Small bistro with fantastic food and good wine selection..
I have fallen in love with Paris more than once, and each time the city is harder and harder to leave. What about it makes it so enduring to our hearts?
A family friend and lifelong Parisian, was entrusted with showing me around for a day. He said it perfectly, "[Paris] it's like a woman, you know, its perfect at first, intoxicating, swallowing your heart whole. Now, once you are inside there are a few flaws and shortcomings, however this makes you love her even more."
The Eiffel Tower can be a little overwhelming for some travelers. The constant stream of tour busses coming and going, the lines, the vendors, the crowds, etc.
Instead, take your time, arrive early in the morning. Pierre, my guide for the day, took me on a wonderful walking tour of the neighborhood he used to live in. Walking up Avenue De Suffren, I was lead away from the tower. Turning down another street, Rue Depleix,...
Located at 37 rue de la Bûcherie, a stone's throw from the Seine, and draped in a long-cast shadow of Notre Dame, is what should be proclaimed one of France's national treasures: the Shakespeare and Company bookstore. This is actually the second site of the original store, which was closed in June of 1940 due to German occupation during the second world war. The location pictured here was opened in 1951 under the name of Le Mistral, but was later changed in honor of the original store that was shuttered years prior. Walk through the green double doors and you will find a world steeped in history and literary greatness. It's sometimes hard to even move around due to the endless stacks of books and shelves teeming with manuscripts that were banged out on ancient typewriters, or possibly carved on clay tablets. The smell of aged parchment wafts through the air, and that fragrance alone...
Paris is a city of lovers...of dog-lovers. Yes, there are the couples embracing on the Seine--impossibly romantic and timeless...but anyone who's been to the City of Light also knows that Parisians, even within the constraints of their urban lifestyle, are canine fanatics. Alas, the realities of doggy life aren't always pleasant for pedestrians.
The city has a fleet of specially-designed motorcycles equipped with vacuum-suckers. The local lingo for them: "moto-crottes." (You can guess what 'crotte' means.)
In addition, the authorities have kindly embedded, in certain neighborhood sidewalks, these 'helpful instructions;' evidently, dogs are supposed to understand symbolic representations of themselves, along with the arrow pointing to the gutter. (The gutters are washed out daily by uniformed employees who turn the street edges into temporary streams.)
Even in the chic Sixteenth...
My first day in Paris, I was giddy with excitement and lack of sleep. So in the early morning quiet, I stole out of my flat on I'le Saint Louis to explore the empty streets and alleys of I'le de la Cite. With a sense of awe and wonder I meandered aimlessly drinking in everything around me.
When I turned the corner onto Rue de la Columbe, I was struck by this scene that typifies Paris...
The restaurant worker, readying the cafe for the onslaught of patrons that would soon appear. A lone woman sipping cafe creme while deciding what treat she would chose from the carte. Outdoor tables and chairs beckoning diners to stop for awhile under the ever-present window boxes with their riotous punctuation of color. The two bicycles, a preferred Parisian transportation mode, leaning gently against the cafe, completed the perfect picture.
This is the Paris I had longed to see...the quaint charm of...
Just down the street from the view-inspiring Parc de Belleville is Rue des Couronnes, a street one would never suspect is home to an ever-changing walk of street-art from local artists. It's in the 20th Arrondissement, which is often overlooked on the tourist track. This area is called "Belleville," and it's one of the most charming, funky, and colorful areas of Paris in my eyes. I lived on this street from 2009-2010 and loved seeing the illustrations and temporary art that would pop up while I had been sleeping. While the art comes down days or weeks later, there's always something up - just keep your eyes open! There's a wonderful wine bar at 107, Rue des Couronnes where you can stop in and see Romain for a glass of red and house-made fois gras. Take a day away from the crowds and explore this funky, unique area of Paris!
This is a photo I took of the back of Notre Dame in the gardens this June. Seeing this and then walking across the "Love Bridge" while listening to a performer play Parlez-moi d'amour on his accordion- you can't help but love Paris.
During the summer months while camera-toting travelers are lining up and winding around the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, and the iconic glass pyramid of the Louvre, most Parisians are packing up and forming their own lines at the train stations, escaping the crowds and beginning their own long-awaited vacations. This should not deter you from planning a trip to Paris in the months of July or August as there are plenty of ways you too can escape the tourist frenzy and experience a city with so much more to offer than twinkling monuments.
The Jardin des Tuileries situated directly between the Champs Elysee and the Mona Lisa, may be well-tread by travelers during the day, but its dusty tree-lined paths and flowing fountains are a perfect retreat in the evening hours for those looking to relax. The garden itself is beautiful, but with the addition of this immense, glowing ferris wheel, it...
The Pont Alexandre III bridge is probably one of the most striking structures to cross the Seine in Paris. It links the quarter of the Champs-Élysées to the Invalides and Eiffel Tower quarter in a most extravagant fashion. The golden statues of Pegasus appear to watch over the city, and if you stare long enough you are convinced that he might just depart his perch and soar off into the Parisian sky.
Paris has many great traditions, among them, Pari Roller. This is a weekly "parade" of rollerbladers that take to the Parisian streets every Friday night. I've crossed their path on several occasions and it's always fun to watch. There's something special about seeing crazy crowds whizz by these historical buildings at nighttime. If you're a rollerblader yourself, why not join in on the fun?
In Paris, France by Notre Dame lies a bridge called Pont de L'Archevêché, better known as the Padlock or Love Bridge. With time it became a pattern for couples to leave a padlock on the bridge and throw the key into the Seine River as a symbol for their eternal love. It was great walking across the bridge and spotting love messages and special/unusual padlocks. It is worth taking a peek.