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.

 

A view from above from the Ferris Wheel in the Jardin des Tuileries

A view from above from the Ferris Wheel in the Jardin des Tuileries

Every year within a section of the Jardin des Tuileries, the garden turns into a lively fête foraine (summer fairground), and this year sees its 30th anniversary. With over 80 different attractions to explore and experience, the Fête des Tuileries is great for all the family.

Recently I headed up la Grand Roue, aka the Ferris wheel, to see some amazing views of Paris above. I decided to ascend in the evening, with the hope of seeing the incredible sunset from overhead. Even though I didn’t, the views of the city did not fail to impress as always. Here are a few photos that I took.

If you would like to head up the Grand Roue, the Fête des Tuileries is open until 23rd August 2015.

Grande Roue - Ferris Wheel, Paris

Grande Roue - Ferris Wheel, Paris

Grande Roue - Ferris Wheel, Paris

Grande Roue - Ferris Wheel, Paris

Grande Roue - Ferris Wheel, Paris

Grande Roue - Ferris Wheel, Paris

Grande Roue - Ferris Wheel, Paris

Grande Roue - Ferris Wheel, Paris

Grande Roue - Ferris Wheel, Paris

Grande Roue - Ferris Wheel, Paris

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)

 

 

 

 

Roses at Sacré-Cœur, Montmartre

Roses at Sacré-Cœur, Montmartre

Summer has truly arrived here in Paris, which means that not only is it beautiful sunny weather but it is also the perfect time to go exploring around the city! Last week I headed to the 18th arrondissement, to the Basilique du Sacré-Cœur in Montmartre, and had a wonderful afternoon wandering the streets. Whilst there, it was hard not to be impressed by the stunning array of roses that have blossomed. Located in the Square Louise Michel Park, these gorgeous flowers welcome those heading up towards the Church. You can never have too many photos of flowers, right?

 

Montmartre, Paris

Exploring the hidden gems of Paris: 3 day itinerary

Exploring the hidden gems of Paris: 3 day itinerary

Having been here in Paris for 9 months – where does the time fly?! – I thought it would be appropriate to share some of my favourite places that I think everyone should visit when coming to this magical city. Off the beaten track, the places listed here will no doubt provide you with delightful experiences and fantastic memories.

This blog post is based on my entry on a new-and-upcoming website, called Marco, where travellers like myself write about particular trips we’ve been on. There are so many great things about this website. For starters, you can find real inspiration from reading other people’s entries, and be fixated on stunning photographs posted. Without doubt, another great factor of the website is that when you enter the weekly competitions, you have the chance of winning $1000! Think of new amazing places that could take you to!

You can check out my entry here. If you could vote for me, that would be great – just click here to vote, and don’t forget to choose ‘Explore the hidden gems of Paris‘.

DAY 1

Les Jardins du Palais Royale, Paris

WANDER THE BEAUTIFUL JARDIN DU PALAIS ROYALE

Located a stone’s throw away from the infamous Louvre, Le Jardin du Palais Royale is hidden within the busy rush of the city. Here you can stroll around the beautiful garden, appreciating the symmetrically lined trees and colourful flowers; or you can sit and enjoy people watching from many of the various reclining chairs around the central fountain.

L'Arc de Triomphe at night, Paris

ASCEND L’ARC DE TRIOMPHE FOR STUNNING VIEWS OF THE CITY

Whilst the majority of guides will point you in the direction of the Eiffel Tower, I believe that you can get even better views of the city from the Arc de Triomphe. There’s no better time to go than at sunset and into twilight. It is from the Arc de Triomphe that my breath has been taken away with these exquisite views.

DAY 2

Canal Saint-Martin, Paris

SIT BY THE CANAL SAINT-MARTIN

Many people have never heard of the Canal Saint-Martin in Paris, and it is indeed another hidden gem of the city. Situated in the 10th and 11th arrondissements, the area surrounding the canal is super cool and hip. Parallel to the canal are a plethora of cute cafes and shops, and also a ton of vibrant street art work. Exploring this area of Paris will make you feel as if you have been transported to Amsterdam.

The Sainte-Chapelle, Paris

VISIT THE UNSURPASSABLE ROYAL CHAPEL, THE SAINTE-CHAPELLE

The Sainte-Chapelle is often overlooked by those coming to visit Paris. Built to house the sacred relics of the Crown of Thorns in 1248 under the patronage of King Louis IX (aka Saint Louis), for me the Sainte-Chapelle is one of the most beautiful places on earth. The upper chapel is surrounded by the most exquisite stained-glass, which one can look at for hours. In addition to visiting the chapel during the day, you can also attend various classical concerts in the evening – another must do.

DAY 3

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.

If you can think of any other hidden gems of Paris that you would like to share, just let me know!

Once again, here is the link for voting – don’t forget to choose ‘Explore the hidden gems of Paris‘.