Kat doodles about life and recommends, where to go in Paris:
Here I am back again with my map ready to tell you what happened next. I spent the morning planning what to see and what to follow according to the list on Guardian web mentioned in my last post. I tried to figure out how to fit everything in with my two friends I came to visit. Plan sorted and around lunchtime I finally left home. Being so lucky with the sunny weather I decided to take the day steady. Just to enjoy the French atmosphere by looking at things, smelling the spring in the air and soaking up the culture instead of full on sightseeing.
Being so lucky, the apartment I was staying in was not even ten minutes walk from the Eiffel Tower. Somehow unusual for me, I managed to get lost. When trying to reach the riverside of Seine Promenade Quai Branly, I ended walking the opposite direction from Eiffel Tower towards the Port du Grenelle. Oh dear, it must be the unusual street plan of Paris, where hardly anything is rectangular. More exercise I say, surely needed for the enormous consumption of cheese ahead.
If you continue walking along the river the promenade sometimes turns into a pavement sometimes into narrow or even wide path along the edge. Nearby Quai Branly Museum you can find chill out areas, where people have lunch. They have benches, beds made of navy ropes and little gardens. However be aware, to stay in some of them you are not allowed to eat your lunch or drink alcohol. There are purely for relaxing. There is always a big sign and guard to tell you off just in case. Further down along the river are also areas for families with plenty of things to do for children. I am not quite sure, but I think it was near Musee D’Orsay.
As you are walking via Quai d’Orsay near Invalides tube station, on your right is building of Air France and over the river Palais de la Decouverte with its glass round roof top can be seen. Through the gardens, not far of the Champs-Elysees. Not long after you discover Musee d’Orsay, where at that time was an exhibition on Van Gogh and Artaud. I did not want to go there due to meeting my friends later as for these kid of things you need plenty of time and I wanted to continue with the walk, but I did enjoy the free entry into National Museum of the Legion of Honour& Order of Chivalry. Surprising myself with quite an interesting let’s say 30 minutes walk looking around at costumes from something like 1800 to modern times, including medals from all around the world.
Quai Anatole France turns into Quai Voltaire and you notice a lot of little stalls attached to the wall, which runs along the river. They offer books, art work and anything to do with Paris or France. You are not far away from the famous Pont des Arts with thousands of padlocks attached to it.
Once you cross over, you can easily enter The Louvre Museum, but I highly recommend this bridge as “must be at” on Friday or Saturday night. If you consider yourself a bit of free spirit or still young in your mind, this is a great meeting place for all the young French artisans and during the weekend in the evening it turns into open air free music jam session. I have experienced great night there during my first stay in Paris four years ago with a great company, lot of wine and people randomly coming up and talking to us. So if you really want to start practicing your French,which French love once they can you are trying, I can highly recommend popping over and joining in with the crowd. If there is not enough space at the bridge, the crowds spread along the river and onto the island with Notre Dame called Ile de la Cite, especially to the front part Square du Vert-Galant just by the bridge Pont Neuf. I have exactly picked up the right spot for my dinner break half way between bridges with great view at boats and sailors. Of course the most interested I was in my camembert and baguette.
Once you get to Notre Dame Cathedral, I suggest climbing back up to the pavement as the path along the river edge is not exactly the most pleasant one unless you like adventures. I won’t bore you with details about the cathedral as we all know it is beautiful and I will come back to it in another post.
Once you pass Notre Dame you will walk through another promenade with lot of of little gardens, chill out places and full of artistic elements. I will quite happily admit that by then I walked something around 4-5 hours and when I got to the Gare d’Austerlitz I decided to make the most of my weekly card and transport myself to station Bibliotheque Francois Mitterand. The home of the biggest library in France and what you discover is four really tall buildings, small version of skyscraper panorama I guess. After walking through artistic Paris, do not expect fancy facades and ornamental decoration. It is all glass and metal. You can enter for free by walking down the stairs into the heart of the library and then it is up to you to search what you fancy. I used the library only as a meeting point with my friends, but I guess during long-term stay I would go and see, what services they have to offer. If you fancy more of a visual version of books, there is a cinema right next door.
Once I met my friends, we decided to wander further more. Oh yes to my joy of not having enough that afternoon. However I have quickly forgiven them as we discovered this really beautiful area near the station Bercy, just over the river, full of parks, playground and plenty of bars and restaurants. Of course I opted for the French wine and could not be more happy enjoying the evening in Czech, French and English conversation during another lovely warm evening. I can tell you that night I had no trouble falling asleep.
Love Kat xx