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‘.

The Promenade Plantée – A hidden gem of Paris

The Promenade Plantée – A hidden gem of Paris

Located in the 12th arrondissement is one of Paris’ hidden gems. The Promenade Plantée, also known as the Coulée Verte René-Dumont (tree-lined walkway en Anglais), is an exquisite promenade that stretches just under 3 miles (around 4.7 kilometers) spanning from the Bois de Vincennes to Place de la Bastille, via the old Vincennes rail line.

Having walked across New York’s High Line last October, I was convinced that it was unique to the American city. However, Paris’ Promenade Plantée was in fact the very first green space constructed to form a public park/promenade, as it was inaugurated in 1993. Similar to New York’s High Line, the Promenade Plantée was erected from a disused railway line

The entire promenade is aligned with a variety of beautiful flowers, plants and trees. It was almost like walking through a perfumery – the sheer amount of different plants was not only aesthetically magnificent, but also nice on the nose!

The Promenade Plantée offers a variety of wonderful sights and experiences. Part of the promenade follows the route across a wooden bridge. This bridge reveals fantastic views of the Jardin de Reuilly. In this park, many Parisians had gathered to picnic and bask in the beautiful spring weather.

As we reached the end near the Bastille (which may be the beginning for others!), the promenade rises 10 m above the surrounding area. Now located above the Viaduc des Arts, underneath the promenade one can find a variety of arts and crafts shops, which are all located in the arches of the former elevated railway.

The Promenade Plantée offers walkers an amazing experience, something truly unique to Paris. 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. During the walk, one also encounters beautiful landscaped areas of parks, secluded from the modern metropolis. 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.

Overall, the Promenade Plantée enables those visiting an enjoyable experience. Whether jogging, walking or just enjoying the landscape and views; the Promenade Plantée offers the perfect respite from the hustle and bustle of Paris. A definite must.

This is a great illustration that shows the route of the promenade (Image taken from http://www.messynessychic.com)
Once again, don’t forget that you can check out all the photos that I took over on my Flickr account: https://www.flickr.com/photos/roisingrace/sets/72157651594488338/
The Promenade Plantée

The Promenade Plantée

The Promenade Plantée

The Promenade Plantée
The Promenade Plantée
The Promenade Plantée
The Promenade Plantée
The Promenade Plantée
The Promenade Plantée
The Promenade Plantée
The Promenade Plantée
The Promenade Plantée
The Promenade Plantée
The Promenade Plantée Instagram
The Promenade PlantéeThe Promenade Plantée
The Promenade Plantée

La Grande Mosquée de Paris

La Grande Mosquée de Paris

The Grand Mosquée is often off the radar for tourists, and you may not have heard about it. Founded in 1926 after World War I, it is one of the largest mosques in the whole of France. Visitors are allowed to explore the mosque as long as they are respectful to worshipers attending daily prayers, and I am so grateful that we are allowed this opportunity. Continue reading “La Grande Mosquée de Paris”

Au Canal Saint-Martin

Au Canal Saint-Martin

A few weeks ago, some friends and I ventured into the 10th arrondissement to enjoy a stroll along the Canal Saint-Martin. Before coming, I had heard a lot about the canal and seen many beautiful pictures – to me, and many will probably agree, it is like having a tiny part of Amsterdam here in the middle of Paris! You may well recognise the Canal Saint-Martin from its staring role in the film Amélie, which shows the audience one of her favourite past times – skipping stones across the water. I totally forgot to do that myself when I went, so I’ll will have to go back to attempt to recapture such a moment.

The construction of the canal was begun during the beginning of the 19th century under the direction of Napoleon I, with its main function to supply fresh water into the city of Paris. Throughout the centuries, the canal was also used as a means of transporting food and various building materials into the heart of the city. However, today the canal is simply a magical reminder of a previous time and a popular designation for Parisians.

The Canal Saint-Martin is the perfect place for a walk, despite the season. There’s even more good news. If your legs get a little weary or you’re feeling parched, do not fear, as there are so many quaint cafes to rest in. With so many new places to wine and dine along the canal, you’re definitely spoilt for choice. As you walk along the canal, you’ll also notice that many of the walls of the buildings aligning the walkway are covered in vibrant graffiti. It’s almost like walking around an outdoor gallery.

I had such a lovely time Canal Saint-Martin, and cannot recommend it enough to anyone visiting/living in Paris who are yet to experience this wonderful area. Unfortunately I did not take any photographs using my DSLR camera, so it looks like I’ll have to come back and pay the canal a visit soon!

IMG_20141111_122733_1

IMG_20141111_140231_1

IMG_20141111_122652_1

IMG_20141111_141157_1

IMG_20141111_141311_1

IMG_20141111_141327_1

IMG_20141111_141206_1

One week till New York!

One week till New York!

I cannot believe that this time next week I shall be on my way to New York, hell yeah!  Just over three years ago (wow, I feel old writing this) for my 18th birthday I was given the trip of a lifetime to stay with my Auntie in Chicago. Whilst there, we had a little vacation to New York to see some family and friends, and I absolutely loved it. The only negative part about the trip to NYC was the weather. We travelled there during the peak of a heat wave, and it was just way too hot to do much. So, this time round, my Mum was adamant that we went during a ‘cool’ time of year, and October seemed perfect! I cannot wait to go there! I really do love America, and perhaps could see myself living there for a year or two in the future.

I’m not too sure what we’re going to get up to, although I do know that a must is a visit to the Morgan Library and Museum to see the Crusader Bible exhibition (see here). How typical that I can still manage to fit some medieval orientated things to see and do! I studied the Crusader Bible last year in my ‘Death and Devotion’ module, and thought it was beautiful, so I cannot wait to see the real thing in person. I’ll definitely be blogging whilst I am there, and before going about the potential things that we will get up to. If you have ideas, or know of anything cool taking place in New York in late October, leave a comment below!

Also, I found some photographs that I took last time I was in New York from the top of the Empire State building, aren’t the views amazing!

A picture I took from the top of the Empire State Building
A picture I took from the top of the Empire State Building
A view of below from the Empire State Building
A view of below from the Empire State Building
A glimpse of Central Park
A glimpse of Central Park

Père Lachaise Cemetery

Gambetta Entrance
Gambetta Entrance

As part of my ‘do two different things’ this week, I ventured to Père Lachaise Cemetery to have a wander around. For those who have never heard of it, Père Lachaise Cemetery is the largest cemetery in Paris. However, it’s not only known for it’s vastness, but for the many burials it contains, especially of many famous people including writers, authors, composers, musicians and many more. Père Lachaise Cemetery is in the 20th arr, and there are two close metro stations near either end of the Cemetery. I decided to go here because this was something that my family and I did not have a chance to explore when we were here in Paris last year.

I was not too sure what to expect. I definitely didn’t know that it was going to be as big as it was, so if you’re going to go there, make sure you wear comfortable shoes! I also did the grave mistake (pardon the pun) of going without a map. Many people believe a map in Père Lachaise Cemetery to be a vital necessity, as it helps point you into the right direction of seeing many of the famous celebrities that are laid to rest here. However, I did not let this minor disadvantage stop me, and just wondered at my own leisure. Tuesday, when I went to Père Lachaise Cemetery, was the first day of Autumn, and you could definitely see this all around. Although a site of burial, the Cemetery looked stunning. It was tranquil, quiet and peaceful. It really is a beautiful place, even though somewhat haunting.

IMG_5874_Fotor
Père Lachaise CemeteryIMG_5872

IMG_5875

Père Lachaise Cemetery

 As I wondered the many different divisions of the cemetery, it was hard to comprehend the sheer amount of memorials and burials in the Cemetery. Each memorial was also very different to the previous. Some were mini-shrines, wherein the families of the members could enter into and pray to the souls of their deceased. One thing that I did find somewhat dispiriting was the type of tourists that too had ventured to this place. Upon stumbling on the many ‘celebrity tombs’ (even without a map of the Cemetery it is very easy to do – just follow the hoards of people crowding around in one place), there were tourists taking selfies with the different memorials etc. I almost felt as if I were in the Louvre with the Mona Lisa, people all pushing and queueing to catch a glimpse through a camera screen only to depart once the perfect selfie was captured. When I finally managed to find Jim Morrison’s grave, it was absolutely packed with people. You could barely get near to catch a glimpse of the tomb and people’s remembrances to him. It’s regrettable that this has happened, but I guess I was also taking part in the ‘tourist pilgrimages’ that flow throughout the Cemetery every year. What do the families of the unknown deceased think of those piling up over the tombs of the ‘celebrities’ that lets face it, many tourists may know little of. Maybe I’m thinking too much about it, or perhaps I’m being hypocritical.

Despite my complaints regarding the tourist etiquette, I had a wonderful time wandering and weaving through the different paths of the Cemetery. Of course, following as the sheep I am, I did also see the infamous memorials.

Oscar Wilde's Grave
Oscar Wilde’s Grave
Kisses on Oscar Wilde's burial place
Kisses on Oscar Wilde’s burial place

Père Lachaise Cemetery

Jim Morrison's grave
Jim Morrison’s grave

A tree with messages from visitors to Jim Morrison's grave

IMG_5885

IMG_5890

All alone, with no tourists in sight, Camille Pissarro and family's grave
All alone, with no tourists in sight, Camille Pissarro and family’s grave
Frédéric Chopin's grave
Frédéric Chopin’s grave

A statue of a thinking man on one of the memorial graves

If you’re thinking of heading to Père Lachaise Cemetery, I would recommend entering the Gambetta entrance as this allows for a downhill walk throughout the cemetery. However, the main entrance on the other side of the Cemetery offers you the free maps, so it’s up to you whether you’re up to paying a couple of euro for a map from a near by shop or perhaps print one out before hand.