People, Places & Parks of Paris
One of the things I love about traveling is seeing things I have never seen before, meeting people I would never have met before and learning how different yet similar it all seems. I hope you enjoy this last post from Paris.
Coming to Paris, I really had no agenda when it came to where or when I would go to certain places. Many discoveries were by sheer accident. Others were on the tourist list of places to see. I met some fascinating people with wonderful stories and open minds. With most it was easy conversation touching on an array of subjects.
I can't possibly mention all of the people, places & parks that I enjoyed during my stay so I chose some less obvious and some more familiar to most.
I must say, I am extremely lucky to have been able to stay in Paris for a full month. While I am traveling I am staying in an Airbnb, or the like, whenever possible. This makes the four months I am in Europe almost as affordable as staying at home. Renting out my home allows me the opportunity to travel on a frugal budget. My average cost of lodging per night is $50 US. It took me 5 months of looking and planning to make this happen Know that it is possible. You just may not be able to stay in the fanciest of places or right in the center of the city. If you do your homework, choose wisely, you can do it too.
THE PEOPLE OF PARIS
On the way to the Arche de Triumph passing through the underground passage I ran across a group of veterans and other military personnel milling about. They were getting ready to go above ground for a ceremony at the center of the memorial.
Selling flowers on Mothers Day this lovely lady worked hard to make a few dollars. I don't believe that the French need all the licenses for selling things as they do in the US.
Carriage driver at Jardins des Champs-Elysees. I am by nature a curious person and whenever possible I tried to make good conversation whenever the opportunity presented itself. Most everyone was more than willing to open up about what their life is like in Paris.
These volunteers are frequently seen along the street of Paris chatting with the homeless and those that may need special help. They were just across the street from my apartment when I took this photo..
I stopped by a little Asian shop called Kishiume at 5, rue Saint Paul, 75004 Paris in the Le Marais district.
We exchanged pleasantries along with business cards and talked about her coming to visit me in Arizona when she comes to the US. As I got ready to leave she insisted on my choosing a beautiful handmade origami swan to take back to America.
Its a small shop on the edge of the 11th district, but I wanted to give it a shout out. (https://www.kishiume.com)
I couldn't resist this cute little shop called Galerie Martinez Fleurot,estampes anciennes et modernes at 97 rue de Seine. The shop is near Eglais Saint- Sulpice Church and on your way to the Palais du Luxembourg.
I had the pleasure of meeting the proprietor Laurent and we had a wonderful conversation about the history of the shop and I learned about some of the wonderful maps, photos and cards they carry in the store. I purchased a few small postcard size pictures that will be added to the wall of my soon to be 'new' guest room at our waterfront villa rental.
You can check out his website at: https://martinez-fleurot.com
This is a fun toy store with something for the young and the young at heart.
I purchased two cute wooden Santas for the mantel at Avanti la Music 73 quai de la Tournelle | On the Left Bank, across the river from Notre Dame Cathedral, 75005 www.avantilamusicaparis.com
My sister Patty was able to join me in Paris during her 'off' week of chemo. I met Saadia the week before Patty came to town and thought it would be nice to introduce them as they were both going through cancer treatment. They had an interesting discussion on the differences in the cost of medical care in the US verses France while sharing stories of the difficulties of battling cancer.
A Cinematic Walk with Pan
This was one of the highlights of my time in Paris. While my sister was visiting we decided to do an Airbnb experience. Pan is a independent film maker in Paris & really knows his stuff. Plus, he's a great guy to hang out with. We saw things we would have missed if it hadn't been for this experience.
"This is a walk to discover Paris through some of it's most iconic movie locations. It's a whole experience involving cinema, history, art, drinks and photos. More specifically you will find yourself in historic cafés, bars, bookshops, churches and other unique Parisian landmarks that you will not find in any tourist guide and that inspired famous film directors over the course of the century. We will learn the history of these places and the reason why they were chosen as shooting locations. And as we are following the footsteps of Woody Allen, Wes Anderson, Jean-Luc Godard and many others we are going to learn the history of cinéma -an artistic movement that was created in France- and emerge into a journey on the artistic history of Paris, since these locations were never chosen randomly but were a true source of inspiration, not only by the filmmakers, but also by artists & writers."
If you are at all interested be sure to look him up. You won't be disappointed.
A meeting by chance......
I have found no other place where I like walking better than Paris. With each step there is something interesting to see. With each turn there is a different energy. I often walk a slow pace when I feel a special need to be in the moment. It is often at these times that I find the most interesting people, the best places and the most fascinating conversations. This was one of those walks.
I walked slowly by a window that had instruments leaning up against it. Curious....I just had to take another look. I peered into the window to see what I could. Instruments, machines, stuff, and more instruments. I stood for what seemed a lengthy time, hoping to see a sign of movement on the inside indicating a possible chance to enter. Not a flitter, not a sound. I slowly walked on then noticed a large open gate coming up. I always wonder whats behind closed gates. This one was open and on it was a sign, with an arrow pointing into the courtyard. Of course I had to wander into the courtyard to have a look around. To my left was a door-barely ajar with a small sign that said 'ouvrir', the French word for open. I gave a gentle push on the door...not a budge. Hmmm. Peeking through the small opening in the door I stood for a moment or two then listened with my ear to the opening thinking for the slight chance of a sound. I was just about to turn and leave when the door opened and a lovely gentleman motioned for me to come in. Apologizing for the door he said that with the heavy rain recently the door had leaked water into the room & he was keeping it open slightly with a door stop to help dry things out.
We had a lengthy conversation about music, instruments (we both play flute), his love of making a tired & worn out instrument play again. We also spoke about the changes happening in the city and his frustration with the lack of affordable housing. We touched on the subject of Airbnb, of which he is not a fan. He believes it is the cause of the housing problem.
It was fascinating talking about our love of music, playing instruments and the reasons we let our talents slip away. It was nice to talk with someone who understands. It was a gift to meet Guy. He is a wonderful man doing what he loves.
I had found a magical little place that few would find worth the trouble...but I loved it!! And making my find even better was Guy. A kind and genuine man with a character all his own. I will stop in to see him on my next visit and maybe play a short duet, if I am brave enough.
If you are a music lover or need someone who can not only repair an instrument but that can make a part to an instrument in his shop, he would be more than pleased to help.
You can contact him at his shop 'ALV' Ateliers de Luther-Vents at 6, rue Charlot 75003 or visit his website - http://guycollinluthier.fr
New friends made while others are just in passing.
Just a guy riding his bike in Paris
I want to give a big thank you to Laura who works at Airbnb Berlin headquarters. She was in town while I was in Paris and invited me to meet her at the Paris headquarters. Laura is the leader of a group of co-hosts in several southwestern states in the US. I will be heading up the group in Tempe when I get home.
Office lobby & work space and company kitchen.
Outside the Eglise Saint-Sulpice Church you can find the Fontaine Saint-Sulpice. It is close to the Jardin du Luxembourg so if you are heading in that direction don't miss this. The fountain was designed by Louis Visconti and is considered a masterpiece of the French Renaissance
The fountain has four sides with different statues of eminent French religious figures on each. Four lions at the base are holding the coat of arms of Paris. Its a great place to hang out before heading into the Church.
The fountain is located opposite the Mairie du VIème arrondissement, the Town Hall of the 6th district.
Closest Metro is Saint-Sulpice on Line 4 or Mabillon on line 10.
The Church St. Sulpice
From the outside it is far from the most extravagant of Churches, but the inside is inspiring.
St Sulpice Church is undoubtedly stunning, but it is also a prestigious parish church.
This is indeed where Victor Hugo was married, the writers Marquis de Sade and Charles Baudelaire baptized and Madame de Montespan and two grand daughters of King Louis XIV buried!
It has a fascinating history which can be found at http://www.travelfranceonline.com/
I hope you enjoy the short slideshow (below) of the interior of Saint--Sulpice as much as I did. Included is the Dome of the Lady Chapel, a priest at work and a female beggar inside (head hung in shame for having to ask for money). Her head did not move the entire 10 minutes I stood watching to see if anyone dropped a coin in her container.
The Gnomon inside St. Sulpice
*A gnomon is the section of the sundial that casts the shadow.
The clock-maker-astronomer Henry Sully built this gnomon in 1727, at the request of the priest of St Sulpice.
You'll find a brass line inlaid into the marble floor and on the shaft of a 11m high marble obelisk topped with a cross. A small opening placed in the south transept window (directly across on the opposite side of the church) allows the sunlight to shine onto the brass line.
*The information about the church & the gnomon is taken from the www.travelfranceonline.com website.
The Grande Roue on Place de la Concorde
*Paris councillors have voted to axe the Grande Roue, the city’s version of the London Eye.
The ferris wheel, operated by the “fairground king” Marcel Campion, will be closed from July 2018.
Councillors voted almost unanimously against renewing Campion’s licence for the attraction, which has sat intermittently on the Place de la Concorde near the Louvre museum since 1993.
Permanent removal of the wheel would help protect the area’s “historic visual appearance”, they said.
The deputy mayor, Bruno Julliard, said the councillors indicated they were not against a ferris wheel being erected elsewhere.
The attraction could be set up in time for next year’s Christmas holidays, he said, adding: “Anyone could apply to run it, even Marcel Campion.”
The decision comes as a further blow to Campion, who has been embroiled in various legal troubles in recent years. In July, the council voted to axe the Christmas market he has run on the Champs Élysées since 2008.
*text taken from the Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/nov/22/paris-scraps-big-wheel-attraction-grande-roue-fairground-kin
How many different stained glass windows at Notre Dame
The thought of how much time and labor this must have taken to build amazes me.
The front entrance to Notre Dame
I'm not sure what is is about the river Seine but whatever it is I was under its spell. I was drawn to it whenever I was nearby. Perhaps it was the perfect sky. Perhaps it was simply that I was in Paris. No matter, for I would head to the water almost every day while in Paris.
*The Seine and its source-
The River Seine is fully associated with Paris, but it originates in a distant land!
It indeed springs 446m above sea level at Source-Seine on the Plateau of Langres in the department of Côtes d'Or.
Throughout its 777kms journey, it flows through the towns of Troyes, Paris and Rouen.
The River Seine inherited its name from Sequana, the Celtic deity that inhabited its sacred source.
The man-made grotto, built in 1865 above its source, houses a statue of the nymph Sequana.
Sequana is traditionally represented as a graceful young woman standing on a boat.
However, this statue is a replica of the original sculpted by François Jouffroy, who represented her lying on her side.
All that is left of the temple the Romans built next to the source are the foundations, which might soon been excavated.
The many offerings and ex-votos found nearby are today exhibited in the archaeological museum of Dijon.
*For more fascinating history of the Seine: https://www.travelfranceonline.com/river-seine-in-paris-history-and-facts/https://www.travelfranceonline.com/river-seine-in-paris-history-and-facts/
Sunset on the Seine is where Parisians hang out when the weather allows.
Every July and August, along the Bassin de la Villette in the northeast of Paris the roadways on the banks of the Seine are closed off while sand & palm trees are brought in to mimic a seaside beach. A floating swimming pool, ferry shuttles to both banks, and a variety of activities are held during these months.
Night time along the Seine is even more magical than during the day time. The glimmering lights of the Eiffel Tower and all the other historic sights near the river bring the city to life. The nightlife in France can go well into the early morning, especially on the weekends. Most restaurants get busy starting at 20:00 or 8:00 pm US time. I am a night person by nature so I had no problem adjusting to the change.
One of the great things about this area is that it is easy to walk along the waterway path from bridge to bridge, then recross the bridge and return via the other side on the waterway path.
I loved the angles captured in these photos
Being afraid of heights I found it challenging to really enjoy the views from the outside decks of the second level. Thanks to my sister who patiently helped me overcome enough shaking to make it to the rail. I was petrified in this photo and even though there was a floor just below this observation deck, I still could not look over the edge unless I was further back from the rail.
Jim Morrison at Pere Lachaise Cemetery
This cemetery has 70,000 burial plots and hosts some of the most fascinating and legendary remains of those who are eternally sleeping. I came to pay my respects to one of my favorite musicians, Jim Morrison. Along the way I saw many other respected burial sites. Those of Victor Noir, Edith Piaf, Moliere, Oscar Wilde, Frederic Chopin, Abelard & Heloise, Theodore Gericault, Marcel Proust & Honore De Balzac. Cemeteries to me are reminders of just how many people have been on this earth before me. I wonder who they were, what their lives were like, were they happy, did they live with passion?
I didn't have time to visit the graves of the famous people in the cemetery so no pictures of their gravestones. The ones below are some of the interesting ones I saw on my way to Morrison's grave.
I was totally surprised by Jim Morrison's gravesite. It was sandwiched in between these others and would have been very hard to find had it not been for a tour guide talking with his group. The cemetery has had to install a barrier fence so that people would be less likely to destroy what is left.
Parks of Paris
There are over 400 parks in Paris. Some very large, some very famous. Some very small and not famous at all. I'm not sure I could live in a place that didn't have at least one park. I was surprised to find how many of the parks are actually used by the people of Paris. I suppose since most have very small spaces in which they live, the parks give them a sense of openness & breathing room. People go to the parks to eat, to relax with a book, to meet friends for conversation, or to just be in the moment. I would love to make a point of visiting every park in the city of Paris on my next visit and take notes & do some sketching.
Jardin Anne - Frank
This is a garden missed by many that come to Paris. It is not as well known, nor is it easy to find. I happened upon it while wandering in the 3rd Arrondissement one day. I have always been taken by this girl named Anne, who wanted to be a writer and kept a diary (a gift for her 13th birthday) about her time in hiding from the Nazis in Amsterdam. Her family was betrayed to the Nazis (no one knows who gave them away). She along with the others that were hiding with them were sent to concentration camps. The only person in Annes family that survived the concentration camps was her father Otto. Anne was 15 when she died.
Jardin du Luxembourg
One of my favorite gardens in Paris, it's in the 6th arrondissement. The garden has over a hundred statues, monuments, and fountains throughout the 23 hectares and is owned by the French Senate which holds their meetings in the Palace you see in the picture below. On sunny days there are hundreds of people wandering the grounds or sitting in chairs placed strategically throughout the garden.
La Promenade Plantée
Last but not least on my list of cool parks in Paris, this park is hard to see from the ground. If you don't know about it, you likely will not find it easily. It is well worth the effort to find it as it sits above the street and gives great views of buildings you otherwise would not get a chance to see or notice.
See if you can tell where it is in the picture below.
This is one of the entrances to the park. There are several entries at different points along the nearly 3 mile park on the street level. The beginning though is near Place de la Bastille and close to the Opera House on Rue de Lyon.
Could you tell from these stairs that there would be a park at the top?
Here is where you can find out more information: http://www.coolstuffinparis.com/bat_watching_promenade_plantee.php
One of the cool buildings you would not likely notice if you were walking along the street level.
A few other interesting buildings along the pathway
Bicycles, skateboards or roller skates are not allowed in this park. Many of the local residents use this to run as it has far fewer people than the street below.
Fun artwork here and there along the pathway
I loved the roses that were planted along the way.
This was my favorite part. The water feature had such a calming affect. The single pathway split in two at this point so you could walk on either side of the water pool.
My attempt at a selfie....
Not really parks but I couldn't leave these photos of canals out of this post. Each one has its own character and appeal.
Square Frederick-Lemaitre canal
Square Frederick-Lemaitre canal from a different location. The canal goes further past the bridge in the back of the picture. Past the bridge you are able to take a boat ride along the canal.
I hope you have enjoyed my Paris blog. I am now off to the Netherlands for a few days.