Paris off-the-beaten-path: 5 things to see & do in the Summer

Paris off-the-beaten-path: 5 things to see & do in the Summer

Summer in Paris is truly magical, and it’s definitely a great time of year to come and visit the city. However, with this, comes a mass of tourists into Paris. But do no fret! For this blog post will show you some of the lesser-known sights of the city, meaning that you’ll be able to avoid those crowds who flock into Paris in the summer.

The Promenade Plantée, Paris

Escape the rush, and stroll along the Promenade Plantée

The Promenade Plantée offers walkers an unparalleled and unique experience. Often off the beaten-track for tourists, the promenade provides visitors with expansive views of the city – you become one with the various buildings and architecture, yet remain a flâneur simultaneously. It is a surreal experience – hardly do you find a place within a capital city wherein you feel totally separated from the buzz and rush; but whilst uniquely being right in the middle of it.

Ascend the mysterious La Tour Saint-Jacques, Paris, Paris Views Landscape

Ascend the mysterious La Tour Saint-Jacques

Throughout the summer months, the Tour Saint-Jacques opens its doors to visitors, to allow the public to ascend up and to marvel at its magnificent views.

Standing at over 200 feet high (nearly 50 feet higher than the Arc de Triomphe), la Tour Saint-Jacques offers visitors some of the most amazing views that I have ever seen of Paris. Not only are the views sublime, with the vantage point at the very top provides a 360-degree view of the Parisian landscape. From there, you can pretty much see everything (weather permitting).

La Tour Saint-Jacques is still relatively unknown to tourists, and even to many Parisians – meaning that it is a definite must for those wanting to escape the rush of crowds in the city and get the best view of Paris.

If you’re interested in reserving a place on the guided tour up la Tour Saint-Jacques, head over to the website here.

Lac Inferieur in the Bois de Boulogne, Paris, Paris Park, Summer

Promenade along Lac Inferieur in the Bois de Boulogne

Situated southeast of the Bois de Boulogne, the Lac Inferieur is the largest lake within the park. It is a delightful scene, where two manmade islands are a joined by bridge, but can only be accessed via boat. Walking along the woody trails surrounding the lake, one is guaranteed to see a unique part of Paris.

Located on one of the islands of Lac Inferieur is Chalet des Iles. As previously mentioned, this Chalet is truly enchanting. To access, visitors must take a boat across the lake, at the mere €1.50 for a round trip. Here at le Chalet des Îles, one can have a delicious meal in the restaurant, or relax by the lakeside at the bar. You don’t just have to go to the Chalet to eat, you can also explore the two islands, and perhaps enjoy a home-made picnic amongst the trees.

An absolute must when visiting either the Chalet des Îles and Lac Inferieur is to rent a rowing boat! Whilst during Napoleon III reign, rowing was reserved for the social elite; nowadays anyone can enjoy this leisurely activity. Renting a boat on Lac Inferieur was absolutely fantastic. Not only is it a really fun activity to take part in (despite myself being incredibly rubbish at rowing), but it’s a great way to see the Lake and explore the islands too.

To get Lac Inferieur and le Chalet des Îles, the nearest Metro stop is either La Muette or Rue de la Pompe. Alternatively, you can just head towards the Bois de Boulogne and enjoy exploring the park! You definitely won’t see many tourists here.

Rose Garden of Parc de Bagatelle, Bois de Boulogne, Paris

Visit the magnificent Rose Garden of Parc de Bagatelle

Also located in the Bois de Boulogne, the Parc de Bagatelle Rose Garden is one of Paris’ best-kept secrets. Filled with around 10,000 rose bushes of 1,200 different varieties, with the annual international competition for new roses, Concours international de roses nouvelles de Bagatelle, the Rose Garden of Parc de Bagatelle is a great place to escape the rush of the city tourists.

Walking around the garden, one cannot but be overwhelmed by the sheer beauty of all the flowers – and the smell! If you come at the right time during the summer when the roses are in full bloom, the smell of the different species is captivating.

Also located in the Rose Garden is the Orangerie. Built in 1865, the Orangerie is a classical-style building where concerts are held throughout the year. Overlooking the Rose Garden is a sweet Victorian style Pavilion, the Kiosque de l’Impératrice. Located at the top of a small mound, the Kiosque is a great place to sit, relax and take in the beautiful surroundings.

So if you’re ever in Paris during the summer, or just fancy seeing a new part of the city, I without a doubt recommend heading over to experience the beauty of the Parc de Bagatelle Rose Garden yourself.

Les Jardins du Ruisseau, Paris Garden, Paris

Wander around Les Jardins du Ruisseau and eat at a disused train station

Up in the 18th arrondissement, Paris has a little secret – Les Jardins du Ruisseau. As part of La Petite Ceinture (‘the Little Belt’), the former railway route has been opened to the public, with many of the old train stations having been redeveloped. It is here that the previous Gare de Charonne has been reconverted into a chic new restaurant and the delightful Jardins du Ruisseau are situated. After being used as a landfill site, in 1998 it was proposed to turn this space into a garden for schools and the community.

After much expansion and redevelopment, Les Jardins du Ruisseau is now a small haven. Maintained by volunteers and local schools, the Jardins du Ruisseau has become a great place to come for a walk. As you wander up and down the garden along the train tracks, you’ll see a variety of flowers and plants. There are even seats and tables where you can bring your own food and enjoy a lovely picnic in the sun. The Jardins du Ruisseau is a delightfully sweet place, taking you from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Throughout the year the Jardins du Ruisseau opens its doors to a variety of different events; including live shows, education events and exhibitions. There seems to be an incredibly strong social bond at the Jardins du Ruisseau, and I definitely recommend spending some time here.

During the summer, the gardens are open Saturday, Sunday and Wednesday.

After wandering around the sweet Jardins du Ruisseau, head on up to the hip restaurant/café La Recyclerie. Originally a former train station, La Recyclerie has fast become one of the places to go and hangout at in Paris. Here you can wine and dine overlooking the spectacular Jardins du Ruisseu and former train tracks, or even relax on the terrace if the weather is nice. Not only is the food and drinks great at La Recyclerie, but there are a lots of things happening here – for example, there is a permanent DIY workshop situated within the former train station called Chez René. Here you can learn the tricks of the trade when it comes to restoring timeless pieces. There are also heaps of pop-up shops that are often set up along the train track in conjunction to the La Recyclerie, so definitely check out their website to see what’s coming up.

 

The charming Lac Inferieur et Chalet des Îles

The charming Lac Inferieur et Chalet des Îles

It was by pure chance that I discovered this hidden gem in the Bois de Boulogne. What can I say, thank you Instagram! It was after some Instagram searching that I laid eyes on the enchanting Chalet des Îles in a photograph, and immediately knew that I had to visit it.

Situated southeast of the Bois de Boulogne, the Lac Inferieur is the largest lake within the park. It is a delightful scene, where two manmade islands are a joined by bridge, but can only be accessed via boat. One day, a friend and I walked around the entire lake, intrigued with what we were seeing. Walking along the woody trails surrounding the lake, one is guaranteed to see a unique part of Paris.

Located on one of the islands of Lac Inferieur is Chalet des Iles. As previously mentioned, this Chalet is truly enchanting. To access, visitors must take a boat across the lake, at the mere €1.50 for a round trip. Here at le Chalet des Îles, one can have a delicious meal in the restaurant, or relax by the lakeside at the bar. You don’t just have to go to the Chalet to eat, you can also explore the two islands, and perhaps enjoy a home-made picnic amongst the trees.

An absolute must when visiting either the Chalet des Îles and Lac Inferieur is to rent a rowing boat! Last weekend, I had the pleasure of doing just this with some of my best friends. Whilst under Napoleon III, rowing was reserved for the social elite; nowadays anyone can enjoy this leisurely activity. Renting a boat on Lac Inferieur was absolutely fantastic. Not only is it a really fun activity to take part in (despite myself being incredibly rubbish at rowing), but it’s a great way to see the Lake and explore the islands too.

To get Lac Inferieur and le Chalet des Îles, the nearest Metro stop is either La Muette or Rue de la Pompe. Alternatively, you can just head towards the Bois de Boulogne and enjoy exploring the park!

Ascending the mysterious La Tour Saint-Jacques

Ascending the mysterious La Tour Saint-Jacques

Have you ever walked past this big tower near Hôtel de ville on Rue de Rivoli, and thought ‘what is that?!’ If so, you’re not alone, with myself included. I have often been around this mysterious tower, and known nothing about it… untill now.

What you are viewing is la Tour Saint-Jacques. Built in the early 16th century, the tower was part of the church of Saint-Jacques-de-la-Boucherie (yes you might have guessed it – ‘Saint James of the Butchery’). However, the church was demolished during the French Revolution in 1797, and all that remains today is the tower.

After lots of reconstruction beginning in the 19th century and finishing in 2009, the tower was given a new facelift and brought back to its original splendor.

However, la Tour Saint-Jacques still possesses an air of mystery. While you can access the square surrounding it, it’s another story with the tower itself. Often I have found myself by its gates, wondering if the lock preventing people from entering is ever unlocked – and only last week were my questions finally answered.

In 2013, la Tour Saint-Jacques opened its doors for the first time enabling visitors to ascend up and to marvel at its magnificent views. However, this secret gem of Paris (I know I keep saying that phrase but it really is a gem!) is only open during the summer from Friday through to Sunday.

Standing at over 200 feet high (nearly 50 feet higher than the Arc de Triomphe), la Tour Saint-Jacques offers visitors some of the most amazing views that I have ever seen of Paris. Not only are the views sublime, with the vantage point at the very top provides a 360-degree view of the Parisian landscape. From there, you can pretty much see everything (weather permitting).

I had an fantastic experience going up la Tour Saint-Jacques, and would happily walk up the 300 steps to see the breath-taking views again. Here are just a few of the photographs that I took, you can check the rest of them out here on my flickr account.

If you’re interested in reserving a place on the guided tour up la Tour Saint-Jacques, head over to the website here.

 

Vue sur le nord de Paris (North Paris views)

Vue sur l’est de Paris (East Paris views)

Vue sur le sud de Paris (South Paris views)

Vue sur l’ouest de Paris (West Paris views)

 

 

 

 

June roses at Le Jardin du Palais Royal

June roses at Le Jardin du Palais Royal

The Palais-Royal is one of my favourite places in Paris. Hidden away from the hustle and bustle of the city, the Palais-Royal Jardin offers visitors the chance to take a break and enjoy the surroundings.

In this elegant courtyard, one almost feels transported back into one of the many 18th century country gardens – with its symmetrical hedging and decorative fountain.

There’s also something very captivating about the Palais-Royal Jardin. With every season, the Jardin seems to transform into a new and different version of itself. Having been there in both winter and spring this year (I will be blogging about Spring soon – better late than never), coming back and wandering around in the summer was almost like stepping into another new dimension of this exquisite garden.

Welcoming those to the jardin, are a variety of beautiful full-blossom roses and various other flowers. I couldn’t resist taking a few photos of this delightful scene! Whether you want to go for a walk, or just relax by the central fountain, a visit to the Palais-Royal jardin is a must.

Jardin du Palais Royal, Paris

Jardin du Palais Royal, Paris

https://www.google.fr/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=Jardin+du+Palais+Royal,+Paris&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&gfe_rd=cr&ei=fn2CVfGtIMexcr2FnKAM

Jardin du Palais Royal, Paris

Jardin du Palais Royal, Paris

Jardin du Palais Royal, Paris

Jardin du Palais Royal, Paris

Jardin du Palais Royal, Paris

The timeless Galerie Vivienne

The timeless Galerie Vivienne

The weather here in Paris is absolutely stunning. However, for those who are like me and cannot cope with the unbearable temperatures that accompany such weather, do not fear. Why not escape the intense rays and escape into one of the many covered passages of the city?

Located in the second arrondissement, my favourite covered passage is the Galerie Vivienne. Built in 1823, Galerie Vivienne is situated in a wonderful location – a stones throw away from the Palais-Royal and the Bibliothèque Richelieu.

The ornamentation of Galerie Vivienne is splendid. As you walk through the passage, look down and admire the gorgeous mosaic tiling. Don’t forget to look up and around – the passage is adorned with interesting decorative designs and sculptures. Also, the entire passage is covered by glass ceiling, including a recently restored rotunda and glass dome adding extra opulence in this almost timeless arcade.

Galerie Vivienne is not only adored for its elegant architecture and decorative designs, but also for it’s shopping. Of all the covered passages in Paris, Galerie Vivienne is recgonised as one of the most luxurious.

As you wander through Galerie Vivienne, you can find an array of shops including the wonderful Jusseaume bookstore selling second hand books and more; gourmet food boutiques and a delightful toyshop called Si tu veux; as well as fashion shops including Jean Paul Gaultier and Yuki Torii. I would also recommend taking some time out to people watch, by visiting the A Priori thé where you can sit and relax whilst enjoying many of their scrumptious desserts.

So whether you want to escape the summer heat of Paris, or just fancy exploring one of the many hidden covered passages of the city, a visit to Galerie Vivienne is a must.

Galerie Vivienne, 6, Rue Vivienne 75002, Paris. http://www.galerie-vivienne.com/

Galerie Vivienne, Paris

Galerie Vivienne, Paris

Galerie Vivienne mosaic floor, Paris

 

The Portobello Road of Paris – Rue Crémieux

The Portobello Road of Paris – Rue Crémieux

If ever there was a single road that could transport one out of the Haussmannian designed world of Paris architecture, and into a completely different sphere, then it would certainly be Rue Crémieux.

Located in the 12th arrondissement, a stone throw away from Gare de Lyon, Rue Crémieux possesses a charm unprecedented within the city. The road is magnificent. Lined with beautifully coloured and decorated terrace houses, the rainbow-like facades could easily have been taken directly from Notting Hill’s very own Portobello Road and placed right bang in the middle of the French capital.

As I was taking in the sheer variety of the houses, a sweet couple pointed out a signage to me, which marked the height in which a flood in 1910 reached – rising to around 6 feet tall.

Rue Crémieux offers a delightful break from the hustle and bustle of Paris. Here you can wander at your own leisure, thanks to the road being pedestrian only, so you don’t have to worry about being run over when taking photos!