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Many years ago, I stood a few days in one of the hotels in Caumartin St. I kept the idea that it was an ugly neighborhood, close to some of the really beautiful many things of Paris.
I stayed there again recently and... surprise! Meandering in those "hidden" streets, closed to traffic, I found another reality: A beautiful quarter, with fancy restaurants, statues, and a peaceful ambiance, in contrast with the rush of the main avenues.
Wrong idea in the first impressions, or an excellent work in space rehabilitation?
- Historical Travel
- Arts and Culture
Walk around without targets-open your eyes wide...
Any time I am visiting a country with a fixed program in mind and trying to see all the tourist spots, after returning home I have the sensation that something was missing, that I’ve lost something from the local ambience of the visited place.
This is why, I have decided to start moving around in Paris, to get lost between the locals and try to see the city as I’m one of its inhabitants.
Trying to imagine that I have to wake up every morning in that place and I have to go to the office in the crowded subways, to meet friends for a concert or to walk around the parks with my family.
It is the only way I can fulfil my lungs with the Parisian air and it works in some other places also.
The only difference is that probably in Paris is no way to get bored…
I’ve found by chance so many interesting places and so beautiful views, I’ve seen so many nice ladies rushing their steps at home, so many crazy drivers trying to park their cars in far to narrow spaces, so many bikers trying to kill themselves in traffic... This is Paris, this is the street show of the colossal capital and this is probably what I like most.
- Hiking and Walking
Different Perspectives of Paris
My first experience of a proper panorama view of Paris was from a little viewing platform at the top of the Opera house at the Bastille. From memory, there was a cafe on the top floor, then a little staircase up from there. Views from Sacre Coeur all the way around to the Bibliotheque.
The best view of the Eiffel Tower, for me, is from the outdoor patio at Le Totem restaurant, at Trocadero.
For someone who has been to Paris several times (you mentioned 6, I think?) then going to a new area is also fun - try Buttes Chaumont, there is a lovely view from rue Lardennois, overlooking a little vineyard, and Paris stretched out below.
St Martin door was built in 1674 to replace a medieval gate, and restored in 1988. It is closed to the great malls avenues, and it is almost a frontier with... the other Paris.
In my last visit, I heard a sound that looked like pistol shots, but everybody was so calm, that... I kept walking without concern.
The next day, by the arch, I noticed that the window of the next shop presented signals of... bullets.
Coincidence? Of course... Paris is nice!
- Arts and Culture
- Historical Travel
Best baguette in Paris...., 18th.
I didn't know it when I strolled past this bakers near Montmartre in May (2012), I was just on the lookout as usual for the odd bits and bobs of Paris, when I took these photos, but this bakery in Montmartre had been voted "Best baguette in Paris" for 2011/2012. There is a 4000.00€ prize attached, but it is the further prestige awarded. Stephane Mauvieux is now the official baker to the President, now M. Francois Hollande, and will deliver 15 fresh baguettes to the Elysées palace every day.
The bakery is found at 159 rue Ordener Paris 75018.
Closest metro is Jules Joffrin. It's a fair way to go for your bread but if you want to taste the best...
Hotel Scipion-Sandini, 13 rue Scipion, 5th.
The building here, originally constructed in 1530-40, which makes it among the oldest buildings in Paris, is rather special being one of the first mansions in Paris to use this type of red brick. Built over a row of 6 arcades with a frieze of earthen busts. Acquired by Scipion-Sandini it remained in the family only until his death in 1609 and was then transformed into an home for poor people. Later it became a maternity hospital under the name of "Sainte Marthe". Transformed once again 1676 the building became the bakery for the hospitals of Paris. It stayed as a bakery until 1974 when it became part of the museum of Public Assistance/Hospitals of Parisand then as a residence for museum personnel. Today it is also holding many of the exhibits that normally are at the main part of the museum on Quai de la Tournelle, whilst this part is undergoing renovation.
If you are fortunate like me, and the main door is open, just wander in. I was greeted by 5 different people and nobody asked me what I was doing there, but politeness and a smile always helps.
Les Gobelins is the nearest metro.
6 rue Scipion, 5th.
One of my real delights when walking is the finds that there are behind every doorway, through every archway or nowadays finding the digicode has been left open. This was one such find, just walking through an archway found me in this little garden not far from the hubbub of the Gobelins .Have a ready answer though if there is a concierge. While I am certainly not advocating doing anything illegal there's no harm in having a peek.
Nearest metro is Les Gobelins.
Fontaine aux Lions, Jardin des Plantes 5th.
Situated just opposite the "Fontaine Cuvier" and just inside the oldest entrance to the Jardin des Plantes on rue Geffroy St. Hilaire, 3 metres off the ground, is a suberb sculpture of a lion created by Henri-Alfred Jacquemart in 1854. The astonishing thing is that the lion seems to be devouring a human being and all that's left is a foot!!!! The truth actually seems to be that the lion is exploring a tomb and the foot is poking through. Other works by this sculpteur are the sphinx at Chatelet, the dragons on the fountain of place St. Michel and 8 more lions on the place Daumesnil (place Felix-Eboué) in the 12th district.
The 5th photo is of the other lion 5 metres away on the same plinthe, that seems to have a small dog between its paws.
Closest metros are Place Monge or Jussieu.
Fontaine Debussy, 16th.
The Debussy fountain, erected here in 1932 is placed on the square Claude Debussy out on the perimetre of the 16th arrondissement. Another 25 metres and it would have been on the peripherique ring road. It is not really a fountain as such more a dribbling of water to fill a small basin. It can be accessed through the childrens playground or from the rear by avenue du Marechal Fayolle. The fountain is almost eclipsed by the sombre and austere Russian Embassy, just a few metres away. When I first came to Paris in 1970 the embassy was classed as the ugliest in Paris!!!
Closest metro is Avenue Henri-Martin.
The only level crossing in Paris,20th.
Right out on the periphery of the 20th arrondissement lies the only level crossing you can find in Paris, and it is still in use today. On the rue de Lagny are the workshops for the metro line no. 2 (Porte Dauphine to Nation), and the barriers drop to let the metro pass through for overhaul. In the background of the 1st photo above the road is the old practically unused "Petite Ceinture" railway line. Sometimes used for freight it is now mainly in disuse all the way round Paris. Some of the old stations are still in use as restaurants or bars.
Porte de Vincennes is the closest metro.
Passage des Cloys, 18th.
A little known passage off the rue Marcadet retains a country feel with plenty of flowers, cats sitting in the sunshine and people sitting and chatting at the windows.
Lamarck-Caulaincourt is the closest metro.
walking around two doors St Denis and Martin
St Martin and St Denis, two archdoors evoking the history of Paris in areas tourists dont go much
The porte Saint-Denis was built in 1672 inspired by the Roman arches on orders of king Louis XIV to honor his victories in the Rhine and Franche-Comté. It was a wish also of Colbert to have arch doors, between the city and the suburbs
It is in fact an arc de triomphe inspired by the arc of Titus with a high of 50 meters replacing a arch on the old ramparts of king Charles V. Many inscriptions on the arc are showcasing Louis le Grand, and victories of the king in Holland, Rhine, Waal, Meuse,Elbe,and Utrecht. The sculpture pyramids are comb with globes crown in urns of flower of lys. On the south side yo usee trees and branches of casks, arms, flags,and lions . On the north side, you see other military symbols such as palms. The base south show the alegory figures of Holland, and United Provences. Underneath the arc, two bas reliefs claiming on the south the passage of the Rhine at Tholus and on the north at Maastricht.
The Porte St Denis is found at the axis of Saint-Denis (rue Saint-Denis and rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis) ,and the blvd de Bonne Nouvelle towards the west, the blvd Saint Denis towards the east
The Porte Saint Martin was built in 1674 son the boulevard opened by Colbert on the site of old fortifications. This archdoor is 18 meters high and traverse by an arcade and deux arcades laterals of modest dimensions. It was the conception by king Louis XIV of the Grands Boulevards built between 1668-1705.
The arc was dedicated to king Louis XIV by the city of Paris in 1674 to celebrate his victories in Franche-Comté during the wars of Holland. On tope there is Hercules as king of the gauls crown by a victory and tramping the feet of the enemy. Opposite is the taking of Besançon. The Latin inscription says ! To Louis le Grand for taking twice Besançon and Franche-Comté, and victorious over the German,Spanish,and Dutch armies, the prefect, the merchants and writers of Paris.
The Porte Saint Martin is found at the axis of Saint-Martin (rue Saint-Martin and rue du Faubourg Saint-Martin), and the blvd Saint Denis towards the west, and blvd Saint-Martin towards the east.
wonderful areas of quaint Paris
- Historical Travel
- Family Travel
Fontaine de la Roquette, 11th.
Another of the Parisian fountains that brought water to the overcrowded courtyards and alleys of the Popincourt/Bastoche areas. Built by Molinos under King Louis-Philippe in 1846, people could draw water here for over 150 years . Drawing its water from the Canal de l'Ourcq at some 5 kms distance, city hall decided to stop the fountain just before renovation work was undertaken in 2009. It is now promised to be re-opened if no more vandalism and graffit attaches itself to the walls. Sadly, it may have to be closed by metal gates to preserve this "Historical Monument."
Situated at 70 rue de la Roquette, 75011 Paris
Bastille or Voltaire are the closest metros.
Cité Dumas, 11th.
This tiny cul-de-sac is not even on most maps. Hidden away just off the Cité Voltaire is this peaceful little cobbled street. If it wasn't for noise of kids going to and from the small private school at the end of the courtyard a couple of times a day, you could almost put a deckchair out to sun yourself.
Nearest metro is Rue des Boulets.
House of the Philosopher of the Stone?!
Nicolas Flamel (the Wizard from J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone“) might just be real! And here’s a portrait of him!
Furthermore, you can visit his house “La Maison du Haut-Pignon” (the oldest house in Paris) at 51 rue de Montmorency (Métro Étienne Marcel, about one block North East of Boulevard de Sébastopol and rue Michel le Comte.)
The Nicolas Flamel in the book was the owner of the Philosopher’s Stone which gave him extreme longevity.
Paraphrasing from the article at http://paranormal.about.com/library/weekly/aa111901a.htm:
The real Nicholas Flamel sold books in Paris. One night, Flamel had a dream where an angel presented him with a book. The angel said, “Look well at this book, Nicholas. At first you will understand nothing in it – neither you nor any other man. But one day you will see in it that which no other man will be able to see.”
Soon after his dream, a stranger approached him with a strange, copper-bound book like the one in his dream. The book contained peculiar diagrams and words, only some of which Flamel recognized as Greek. Flamel was able to discern that it was written by someone who called himself "Abraham the Jew – a prince, priest, Levite, astrologer and philosopher.”
But the book was far beyond Flamel’s understanding and he attempted to decipher it for over 21 years. Flamel packed a few pages of the book and embarked on a pilgrimage to Spain to seek help in reading it. However, the journey was unsuccessful so he began his journey home when he chanced upon a very old, learned Jew by the name of Maestro Canches from Léon.
At first, Canches was not eager to help ... until Flamel mentioned the author "Abraham the Jew". Canches was able to translate the few pages that Flamel brought with him. Though the old Jew had deciphered only those few pages, Flamel was able to use that knowledge to understand the entire book. Following the exact instructions in the book, Flamel claimed to be able to transform a half-pound of mercury into silver, and then into gold.
Records show that this humble bookseller inexplicably became wealthy. He built housing for the poor, established free hospitals and made generous donations to churches. (The plaques above his house today and at the end of the street are in recognition of his charitable foundation. The house is now a restaurant.)
Furthermore, Flamel lived to the ripe old age of 88 (which was extraordinary for the 1400's). Art imitating Life?!
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