Showing posts with label montmartre. Show all posts
Showing posts with label montmartre. Show all posts

Monday, 24 October 2011

The Paris List

Two important things have happened this week. I've finally booked a trip to Paris, after years and years of romanticizing about it. And I've finally found the time to write about it. I'm guessing I'll have a lot more to say when I've actually been on the trip, but for now I want to share my Paris List - of must-sees, what I'm daydreaming about, and what I couldn't care less about (or "bof!" as the French say).

The Paris List

1. Ile de la Cite

Must-sees: Pont-Neuf; Square du Vert-Galant and its romantic tree-lined garden; the exquisite stained glass of Sainte-Chapelle; the underground crypte archeologique; and, of course, the Cathedrale de Notre-Dame.

Daydreaming about: crossing the Seine and dawdling at the kilometre zero, the symbolic heart of France.

Bof!: the Conciergerie - Paris's oldest prison - apparently a long queue to see not much at the end of it.

2. Champs-Elysees

Must-sees: Arc de Triomphe for a dusk-time view of the Voie Triomphale; the gold obelisk of the place de la Concorde; the Louvre, preferably via a back entrance to avoid the queues, to visit the Musees des Arts Decoratifs, de la Mode et du Textile, et de la Publicite.

Daydreaming about: the postage stamp market on the corner of avenues Gabriel and Marigny and being spellbound by Monet's masterpieces at The Orangerie.

Bof!: the Grand and Petit Palais... well, maybe just a quick peek.

3. Opera district

Must-sees: the passages filled with 19th century arcades; the spectacular Opera-Garnier; and the church and flower markets in the place de la Madeleine.

Daydreaming about: stumbling upon the highly commended Art Nouveau public toilets.

Bof!: the Cabinet des Monnaies, Medailles et Antiques, although I'm sure a certain someone might be pulled in that direction!

4. Les Halles

Must-sees: I've been warned that this area is not worth a visit but I would like to venture north to the rue Montargueil and the traditional grocers, horse butchers and fishmongers still in existence there.

Daydreaming about: ice skating on the site of many Revolutionary executions, at the Hotel de Ville / Beaubourg.

Bof!: Les Halles and its horrendous shopping mall.

5. The Marais, Ile St-Louis and the Bastille

Must-sees: the museum of French history at the Palais Soubise on the rue des Francs-Bourgeois; the Picasso museum on rue de Thorigny; and Victor Hugo's house at the place des Vosges for all things Les Mis.

Daydreaming about: wandering through the old, secluded la Marais and the area's lively bars, cafes and restaurants.

Bof!: rien!!

6. Ile St-Louis

Apparently the most romantic part of Paris for strolls. C'est tout.

7. Bastille

Must-sees: the place de la Bastille, with its column and Spirit of Liberty to commemorate the July Revolution of 1830 that saw autocratic Charles X replaced by 'citizen King' Louis-Phillipe.

Daydreaming about: the bright lights of the Opera-Bastille and mingling with the ghosts of Piaf and Hayworth at the music halls on rue de Lappe.

Bof!: the decidedly ordinary budget chain hotel we are staying in, close to Breguet Sabin.

8. Quartier Latin

Must-sees: the riverside quais and bouquinistes, selling old books, postcards and prints from green boxes along the riverside from square Viviani eastwards; the famous botanical Jardin des Plantes; and visiting the crypt of Voltaire, Hugo and Zola at the Pantheon.

Daydreaming about: rendez-vous at the Jardin de Luxembourg; romantic liaisons in the dead of night at St-Sulpice.

Bof!: paying 10 euros to see Van Gogh et al at the Musee d'Orsay.

9. The Eiffel Tower

Must-sees: views of the Eiffel Tower from the north bank's museums; chilling at the feet of the tour; and doing the touristy thing and taking the lift up to the top.

Daydreaming about: seeing the Eiffel Tower lit up at night - every hour for 5 minutes, with a million illuminations.

Bof!: checking out the national war museum and Napoleon's tomb.

10. Montparnasse

Must-sees: the 56 floor skyscraper, the tour Montparnasse, with its incredible views of the city including the Eiffel Tower; and the eerie catacombs - skulls and all - at the place Denfert-Rochereau.

Daydreaming about: immersing myself in the boulevard du Montparnasse, once at the heart of the inter-war artistic and literary boom.

Bof!: the cemetery.

11. Montmartre

Must-sees: the Montmartre vineyard; exploring the less crowded route to the Butte and Sacre Coeur via the place des Abbesses and the rue Lepic.

Daydreaming about: Moulin Rouge and the 1920s cabaret of Le Lapin Agile at rue de Saules.

Bof!: the touristy and grotty place du Tertre.

12. And the rest...

Must-sees: the trendy areas around the Canal St-Martin; famous graves at the Pere-Lachaise cemetery; the wine warehouses at Cour Saint-Emilion; and a stroll along the disused railway line and viaduct of the Promenade Plantee.

Daydreaming about: the grotto and temple of Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, and the terraces and waterfalls of Parc de Belleville.

Bof!: Bois de Vincennes and the Frank O. Gehry cinematheque at Parc de Bercy.

Wish me luck.. and bon voyage! ;-)