All posts filed under: Great places to take a walk

Boulevard Saint Germain – The More things change?

Some things have changed since the epoch in the video. For one, the cast of characters has changed as a matter of course. Intellectual giants of the size of Jean Paul Sartre performed their part of the plot and today it is a more complex scene on St. Germain. Parts of Boulevard Saint Germain, a few intimidatingly chic cafes are still the preferred haunts of intellectuals but globalisation and immigration have forced to make it open to new, not always French, actors. (take Ralph Lauren and Malboro classics for instance) If the faces and stores on St Germain are somewhat indicative of broader trends in French society – it seems to be a rapidly evolving one. Well, I could be wrong in my assessment – after all, was it not a French philosopher who said the more things change, the more the remain the same?

Beloved Boulevard Raspail

It is one of the arterial veins of the 6th arrondissement and – to me at least – one of those places that forces one into walk one’s spouse’s partners hand in theirs. It simply seems the only appropriate thing to do. The history of the neighbouhood is not particularly romantic. It goes back to the days when the Catholic church was the main show in town and the source of the French states’ power. The area was, as such, dominated by religious orders and abbeys. You can still notice open spaces and buildings still dedicated to various orders as you walk through streets with a monastic like silence. The architecture in some instances gives the past away if you look closely to the uniformity and symbols. In more recent times it became something of an intellectual incubator and infact, it still is, given the location of several top academic institutions within its bounds. After dark, on any given evening, regardless of its past, under its lunar street lamps and inviting quiet streets it becomes …

Parisian Wanderings (2)

In yet another episode of wandering,  I happened to walk past an old church which once occupied a very central place in  the politics of France, whose church bell on St. Bartholomew’s Day  summoned the massacre of several innocent people – and in more recent history, was the venue for the ill-fated wedding of Eva Longoria.  All of these events have had their full life’s cycle, are defunct and long past.  And, this to me is part of the beauty of  wandering aimlessly around Paris – the opportunity to  walk on streets trod by kings and queens on  their way to mass or daily prayer, the hurried hate-filled  footsteps of ‘genocidaires’ thirsty for the blood of unwanted foreigners – and those of  countless young lovers about to take a plunge into the unknown realms of commitment. It is what makes wandering Paris a transcendental experience, each and every time. And, on another note –  while I am trying to resist being overly fascinated by the  city’s christmas lights : it is increasingly difficult not to …

Village St. Honoré

Tucked away at 91 Rue Saint Honoré, this  little ‘village’ hosts gorgeous antiques, paintings and even vintage  Coco Chanel dresses. There are also remarkable jewellery items ranging from brooches to stunning rings and necklaces. It’s a geat pace to pick up authentic vintage wares, or simply gawk.

Tuileries by ‘night’

Took a walk just before six pm yesterday through the beautiful Tuileries Garden(s). It became clear very quickly that the days are becoming shorter. By the time the stroll came to an end, the geometrical lines of the lawns, the sculptures were now embraced by the deep darkness of the early evening. The benches and chairs that people ordinarily fight over were abandoned and nothing apart from the rustle of leaves, the clicks of the cameras of determined tourists and the two joggers determined to make one more round around the park could be heard. I took images of this walk through a deserted Tuileries by ‘night’.

This Morning in Montmartre

With the sun superimposed against a vast blanket of blue sky this morning – and armed with coats and scarves to cope with the cold – a group of friends and I spent the most part of Saturday morning in Montmartre. It is a well known haunt for tourists, and for this reason I’ve generally avoided going there too much. It always seems more dignified to not gawk at the city’s monuments so that ‘people’ notice that I actually live here. So, ordinarily, I tend to yawn and look at things like the Eiffel Tower rather dismissively. Or, better still, simply walk past and perhaps cast an irritating glance that says “Oh, it’s the Arc du Triomphe again.” Today was quite different then in this regard – because I lay aside my usual delusions and paranoia about being mistaken for someone who is visiting Montmartre for the first time. It was one of those ‘like a virgin’ mornings were a group of friends and I simply took the time to be a group of babes …

J’adore Cour Saint Emilion

Perhaps it was just that it was during the week, so there was more space to walk about and slowly pick out a restaurant to eat in – but whatever the case, I am hooked! Cour Saint Emilion has the feeling of being a part of Paris that the city keeps as a secret so that natives can have a place to eat and entertain their guests in restaurants that are ‘tourist-free’. Not that I should say anything seeing as I am one of those tourists with an extended period to take in the sights, sounds – and TASTES – of the city. It is on line 14, and apparently used to be part of a village on the outskirts of Paris, but has now clearly been absorbed into the bigger sister city. One can still see the old tram lines of the village that once was – the remaining architecture that has been elegantly converted into shops and a series of restaurants, cafes and brasseries. I loved the feeling/ ambience of this beautiful arcade …