WALKS

Paris in 1 day – Very Classic Walk 

 

STOP 1: ILE SAINT-LOUIS

Ile_Saint-Louis_Paris_4e_001

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

STOP 2: NOTRE-DAME DE PARIS

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 this 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.

We strolling along side the church and admiring the gargoyles shaped like devils and frightening beasts.

STOP 3:  PALAIS DE JUSTICE

1311740-Fronton_dun_palais_de_justice

Then we walk towards Rue de la Cité until Boulevard du Palais.  On our left hand side is 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.

It was here, too, in a vast labyrinth of palaces, where French kings held court during medieval times and for many centuries afterwards. We go straight down the Boulevard du Palais and we find  another bridge over the Seine river – the famous Pont Neuf. Despite it’s name it’is the oldest from 37 Parisian bridges.

STOP 4: RUE DE RIVOLI/LOUVRE

 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 now 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, We turn left passing through huge gates and there we are:  The pyramid and all the aisles of the vast palace,  the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel nearby, the Tuileries gardens behind it all.

STOP 5: RUE SAINT-HONORÉ & OPÉRA GARNIER

Then we get back on to Rue de Rivoli, We 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 here. 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.

 Now we turn left and head for Avenue de l’Opéra, a grand old boulevard, who lend us to the old opera house of Paris, “Opéra Garnier”, opened in 1875, a classic example of architecture under Napoléon III.

STOP 6: RUE DE LA PAIX, PLACE VENDÔME & PLACE DE LA CONCORDE

Enter the noble Rue de la Paix we go straight on. Here, at number 17, the celebrity chef Antoine Carême ran a Pâtisserie, in number 5 the banker Paquin founded a once world famous fashion brand, employing 2700 workers right here! We further down the street and we can already see the high column at the center of Place Vendôme,  another urban miracle and one of the best examples of the classy style of Paris who was constructed in 1686 mainly for infrastructural reasons.Composer Frédéric Chopin died in number 12.

 We walk up to Rue Royale. To the right  we pass  “la Madeleine”, a neo-classical temple, to left a first sight of Place de la Concorde.  Follow the Rue Royale we enter this large square 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) we 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 onlyproperly 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

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. Today, it’s just a miracle of urban development.

 Visiting the tower? It’s tempting, in fact: 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

 3342-so-accueil-photo-bg01-fr




Cinema Walks

Each film whose action takes place in Paris has a scene in which the main character walking around Paris. Here are some the most beautiful of them.

image

Trois couleurs: Bleu Krzysztof Kieslowski Stars: Juliette Binoche, Zbigniew Zamachowski, Julie Delpy

dernier-tango-a-paris

Last Tango in Paris Bernardo Bertolucci

image (1)

The Red Balloon Albert Lamorisse

midnight-paris

Midnight in Paris Woody Allen

1) In the footsteps of Woody Allen

screen-shot-2015-08-01-at-11-18-29-am thumb

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

1. Pont Alexandre III

SAM_0115

 Parisian bridges bring people together. Here 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 and 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 i  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 the best hot chocolate in Paris 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.

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.  It’s also a good place to relax.

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?

Well,I found the answer ;l’Eglise 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.

 st_etienne




Psst—I’ve got a secret; one the locals are trying to keep under their hat. Far away from the city center is a charming and romantic universe where today’s true Paris happens, completely off the tourist radar. Meandering its way past trendy boutiques, cutting edge gastronomy and a leafy canopy of chestnut trees is the Canal Saint-Martin, a 19th century waterway that has quietly transformed from a Napoleon-era industrial channel into the most hip and happening hood in town.

Now here in Paris is there such a unique blend of old and new, shabby and chic. The young local businesses of this quartier have taken all that’s beautiful about French culture—wine, food, fashion, shopping—and reinterpreted them in exciting new ways. Caffeine lover? I have got killer coffee shops and tea rooms to show you. Into vintage? Treasures galore adorn these streets.  And boulangerie just steps from the water. Seriously—wait until you smell what they’re baking in this place!

As you stroll the canal’s picturesque cobblestones and high-arching footbridges you’ll find an array of cultural curiosities, artsy bars, cozy florists and filming locations of iconic French flicks like Amélie and Hôtel du Nord. You’ll discover historical secrets about the origins of photography and the golden age of French theater, as well as the canal’s clever system of locks and mechanical bridges that still allow boats to float their way through the modern cityscape.