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‘.

This week on Instagram

This week on Instagram

On the way to class I saw the horse guards parading outside the Cathedral Notre-Dame; Attending the Saint Louis and the Arts conference at the Louvre this Saturday; it’s officially Christmas outside the Notre-Dame Cathedral.

Spending a lovely Sunday evening in front of the fire at home; Before entering the ‘Medieval Morocco: An Empire from Africa to Spain’ exhibition at the Louvre one encounters a beautiful Grand Chandelier originally from Fez, Morocco; A current work of art by Claude Lévêque within the Louvre, a neon installation piece striking the top of the pyramid.

This week the Micro-Architecture conference took place at the Auditorium de la Galerie Colbert; The Louvre’s Pyramid looking stunning on the night of the Saint Louis and the Arts Conference; Pont de l’Archevêché showcasing it’s collection of locks gained throughout the years with the Cathedral Notre-Dame gazing in the back.

‘Medieval Morocco: An Empire from Africa to Spain’, Louvre, Paris

‘Medieval Morocco: An Empire from Africa to Spain’, Louvre, Paris

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Yesterday I was lucky enough to meet with a friend who is studying at the Courtauld, with her fellow classmates and professor, to look around the current Medieval exhibition at the Louvre. The exhibition titled, ‘Medieval Morocco: An Empire from Africa to Spain’ offers a glimpse into a period when the Medieval Western Islamic world was at the height of its glory, as much in terms of its artistic production as its place in history. Focusing from the 11th to 15th centuries of Western Islamic dynasties, this exhibition presents over 300 objects that aim to show this culture’s long and complex history, which is crucial to an understanding of Medieval Morocco and Islam.

This exhibition shows many beautiful objects, including architectural decoration from various Mosques; textiles and ivory; and it also displays a plethora of illuminated manuscripts and examples of beautiful calligraphy. Many of these objects are extremely rare, not only in historical value, but because many have never been showcased in such a way to the public. Even though I have previously studied various key examples of Medieval Islamic works, I have never studied this particular area as a whole in depth. Despite this, I found the exhibition really interesting. Coming from a different perspective research wise during the same time period, it is completely fascinating to notice the differences in style and workmanship. If you thought Medieval Christian Reliquaries were lavish and ornate, many of the objects in the ‘Medieval Morocco: An Empire from Africa to Spain’ exhibition will be able to change ones mind. For example, before entering the exhibition you encounter an elaborately carved Grand Chandelier originally from Fez, Morocco. Created between 1202 and 1213, this magnificent Chandelier has intricate patterning and inscriptions adorning the surface. This is truly a beautiful piece of art, and one can only imagine how awe-inspsiring it must have in-situ. I can imagine good old Abbot Suger being very impressed!

Ultimately this a great exhibition, offering an interesting insight and opportunity to view the complex history of Western Islamic Culture that is not often displayed in comparison to the work and history of Medieval Christendom.

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Below are a few more photos that I took around the Louvre before entering the exhibition.

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Medieval Conferences in Paris, December 2014

Sculpture of Saint Louis, photograph taken by myself at the Saint Louis Exhibition
Sculpture of Saint Louis, photograph taken by myself at the Saint Louis Exhibition

This December, Paris will host two exciting Medieval conferences, with esteemed historians travelling to the capital to give papers. Not only will these be great opportunities to meet fellow art historians and hear interesting talks, but they are free! I will be attending both, and will blog about the contents of each. Continue reading “Medieval Conferences in Paris, December 2014”

Autumn? What Autumn? Summer time in Paris

Autumn? What Autumn? Summer time in Paris

The weather here in Paris has been insane recently. Whilst the beginning of last week was cold and wet (I wore my winter coat for the first time this year…), this weekend offered us sunny, beautiful summer weather. Obviously this meant that I had to try and make the most of this blissful heat wave, which took the form of a picnic by the Seine. A little cliché, I know, but when in Paris eh? Below are some pictures that I took during the day. We also thought that we might as well be touristy for the afternoon, so took a few photos during our wander around the city. See if you can guess some of Paris’ most famous sites that we visited.

A beautiful autumnal (summer really) walk along the river

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The Louvre!

Paris trip 2014: Day 1

Parisian Bridge

I am officially back from Paris, and what an amazing time I had! Although we were only there for two full days, we managed to pack a lot of things to do within the time that was available to us. The only thing to note about Paris in February is how cold it is! The weather wasn’t quite amazing, yet that did not dampen our spirits! (Pardon the pun about the rainy whether…)

Wednesday was the first ‘official’ day of our trip here in Paris. We were very lucky to be given a late start that morning, which meant that we got the chance to do some exploring of the city before we got to grips with the Virgin Mary in Paris. I headed to the Sainte-Chapelle as I am currently researching/writing about it for my dissertation! It was great to get back in there this morning – I absolutely love it, and if you haven’t been you must! I always have a very transcendental experience whenever I enter the chapel. Below are a few of the photographs that I snapped on my phone, but I am currently in the process of uploading all my photographs to my new Flickr account, so I’ll post the link soon so everyone can have a look! This is the third time that I’ve been in the Sainte-Chapelle, and it was the quietest I have ever experienced it. Last summer the chapel was heaving with people, whereas this time round it was pretty empty, as you can see. I can only imagine what it must have been like for individuals, such as King Louis, to be alone in this place – breathtaking.

The Sainte-Chapelle

The Sainte-Chapelle

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After exploring the Sainte-Chapelle, l I headed over to Notre-Dame Cathedral which is a stones throw away to meet with the rest of the group! We spent the rest of the morning exploring the facade portal and the transept portals, and had a wonder round inside. Notre-Dame Cathedral is stunning, and it was great to head back there once again.

For lunch, I attempted to practice my French (not so great, but I’m really trying to improve!), and then a few us and our tutor Michele went looking around some vintage/second hand clothes shop. I knew Paris was famous for its cloths, but there were so many of them! Some had some great bargains, and some not quite so much. As well as looking around some of Paris’ shops, we also stumbled upon the Centre Pompidou. We didn’t go inside, but had a good look at the architecture of the building. I’ve seen the Pompidou in photos before, but I’m not too sure what to make about it in person; I’m not convinced that I’m it’s biggest fan! But it was still cool to see what the shops were like surrounding the Pompidou, and seeing the various contemporary sculptures and street-art. My favourite was the Salvador Dalí image on the wall as seen below.

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Our next and final stop for the day was an exploration around the Lourve. Michele had selected a variety of works for us to see, and so we spent a lot of the time wondering around the labyrinth that is the Louvre to find them! We saw a wide variety of works, ranging of Romanesque stone sculptures, wooden sculptures in the round and some Renaissance paintings; all relating to the Virgin Mary. One of my favourites was an ivory sculpture of the Virgin and Christ Child from the treasury of the Sainte-Chapelle. This small sculpture was believed to be made before 1279, and i think it is one of the most delicate objects I have seen pertaining to the Virgin. The fact that it is made in ivory, one of the most expensive objects at the time, just shows the sheer expense and material value imbedded within the sculpture. (More information can be found here: http://www.louvre.fr/en/oeuvre-notices/virgin-and-child-sainte-chapelle) Another work that I really enjoyed seeing was Cimabue’s ‘Virgin Enthroned with Angels’, which we had studying just the seminar before coming to Paris, so it was great that we could see it in person; and it’s so big! Scale is definitely something that one needs to think about and remember when thinking about Medieval art, as just by knowing how big a painting Cimabue’s ‘Virgin’ is changes my perception of people may have viewed it in the 13th century. (See Cimabue’s painting here: http://arthistoryblogger.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/cimabue-giotto-and-duccio-comparison-of.html)

Once we had seen the assigned Virgin Mary images, some friends and I headed to see the Mona Lisa, and yes, we did the compulsory ‘selfie’ that one must do when seeing the painting! (Mine is below – I look way too happy!) Despite it being quite late in the evening, there were still so many people wondering around the Lourve and crowding around Leonardo’s Mona!

So as you can tell, Wednesday was a busy first day in Paris! We headed back to the hostel to tuck into some food, and just chilled for the rest of the evening. We had to be up pretty early the following day to catch our train to Chartres, so sleep was definitely a must for me – especially in order to function the next day! After walking around Paris the whole day, it was nice to be able to put our feet up and relax.

The Lourve

The Lourve

The Lourve

The Lourve

The Lourve

The Lourve

Selfie and the Mona Lisa - I couldn't resist!
Selfie and the Mona Lisa – I couldn’t resist!