PARIS IS MUCH MORE THAN THE EIFFEL TOWER
For anyone visiting Paris, one of the most emblematic milestones is to go up the Eiffel Tower and see Paris from above, because it has one of the best 360 ° panoramic views of the city. At the begining in 1889, the tower was not a very popular monument but it has gradually found its place in the city, to such an extentthat nowdays it has become the most photographed monument in Paris and the most visited. The tower has three floors. The first viewpoint at 57 meters, the second and most suitable to contemplate the city is at 115 meters and the last one, too high up and not appropriate for every heart, is at 276 meters. This is where Gustavo Eiffel had his office, which we can still see nowadays.We consider that in one way or another, you already know the tower so we are going to visit a different terrace that for sure you will adore.
These department stores were opened to the public in 1865, during the transformation and modernization period of Paris at the time of Napoleon III. At the beginning there were only three floors, but as time went by, the building expanded and raised to the 43,500 m² that it has today.
Even though the most famous department stores in Paris are Galeries Lafayette, which are just a few meters down the street (and also have a panoramic terrace on the top floor), the Printemps were inaugurated first.
The building has been declared a historical monument of Paris.Le deli-cieux, is the word game that gives the name to the terrace located on the ninth floor of this building at 64 Boulevard Haussman.
Open from Monday to Saturday until 8:00 p.m., not only offers a bar or restaurant service but also one of the most fascinating views of Paris. La Madeleine, the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe... A whole circle around itself to contemplate the city. Who wouldn´t like to have Paris at one´s feet !!.
SWEETS OF KINGS
In Paris you will be able to find any typical dish of the French gastronomy. But if we want to try something very Parisian, we will have to go directly to a pastry shop.
It is the oldest pastry shop in the city. It was inaugurated in 1730 in the lively Montorgueil street at number 51. Nicolas Stohrer was King Stanislaw of Poland´s official pastry chef. He arrived at Versailles with the wedding entourage that accompanied Princess Maria Leszczynska, who would become Louis XV´s wife. Nicolás became very interested in the techniques and products that French pastry chefs used, and so decided to stay in France to improve his pastry knowledge. He was so successful that soon became the official pastry chef for King Louis XV. After some time, he opened his own patisserie at the same place that still stands nowdays. The pastry shop was redecorated later on by Paul Baudry, the same artist who painted the interior of Opera Garnier. That is one of the reasons why this is a delicious visit, but trying some of the sweets of this pastry is the aim of our tour. Some of these sweets are still made using the same old recipe that Mr. Stohrer used.
- One of the best-selling cakes in France is the Eclair,a breadstick-shaped cake made with choux pastry and cream of different flavors. Parisians typically buy them on Sundays to take them home as a dessert.
-Another well-known cake is the Paris-Brest. It is named after a bicycle race that was held first time between these two cities in 1891. The cake has the shape of a bicycle wheel, and both race and cake have made each other famous. The sweet itself is a crown of choux pastry, filled with cream with praline and sprinkled with almonds. If you like sweets you surely will enjoy this visit very much.
But even if sweets are not among your gastronomic preferences, it is still worth for the lively and curious street that you will find.
The main fashion street in Paris is the Avenue de la Montaigne, and also the streets around it.
Paris is the place where not only great French fashion designers have settled, but also the great designers worldwide.
For that reason we have to mention the 8th district of Paris, although it has no popular prices the walk is worth it. Not only because of the famous shops, but also because this district is the residence of the President of the French Republic, several ministries, embassies, luxury hotels and Michelin star restaurants. In addition to some important monuments and the avenue that never sleeps, Champs Elysees. To have an idea, the corner between George V and Champs Elysees streets is occupied by a huge building that belongs to a company founded in 1854 by the luggage designer of Empress Eugenia de Montijo, Napoleon III’s wife. Of course we are talking about Louis Vuitton.
Nevertheless Paris has many shopping streets, and we are going to visit a more affordable one: Les Halles.
-Les Hallesis the neighborhood home to a large shopping center calledForum Les Halles. Until 1968 it was just a wholesale market that had been moved to the outskirts of the city. In 1975 the project of a large shopping center proposed by the Spanish architect Ricardo Boffil became a reality. In 2005 the neighborhood was renovated and as a consequenceForum Les Hallesbecame not only the busiest shopping center, but also the largest metro station in Paris Chatelet-Les Halles. There you will also find a large swimming pool, a fantastic four-hectare garden and a very nice neighborhood to wander, with lots of small shops located just outside the commercial building.
FROM PARIS WITH LOVE
Paris has a lot of places to take wonderful pictures from. You will find some of them just by walking on your own, but we will show you the hidden ones.
-Mur de Je t´aime
The wall is located in Montmartre hill specifically in Abbesses Square. It has an area of 40 m² and 612 glazed lava tiles on which “I love you” is written 311 times in 250 languages.
The red lines on the tile symbolize pieces of broken hearts, forming a complete heart when put all together.
It is a monument dedicated to love and you will fall in love with a picture in that place. If you get there by metro, there is yet another surprise because in Abbesses station there is one of the few marquees designed by Héctor Guimard, architect of the Art Nouveau trend.
-Pont de la Tournelle
This bridge has a large central arch and two minor ones on the sides. It is adorned by a column with Saint Genevieve, patron saint of Paris. The sculpture was made by Paul Lan-dowsky, the same sculptor of Christ the Redeemer, on Mount Corcovado in Rio de Janeiro. On one side of the bridge we have one of the most prestigious and expensive restaurants in Paris, the Tour d`Argent. It claims to be the first restaurant in Paris and to have had Henry IV as a client. However, there is no have historical documents to verify this affirmation.
But the most amazing thing will be with no doubt the wonderful photo you will take of the Seine river and the cathedral of Notre Dame.
Installed in the inner courtyard of the Royal Palace, they are the controversial work of the artist Daniel Buren. They are candy-striped black-and-white columns of different heights poking up from the floor.
A photo there can be very funny. This courtyard is just a few meters from the entrance to the Louvre in Rivoli street.
FROM PAGODAS TO GALLERIES
-The Pagoda, an unusual Chinese architecture in Paris.
At 48 Courcelles street, Courcelles metro station, or at a 15-minute walk from the Arc de Triomphe is The Pagoda. Ching Tsa Loo, who owned an Asian antiquities business, needed a place to present his collections. In 1926 he then hired the architect François Bloch to erect this curious building where still nowdays oriental objects are available for purchase, not only ancient but also contemporary ones.
Built in 1823, it is one of the many galleries found in Paris, and probably the most emblematic one.It is located behind the Richelieu library and very close to the Royal Palace. In the 19th century many galleries like this one were built near the great boulevards, thinking about those passers-by who walked around this area, looking for places to shop easily.
Clean and warm places, with a wide variety of shops and cafes, where customers would feel comfortable to walk around and spend their money. The floor is beautifully covered by mosaics and the ceiling is glazed to let the light beam inside its 176 meters of length. Jean Paul Gaultier, opened his first boutique here. One of the most captivating bookstores in the city is the Jousseaume Bookstore,a meeting place for Parisian intellectuals.
Ile Saint Louis
Less visited than the the Cité island, this is one of the most pleasant places to wander. Immovable for almost four centuries, it is the union of two islands bridged together: the island of the Cows and the island of Notre Dame, both linked in the XVII century. The nobility from the Marais needed more space, so they connected both islands which, in turn, were already linked to the old aristocratic quarter by the Marie bridge.Sumptuous palaces were built to serve the financiers and magistrates of that time. The neighborhood has a very regular layout and is oriented towards the main street Saint Louis in L´Île.
Two palaces stand out from the rest. One is the Lambert Hotel in the main street, where Voltaire lived for some time. The other is the Lauzun Palace at 17 Quai d ´Anjou, which in 1845 hosted the club of hashish and opium smokers meetings. The poet Baudelaire was one of the attendees. You can´t leave the island without trying Berthier´s ice cream, ranked as the best ice cream parlor in Paris, at 31 Saint Louis on L´Île.
-Park de la Villette
A good place to take your children, as there are interactive museums where children can learn through seeing and touching. Its design was commissioned to the Swiss architect Bernard Tschumi. It has 50 hectares that houses different spaces for leisure and learning.
The City of Sciences and Industry, specialized in the diffusion of scientific and technical culture. The City of Children, divided into five thematic areas designed to stimulate cognitive development. La Geoda, a large 1,000 m² movie theater.
The City of Music that includes concert halls, an Amphitheater, the Music Museum, the National Conservatory and the last to join, Paris Philharmonic. The Cabaret Sauvage, a large party room. The Great Halle, old market.The Paris Villette Theater... etc.
You will also find thematic gardens that will delight young and old ones. Bamboo gardens, gardens of horrors, children garden...
Have a nice walk!
The secrets of the tower
It is difficult to imagine that there is a bunker created in 1909 under the Champ de Mars(Field of Mars), where the Eiffel Tower is located. Its existence was a secret for the population for 70 years. It was used for militarily purposes during the two great wars. Worried about the subsistence of his creation, Gustavo Eiffel decides to collaborate with the army by installing a wireless radio communication antenna on the tower. At first they worked from the top of the tower but, given the complaints of the population for the military presence, the army decided to move all the equipment to the bunker. It was during the First World War when, thanks to the messages captured from the bunker, they managed to capture the spy Mata Hari.
The bunker is 30 meters deep and is currently used as offices, relaxation rooms for the tower staff and kitchen for the Jules Verne restaurant, since gas stoves are not allowed in the tower.
The bunker can be visited.
TIME TO WANDER
We have already done many walks in Paris but there is a place we have not been yet, and it is really interesting. We suggest a walk in the center, from Rivoli street to Bac street, where the Church of the Miraculous Medal is located.It will take us half an hour walk and our way will unveil different perspectives and Parisian neighborhoods of captivating beauty.
Cross the medieval courtyard of the Louvre museum, where is the great glass pyramid built in 1989 by architect Ming Pei. On the other side of the courtyard, is the Arch of the Carousel and in the background the perspective of the Champs Elysees and the Arc de Triomphe.
You will arrive at the carousel bridge where some more incredible pictures can be taken: of the Fine Arts catwalk and the Louvre façade over water, beautiful bridges, the Seine river and the Orsay Museum façade.
We will enter the narrow and tiny Saint Péres street, where art lovers can browse and shop, as the street is full of art galleries. After Saint Peres we will get to Carrer de Sevres, where we will stop to visit the first department store in the world, Le Bon Marché. Inaugurated in 1852, customers could for the first time find everything at the same place. Also, for the first time they could touch the products and try them. Items have fixed prices and there is no haggling. Sales were invented and once a year products from other seasons or discontinued are sold at lower prices. They started giving presents to their customers and became an internacional true revolution for traditional commerce.
The metallic structure is a work by Gustavo Eiffel. From there, after this pleasant visit, you will reach Bac street to see the Church of the Miraculous Medal. There one can find the miraculous medals of Saint Catherine Labourne.
A VERY PARISIAN CORNER
-Place des Vosges
It is the oldest royal square in Paris, located in the old quarter of the Parisian nobility, now converted into the most vaguardist district of the city, The Marais. In 1612 this square was inaugurated for the marriage of Louis XIII and Anne of Austria. This is a perfect 140 m × 140 m square built of brick and stone. It has 36 pavilions linked by arcaded corridors that nowdays house shops and very nice small cafes to make our little stop. Among its most famous residents were Cardinal Richelieu and the writer Victor Hugo. His house, still preserved, is a very quiet and free museum.
It is a small, refined and elegant square, with light traffic. The architecture keeps a careful harmony, in the center trees with mauve flowers and street lamps that conform a romantic night atmosphere. Another reason to go there is that at number 6 is located the Dela-croix museum, a workshop, where the painter spent his last year. It is a place to get lost out of the hustle and bustle of Paris and find a different Paris. For the American novelist Henry Miller, this was the place he could not miss when in Paris. It is very easy to get there because the square is just behind Saint Germain des Prés church, located in the well-known Saint Germain Boulervard. There are no cafes in this square, so if after a walk you need to sit down and rest, in the same boulevard you will find Café de Flore and Les Deux Magots, both frequented by intellectuals, writers and artists from last century.
Nowadays it is not difficult to find celebrities there so maybe your coffee will be accompanied by fame.
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