Walk along Riverside of Seine
You'll get to see alot of things. From amount of tourist, stunning architecture, smells of croissant and cafe, the french music especially. Makes you ponder for a moment, thinking that would lovely if you live in this romatic city of Paris.
It's What's Happening
The moment you arrive in Paris, immediately go to a newsstand and buy a Pariscope. It is a weekly publication that lists all the concerts, films, art exhibits, expositions, etc. happening that week. It also lists the locations, hours, and costs for every museum and tourist attraction, and a lot of restaurants, clubs, etc. It is published each Wednesday, and it costs next to nothing. This will give you an overview of all the remarkable events that happen on a daily basis. If you enjoy classical music, every day there are reasonably-priced concerts in several churches (and often some free ones). The film listings tell you if the film is VO or VF-- VO means version originale, or in the original language. There are many films in English showing every day.
Unfortunately, the "Time Out" section (The last few pages of Pariscope written in English) was discontinued, so if you ne parles pas francais you could have a problem.
You can carry it around with you and use it as a reference throughout your days here. It will be the best 40 euro cents you ever spend!
KING HENRI 11 & mistress, DIANE
What I love about Paris is her history.
Diane de Poitiers is a very small part of that history, but a very interesting one to all babyboomer women.
After becoming a widow around 1534, and, at age 35, she became the mistress of the then 15-year-old
Henri d'Orléans, later to be King Henri II.
Although King Henri II fulfilled his duty by marrying the noble foreigner Catherine de' Medici,
Diane de Poitiers would remain his lifelong companion, and for the next 25 years she would be
the most powerful influence in his life. Remembered as a beautiful woman, she had a nice figure,
and maintained her beauty well into her seventies, which was immortalized in art.
Only two signed paintings by the great artist Francois Clouet are known to exist, one being a painting of Diane. The subject of that painting shows her seated nude in her bath. She sat for other paintings of the time, often topless or nude, other times in traditional poses. ]All seem to depict a vibrant and attractive woman.
Diane possessed an extreme intellect and a political astuteness to the point that the King trusted her to write many of his official letters, and to even sign them jointly with the one name: HenriDiane.
She was, in fact, the "brains behind the throne", and even in charge of the royal children's education. She was extremely confident, and her maturity and loyalty to Henri II made her his most dependable ally in the court. Her position in the Court of the King was such that when Pope Paul III sent the new Queen Catherine the "Golden Rose", he did not forget to present the royal mistress Diane with a pearl necklace. Within a very short amount of time she wielded considerable power within the realm. The king's total adoration for Diane caused a great deal of jealousy on the part of Queen Catherine, particularly when Henri entrusted Diane with the Crown Jewels of France, had the Château d'Anet built for her, and gave her the beautiful Château Chenonceau that Catherine had wanted for herself. However, as long as the king lived, the Queen was powerless to change this.
King's death, her downfall
Despite her holding such power with the king, her total status depended on the king's welfare, and his remaining in power. In 1559, when Henri was critically wounded in a jousting tournament, Queen Catherine de' Medici took control, restricting access to him.
Although the king is alleged to have called out repeatedly for Diane, she was never summoned or admitted, and on his death, she was also not invited to the funeral. Immediately thereafter, Catherine de' Medici banished Diane from Chenonceau to the Château de Chaumont. She stayed there only a short time, and lived out her remaining years in her chateau in Anet, Eure-et-Loir, where she died in comfort, but also in obscurity. In accordance with her wishes, and to provide a resting place for her, her daughter completed the funeral chapel built near the castle.
Having a quick bite
Like in many Capitals, all over the world, the metro, subway or underground is during the daily job a way to get fast to your job. No time to have a decent breakfast or even a simple coffee or a "jus d'orange", because, you don't have TIME.
In Paris the metro bistro's offers you some basics at a bistro called "Bonne Journée". Inviting places, but quality in a subway, i have my doubts;
Pack light or count on using a taxi! You will not be able to maneuver those rolling bags very well up and down stairs to Metro tunnels. Take a hat for unexpected rain, comfortable shoes for walking (because you'll want to do alot of that), and better take at least one outfit that will do in a more upscale restaurant by your hometown standards. Paris does not really know the meaning of business casual. Unless you really want to stand out, DO NOT wear tennis shoes!
And there is a phrase you will see often in my Europe pages that relates to footwear: cobbled streets! Think about it! Especially when you're actually packing. Take some black and white film. You'll thank me later! Film is a little pricey here...plan ahead. Many hotels do not include coffee/tea pot in room. Yes, good reason to stop at all those cafes and sip coffee at a little bistro table. However, if you are like me and have to have a cup of coffee BEFORE getting a move on in the AM, then take an immersible coil or small travel size coffee pot by Franzus (14 oz.). Whatever you buy over there in the small food shops will be cheap no need to take any food/beverage items with you. Splurge on the exquisite breads, pastries, coffees, cheeses and meats in the shops!