

The rather ornate Bouillon Julien brasserie – Euro 2024 is on at present; when France staged the 1998 World Cup, this interior was part of the BBC’s opening credits

There are scores of gorgeous shops, especially food shops, and no shortage of enticing-looking bistros. One such is Le Verre Volé, which rather charmingly (I thought) translates as T’he Stolen Glass’. I had pork croquettes with aioli there for lunch; that evening I enjoyed beef skirt steak at the Bouillon Julien, which is pictured above. The vast array of restaurants offering different cuisines in the street that’s in, the Rue du Faubourg Sant-Denis, is quite dazzling.

A haven of tranquility: close to the hustle and bustle of the Rue de Rivoli, the Place des Vosges offers urban serenity

One other thing was brought home to me. Central Paris, within the Boulevard Périphérique (the ring road), is the most densely populated urban area in western Europe. That is in part because central Paris does not occupy a huge area. One day I had an early morning meeting on the Avenue de la Grand Armée, which is on the ‘other’ (non-Champs Elysées) side of the Arc de Triomphe (shown on the home page). Look on a map – from the canal to there seems a long way. I walked it in just under an hour, strolling past some pretty spectacular-looking buildings en route.

The top of the monument at the Bastille, on the site of the infamous prison, is visible to shoppers on the Rue de la Roquette

So there we have it. And amid all the angst on the political front, there is an imminent sporting celebration on the way – at the end of this month, Paris will be hosting the Olympic Games. You just can’t keep a great city down. As Humphrey Bogart says to Ingrid Bergman in Casablanca, “We’ll always have Paris.”