I stumbled upon an interesting article in thelocal.Fr where Corey Frye, an American tour guide in Paris named the top thing to do in each of the 20 Arrondisments (districts) in Paris. Some of the places he mentioned sounded really interesting. Actually, they all sounded interesting, but I was focusing on the places near our neighborhood.
I also had a look at Corey’s Blog – a French Frye in Paris – a fun name, the blog was packed with loads of great information. I particularly liked his post on the Palais-Royal… Not on his list of top things in the 1st Arrondisment because, in fairness, it was competing with The Louvre!
On Saturday the temperature nearly made it to double digits – 9.8 degrees Celcius! So My Husband and I decided to take a walk and check out some of these places that Mr Frye had mentioned. The plan was to wander until we found a nice spot to have tea and buns later on.
Galerie Vivienne is a covered passage in the 2nd Arrondissement, and to get there we decided to use as many covered passages as we could find on the way, beginning with Passage du Bourg L’Abbe off Rue de Palestro. We then crossed Rue St. Denis and picked up Passage de Grand Cerf, which popped us out near Rue Montergueil, a great market street that is well worth a peruse.
Any of these would have provided us with great spots for tea and buns but we pressed on, and headed straight to Galerie Vivenne.
All of these covered passages are lined with expensive shops often selling artisan products or antiques.
I really could not figure out why anyone would want to buy a wickerwork cactus – but if you wanted one you could get it here!
Fun to look at even if you don’t want to (or can’t afford to) buy something! We were really there to admire the architecture and soak up the ambiance, and we weren’t disappointed.
The carving on the wall and the details were astonishing.
And the old clock! Just beautiful.
Out through the other side and the buildings around us competed for our attention with their grandeur and fiddly trims. And since bibliotheque was probably one of the Frenchist French words I ever learned to love saying, that building won the prize – a photo snapped of it!
And then there’s the fountains and the little surprise parks dotted all over the place. Though I think My Husband was a little grossed out by the statue of the fat nude kid at the bottom.
And on to the Palais-Royal…
I’d read about this place in Corey Frye’s Blog and what had really intreged me most about the history of this building was the fact that this place had played host to such hedonism and debauchery back in the 1780’s. According to his post (which I strongly urge you to read for all the Corey details!)
“Every night fireworks shot up from the center of the garden. Waves of revelers splashed back and forth against the architecture, crashing onto storefronts and funneling into pleasure palaces of their choosing. The crowd was a thick mixture of soldiers, shop owners, aristocrats and curious tourists looking to satisfy untold desires…”
Well, after that recommendation, how could I not go have a look!
Nowadays the tourists tend to behave a lot better than those in the 18th century.
And the locals were present too, soaking in the rare winter sunlight.
It is a much more peaceful spot now, though still with plenty to marvel at, such how straight a line these trees have been cut in – such precision!
I know a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. So if you don’t have a hand, what is a bird on the head worth?
The window shopping was quite interesting.
And always with an eye on art from all eras in Paris. Though it was nice that the sky joined in the fun!
Empty and somewhat cold now, I wondered what this had looked like packed with revellers.
And in the gardens a lovely sign that spring might have sprung. Can’t wait to see this city blossom.
The pigeons, possibly more tuned into the 18th century shenanigans than the human visitors, where looking forward to spring time too.
And out the other side to continue our walk, we admired this fab metro station entrance.
The outside of the Louvre.
And the free view of the inside of the Louvre as you walk through without actually visiting the museum – saving that for another day.
And of course the pyramid.
Just look at the details on the ceiling.
More shots of the pyramids though the sky is still stealing the show!
We were wishing we’d brought the Nikkon instead of making do with our camera phones.
This pyramid looks like it has a chimney. Can you see the big wheel on the horizon?
The Louvre building is stunning and I agree with Corey – it is a “don’t miss” in the 1st Arrondissment.
I wondered did those holes the ground lead to the dungeons?
I wanted to stand there and freak people out by pretending I could hear someone shouting for help, but I got distracted by the gorgeous wrought iron work.
And really if it’s cold enough for a hat and a scarf, don’t you think trousers would be a good idea? No wonder he only needed a wee leaf!
And I just loved this screen that is covering up a large construction project on the Banks of the Seine. The Parisians really do love their art!
And guess what – So engrossed were we by the sights on our walk that we actually forgot to stop for tea and buns! And we’d only covered about 3 miles… still, we’d filled our eyes and hearts (and hopefully yours too) with art.
You can also listen to Corey’s radio broadcast with the Earful Tower talking about the best sights in each Arrondissment in Paris.