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Free walking tours in Paris with Discover Walks.

Discover Walks copyWe all know the city guides that tell us about the Eiffel Tower or talk about how heavy the bell of Notre-Dame weighs. Of course there’s nothing wrong with that kind of information, but we rather go on tour with someone who can really teach us something new. Like a true Parisian!

On the 3th of January, I was the lucky one to get invited by the company Discover Walks, to try one of their amazing tours. Yes, with a real Parisian ;) I could pick a lot of different tours. They all looked interesting, but eventually I chose the Left Bank Tour. I didn’t knew that much information about the Latin Quarter, so I was really curious about the hidden secrets of this touristic place Or isn’t it that touristic at all…?

The rain was very badly that day, but when our guide arrived (a big plus for being perfectly on time!) it stopped. I would love to tell you all the details about the tour, but that would ruin the excitement for you and the guide. So, just grab your notebook and write down the highlights, because that’s what I’m going to talk about.

Our guide for that day was Quentin, a really nice guy who had lived for at the Quartier Latin area for a while. He started the tour with some facts and history about the district. Did you knew that ‘Left Banky’ means: rich and intellectual. That was because of the many students who studied there at one of the universities. The name ‘Quartier Latin’ is because Latin was the spoken language until the French Revolution.
Back to the tour, our first stop was the English bookstore: Shakespeare and Company. A famous bookstore where selling their books isn’t their first priority. It’s a company that gives upcoming writers a place to publish their work and a place to sleep in change for a few hours work in the bookstore. That’s no bad deal, who doesn’t want to work in such a romantic place ?

After we passed by the oldest tree of Paris (400 years old) and a church in a small park we arrived at the street: rue Saint Julien le Pauvre. The borderline between a good choice and a touristic one ;) Choose the way of rue Galande and you’re safe. The other side if full with touristic restaurants and souvenir shops. So, ignore the handsome waiter that try´s to get you inside of his cheap looking restaurant and move your way over to rue Galande. If you walk till the end of the street, you´ll find Studio Galande. A very special cinema, highly recommended by our tour guide. They play 5 different movies a day and on your ticket, you can find some things you have to bring to the movie. Think of rice to trow during at a wedding scene. How awesome, finally a legal reason to trow things at people during a movie!

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During our walk the guide payed attention to everyone and tried to keep the group together. He taught us how to cross a road in Paris and told us many things about the Parisian life. Little facts that you can’t find in books. For example: did you knew that Parisian markets are not meant to be a touristic place? The Parisians are very serious when it comes to food. A market isn’t a place to buy quick some food and take some snapshots. It’s for many Parisians a place to socialize and talk about food in a traditional way. Food shopping at a Parisian market is serious business, but definitely worth to try! During Christmas season you can buy those delicious galettes….mmmmm.

We also passed a view impressive buildings like College de France, (where you can join many classes for free. You only have to speak French and show up. You don’t need a student ID to get inside) and Sorbonne. Sorbonne is known as THE university of Paris. But Quentin warned us to not be tempted by the looks. It is definitely not the best school in Paris. Somewhere near Sorbonne stand a statue of the writer Montaigne. The myth goes that if students are touch his foot, it brings luck with writing their essays. I just had to finish my philosophy essay last weekend, to bad I couldn’t try it haha.

Pff, time flies because Sorbonne was already the last stop. After a group photo and some social talk, it was time to say goodbye to the group and to Quentin. Who did a really good job. He was one of the better guides I ever had in Paris. A loud speaker, interesting information and he even took the time to advise people about nice restaurants or places to get a cup of coffee. By the way: café le Flore at St.Germain des Prés was one of his favorites.

The whole tour was a nice experience that I will recommend to everyone. You can choose between paid and free tours. The free tours are only tip-supported which means that the guides are depending on your generosity ;) You can easily book online or just show up at the meeting point when the tour starts. Introduce yourself to the guide and he or she is more than happy with your company!  The free tours are running every day the whole year. Yes…even with bad weather!

I hope I informed you enough about this tour of Discover Walks, but if you need more information you may always contact me our you could check out their website or Facebook.

Sweet dreams everyone or a really good morning ♥

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Oldest English bookstore in Paris, Galignani.

So many books, so little time…we all have been there. Why don’t we just escape for an evening? A whole evening, enjoying every minute we have. Alone, but not entirely. Just you, thousands of books and a few other books lovers who also left a note on their dinner table with ”don’t look for me, I’m more than fine”.

*Sight*, Galignani. Have you ever been at such a elegant and classy bookstore as this one? Perhaps, but also in Paris? The rolling ladders gave me the feeling as if I had landed in old romantic story. Too bad that didn’t happen, because my mother was standing next to me instead of a handsome man holding my books…(sorry mom). The wooden bookshelves and Christmas decorations created a cozy feeling, but the decorated ceiling made the bookstore complete. What a wonderful place to be. All the books asked for my attention. Pick me, pick me!
Galignani 2Galignani is the oldest English bookstore in Paris. It has been run by six generations of the Galignani family. They say that ”Librairie Galignani is a place where books are not mere products meant to be sold, but rather precious objects of wisdom and aesthetic delight”. Yeah, those are wise words huh?  Are you looking for a particular book or topic? Please do not hesitate to ask because at Galignani only work knowledgeable and very friendly staff.
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A fun fact about Galignani is that they change their window displays every 15 days. They make sure it’s filled with actual books belonging to cultural events or topics.

You can visit Galignani at: 224, rue de Rivoli – 75001 Paris. Or visit their website 

Sweet dreams everyone or a really good morning ♥

 

 

 

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Villa Léandre, a little heaven in Montmartre.

Paris has so much to offer, every time I’m walking around, Paris surprises me with something I didn’t expect. Like this peaceful square, hidden in the middle of touristic Montmartre. It caught my attention because I saw a little black cat laying on the ground and of course I wanted to pet him. So. I walked further and then I saw this beautiful place. It was so quiet, gorgeous and different from the other houses in Paris. These houses had an own garden, different structures and colors, vintage street lighting and it reminded me a bit of a small village in England. For me it would be a perfect place to live in Paris but, it must cost a fortune…lets do some research!

Just what I thought, you have to pay some big money if you want to rent a house with a garden in Paris. It looks like Villa Léandre is one of the most expensive neighborhoods in Paris. Renting a house here will cost you around €10.200 a month!! For that money you can buy a lot of macaroons from Ladurée ;)

The street was built on the site of a former mill in Montmartre in 1926 and is named after a local comedian, Charles Léandre. Villa Léandre is an English-inspired street, ha.. not so strange that it reminded me of an English village.

What do you think of this lovely place, is it worth the €10.200 a month?
Tip: check it out on Google street view.

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Parisians and speaking English…

merdeNever expect a Parisian to speak English. It’s considered as very rude because you’re in their country. Just start with a simple French sentence to ask if they speak English, ”Bonjour monsieur, parlez vous anglais?” If they don’t speak English, don’t get mad. Many French people are only listening to French music and almost every movie in France is without subtitles. That means that even the films with Brad Pitt, are spoken in French ;) They are less in touch with the English language than a country like the Netherlands.

You can also notice in the French history that they saw the English language as a threat for their own culture. They’ve banned (not officially of course) the English language for a long time, just to prevent that the English words replace the French words. Nowadays it’s a whole different story because, Parisian students also learn English at school and with the upcoming internet industry, also the Parisians are forced to speak a bit more English.. 

We all prefer to speak our mother language but, did you know that French is the most sexy language in the world? Hotel.com did some research and asked 8000 international respondents for their opinions. A French accent is also acceptable. Maybe we have to forget about the French people who have to learn English. We have to learn French, so we all sound sexy! Come on, who’s in? We all know that, everything sounds better in French!