Paris, is always a good idea

Parisisalwaysagoodidea UntoldMorsels

Paris is always a good idea. Especially if it is your birthday and your parents are available for weekend long babysitting. This may have been a once in a decade phenomenon so of course we made the most of it. Here are some highlights that I hope you like and can use in planning your trip to the city of light.

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Paris is always a good idea - how to wander Paris

 

One of my favourite cities, Paris has taken on a new guise each time I have visited. Once with friends, once as a student with an ex boyfriend, several times on business trips, and this time with my husband. I admit this visit was my favourite so far. I carefully planned a few major activities and left the rest to wandering.

Eiffel Tower in fog

Even when the Eiffel Tower disappears into fog it is still iconic

The art of flâner

We walked and wandered a lot during our three day visit. This is my type of travelling – exploring a city at leisure without the pressure of lists being ticked off. The French have a wonderful word for the art of wandering. The verb flâner means to stroll, saunter, wander or roam. Originating in nineteenth century Paris, it is a verb that more precisely refers to strolling around in an urban environment. I think it’s a perfect way to describe our ramblings.

Old map of Paris

Old map of Paris – perfect for the art of flâner(ing)

A wonderfully Parisian long weekend

During our 3 day visit we sauntered the streets of Paris simply enjoying the rhythm of life and unique personality of this most beautiful of cities.

On our first day we walked up the Champs-Élysées and enjoyed the grandeur of the boulevard. We barely saw the Eiffel Tower except through the autumn fog on our walk from lunch on the Champs-Élysées to the Musee D’Orsay.  We later crossed the Seine and walked along the Quai D’Orsay watching the bateaux mouches glide past with the river with the Grand Palais in the background. After we had spent an hour or so at the museum we crossed back over the Seine via the Pont Royal and walked across the Tuileries Gardens towards our hotel in the Madeleine district. This circuit is through some of Paris’ grandest districts and sights but there was so much more to explore.

Bateau Mouches on the Seine

Bateau Mouches on the Seine

The following day we headed off towards the Sacre Coeur via the streets of the 8th and 9th arrondissements and of course Montmartre. Parisians and tourists alike were enjoying a beautiful autumn day and we enjoyed the contrast from the previous day’s grandeur. Street markets and cafes, bookshops and galleries are found among the winding streets along with famous discount store Tati and the numerous fabric stores.

Sacre Coeur & Montmartre

Sacre Coeur & Montmartre

We headed south for lunch and then took a turn down the Rue du Faubourg Montmartre where we ducked into the glorious arcades of Passage Jouffroy and Passage des Panoramas to do a spot of unscheduled shopping. Last stop was meandering the Marais and Place de Vosges.

Autumn bones near the Place de Vosges

Autumn vines near the Place de Vosges

On our last day we headed to the left bank with a plan to wander around the Luxembourg Gardens and down towards Notre Dame. We chanced upon the delightful Marché Raspail, a local Sunday produce market and picked up a coffee to enjoy as we wandered the gardens. Our last stops were Ile de la Cite and Notre Dame.

7

Highlights

We wanted to discover some parts of Paris and local stories that were off the beaten track. I found the perfect thing – a boutique tour company that conducts private secret tours of the city in the comfort of the cutest cars – the Citroën 2CV. For an hour and a half we were taken on a guided tour of some of Paris less well known sites in our open top 2CV. Our guide Olivier was so knowledgeable – he shared the details of Paris oldest and smallest houses as well as his favourite patisserie in the Marais. It was such a fun way to explore the city and despite the brisk air and open roof we were snug as bugs with blankets provided. We booked the tour through 4 roues sous 1 parapluie – recommended.

Paris 2CV style

Paris 2CV style

Top of my to do list was a visit to the iconic Musee D’Orsay that has been closed due to strike or some other disaster when I’ve been in Paris previously. I’ve been very disappointed! Not this time though. There is a reason this museum is on the top of most must do lists in Paris. Housed in an old railway station. The building’s grand proportions match the beauty of the treasures it holds. Of course do not miss the Impressionist galleries for a brilliant lesson on that era of art history. But while you are on the top floor of the museum make sure you enjoy the view of the city through the prism of the clock faces that distinguish the building as a former railway station.

The stunning interior of the Musee D'Orsay

The stunning interior of the Musee D’Orsay

The Luxembourg Gardens and Palace are a beautifully serene oasis in central Paris. We passed through early on a Sunday morning.  Autumn leaves were scattered all over the green lawns. Statues of queens past look down on the passing joggers. I love the empty garden chairs scattered randomly in Parisian gardens. I like to imagine the conversations between friends and lovers as they relax in the beautiful surroundings. Jardin du Luxembourg was designed for Queen of France Marie de Medici in the seventeenth century and are an example of the Italian baroque style. I highly recommend you visit this beautiful area of Paris.

Jardin du Luxembourg

Jardin du Luxembourg

This style of travelling is the type I prefer. I won’t call it aimless wandering as we had some very strict appointments for lunch and some other activities. Our flânering took us all over the city. We discovered new treasures and revisited old

In my next post I’ll fill you in on the details of where we ate, slept and shopped. But for now why don’t you simply relax and dream about wandering the streets of Paris.  I’m definitely going to head back there soon.

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31 Comments

  1. Camille
    2nd March 2016 / 8:49 PM

    Beautiful! I hope to take my first trip to Paris this year. Definitely adding these lovely landmarks to my must-see list 🙂

    • 2nd March 2016 / 8:54 PM

      Thanks Camille. It is definitely a magical city

  2. 2nd March 2016 / 9:09 PM

    Haha, couldn’t agree more with the title. Paris is the city I’ve visited the most times. Somehow I always ended up visiting it again and again, and I’m planning a London-Paris bike trip this spring. 🙂

    • 2nd March 2016 / 9:52 PM

      How exciting Eniko! So many wonderful things to see along the way too. Have fun!

  3. 2nd March 2016 / 10:56 PM

    Beautiful shots! Would love to visit Paris

    • 3rd March 2016 / 8:34 AM

      You will love it Lucy!

  4. 2nd March 2016 / 11:19 PM

    Such beautiful photos! I love how gorgeous Paris is – everything is postcard perfect and ready to be snapped in a photograph. Thanks for sharing :).

    • 3rd March 2016 / 8:35 AM

      Most welcome Chantell. And thank you. I really feel at home in Paris.

  5. 3rd March 2016 / 4:27 AM

    I’m visiting Paris for the 3rd time in the next two months and this is what I need.
    How lucky are you that your parents were able to baby sit 😱
    The pictures look lovely

    • 3rd March 2016 / 8:37 AM

      Lucky you! I am so jealous 😄

  6. 3rd March 2016 / 4:31 AM

    Beautiful photos!! It looks like you had an incredible time in the city of love – thanks so much for sharing 🙂

    • 3rd March 2016 / 8:38 AM

      Thank you Laura. It was such a lovely weekend

  7. 3rd March 2016 / 4:35 AM

    There’s definitely always time for Paris. I’ve been fortunate to visit many times now but it’s exploring the off the beaten path places that I love the most. Glad to hear you loved it too.

    • 3rd March 2016 / 8:39 AM

      Yes there’s always something new and maybe old and hidden around the corner Kerri. What will we discover next?

  8. 3rd March 2016 / 4:50 AM

    Lovely pictures! I’m definitely looking forward to visiting the vines near the Place de Vosges (so colourful).

    • 3rd March 2016 / 8:40 AM

      Thank you Anshula! Place de Vosges is tres chic!

  9. 3rd March 2016 / 8:50 PM

    Beautiful photos! I absolutely love Paris – I went twice last year, I can’t get enough!

    • 3rd March 2016 / 9:00 PM

      I know! Divine!

  10. 3rd March 2016 / 9:37 PM

    I’m totally with you- I love just wandering to explore new places. Were you able to see all those places only on foot?! I knew Paris had a lot to offer, but had never heard of a few of the places you mentioned. Thanks for sharing!

    • 30th April 2016 / 10:21 AM

      Hi Katie – yes we did walk for most of it. Just a few little metro trips and of course the car tour but I think we did about 70,000 steps in 3 days. Which of course justified all the eating 🙂 Thanks for stopping by

  11. 4th March 2016 / 11:39 PM

    I love that word, flâner. I’m definitely that type of traveler. While we do make set plans, I try not to have more than one of those per day. I’d rather just flâner around!

    • 5th March 2016 / 8:48 AM

      Time is such a luxury isn’t it. Said as a mum of twin toddlers!

  12. Essie
    6th March 2016 / 10:34 PM

    Ok, I’ve always had Paris on my list of places to go but these photo’s just put it that much further. The vines growing on the buildings and yep, I’m going to have to do a cartwheel on the grass at the Jardin du Luxembourg. Found you from the Girl Vs Globe Link Up for March!

    Essie @ The Wandering Thistle

    • 7th March 2016 / 2:39 PM

      Thanks so much Essie – that is very kind. Paris will get under your skin and I am sure you will return many times!

  13. 18th March 2016 / 3:15 PM

    Paris is my favorite! Great photos, a 3 day weekend is the perfect amount of time to enjoy the city.

    • 18th March 2016 / 5:28 PM

      Hmm I think I could stay a few more days😉

  14. 20th March 2016 / 9:20 AM

    I love Paris! I never thought of going during the fall, but the color on that ivy is stunning! I’m glad you finally got in to the D’Orsay; it’s always been one of my favorite museums anywhere!
    jim@reflectionsenroute recently posted…Prague at Night – The Spark is BackMy Profile

    • 20th March 2016 / 10:06 AM

      Thanks Jim, I never tire of the city of light

  15. 22nd March 2016 / 1:24 AM

    I’m so glad you shared this on #TheWeeklyPostcard, Katy, because you hit my hot button — Paris! I completely agree with the title of your article. I’ve even enjoyed the city in January. It’s THAT special! I’m glad you finally got to visit the Musée d’Orsay. Isn’t it incredible? I could wax just as poetic about the exhibits there as I could at the more famous Louvre. Did you make it to the Rodin Museum too? If not, I recommend it for your next trip.
    Linda @AsWeSawIt recently posted…Cartagena Icons That Are Not from CartagenaMy Profile

    • 22nd March 2016 / 4:53 PM

      Ah Rodin! Thanks for the tip. I haven’t been there but fell in love with his work at a gallery in San Francisco

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