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‘.

Weekend in Berlin

Weekend in Berlin

What a weekend! I have a surprise for many of you (for those who follow my instagram account, the surprise is unfortunately ruined…). Last weekend in France was a holiday, which meant that we had a four-day weekend. With so much time off, I decided it was the perfect time to go and visit one of my best friends, Sally. So, I headed of to Berlin! Yes, I spent the four-day weekend exploring the city and hanging out with one of my dearest pals.

Berlin is an awesome city. It was my first time there, and to Germany! Having studied German for five years with the expectation of going to visit the country with my family, you can probably imagine how excited I was to finally go. There is something really interesting about Berlin. As we wandered the city, I felt as if there was not ‘one’ Berlin. The capital is incredibly diverse, and as you progress around the city, it almost feels as if you yourself are traveling through different cultures and countries. Berlin is super cool and edgy, owning a fantastically active art and music scene. Although I could never see myself living there (Paris has stolen my heart), I would love to go and visit again.

My friend Sally is also an Au Pair, and her German ‘family’ owns a beautiful apartment right in the centre of the city. Being in such a central location meant that we saw and did lots of different things – of which I am currently writing in an upcoming blog photo diary post.

Overall I had an awesome weekend, and got to finally tick one of the cities that I have been desperate to visit! If you have been there, I would love to know what you thought of the city.

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

The last two weeks on Instagram

The last two weeks on Instagram

It’s been a while since I’ve written one of my usual ‘This week on Instagram’ posts, and without further ado, here it is. The last two weeks have been incredibly busy – I’ve ended up doing so much. But the main idea that I think one could possibly take from the last couple of days is that I have been somewhat preoccupied with Spring – Paris in Spring. As previously mentioned in my blog (and of course in future posts), Spring here in Paris is beautiful. There is something magical and dream-like to be able to wander around the various streets, especially with no aim or goal in mind. The arrival of the flowers and green luscious leaves makes for much nicer photos, and I’ve recently been trying to experiment with different angles and ways to capture the environment around me. As you will be able to tell, I’m becoming a huge fan or the sun flare and trying to get that ethereal quality to my photographs. I just hope that my filter on my lens protects my camera enough!

The next two weeks have quite a lot in store for me, as it is official the school holidays here in France. Yay! Today I leave with the youngest children in my family, and head towards the south of France to the idyllic coastal town of Cassis. I am extremely excited (so much that it causes me to describe using alliteration!), and as my first time to the south of France (correct me if I’m wrong Mum), I’m really looking forward to seeing the sea and the area. As we’re quite close to Marseille, I hope that perhaps we’ll get a chance to travel and have a look around there. Following this, I then go back to England for a week to see my family. During my time back at home, we will be taking a special journey to a destination that I will be revealing nearer the time – oooo mysterious!

À bientôt!

Geneva: Photo Diary

Geneva: Photo Diary

This is a very belated account of my mini-adventure to Geneva in February. So with out delay, here it is:

The day after my return from the Alps to Paris, an early 4am start took me onto my next adventure: less than two days in the city of Geneva with one of my best friends, Kate (don’t forget to check out her blog! https://wherekateresides.wordpress.com) Unfortunately for us, Geneva welcomed us with grey skies and light rain. Despite this, we were determined to make the most of the hours that we had in this fascinating city.

Our first day consisted of wandering around the streets, taking in all the different architecture. Whilst also looking in the windows in a few of the designer shops. Our first ‘tourist attraction’ was Saint Pierre Cathedral, situated in the old part of the city. I was surprised that the Cathedral was begun in the 12th century, and was therefore immediately captivated. In addition, we decided to head on down into the Archaeological site directly underneath the cathedral, wherein we explored the vast history of this beautiful building. Originally there had been a 6th century basilica, to which over the centuries had been developed and built upon. I’m really glad that we decided to go to the cathedral and down into the archaeological site. It was incredibly fascinating to learn all about the cathedral’s rich history, and it has definitely sparked some ideas and further questions that could possibly be explored in the future. After being taken back in time, as well as seeing one or two skeletons down below the cathedral, we decided to venture upwards and began are ascent up to the cathedral towers. From here we had great views of the city. Unfortunately, the sky was still gray, so we couldn’t see as far as we had hoped – it would have been amazing to have had clear blue skies to see the beautiful mountains in the distance. But alas.

After all of this, we continued to wander around the city. Geneva is quite small, so you can easily walk from one end to the other, which I’m sure we did! During our walking, we stopped of at the Grand Théâtre de Geneva, which is the home of the Opera. The building is stunning, although it must be noted that we went inside as one of the main reasons was to attempt to get some warmth! Whilst there we noted that there was a production of George Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, performed by a company from New York, and spontaneously decided to go! After a slight mix-up with our seats (it turns out that we had been sold tickets for the following night – which was when we’d be back in Paris!), we enjoyed a much better view of the performance. It was Kate’s first time seeing an Opera and so I hope she enjoyed it, I just thank my stars it was in English.

With limited time on our second day, we started the morning with a trip to CERN, aka, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research. Although I know little about Physics, I do recall the splitting of the atom taking place here in 2010. Unfortunately we were unable to take a tour of the full facilities, but we had the chance to explore the visitor section of the organisation. Entering into a dark and mysterious space, titled: ‘Universe of Particles’, we floated around absorbing all the information that we could, and then headed back to the city centre.

Luckily, our second day provided us with somewhat nicer weather, and so we took this opportunity to venture to the Conservatoire et Jardin botanics de la Ville de Geneve. Although still in the middle of winter, it was lovely to be able to wander around the various parts of the park. Although a highlight for us was probably watching all the people running and commentating on their weird running techniques! Sorry to any runners out there, and now I am afraid to run, knowing what we thought of others haha!

So there you have it. This pretty much sums up our mini-adventure to Geneva. Although we had two days to absorb all that the city has to offer, both Kate and I later agreed that you do not need any more additional days to see all the sites and things in the city. Due to the dull and miserable weather, I think a visit to Geneva in the Summer months would be much better, if anyone is thinking of going. If you’ve been to Geneva, I would love to hear about your travels and the things that you got up to!

You can see the rest of the photos that I took on my Flickr account here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/roisingrace/sets/72157650759707678/

 

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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.