Paris with an idea

Not everything in Paris works but the walk is always good idea. For several years I have been organizing literary, culinary, even perfumery walks in French capital. Do you know what i was doing in my free time? Walking.

Paris in 1 day – Classic Walk 

STOP 1: ILE SAINT-LOUIS

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Start from the Sully bridge. It leads right onto the Ile St. Louis.  On this small island long time ago Paris was founded. Although it’s hard to imagine this : Paris was an island.  Nothing are changed there since the 17th century. Every buildings tells a story and makes itself part of history.

STOP 2: NOTRE-DAME DE PARIS

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After a short while reach the Saint Louis bridge.  Around the next corner  get a first glimpse of the Notre-Dame Cathedral (Our Lady in french), the most visited landmark of Paris.  Construction work on majestic cathedral started back in 1163, and almost 200 years later, a masterpiece of gothic art emerged: 130 metres long, the towers 69 metres high  – it must have felt like one of the wonders of the world – and it still does. I love to listen  the organs here. Their sound makes the shivers go down Your spine. Strolling along side the church  admire the gargoyles shaped like devils and frightening beasts.

STOP 3:  PALAIS DE JUSTICE AND THE CONCIERGERIE

Then walk towards Rue de la Cité until Boulevard du Palais.  On your left hand side you’ll see the Palais de Justice, the Paris High Court.  It was here, to the right of the majestic stairways, where the carts containing condemned men and woman during the French revolution left the Palais, heading for the Guillotine. Previously they spent the right amount of time in the prison called The Conciergerie. It was here, too, in a vast labyrinth of palaces, where French kings held court during medieval times and for many centuries afterwards. Walking straight down the Boulevard du Palais and you’ll find  another bridge over the Seine river – the Pont Neuf. Despite it’s name which mean ,,New Bridge,,  it’is the oldest from 37 Parisian bridges.

STOP 4: RUE DE RIVOLI/ The LOUVRE

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Rue de Rivoli is one of the major traffic axis of Paris. It’s so bustling street. Here, you’ll find all the big brand names of the world. This street leads to the Louvre, a museum but also around 900 years of architectural history as well. A first fortress was erected in 1190. Then king after king expanded the royal city palace that boasts of more than 60.000 square meters (650.000 square feet) of exhibition rooms. Where Rue de Richelieu comes in from the right,you  turn left passing through huge gates and there you are:  The pyramid and all the aisles of the vast palace,  the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel nearby, the Tuileries gardens behind it all. This is spectacular !

STOP 5: RUE SAINT-HONORÉ & OPÉRA GARNIER

SAM_1221Get back on to Rue de Rivoli, cross it and turn left into the Rue Saint-Honoré, an ancient axis dating back in some parts to the 13th century. It has been home to scores of famous writers, artists, aristocrats and cardinals. At number 161 for example you can find an old gate that Jean d’Arc and her troopers beleaguered in 1429 to take Paris back from the Englishmen. The assassin of King Henri IV stayed at a hotel there too. The poet La Fontaine was a resident for over 20 years. Molière was born at number 96. Pierre Corneille was buried in the St. Roch church at number 286. Turn left and head for Avenue de l’Opéra, a big old boulevard, who lend you to the old Paris Opera House, “Opéra Garnier”, opened in 1875, a classic example of architecture under Napoléon III.

STOP 6:  PLACE VENDÔME & PLACE DE LA CONCORDE

Enter the noble Rue de la Paix. At number 17, the celebrity chef Antoine Carême ran a Pâtisserie, at number 5 the banker Paquin founded a once world famous fashion brand, employing 2700 workers! Further down the street and you can already see the high column at the center of Place Vendôme, one of the best examples of the classy style of Paris who was constructed in 1686 mainly for infrastructural reasons. Polish composer Frédéric Chopin died at number 12.  Walk up to Rue Royale. To the right  pass  “la Madeleine”, a neo-classical temple, to left you’ll see a first sight of Place de la Concorde.  Follow the Rue Royale and enter this large square. It’s famous for its infamous traffic. This was the spot where the grand Guillotine was at work during the years of terror following the French revolution. Of the 2498 people who were decapitated in Paris during those years, 1119 lost their lifes here. Amongst them: King Louis XVI, Marie-Antoinette, Danton and Robespierre.   Pass by Hotel Crillon (opened in 1907) and stroll through the gardens between Avenue des Champs-Elysées and Avenue Gabriel.

STOP 7: AVENUE DES CHAMPS-ELYSÉES

First plans to build it date back to the 17th century but construction work only started in the 1770s. Back then, the “fields of Elysium” (in Greek mythology the part of the underworld where fallen heros were buried) was an empty, dark land where thieves and prostitutes reigned the night, and it was only properly developed in the 19th century. Embassies started to move in, then heatres, circusses, news organizations, restaurants and grand cafés. Over time it became  the most important street of Paris.Whenever I walk here I feel a bit disappointed.  From a sidewalks’ perspective it feels just like a huge shopping mall, with a lot of world brands.  What about the famous charm and flair? It’s not that easy to detect. That’s why the Parisians do not really flock in.

 STOP 8: EIFFEL TOWER

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It’s always a nice scene to watch all tourists stepping out of the Metro at “Trocadéro”:  They’re desperately looking around for something important but they don’t spot it right away.  And suddenly before our eyes, a spectacular panorama is opening up. There it is – ”la tour Eiffel”, one of the most famous landmarks of the world. Constructed for the World Exhibition of 1889 (and judged appallingly ugly by many people back then), it was a proof of Paris’s claim to be the capital of the world. High up on the top platform you’re 276 meters above the ground and on clear days your view commands a full circle of a 40-kilometres-radius. When I visited HER for first  I walked onto the top by the stairs. It is a good workout !

Happy End – MONTMARTRE

No important how you are tired, take the Metro: Trocadero (line6), change to line 12 (direction Porte de la Chapelle) and get off at Abbesses.  Walk to Sacre Coeur.You will never forget this view.

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Cinema Walks

Film directors love Paris. Each movie whose action takes place in Paris has a scene when the main character walking around Paris.

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Trois couleurs: Bleu Krzysztof Kieslowski Stars: Juliette Binoche, Zbigniew Zamachowski, Julie Delpy
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Last Tango in Paris Bernardo Bertolucci
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The Red Balloon Albert Lamorisse
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Midnight in Paris Woody Allen

 In the footsteps of Woody Allen in Paris

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Since I remember I’m a big fan of Woody Allen. He spent three months to explore Paris to select the locations for the movie ,,Midnight in Paris”. Although I don’t think this film as his greatest work,  I walked in the footsteps this scenario.

1. Pont Alexandre III

Parisian bridges bring people together.On this one was filmed scene the surprise encounter in the rain of Gil and the young blond woman called Gabrielle, (Léa Seydoux). Pont Alexandre III was designed by engineers for the 1900 Exposition Universelle. There are two statues on it facing the Grand and Petit Palais. They symbolize the Arts and Science. Don’t miss the two matching compositions in beaten copper in the middle of the bridge: Nymphs of the Seine and Nymphs of the Neva.

2. Musée de l’Orangerie

Do you remember the part in the museum, when Gil and his future wife, Inez are admiring Monet’s monumental paintings? This is the Musée de l’Orangerie, a former orangery, as the names suggests  turned into a museum in 1927.

3. Tuileries Gardens

There is nothing better than  a break on the lap of nature  after contemplating impressionism so now  you can sit down in the Tuileries Gardens. If the weather is bad, though, just walk across the Rue de Rivoli. There is Angélina, the legendary salon de thé with  hot chocolate  and cakes to die for.

4. Les Puces

The trail is supposed to continue with a visit to les puces, the antiques market of Saint-Ouen. But it needs too long to get there and too much time for the visit. You can’t impossibly do everything the same day so skip it.

5. The bouquinistes

To the disappointment of his future wife Inez, Gil is not the sort of guy who is interested in making money. He’s  a writer, completely intoxicated by French literature.

There are 900 of these green boxes along the banks of the Seine (street side).  All this started back in the 16th century when roving booksellers first plied their trade here. They are so important for Paris.  They have been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage since 1992.

 6. The banks of the Seine

Continue with the banks of the Seine, it’s an ideal setting for a romantic stroll.  But don’t go down the stairs, the smell is horrible and will kill every romanticism.

6. L’Église Sainte-Etienne-du-Mont

 The big question that even Parisians will not necessarily be able to answer is: On the stairs of which church did Gil sit down to seek inspiration when the clocks chimed midnight?  The answer  is, LEglise Saint-Etienne-du-Mont built over a long period on the Montagne Sainte-Genevieve combining a flamboyant Gothic, classical and Renaissance style. Racine and Pascal are both buried here. The setting seen in the film is the north porch giving onto the small Place de l’Abbé-Basset, and the rue Saint-Etienne-du-Mont.

Try it: sit down here at midnight, wait for the chime of the bells. Who knows, may be a  vintage car stops right in front of you with Scott Fitz Gerald inside, asking you to join the moveable feast called Paris.

 


TIPS ON PARIS : Beautiful with big BUT

Parisian subway stinks. The Parisiens are…like the Parisiens. The weather doesn’t spoil. The prices are cosmic. How to survive Paris?

For the first time :

1) Wear comfortable shoes and walk, walk, walk. Paris is a city of endless walks. You can walk along the Seine river. Otherwise, It’is good to have someone who will show you good directions.

2) Don’t go straight to the Eiffel Tower. In the line for tickets and the security check You’ll lose at least 1 H. At this time you can see all Paris and the Eiffel Tower for free from the Montmartre hill.

4) On sidewalks, in parks, simply everywhere in Paris be careful not to enter into dog poo. Sometimes is a moment of inattention. Look up at Haussman’s 19th-century apartment architecture, and poof, you’ve mussed up a mutt’s chef d’oeuvre of the morning.

5) Don’t leave love lock on any of the Parisian bridges. Paris city authorities every year are organizing cleaning actions of  bridges from the love padlocks. Weight of love turned out to be too big for bridges of Paris.

3) Even if the sun is shining always have an umbrella. The weather in Paris is variable as a humor of Parisians.

2) Don’t waste  time and money for the Moulin Rouge Cabaret. This place is no longer compatible with its legend.The cancan was invented here, but that was a long time ago. Now the shows have gained a reputation for their lack of originality, the same like  champagne dinners there are an insult to French cuisine.

If by any chance you dont know what to do in Paris or in any other case  visit Shakespeare and Co !

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Imagine a place where you can read literary classics, discuss with the people from all over the world, play the piano and sleep on a mattress between shelves of books. This is not yet a paradise. It’s just  Shakespeare and Company.

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 It’s the nicest bookshop in the world  with the windows that look onto Notre-Dame and to the quintessentially Parisian park of St.-Julien-le-Pauvre. When I came here for the first time, I never wanted to leave.

I created this bookstore like a man would write a novel, building each room like a chapter, and I like people to open the door the way they open a book, a book that leads into a magic world in their imaginations.

George Whitman

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In terms of food and drink

Exploring Paris  from the kitchen is a fantastic adventure. But if you think the average Parisian always eat dinner at the restaurant you’re wrong. Usually Parisian most often prepare something at home. Dinners at restaurants are reserved for special occasions. And despite the fact that in Paris are thousands of restaurants it’s good to have your trusted addresses in each of the twenty districts of the city. Otherwise you may be disappointed.

 Le Procope

It’s more than a restaurant with the specialties of French cuisine. This is an excellent example how important role plays food in the events of French history. In this restaurant Robespierre was preparing a French Revolution!They have even a Napoleon hat here.Not far away from Le Procope there is a butcher shop which looks like a jewelry shop. It’s called POLMARD. Don’t be fooled by appearances! They have the best beef here. If you like steaks this is obligatory address. The guy who runs this shop incredibly  talk about his family farm.I swear I’ve never heard anyone with such a passion talked about the meat. You can have lunch here.

The Bouillon Chartier

The concept this place, created by the butcher Pierre Duval at the end of the 19th century was to provide a pot-au-feu with was cheap bowl of soup consumed in the same marble. Camille and Edouard Chartier will add “beautiful”, creating exceptional decoration. In 1896 they open at the end of a courtyard, the great “Bouillon Chartier”and applied very affordable prices to allow workers district enjoy good hearty and affordable dishes. Here is no fuss, the order and the addition are written directly on the white paper tablecloth! The brewery running at full speed even if it is not the point of rendez-vous of personalities as Mistinguett, Maurice Chevalier or Etith Piaf who were here regularly.  Why all like this place? For the cheapest egg mayonnaise Paris, Pyrex glasses,  and in winter the bowl of soup for 1 euro! The tail is permanent in this tourist mecca of Parisian life which receives about 1,100 customers a day! This restaurant is open every day, the service ends at 22 hours, with a menu offering traditional French cuisine. The conservation of the building’s architecture and decoration of the Belle Époque dining allowed it’s classification as historical monuments in 1989.

Address : 7 Rue du Faubourg Montmartre, 75009 Paris

Le Saint Regis

Each time when I’m near the Notre Dame Cathedral I peeks here. This small bistro with a beautiful terrace will ensure you to have a great time, good atmosphere whether you’ll order just a coffee or just a plate of cheese.

Address : 6 Rue Jean du Bellay, 75004 Paris

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Very very secret restaurant

In Paris everything is possible. The spirit of Marie Antoinette walks every night after the Parisian rooftops. (If you see a woman at the white dress on the roof : It’s her!) Vampire of Paris has own facebook  on which he put the recipes how to cook the blood. There is also the specter restaurant on one of the streets of Montmartre. You sit at the table on the middle of the street. People walking around this table and think that you are a tourist attraction. After a few moments, shyly approached the waiter who makes an impression that he is afraid of customers. Handing you a menu card which resembles scripts to study at university. You discover that they have the pancakes here. You order a pancake and wait for. At that time, the waiters still shyly put down other tables to the street. After a few moments, you get a pancake and the street turns into restaurant.


Need place to stay in Paris ?

If you are looking for cheap I recommend any Airbnb. Good option is also Grand Hotel Des Balcons. Ideally located in the Latin Quarter at reasonable price. http://www.balcons.com

More  addresses here :

1) Hotel Saint-Louis en L’Isle

http://www.deuxiles-paris-hotel.com

2) Hôtel des Académies et des Arts

http://www.hoteldesacademies.fr

3) Hôtel Relais Saint Sulpice

http://www.relais-saint-sulpice.com

4 ) Le Relais du Louvre

http://www.relaisdulouvre.com

5) Hôtel Jeanne d’Arc

http://hoteljeannedarc.com



 

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