Paris

Posted by on Dec 10, 2011 in Europe, France, Travel | 0 comments

Paris

We have been to Paris a couple of times and absolutely adore it.  It’s a city overflowing with personality, walking the line between old world charm and modern day.

It reminds me of Sydney in the way that there are many different “quarters” each with a distinct character, and each with a sense of community.

Every quarter has it’s own local boulangerie, butcher and small park.

I love to wander the city on foot, although the metro is really convenient if you are travelling further or want to get somewhere quickly.

We’ve stayed in a few different areas, the Marais is nice but has become quite touristy, my favourite is Canal St Martin which is full of great places to eat and has a more relaxed vibe.

 

Wayne relaxes with an afternoon wine in our studio

Wayne relaxes with an afternoon wine in our studio apartment, the Marais

 

It is definitely worth climbing the 422 steps to the top of Notre Dame, it has the most spectacular view of the city.

I’ve been to the top of the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe, but Notre Dame really takes the cake for the most breathtaking view of Paris, and is made even more mystical with the gargoyles on the roof.

 

The view from Notre Dame

The view from Notre Dame

 

Of course a visit to the Louvre and the famous Mona Lisa cannot be missed, but I particularly enjoyed the L’Orangerie museum and was enchanted by Monet’s waterlilies.

 

The Louvre

The Louvre

 

The Catacombes are interesting but very eery, this is where the remains of thousands of Paris’ dead were moved when the cemeteries became overcrowded.  They have been stacked underground, making passageways which you can walk through.  It’s a very strange feeling having skulls staring at you from all directions.

 

The Catacombs

The Catacombes

 

For a good value and delicious lunch head to L’As du Fallafel on 34 Rue des Rosiers in the Marais, where for five euro you get an amazing pocket of goodness.  Don’t be fooled by the other felafel places on the same street, look for the green sign, it’s the best!

Another favourite lunch spot is this crepe place in St Germain.

 

Under the Arc de Triomphe

Under the Arc de Triomphe

 

We also enjoyed many leisurely afternoon teas in Paris, if you are after a hot chocolate richer than anything you’ve ever tasted head straight to Angelina.

For macaroons there is of course the famous Laduree, however we preferred those from Pierre Herme (try the salted caramel and the passionfruit chocolate).

There is the cutest little cafe called Sugar Plum, who do a delicious carrot cake and homemade lemonade – what more could you want?!

The other culinary delight is a gingerbread spread called Speculoos, which basically tastes like Christmas and is best enjoyed on a hot baguette.

 

Exploring Montmartre

The Moulin Rouge is the most famous icon in Montmartre, located on the main drag at the bottom of the hill on a street likeable to Kings Cross in Sydney.  The Moulin Rouge was created in 1890, the same year the Eiffel Tower was built, and soon became famous for the French Can Can.  Back then girls showing that much leg was considered to be very risqué!

Now each time they change the show they spend a staggering nine million euros on the costumes and sets, and due to suspicion all shows since 1963 start with the letter “F”.

We went to a show which was very impressive, the themed costumes felt like a Victoria’s Secret show on steroids, and at one point a woman swam in the aquarium full of snakes.

As you get further up the hill in Montmartre the area becomes more quiet and beautiful, and the vibe turns to more of that of Surry Hills in Sydney.  The ‘BoBos’ (Bohemian Bourgeoisie) are the new wealthy demographic here.

Previously Montmartre was where the poor artists and students came to live, as it was cheaper to live up on the hill which was considered inconvenient.  Artists such as Van Gogh and Picasso lived here and created many of their world renowned works.

Because of this artistic history you will come across many cool things as you wander the streets.

 

Montmartre

Seen in Montmartre

 

The Sacre Coeur is the large white building at the top of the hill with beautiful views of Paris.  Apparently the Parisians tend not to like this building as the church forced all Parisians to pay extra tax to fund the building after the war when France was poor, regardless of faith.

 

The Sacre Coeur

The Sacre Coeur

 

Paris is a city I could visit a thousand times and would never tire of wandering the streets, eating good food, and soaking up the culture.

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