Pretend you're Parisian. Put...
Pretend you're Parisian. Put away your cameras, backpacks and film vests for one afternoon and just sit in a cafe in the Quartier Latin or along the Blvd. St. Germain. The picture at left shows the Fontaine Saint Michel -- a fountain dedicated by the city to commemorate its deliverance from the Germans. Watching the Eiffel Tower burst into flames on Millenium night. Who says Paris isn't the center of the universe?
(1) Go to the excavation exhibit in front Notre Dame Cathedral. Gives you a good flavor of Paris from the time of the Parisii to the 18th century. Every stone tells a story of a different age. Amazing stuff.
(2) Go view the Delacroix painting of Napoleon's coronation in the Louvre. Then go inside Notre Dame de Paris to see where it actually happened. Goose bumps!
(3) Get your hands on a guidebook of Le Marais and do a walking tour of the old aristocratic city houses or hotel particuliers (sp?). They're now embassies and museums, but they used to be private residences.
(4) Spend an afternoon on the grass at Place de Vosges. Best local people-watching spot.
(5) Take the Metro to Les Halles, have a meat-centered meal at le boucher (a restaurant that replaced a historic meat stall in the old market), then visit St. Eustache Cathedral. Impressive stuff.
(6) Another can't miss cathedral is St. Sulpice, by St. Germain des Pres. Next to Notre Dame, it's got the most distinctive facade of any cathedral in the city (in my book).
(7) Have lunch at Place du Tertres by Sacre Coeur on Montmartre. You can get a formule, which is a full menu, including a beer or wine, main course, and desert, for about 40 francs. And the food's good! (Well, it is Paris, after all.)
(8) Okay, this is my thing. If you end up doing this, I'd expect a report afterwards, to see what you thought. On a warm sunny day, pack a stuffed baguette and a bottle of wine, and walk to the park in the back of Notre Dame de Paris. Cross the Seine to Ile St. Louis via that small footbridge with the black metal railings. Take your first right so that you're walking along the river on a street called Quai d'Orleans. Just before the road bends to the left, following the curve of the Ile, there will be a ramp leading to the river bank. Perfect picnic spot. Beautiful view across the river to the right bank and Ile de la Cite and Notre Dame. The Quai itself, with the apartment buildings with flowerboxes is just a classic portrait of Paris.
(9) . Have a crêpe et cidre at Crêperie des Arts on Place St. Andres des Arts in the Quartier Latin. This is a great hangout and you can rub elbows with Sorbonne students during the fall. Nice way to get immersed in Rive Gauche life.