Paris is the city of lights and of shadows.
City of fashion and of “haute couture“.
City of artists and of science.
City of Art Nouveau and of Art Deco.
So many books and travel guides were already written about Paris. Is hard to add some new relevant content, so I will just write my raw thoughts of the city.
The real Paris and the Clichés
If I can recommend something.
Is don’t rush when in Paris. Don’t check all the checklist that we “must” do.
Of course, I could recommend the classics as the Louvre and Musée d’Orsay. Also, I loved climbing the Arc de Triomphe at the end of Champs Élysées, and taking a boat trip on the Seine.
After all, is a matter of choice. I skipped some mandatory ones like Montparnasse and la Défence. But I am glad I waited in line to visit “la cathédrale Notre-Dame”.
I wrote below the best 7 decisions from 7 trips I took while in Paris and the ultimate cliché, since I can’t resist those. Remember I discovered and been to those places in many visits, not all at once
A city that should be visited at least once. Better, at least once every season. We have only one life 🙂
Paris was designed to be a beautiful city with the architecture and Haussman buildings, that became a typical Parisian style, and even the sarcastic ones can’t deny.
Of course, there are always visits and Visits.
In the last 10 years I was beyond lucky to see this city 7 times plus a few more times to pass by shortly. 7 trips in different periods of my life: as an Erasmus student in winter, in spring with family, for an interview, for work and for a training. In summer and autumn just for pleasure with no reason, but to wonder around.
The most special visit was in April 2015 when I took there my parents. Felt proud I could show them pieces of my traveller life and of Belgium.
Best 7 decisions taken and one cliché
1. Something sweet and French
2. The right bank
The right bank of the Seine is my favorite, with the Latin quarter and the Panthéon.
There, I went to Park Luxembourg at sunset in a beautiful October day and later at the Panthéon where time stood still.
3. Place de l’Opéra
L’Opéra Garnier and Galeries Lafayette are my sweet spots and go to places, for music and for shopping. The Opera can still be visited with a ticket purchased onsite in case the concert seats were sold out for the evening.
Art Nouveau ceilings. Galeries Lafayette
4. From Paris with Art
Contemporary and modern, but also romantic.
No trip possible without a visit at the Centre Pompidou and a stop at the Constantin Brâncusi “atelier”, the father of modern sculpture. Here we can see a glimpse of his “atelier” in Paris and many of his creations, including my favorite one, the Infinity Column.
Centre Georges Pompidou is hosting also the painting “La blouse roumaine” of Matisse, that started a movement in my home country to protect the traditional blouse.
One of the best decision was to book a walking tour in Montmartre. So good that I did it twice, during my following visit.
Montmartre was a former village and the streets are like a maze when is nice to get lost, but better when you hear stories of the past, of love, cabaret, Belle Epoque, of Dalida, of Picasso.
And only one time the tour guide took us to the “Wall love” or Les mur des j’taime, a love themed wall. Be sure to look for it when you are there! The lovely tour ended on top of the hill, always at the basilica Sacré-Cœur de Montmartre.
6. Hidden gem
On my way to try the Instagram famous Café Kitsune (on Galerie de Montpensier, 75), I discovered Jardin du Palais Royal and Place Collete. I was together with my friend Imola, who was studying in Paris at the time.
When I went at Place des Vosges to visit the house where Victor Hugo was born, I discovered the neighborhood of Marais.
I recommend a walk in this charming neighborhood for fine architecture, vintage shops, the concept stores and a lot of street art.
And a little extra. A great life decision. Studying and learning to speak French.
And last. The cliché. Different viewpoint
We all associate a city with a person or more, with an emotion, a feeling, a sound, an image. In Paris, most common association is with the symbol of the city, the Eiffel Tower.
Trocadéro and Place de Mars are two beloved and popular locations to admire the tower.
For me, the best views of Paris and of the Tour Eiffel are from the Arc of Triumph and from the rooftop of Galleries Lafayette.
Romance, instead of conclusion
Surprisingly, a few people are disappointed after they visit Paris. Reality is far from the artistic vision of movie directors or the romantic version of books from the 20s.
But is it?
I take cities as they are, not as they should be for others.