Ah.. Paris. So much to eat, drink and see… but, maybe you’ve seen it all already? Or maybe you’re simply in search of hidden gems? Perhaps you’ve waited in long lines at the Louvre to see the Mona Lisa, but have you taken the time to explore the surrounding courtyards? Have you enjoyed the street artists who find daily inspiration at this famous museum’s footstep?
For us, Paris has many personalities; and yes, Audrey, it’s always a good idea. Our first few trips were filled with a select few spots with renowned (though well-worth-it) lines. We skip the fuss at times and take in the free (and faster) experience; like getting our first views of the Eiffel tower from the perch of the Jardins du Trocadero, and experiencing the incredibly powerful Notre Dame Cathedral from the pews rather than the church bell towers.
As we’ve continued to return to the “City of Love” (or, more accurately, “The City of Bread” in our minds – seriously, how are the French able to make bread so much better than the rest of the world?), our sights have wandered from the crowds in search of off-the-beaten-path Parisian gems.
“Let’s just ‘live’ in Paris..” we proclaimed as we returned to one of our favorite cities… and that’s just what we did. We bought baguettes, cheese, and cheap (but good, always good) bottles of wine. We sat and watched the sun set over the Seine.
We found my favorite view in Paris – and, even better one with free entry and cafe seating. The view from the top of the Eiffel tower is the best, you say? I tend to disagree. Aside from the seas of swarming tourists and the fees, the main detriment is that the views are missing something key, well.. the Eiffel tower. The view from the 6th floor rooftop of Galleries Lafayette Mall however has all the accouterments. Bring your own book, laptop, lunch… whatever! You can even order drinks at the restaurant, including a view of the Eiffel Tower – Parisian perfection.
On one, very special day, we took a walk that ended up being chock full of unique sites. Our stroll started in the Marais, which has a sprawling market on Sundays while much of the city is closed. First stop, an incredible brunch at Le Loir dans la Théiére (the Doormouse in the Teapot). An Alice and Wonderland-themed cafe, known for their tasty brunch, with the best and the BIGGEST lemon meringue you could imagine!
After brunch, we strolled through the Marais market, collecting bread, cheese, pate and wine with plans for a lunchtime picnic.
Next stop on our walkabout was a stroll through the gorgeous Père Lachaise Cemetery on Boulevard de Ménilmontant; the largest and most famous cemetery in Paris, and the home to Jim Morrison’s tomb, covered in offerings in the form of miniature liquor bottles.
We continued climbing, eventually settling in Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, a uniquely beautiful and popular park with panoramic views of the city from high, grassy hills. Young Parisian picnickers dot the landscape, and we also found a perfect hillside spot to enjoy our feast. Believe it or not, the park has a waterfall – the only one in Paris.
Thomas Jefferson said it best: A walk about Paris will provide lessons in history, beauty, and in the point of life. There is much to see in Paris, with sites that can’t be missed, but I encourage my kindred-spirited friends to spend a day living like a Parisian. For this is a beautiful life.