3

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!

Discover Walks 2 copy

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 ♥

Discover Walks  3 copy

0

What’s so special about Disneyland Paris?

SpacemountainDon’t we all love the mascots who are reminding us of our childhood?! Well, my childhood isn’t that long ago, I can remember exactly how much I liked Disney films (still do) and felt sorry for the life of Donald Duck. Come on, that was kind of a sad and hopeless story…

Disney is magical and it always will be. But, Disneyland Paris is another story for me. I rather spend my day, sitting on one bench in Paris, than going to this big ‘’day care center’’

I’ve done an internship at a travel agency and had a young couple at my desk. They wanted to go to Disneyland Paris for like 4 days. Of course the Parisian inside me came up and I enthusiastically suggested them to go 2 or 3 days to Paris. Unfortunately, that idea wasn’t really appreciated, because they looked very strange and shocked at me. The answer on my suggestion was ‘’NO, we’re coming only for Disneyland, as always!’’.  ‘’As always?’’ Now I was shocked! 4 DAYS TO DISNEYLAND PARIS WITHOUT ANY KIDS? What’s wrong with you guys? *Taking a deep breath*

One of the most photogenic, romantic and interesting cities of the world is so close to you and you won’t visit it? I know people can have their own opinion, but what’s so special about Disneyland Paris? I’ve visited the theme park twice. The first time was actually a lot of fun. It was during my childhood (still excited to see some mascots but getting a bit too old for a few attractions) It was the final destination of our amazing cycling vacation from the Netherlands to Paris! Check out the picture above. The second time was with my school and less more fun. I had already seen it once, and my interests were a few kilometers further on. But, it was part of the program so I had to go with them.

Another question I have about this park is, why are there so many babies? I can understand that children are excited to go to Disneyland Paris (I was too) and meet all the princesses, eat glazed apples and watch the big show at the end… but a baby?! Why do parents struggle themselves so much when they also can enjoy a relax day in Paris? Take a walk in one of the green parks, drink something on a terrace and have a conversation without getting interrupted by other screaming kids.

Well, this post hasn’t got a real conclusion, I’m only wondering… what’s so special about Disneyland Paris that you can spend there 4 days instead of visiting a beautiful city like Paris?! And I’m not talking about one day because that’s normal for a theme park. No, I’m talking about 4 or more and, without doing it for the kids!

So dear bloggers, I’m curious… who loves Disneyland Paris and who don’t? If you do like to visit Disneyland Paris for more days, share it with me because maybe I haven’t looked at it that way!

For the parents: Disneyland Paris isn’t the only fun thing for kids. There are many more fun activities (like a zoo, a 3D cinema and a big science center) which aren’t only fun for the children. Keep hanging around because I will share them to you later ;)

6

The Eiffel Tower on Street View..

Tour Eiffel - Street viewI was walking through the streets of Paris with Google Street View, until I ‘arrived’ at the Eiffel Tower. I looked up and saw this creation?! Somethings wrong here.. ;’) For the people who’ve never been to Paris.. the Eiffel Tower isn’t that weird!

I know that in strong winds, the upper part of the Eiffel Tower can move for 15 centimeters. But,I’m pretty sure that it doesn’t look like that. To refresh your brains: This is what the Eiffel Tower looks like!

5

Hiking shoes vs. Pretty shoes

Trash your shoesToday I faced my fear for clumsy hiking shoes, I’m still shaking a bit but I think it’s really worth the money. Let me tell you why..

Paris is described as one of the greatest fashion city’s in the world. It’s a fact that many young girls (like me) still prefer a pair of sneakers instead a pair of ugly hiking shoes. Yes, you look much better but is it really worth all the pain?  I’m just as crazy about pretty shoes as any other girl but, I won’t let them ruin my vacation. When you really want to discover Paris, it won’t get along with a pair of stiletto heels. I’m sorry fashionista’s, it really won’t.

Last year in October, I walked too much.. is that possible? Yes! My feet were broken (sort of) I could beg and massage what I wanted but they had no mercy for me :( I had to buy a new pair of shoes which were a bit more comfortable. I dumped my old shoes at the trash with a love lock attached to it (see picture) I think, I’ve learned my lesson..

My days in Paris are always fun, exciting but most of all exhausting. I wake up around eight in the morning, eat my breakfast outdoors and travel all day long. I walk as much as possible and try to avoid the metro’s where I can. Walking around is much more interesting than using the metro all the time. I always discover more and more new things. Only when the night falls and my feet won’t move anymore, I know it’s time to go back to my hotel. 

So, this time I put my pride to the side and walk on my hiking shoes like a diva. Maybe I’m gonna reward myself with a pair of pretty shoes.. haha, I’m still a lady! 

3

Your Paris place to be, Canal St.Martin.

Canal St.MartinCanal St.Martin is without any doubt the best canal in the summer. When the weather is nice and warm, everyone in Paris is looking for a fun place to hang out. Which isn’t really a difficult choice in Paris, right? We all know that Paris Plage is much fun, but since at few years also Canal St.Martin is a popular place to be. Parisians, tourist, young and old..all gathered along the banks of the canal.

Canal Saint-Martin flows through four different arrondissements of Paris (which is nothing compared to the seine) and is about 4.5 kilometers long. It connects the Canal de l’Ourcq to the Seine and runs underground between the metro stations Bastille and République. A fun fact I read on a Dutch website about Paris (named ‘Parijs mijn Stad’) is that the costs of the canal were paid by an additional tax on the wine. Ha, that must have been quite frustrating for our Parisian wine lovers.. 

Have you never been there but do you recognize it from something? Well, that’s possible because Canal St.Martin is known by the famous song of Edith Piaf ”Les mômes de la cloche” and the world famous movies: Amélie and Hôtel du Nord.

When you’re walking along the canal there are many exciting things to see: original shops, trendy restaurants and lots of people! Do you want to check it out? No problem, the canal can be accessed from many metro stations in Paris: Stalingrad, Richard-Lenoir, Oberkampf, République, Jaurés, Goncourt and, last but not least, metro station Bastille. 

Image
0

La fontaine du Jardin Marco Polo, Paris

Jardin du Luxembourg, La fontaine du Jardin Marco Polo

1

Pont Neuf, especially for the ‘Love Birds’

Pont Neuf sounds familiar to every romanticist. From all the bridges in Paris, this the most romantic one. It’s a tradition (especially among the tourists) to give your lover a big kiss on the bridge.

Pont Neuf
Pont Neuf is the oldest bridge in Paris, and was built between 1578 and 1604. With a length of 238 meters and 12 arches, it’s the third largest bridge of Paris. But what’s so special about it? It was Henry III who started in 1578 the construction of Pont Neuf. At the end of 1604 it was finished and Henry IV opened the bridge. It was the first inhabited bridge in Paris. I can hear you thinking, an inhabited is quite normal right? No, it used to be different when houses were built on bridges. The ultimate goal of Pont Neuf was to create a place where people could gallivant. It was a great success, Pont Neuf became a place for music, performances, duels, and of course to drive a trade.

Nowadays, the bridge is still a popular place in Paris. The bridge is especially popular because of its history, the incredible view and the romantic street lighting at night. Many couples come together to get a bit cozy. But.. mom and dad, please don’t get to cozy when I’m around, I’m still your daughter, ha! :D

Note: Halfway across the bridge you find a statue of Henry IV.

Henry IV

Image
0

Meet me halfway, Paris

Meet me halfway

0

Promenade Plantée and Viaduc des Arts.

Viaduct des ArtsDiscover the 12th district of Paris with ‘’Promenade Plantée and Viaduc des Arts’’. Promenade Plantée is a park of 4.5 kilometers long and is partially designed on the viaduct what’s underneath. It used to be a railway to Strasbourg, at the time of Napoleon. The park runs from Opera Bastille to the eastern border of the city.

The idea of walking across an old railway is great but I must say, in October it was a bit disappointing. You will pass unique apartments with large balconies (no lie!) and it really feels like you’re walking trough a park. But if you look down, there are also a lot of places where homeless people come together that ruined the atmosphere a bit. Maybe it was because of the month October or because this isn’t the tourist Paris that we used to know. Halfway through, I lost my interest and we went down a staircase.

Below Promenade Plantée, you can find Viaduc des Arts. 72 arches filled with unique shops. Of the 72 arches are about 50 shops made​​. The shops are built after the demolition of the railway, when hookers and drug dealers filled the arches of the viaduct with shady business. The solution was a promenade for pedestrians. To attract more people to the promenade they made the Viaduct into an artistic gallery. There are stores where you can join workshops, buy many creative artworks or score some design umbrellas!

When you want to visit Promenade Plantée or Viaduct des Arts:
Metro station: Bastille (exit Lyon)
Avenue Daumesmil
12th district of Paris

For more info you can check out their website www.leviaducdesarts.com