PARIS ON A BUDGET
(Bonjour. I am Lindy I have lived in the beautiful city of Paris since 2009, and I would like to share with you my personal top 10 things to do in Paris if you are visiting on a shoestring, or just if you want to get away from the madding crowd at the Eiffel tower!)
6 – Paris by Night
They say that Paris is made for lovers – that may well be so, but I think that it is made for walkers – ‘Les Flaneurs’ – people who amble through the city from park to park, garden to garden, museum to museum, bookshop to bookshop, maybe stopping at the odd café on the way for essential refreshments and a spot of people watching.
The city begs to be walked. It draws you along seductively through narrow winding streets which reveal tantalising glimpses of one majestic building or another that you just have to reach, and lures you on to discover what wonder is lying behind the next corner. Equally the ‘Grands Boulevards’ distort all sense of distance and the miniature Arc de Triomphe which appears to be a mere 30 minute walk away from the Louvre, is in fact enormous and four times the distance that you imagined!
This is no accident, it was in fact designed this way. I once commented to a Parisian friend of mine while we were on a four hour ‘stroll’ to wherever our feet took us, that we were in fact living in the oldest theme park in the world – she wholeheartedly agreed!
There are only a handful of varieties of trees lining the streets, the vast majority being plain trees that were originally planted throughout France by Napoleon to provide shade for his marching army. The second variety are the Lime trees (tilleuil) from which a popular tea in France is made.
This gives a uniformity to the city that further deceives the walker and tricks him into continuing along long these tree lined boulevards.
It is not only the trees: lamp posts, Morris Towers, fountains, even the chairs and tables on the pavement cafes, all follow a Parisian ‘dress code’ to give a seamless appearance to the city.
Bearing this in mind, it is essential that you bring a comfortable pair of shoes with you when visiting Paris – leave the ‘Manolo Blahniks’ at home unless you are here for Paris fashion week and plan to go everywhere by taxi!
I particularly love walking in the evening in late spring/early summer or late summer/early autumn, when the temperatures are balmy, but the dusk arrives before 10, giving plenty of time to stroll around the city taking in the beautiful floodlit buildings and magical ambiance of the banks of the Seine and her bridges.
A favourite evening stroll of mine is from the ‘hill of St Genevieve’ in the 5th ‘arrondisssement’, where the beautiful ‘church of St Genevieve is floodlit’ (actually it is equally beautiful bathed in late evening sunlight). Continue pass the majestic ‘Pantheon’ and time it so that you arrive here on or just after the hour and you will be rewarded by a spectacular view of the ‘Eiffel Towe’r shimmering in all her glory.
Go straight ahead and take the small back street on the right after rue St Jacques and you will arrive at the ‘Sorbonne University’, where you can cut through the delightful café lined square to Boulevard St Michel.
Follow the road down to the imposing fountain and there on your right is ‘Notre Dame’ herself in all her floodlit glory.
After this you can meander along the right bank past ‘Pont Neuf’ and the lovely ‘Acadamy Francaise’ and on to the ‘Louvre’ if your legs will carry you!
You can actually walk from the ‘Louvre’ to ‘Place de la Concorde’ and if you are a real ‘Flaneur’ on to the ‘Arc de Triomphe’. But this will be a true test of stamina………………
(All Photographs that appear on this post are originals by Lindy Kelly, any reproduction requires her permission)