Archive for the ‘Places to see in Paris’ Category
Stephany M. arrived in Paris today for a stay in a comfortable and classy apartment around the corner from the Rodin Museum. She couldn’t have picked a better day! The 7th arrondissment was swarming with visitors eager to visit the large number of prestigious ministerial buildings that have all opened their doors to the public on the occasion of “Heritage Days” (Journées du Patrimoine).
Each of the government’s ministries is housed in one of these 19th-century edifices, known as “hôtels”.
The prime minister is lodged in the Hôtel de Matignon, the Defense Minister in the Hôtel de Brienne, and the Minister of the Interior in the Hôtel de Beauvau, etc.
The closest such edifice to Stephany’s ParisSharing apartment, the Hôtel de Villeroy, is just down the street. This where the Agriculture Ministry has his quarters. ParisSharing went behind to the scenes to reveal to you what’s inside, since you’ll have to wait another year to find out for yourselves. Don’t expect a bucolic experience, although there is a small vegetable and aromatic herb garden. No cows grazing though. Click on photo to view slideshow.
The Marais, on the other side of Paris, also has its lot of famous “hôtels particuliers”, these ones dating back to the 17th century when France’s king made it fashionable to live there. The Hôtel de Beauvais, located on rue François Miron, is now used as the Administrative Court of Appeals after a long and turbulent history, which in the best of times witnessed a visit from the Mozart family and in the worst of times the expropriation of the Revolution. The building has been extensively renovated in recent years.
Also open to the public this weekend, just around the corner, on the rue de Sévigné where one of our most popular apartments also happens to be located, is the Hôtel Bouthillier de Chavigy. This prestigious edificed dating back to the 13th century has been home, ever since 1813 (believe it or not) to the local fire department!
Starting planing your trip for next year’s heritage days and book your authentic parisian apartment on ParisSharing.
Last year at this time we featured an article about favorite places to visit around Paris such as Giverny, Vaux le Vicomte, Fontainebleau and of course Versailles. Once you’ve done all of those, there’s still plenty left off course, namely Chantilly, Provins, Auvers sur Oise, and the Vallée de la Chevreuse. This latter attraction is an entire area worth exploring for its forests, hills, villages, and chateaux. It is in this area about 45min from Paris, near the Chateau de Dampierre, that you’ll find the romantic jewel called les Vaux de Cernay.
This private domain, that now offers rooms and a restaurant, or simply visitor access for 6 Euros, was founded in the 12th century as a Cistercian abbey. It is the remains of that original structure that give the site its particularly romantic aura. Of course, most people in the world would consider Paris as the ultimate romantic getaway, but if you live in Paris, then it’s no longer a getaway !
Definitely off the beaten path, you’ll likely not make it here on your first, second, or third trips to Paris. But if you are lucky enough to stay for several months, it would be a pity to miss out on such a stunning and magical place. Until then, you can enjoy a 360° visit on the website Abbaye des Vaux de Cernay or more quickly, a collection of photos by ParisSharing.
ParisSharing is a community of world citizens. Its members open their doors to others and enjoy sharing those things, admirable or surprising, that their city and neighborhood have to offer. The ParisSharing blog welcomes contributions from those its members who desire to share their particular knowledge of Paris.
We are pleased to welcome Christian Ponty for the first time on our blog, who will share with us some unexpected discoveries in places that are so close to our day-to-day comings and goings, and fully blended into our familiar Paris. With his wife Marie, Christian is also an admirable host, the captain of the the boat named “Powell”, where you can enjoy an extraodinary stay on the Seine.
As an American in Paris and the founder of the website ParisSharing.com, I am particularly touched by the live of the Marquis de la Fayette that Christian has chosen to relate. Vive l’amitié franco-américaine ! Long live the friendship between the French and the Americans.
- Carsten Sprotte
Numerous walks and places of rest in Paris attest to the long-lasting friendship between the French and Americans. The Marquis de Lafayette is an emblematic hero of these two worlds, the old and the new. He is the perfect starting place for my chronicles of the ongoing strong ties between the French and Americans.
A young aristocrat, orphined at the age of 12, Gilbert du Motier, future Marquis de la Fayette, at the age of 17 married Marie Adrienne Françoise de Noailles, a descendant of one of the oldest and most prestigious families of the French nobility. She introduced him within the Maison militaire of the king in Versailles.
This is where he will befriend Benjamin Franklin, the ambassador who, along with Sillas Deane and Arthur Lee, came to plead the cause of the 13 colonies to Louis XVI, king of France.
Affronting the royal authority that offered him a life of luxury, he clandestinely embarqued abord the Victoire, disguised as a woman, and lands two months later in Philadelphia where he would serve alongside the American rebels, for the cause of the enlightened ideas of liberty and independence. It is the cause that will allow the United States of America to become a nation in quest of its own destiny.
Thirteen years later in 1789, Lafayette will again distinguish himself, returning to France during her own revolutionary tumult to present to the Assembly a bill to abolish slavery and a declaration Human Rights.
Lafayette died in Paris on May 20, 1834. His funeral took place a the ancien covent des filles de l’Assomption (currently the Polish Church of Paris). He was then buried alongside his wife in the Picpus cemetery, that is the only remaining private cemetery in Paris, a peaceful place of rest in a wooded park, aligning a rose garden, located in the 12th arrondissement.
Under the same earth are buried 1306 victims of the French revolutionary Terror, beheaded at the nearby Place de la Nation between June and July of 1794.
Several weeks after Lafayette’s burial, a bit of American soil was added to his grave, sealing forever the bond between France and the USA. The soil was brought from Yorktown on the Brandywine where the famous battle of September 11, 1777 took place in which he fought and was wounded in front of George Washington, who henceforth held him in his highest estime. Lafayette became the first French citizen of the United States of America with the rank of General Major.
Ever since, on each Independence Day, the US ambassador pays a visit to his grave in memory of the decisive help given by the Marquis de la Fayette, along with other Frenchmen such as the Admiral de Grasse, victor over Lord Charles Cornwallis at the Chesapeake naval battle, as well as the General Jean-Baptise Donatien de Vimeur, count of Rochambeau, who headed up a reinforcement of 11 000 soldiers.
During one of these commemoration ceremonies on July 4th, 1917, the American lieutenant colonel Charles E. Stanton, representing General Pershing, spoke the famous words “La Fayette, Nous voilà!” to symbolize the American commitment to France during the first world war.
Each 4th of July, the American ambassador to France comes to replace the American flag that hangs above his tomb, and sends the previous flag to one of the 50 American states, chosen at random. This homage has such symbolic importance that even during the Nazie occupation, the German authorities decided not to remove this flag above La Fayette’s tomb.
The Treaty of Paris, signed in 1783 in the presence of Benjamin Franklin, marked the end of the war of Independence, officially recognizing the United States of America and a new nation
- Orginal text in French written by Christian William Ponty
- Translation by Carsten Sprotte
Fall brings a new season of exhibitions to Paris museums. Here is a list of the top five exhibits to see while visiting The City:
Grand Palais - Of Toys and Men (September 14, 2011 – January 23, 2012)
Of Toys and Men is the history of toys in the western world and highlights the importance of toys in children’s education from birth. The exhibit is possibly the largest toy exhibit ever featuring thousands of toys from Antiquity to modern day.
Centre Pompidou – Edvard Munch (September 21, 2011 – January 9, 2012)
The Centre Pompidou presents Edvard Munch, l’oeil moderne [Edvard Munch, the modern eye], a collection of eighty paintings, thirty drawings, fifty photographs and a film all shown for the first time in France.
Musee Maillol – Pompei (September 21, 2011 – February 12, 2012)
In 79AD, the city of Pompei was completely buried under lava and ash from the catastrophic eruption of the volcano Vesuvius. However, the extremely well preserved ruins of Pompei rose from the ashes when they were discovered in the 1700’s. The exhibit guides visitors through a typical Pompeian home, featuring over 200 artifacts including wall murals, vases and jewelry.
Musee du Louvre – La Cité Interdite – Forbidden City (September 26, 2011 – January 9, 2012)
The Louvre exhibit features 130 artifacts from China’s Forbidden City on loan from the ancient imperial palace museum. Artifacts range from jade carvings, lacquerware, seals, porcelain and bronzes to personal items previously owned by Ming and Qing Dynasty emperors.
Les Arts Decoratifs – Goudemalion – Jean Paul Goude Retrospective (November 11, 2011 – March 18, 2012)
Les Arts Décoratifs welcomes this grand retrospective of Jean-Paul Goude, the French graphic designer, illustrator, photographer, director and art director. For over 40 years, Goude has been one of the advertising world’s leading “image makers”, who is best-known for his campaigns for such brands as Perrier, Citroën, Galeries Lafayette and Chanel.
Fall is one of the best times of the year to visit Paris, and it’s an excellent time to take advantage of some of ParisSharing’s wonderful apartments at special fall prices.
If you have visited Paris before and seen the main attractions – Notre Dame, Les Invalides, Louvre and other hotspots – you may be looking for other ways to enjoy this exciting and vibrant city. Here are ideas for some of the more unusual things to do in Paris.
Guided Tour of L’Opéra Garnier
Be transported back to the luxury and opulence of the Second French Empire in the 19th century when you take a tour of the palatial L’Opéra Garnier. As you go around this sensational building prepare to be blown away by the sumptuousness of the interiors. At every turn, the surfaces are upholstered in velvet, decorated with gold leaf, or embellished with statues.
Highlights include the Grand Escalier (Main Staircase), the great chandelier in the auditorium, and the painted ceiling by Marc Chagall.
Perfume Making Workshop in Paris
One of the most delightful things to do in Paris is to make your own perfume during a special hands-on class! This enjoyable workshop introduces you to the perfume-maker’s skills and secrets. You will also find out about the origins of Eau de Cologne, which may surprise you. Its birthplace is actually Florence and not Paris or indeed Cologne!
Learn to smell and describe the ingredients of an Eau de Cologne and also gain an understanding of the constituents and characteristics belonging to different families of odours.
Horse and Carriage Tour
This is surely one of the most romantic things to do in Paris! Return to the pre-automobile era as you ride in an elegant carriage drawn by magnificent glossy horses. Enjoy the jangle of the harness and the envious stares of the onlookers. And there is need to worry about the weather – there is a covered top in case of rain and plenty of blankets to keep you warm in winter.
You may have been up the Eiffel tower, but did you know that the views from the soaring Montparnasse Tower (210-meters high) are even more spectacular? From the 56th or 59th floor of Montparnasse Tower, one of the tallest buildings in Paris, you can see for 40km (24 miles). Below you is the busy city with its famous landmarks – Eiffel Tower, Les Invalides, Sacré Coeur, Musée d’Orsay, the Arc de Triomphe and many more – laid out like a map. The Tower is open every day till late and there is a café on the 56th floor, where, if the mood takes you, you can sip Champagne while gazing out at a Paris sunset.
Cooking Lesson and Wine and Cheese Tasting
Keen cooks and gourmets looking for things to do in Paris will just love this experience. In a hands-on master-class you can learn to make classic dishes and interact with people who share your passion for French food. You can also enjoy sampling the dishes you have cooked in class as well as tasting some delicious French cheese and wine.
About the author
Guest blogger Vik has been traveling around Europe since 1985, the tip he offers to first time visitors is to opt for skip the queue by booking your Versailles tours online.