Thursday, October 2, 2008


After yesterday’s post that may have given a slightly negative view of France, here’s my personal guide to Paris. To be honest I have only visited a few times, but have found myself captivated by the city, it feels like no other place I have ever been to, just what you want from a foreign city.
Where to start, well I would try the Metro, do this first and then the city is at your feet, its clean, safe and gets you around in really quickly. My first stop would be at the Metro station Pigalle and then I would walk from here to my first target the Sacre-Coeur, take your time on this walk and meander around the streets running up the hill, this is artist country and all of major artist from Paris have trod these streets before you.
The Sacre-Coeur, sitting on its hill over looking the city like a guardian angel, a beautiful white building with the best view of the city. My must do tip here is to head around the side and follow signs for the crypt, this strangely enough is the way to the roof and some of the best views of Paris you will get.
My next must do is far across the city on the other side of the river, the Musée d'Orsay, a reworked railway station filled to the brim with fantastic works of art, here you will come face to face with famous works of art you never knew you knew. To put it another way, lots of these painting have appeared as posters, adverts, cards and jigsaws and you will be surprise how many look familiar. As Caz mused while standing in front of Whistlers Mother, “I’ve seen this somewhere before” and after a few more umm’s and arr’s “I’ve got it’ it was in the film Mr Bean”. My biggest surprise in this place was how close you could get to the paintings, you could actually touch them (I did not try this, but my nose was just an centimetre away from some of them).
My last port of call would be the Catacombes, you enter from the place Denfert-Rochereau, and begin a journey that is not for the faint hearted. A 1km walk past the exposed bones of an estimated 7 million Parisians, arranged in artistic pattern lining the underground remains of roman quarries. Not something you will see on Wish you were here.
There is tons more you can do in Paris, but for me these are the things that made the biggest impressions.

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travelling, but not in love said...

I love all of these things... especially the view from the Sacre Coeur. Amazing. Great top three, Brett, all of them would be in my top ten.

If you fancy an alternative 3, my tips would be :

instead of the view from the Sacre Coeur, try the view from Georges - the brasserie on the top of the Pompidou centre.

instead of the queues at the Musee d'Orsay, try the smaller queues at the Orangerie - home of Monet's waterlilies.

and then instead of the Catacombes - head out to Pere Lachaise to see where the most famous Parisians are buried....

Steph said...

Of all the things I saw in Paris, the Musee d'Orsay meant the most and stuck in my head the longest. It's so much more manageable than the Louvre, and the building itself is so charming. And there were so many rooms; it was like wondering around in a delightful maze. It's one of my favorite memories, and if I ever get another chance at Paris, it will be number one on my list.

(Number two will be the Sainte Chapelle, another awe-inspiring experience)

Ahhh, we Americans have the Grand Canyon, etc, but nothing man-made that is so inspiring.

aims said...

The catacombes fascinate me. Something I would really like to see.

Guess if I'm ever making the journey over - I'll get in touch with you and TBNIL and you two can give me some guided tours.


(I'm sure TBNIL has some 'different' spots to see.)


You just can't do Paris in a couple of days. You need to live there, preferrably. Too bad my French is rusty as anything!

Scarlet xx

The Giraffe Head Tree said...

I would do it all except for the catacombs. Those I tried in Rome and was unable to even trod down the first aisle before scurrying back into the light. It's definitely NOT for the claustrophobic among us, and that would be me!

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