George Ezra, an English singer-song writer released a tune earlier in the summer extolling his love for Budapest, his “hidden treasure chest.” We have visited the city on a few occasions, though only as day trips so this short post-Christmas city break was really our first opportunity to get to know Budapest. And we agree, Budapest is a hidden treasure chest, even in below-freezing temperatures.

The city is not for everyone, to be sure. The former eastern half of the Austro-Hungarian Empire fared differently after the empire was dissolved, aligning itself with the Axis (though, whether it did so willingly is a matter of discourse) during WWII, and then, becoming part of the Communist Eastern Bloc.  Two decades of post-Communist rule later, the city is not at all scrubbed and polished like Vienna. But that’s a good thing.

Budapest has been called, “Paris of the East,” and it is a fitting comparison. The architecture, the vibe, the everything. Budapest is now my quick-fix for Paris. Take a look at this Metro station near our apartment.  Could be Place St. Michel in the 6eme.

Avenue Champs Élysées or Andrassy Utca?

The Paris Metro, or Budapest’s?

Yep, Budapest. The train cars are a little small for my guys.

 

Boulangeries? In Budapest? We also passed several Bistros serving French-Hungarian dishes.

Grand buildings and bridges, too.  Je adore Budapest!