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‘.

Le Printemps à Paris

Le Printemps à Paris

It has been a while since I have managed to sit down and write a blog post, and to my lovely readers I apologise! The last few weeks have been busy, and despite all this chaos, we are finally catching the first glimpses of Spring here in Paris (aka. Printemps en Francais). It may not be April just yet, but we are indeed experiencing more rain at the moment – sigh. Moving on from weather issues…

As I mentioned, my somewhat hectic schedule has been a fun one! Two weekends ago I was blessed to have my parents come and visit me in Paris. As it was both Mother’s day on the Sunday, as well as Mum’s birthday, we made the most of the time we had together. This included venturing to the Marché aux puces de Saint-Ouen and the Puces de Vanves Marché, which both have amazing trinkets and antiques on offer. For those who don’t know my father, he has a little (‘little’ being gigantic) passion for collecting records, and so these markets were somewhat like stepping into Paradise! Albeit it overpriced compared to his usual experiences at British car-boots. We also had pre-booked tickets to go and see the ‘David Bowie Is’ exhibition that is currently on a world-wide tour. Having grown up listening to Bowie, and with a father and uncle who are big fans, I was extremely excited to attend. We were unfortunate to not be able to see the exhibition in the V&A when it was in London, with mum and I instead going to the cinema for a tour of the exhibition – without having to leave Liverpool or our seats! It was great to have my parents over, not only to celebrate my mum’s birthday and because I’ve missed them, but also to be treated out for some nice food!

During the week, I met up with Emily Guerry, one of my old tutors from York who was visiting Paris with her current students from Cambridge University. I was delighted to be able to join Emily and her pupils on some of their visits. On the Monday we met at the Musée Cite de l’architecture et du patrimoine and examined the many Romanesque and Gothic reliefs; Tuesday morning saw me join them for a visit to the Abbey de Saint-Germain which is very close to my language school; and on the Friday I headed with the group to Laon to see the fantastic cathedral (as well as going to a lovely dinner that night!). Spending much time with fellow medievalists got me all excited for getting back to further study next year and continuing researching something that I am so passionate about.

The following weekend (this one just gone) also welcomed Sally, an old friend from school. I haven’t seen Sally in person for around 3 years, and so it was awesome to see her in the flesh and not on my Skype screen. Sally is also an Au Pair, but in Berlin, so she knows the routine that I am currently in. Due to her flight arriving the same time I collect the children from school, Sally had to jump in the car and come for the ride! The plus of this was that I gave her an unconventional tour of Versailles. We spent our weekend dining out with good friends. One of the reasons why me and Sally are such great friends is that we have such similar interests, one being art and culture. So we ended up exploring the Musée d’Orsay, Musée de l’Orangerie, and the current exposition at the Éléphant Paname gallery. I also took Sally around the Sainte-Chapelle – any trip to Paris avec moi is not complete without visiting this divine beauty, and I was excited to see that all the boards covering the renovation work have been removed. En fin! I will definitely have to go back again soon with my dad’s wide-eye camera lens to try to capture this exquisite space. Although the weather was pretty rubbish during the weekend, we were blessed with blue skies on Monday morning. So, before Sally’s flight we headed off on a bike ride in Saint Cloud park to see the wonderful views of the city. Unfortunately for me, I could not get on the spare bike (it was too big for me!), and so was left with the only options of running next to Sally or to take a children’s scooter. I chose the latter. What an intense workout! Never again.

So there you have it. My March thus far, which continues to be a busy one. Tomorrow is my birthday, and on Saturday night I will be going to dinner with some great friends of mine for Thai – I have been dreaming about Thai food for so long now, and cannot wait.

The Virgin and Child sculpture at the Abbey de Saint-Germain
The Virgin and Child sculpture at the Abbey de Saint-Germain
The western front of Laon Cathedral
The western front of Laon Cathedral
One of Monet's stunning paintings on display at the Musée de l'Orangerie.
One of Monet’s stunning paintings on display at the Musée de l’Orangerie.

 

 

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!

Bye York, hello Paris!

York Station

So today I am off to Paris with my current module – The Virgin’s Places: Chartres, Siena and Castile. During our week away we will spend the day visiting Chartres Cathedral, which I was lucky to go to the last time I was in Paris with Autumn’s module, Death and Devotion. I love Chartres Cathedral, as it’s a beautiful space – it’s so big and overwhelming. As well as spending the day outside of Paris in Chartres, we will be going to Notre-Dame Cathedral and the Lourve. I will also, in any spare time that we have, go and visit the Sainte-Chapelle – probably my favourite place in Paris!

I will try and blog some photos about our trip, so keep checking back! I hope everyone has a great week, whether you’re a third year also going away (I know some people are going to Rome this week with the History of Art department!), or if you’re still in York.

 

Chartres Cathedral
Chartres Cathedral, a photo I took last October.