The first thing that really strikes one when coming from the Cour Carrée du Louvre is the similitude and the balance between the church itself and the 1st arrondissement town hall with the belfry in the middle. This was perhaps one of the better ideas of the Baron Haussmann. When the unsavoury and derelict buildings around the church were demolished it created a disequilibrium that upset many people, and the Baron was told to demolish the church. As a Protestant the Baron refused to demolish the symbol of the anti-Protestant movement (The signal for the night of St. Barthelemy when Catholics went on the rampage against the Protestants in August 1572 and massacred around 7/10 000). He finally decided to build the new town hall next to the church in a similar vein, with the new belfry acting as a fulcrum for the two buildings. The new belfry is adjoined at the same time, between 1858 and 1863. Also added to the belfry is a magnificent barometre that didn't seem to be working that well when I was there, showing "storm" and there was a lovely sun up in the sky.. This is also the only church in Paris along with the Sainte-Chapelle to have a Gothic porch. On one side of the porch can be seen a strange keystone in the centre. The sculpture shows "the last supper".
Nearest metro is Louvre-Rivoli or Pont-Neuf.
It was with a certain pleasure that I was ablr to stand back and contemplate the Gothic facade of the newly renovated St Paul/St Louis church on rue St Antoine, a short distance from Place des Vosges. Under scaffolding and tarps for just over 14 months, it was impossible to get into the church and have a look round. The main thing I wanted to see were the two baptismal fonts that Victor Hugo, a close neighbour and patron of the church offered to the church upon the occasion of his daughter Leopoldine's wedding here in 1843, that are still here on the pillars just inside the main door. On orders of Louis XIII the church was built by the Jesuits between 1627 and 1641, with the first stone being laid by the Cardinal de Richelieu. The building next door is the Lycée Charlemagne also built by the Jesuits at the same period.
Nearest metri St Paul.
If you stand in front of I.M Pei's glass pyramid at the Louvre and gaze directly through the arch in front of you, you are looking at a carefully planned thoroughfare known as the L'Axe Historique. Stretching roughly five miles to the west from where you are standing, this grand route was developed over three centuries and connects a series of arches and monuments that commemorate France's military past and more peaceful present. It is unlikely that most visitors will make the trek from end-to-end but should you have on your most comfortable walking shoes, here is some of what you'll see along the way:
• Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel: this is the first of 3 arches along the axis and stands on the former site of the Tuileries Palace (burned in 1871). Commissioned by Napoleon and completed in 1808, it's a tribute to his army's 1805 military victories.
• Jardin des Tuileries: originally the gardens for the long-gone Tuileries Palace, this was also one of Paris' first public parks and home to two museums: Galerie Nationale du Jeu de Paume and the Musée de l'Orangerie. There are also kiosks and cafes for rehydrating and refueling.
• Place de la Concorde: the largest square in Paris, this was the site of the execution of Louis XVI, Marie-Antoinette and hundreds of others during the French Revolution. The 3000 year-old obelisk in the center was a gift from Egypt and once graced the entrance to the Amon temple in Luxor.
• Avenue des Champs Elysees: you'll emerge from Concorde square onto this storied boulevard with the Grand and Petite Palais on your left. Both were built as galleries for the 1900 Universal Exhibition and continue to operate as museums and/or venues for special exhibits. Do some window shopping along your way to the next arch.
• Arc de Triomphe de l'Etoile: another of Napoleon's contributions, this is the 2nd largest triumphal arch in the world (the first is in North Korea) and commemorates those fallen in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. I'll cover more of this one in a later review.
• La Grande Arche de la Défense: past the Arc de Triomphe, the route follows Ave. de la Grande Armée and then Ave. Charles De Gaulle across the Seine to the business district of La Défense. Here the axis terminates at the newest of the three aches. This sleek, contemporary span was completed in 1989 for the bicentennial of the French Revolution and honors humanitarian rather than military efforts.
We chose to walk the couple of miles from the Louvre to the Arc de Triomphe, and view the last stretch to La Grande Arche from the top. This is a fun ramble on a nice day and easily followed on any Paris map.
Ah, Paris! Be it your first time or tenth, to feel part of this vibrant city walk the streets. One street not to miss will put you right in with the locals. This is the street of food, Rue des Martyrs. Spend a half day walking from the start of the street and go up the slight hill to Montmartre and the Church. When you arrive at the top of the hill. relax on the steps in front of Sacré-Cœur and enjoy the view of Paris below. Don't miss the artists square next door, you may find a painting to take home to remind you how for one day, you were a part of Paris. Restaurants and shops line the square and you can take a taxi back to your hotel unless you want to work up an appetite and do as the Parisians do, walk. What to do for me is walk. Spend one half day walking the streets and getting a feel of Parisian life. The Rue des Martyrs is a very good street to explore as it takes you up to Montmartre via this street of food. Great window displays that will tempt your palate and the locals flood the area so you can really be a part of Paris. A visit to Montmartre is a highlight for me when in Paris. I trust you will enjoy it as well. :-) For the street of foodies, See: http://madaboutparis.com/tours/rue-des-martyrs.html
We are only at stop 3 on the Hop on/off Bus tour. I am now walking back along the Promenade beside Quai Francois Mitterand to the Louvre stop.
Once again, the architecture, the statues and the decorations on the outside of the Louvre grab my attention. Where-ever I look on this building, I can see beauty! Yet again, I have to take more photo's!
Turning towards the River Seine, gives me the opportunity to take photo's of buildings on the other side without people in them, just a huge tour Boat travelling along in the foreground. This must be a really nice way to view Paris and to see the beautiful bridges close up.
Further on, I come across Book & Art stalls, only a few were open though. Rather clever how they fold out, I wouldn't have known what they were if they all had been closed.
A pleasant walk, so I decide not to catch the Bus at stop 3, instead kept on walking.
After viewing the lovely Bridge, it was time to walk along the Promenade which followed the River Seine to the Eiffel Tower.
It's a very pleasant walk, where a variety of Chestnut trees, plane trees and Paulownia line the edge of the garden beside the traffic, then the beautiful Rose gardens amongst the lawn. In May, these were in full flower and were beautiful. Plenty of garden seats were really enticing me to go and sit and enjoy the view. Houseboats and some Boat Restaurant's lined some of the river.
There is a little history too, as this walk was created on the old railway track Invalides, and at No. 11 Quai Branly, in the 19th century, Napoleon III's stables were located here.
i do recommend you to visit luxembourg gardens and sainte-chapelle, these were real discovery for me, even if they are not so famous as other places for sightseeing... I was in paris in september, but it was very quiet even with all the tourists... instead Latin quartiere was always full of live... I made a lot of walking, almost never took metro or taxi, and in this way discovered lots of monuments, buildings, palaces on the way to main destinations of sightseeing:)
Another unexpected thing, the Eiffel tower in the evening, i knew that after dark it is lightened, but i didn't know that each hour it scintillates for several minutes, causing you the effect of goosebumps))
On my first day in Paris I happened upon this street while wandering. It looked so inviting so I just had to turn and walk down it. It's filled with restaurants, shops, and hotels. I'll bet that it's always hopping.
I had croque from a street-style vendor who also had tables where I was able to sit and soak up the atmosphere. That is after burning the *crap* out of the top of my mouth on the sandwich....ouch!
We decided to try a walking tour around Notre Dame and were so delighted by our guide that we then joined the same company for a Paris Landmarks Tour.
We really appreciated the fact that the guides were locals who clearly loved their city and were eager to share stories, anecdotes and tips with us. In the end we felt that we had learned a lot about Paris, but in a fun, relaxed way.
We could not believe such great quality, entertaining tours were for free, so we were happy to tip our guides generously.
Just walking the streets of Paris and observing the small things.
Paris has many many quirky things to find and see. Yes, you really need a guide to pick many of these out, but there are many walking tours out there.
We were lucky, the VT meeting I was at had some of it's members that were very conversant with Paris and led the walks.
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