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Posts tagged ‘Paris’

Which Type Of Traveler Are You?

You probably don’t know it, but the type of tourist you are has a huge influence on the type of travel you indulge yourself in. Don’t worry, however, for there is some science behind it. You won’t merely be lumped into a category where you’re a ‘lazy tourist’ or the equivalent of a ‘Little Englander,’ dependent on where it is you are from.

Landmarks from around the world. Choose yours!

What can the type of tourist you are have an impact on?

  • Where you choose to go on holiday
  • The type of accommodation you choose to stay in
  • What you do when you go on holiday
  • The people you travel with
  • How you eat and behave when you’re in a destination

Influencing Your Tourism Habits

At the same time, a range of factors can influence the type of tourist you want to or are able to be. These might include

  • Your incomeNothing can stop you from being who you're on vacation
  • Your personal circumstances in terms of relationship and family status
  • Where you live
  • Your personal hobbies and interests
  • Your holiday budget

While these can all be an influence, nothing can prevent you from being the tourist you want to be.

Does it Matter?

While what a person does concerning their holiday might seem to be irrelevant, the modern, connected world in which we live means that it is of more importance than ever before. It only takes one tweet or Google+ update to show the world what you’re doing, and tour operators are using this activity like never before, as well as encouraging travellers to do the same.

It sounds extreme, but the type of tourist you are can have an impact on economies, future travel trends, and the way in which people living in a popular resort view those from a particular country or geographic area. Thinking back to earlier, the term ‘Little Englander’ did not originate from an accident one day!

We also have to consider the ways in which resorts set up and market themselves. Places don’t just throw open their doors and wait for people to arrive. Everything they do is designed to attract a specific type of traveller, and they know exactly what to do in order to fulfil the travel needs and requirements of holidaymakers in every group.

Finding Yourself

Which type of tourist are you? We explored 15 different descriptions that were identified in a 1992 study, what they mean, and where the best places on Earth are to indulge in this manner of travel.

Be warned: You might not like the group you fit into, although it might motivate you to rethink your own holiday attitudes and behaviours, or give you an idea for a great holiday in the near future.

hat type of tourist are you

Sun Worshipper

A couple on a beachWe expect that most people will be able to relate to this type of tourism. After all, despite sweeping changes in the industry and the attitudes of travellers, large numbers of people still decide to take a holiday in a particular destination because the sun will be shining most of the time.

The sun worshipper follows a very particular pattern of behaviour during a holiday; they are the people that you see relaxing around the pool from dawn until dusk, and on the days they do move it is only down to the beach where they follow a similar pattern of inactivity.

Places to Visit: The beauty of being this type of tourist is that you can almost look at a world map and point to any country that has the climate you’re looking for. Depending on where you are in the world, it might not be necessary to spend a lot of money if all you’re seeking from a trip is the sun.

Consider Mexico, the northern coast of Brazil, and places around the Mediterranean, including politically stable nations in North Africa.

Action Seeker

Action seekers on the beach dancingThis probably isn’t going to be the description you expect to find under this banner. No, an action seeker is not someone who loves an adventure holiday or heads off looking for extreme sports, although we will get to that later.

An action seeker is the tourist who heads to a resort and becomes an all-out reveller, looking for the parties that are taking place around a locality, the best nightclubs, and organized events such as bar crawls and booze cruises. Throw in a very liberal attitude towards sex and drugs and you won’t be far away from the perfect fit when it comes to this description.

Places to Visit: We’re not about to feel like we’re naming and shaming any resort or country, and the last thing we would want is to upset a national embassy or tourist board and have ourselves blacklisted for life.

If you fit into this category yourself, you know the type of places we’re talking about. If, for some reason, you’re planning to be an action seeker, then a quick Google search will likely show you the best places to go.

Anthropologist

Admittedly, this sounds like we’re starting to get a little deep, thus moving perhaps from one extreme to the other. However, being an anthropologist doesn’t mean you have to have an impressive degree or any other qualification.

Rather, a tourist anthropologist is a person who takes themselves off to various locations around the world and immerses themselves in their destination. This tourist is probably the most likely to reject anything that is on offer from their homeland, and try out local cuisine, pastimes, and spend time within the community getting to know the people, and maybe even getting involved with farm work, fishing, or other traditional roles. An anthropologist is also likely to stay in a guest house or bed and breakfast facility, rather than an ‘all mod cons’ hotel or apartment complex.

J'irais dormir chez vous / I am going to stay at your place

Photo credit: Antoine de Maximy jiraidormirchezvous.com

Places to Visit: Three locations around the world really stand out for us in this respect. The Greek Islands is the first. Clearly, you need to avoid the islands that are known for sun and action seekers – no, we’re not naming them – and head to the smaller locations that are perhaps not even well known for tourism.

East Africa would be our second option, with community programs often operating in countries such as Tanzania and Kenya, where you can actually go and live in a village undergoing development and have some input yourself. Finally, consider the Patagonia region of South America. This area is very remote, but home to some great communities as well as simply stunning landscape.

Archaeologist

Archaeologist landmarks to visitDo we mean there is a type of tourist casually travelling the world, seeking fields and other open spaces so that they can try to dig up dinosaur fossils and discover hidden villages? Unfortunately, it doesn’t get that exciting, but you wouldn’t be a million miles away from the correct answer.

This is one of the simplest definitions to understand. It relates to people who love to visit museums and historic sites, and will choose a destination specifically with that in mind.

Places to Visit: Many places across the world have a rich history, so it really depends on your own interests and on what you are looking for. If historic ruins are what motivate you to get on an aeroplane, then Rome and Athens are two great cities to target.

For lovers of monuments and temples, the South East of Asia and countries such as Cambodia and Vietnam are excellent locations, while for those seeking outdoor history and heritage, the Aboriginal areas of Australia are must visit.

Mass Tourist

Mass-tourism-on-a-beachIf you feel that your holidays are stuck in a rut, then the chances are that you find yourself firmly in the ‘mass tourist’ category. This person perhaps closely relates to the sun worshipper or action seeker, but is more likely to be someone who travels with their families and younger children.

The mass tourist books their holidays at the travel agency, picking out the best picture from the collection of ‘Summer Sun’ brochures on the shelf, and indulging themselves in tour operator excursions and the buying of souvenirs – some might say tacky ones – during their trip.

Places to Visit: We were tempted to label this one places to avoid, but if you’re a person who enjoys a traditional ‘tourist holiday,’ there are many great locations around the world to head, depending on your current location and budget.

Thrill Seeker

Thrill seeker surfing Costa RicaWe promised you we would get onto looking at extreme sports, and now we have the real definition of what many would term an action seeker. This type of holiday goes far beyond mere action, and can range from a 100 miles an hour adrenaline rush down a mountain to discovering some of the most unique and exciting wildlife anywhere in the world.

Thrill seekers are more likely to book an adventure holiday, following adrenaline-fuelled pursuits such as skydiving and abseiling, but you can also group those who look for a diverse mixture of travel activities into this category. These travellers choose holidays specifically because of the adventure element; this is not your tourist who arrives in a country, sees something exciting, and decides “I’d love to try that.”

Places to Visit: This depends completely on what your interests are and what you’re looking to do on holiday. However, countries such as Australia and New Zealand offer a diverse range of options, and the varying terrain found across these nations means that you can do almost anything, from wakeboarding and swimming with sharks in the water to skiing and snowboarding down towering peaks.

That said, those countries can be expensive to get to, so if you’re on a tighter budget, you will have options elsewhere; almost every country has something to offer a thrill-seeker.

Explorer

Explorer backpacker on vacationMore than just enjoying discovering new locations, an Explorer embraces the challenge that can often come with travelling to such locations. Someone who loves backpacking holidays, for example, would be the perfect candidate for this category.

Explorers follow a range of holiday plans; they might have a pre-determined route or an itinerary, or they could ensure that they have enough money and an idea of hostels and places to stay, and then improvise as they go along.

Places to Visit: South East Asia is the modern day explorer and backpackers’ paradise. As well as having a hot climate and some stunning places to see and visit, getting around the region is extremely cheap, making it a potential holiday opportunity for everyone.

A little to the south, Australia is also a great place for exploring, and with emerging tourist trends there such as relocation campervans available to hire, getting around doesn’t have to cost a fortune there, either.

Jetsetter

Paris Jetsetter's padIf there is a type of tourist that is more aspirational than the others, then you would have to argue that it is this one. However, it can have the most barriers in terms of inclusion, as you often need a considerable level of finance behind you to be a jet set traveller.

Many people would consider a jet set traveller to be someone who bounces from place to place quickly, and while there is perhaps an element of truth to that, our definition focusses more on those who love to travel to and stay in the most luxurious resorts around the world, dining in high class restaurants, and partying in exclusive bars. They may also actively seek out the company of celebrities or others who have a similar budget or lifestyle.

Places to Visit: Think about the most exclusive places in the world, such as St. Tropez and Monte Carlo, and you’re onto the right line of thinking for a jet set traveller. However, there are notable locations around the world with a high concentration of luxury places to eat, drink, and stay. Our choices would be Sydney, Singapore, Tokyo, Paris, and New York City.

Seeker

Travel choicesWhat are you looking for from your holiday? If you’re a seeker, then your purpose goes way beyond your holiday, and extends to life in general. Yes, we’re starting to get deep again, but many people take a holiday in order to ‘find themselves’ or challenge what they already know about the world.

You might not have been a seeker when you first made a trip, but experiences as an anthropologist or an explorer could have turned you into one. To truly find yourself and qualify the way you feel about life in general, it is usually best to travel to diverse destinations where you can find contrasts of rich and poor, and where these different levels of culture clash.

Places to Visit: With that last sentence in mind, the three obvious locations someone who knows they’re a seeker should consider are Brazil, South Africa, and India. Peaceful places where you will find time to relax and reflect, such as Nepal or Tibet, are also be worth considering.

All of these will offer you great variety in terms of the things you see and the people you meet. Cities such as Rio de Janeiro, Johannesburg, and Mumbai, are all well-known – or notorious – for being places where you can experience wild riches in one location, and encounter extreme poverty just a matter of metres away.

Independent Tourist

We really don’t understand the stigma attached to doing things independently. Some people believe that ‘going solo’ is weird; we just think it is a great way to do your own thing and meet new people without having to worry about what anyone else wants to do. Independent tourism is ‘me time’ at its best.

This person does their own thing, and they will usually spend some time travelling popular resorts and destinations.

Places to Visit: Anywhere you want to go is really the answer here, although we would recommend you check travel advice and guidance for people travelling alone in certain areas, such as the Middle East and India, for example.

High End Tourist

Eagles nest sacred space villa new zealandWe won’t dwell on this point too much, as there are several similarities with the jetsetter. The big difference is that the high-end tourist is less ‘in your face’ about where they go, and enjoy the time spent in the destination for what it is.

This tourist is also more likely to be with their family, and looking for an altogether more rounded experience.

Places to Visit: The same as the jetsetter, but visiting hotels and restaurants that are classy and high-end without having an exclusive or elite label.

Drifter

Bella Vista Lodge Costa RicaIs this a type of tourism or is it a way of life? The reality is that it can easily describe both, however it is how one becomes a drifter that is perhaps most intriguing, because we can almost guarantee you won’t set out to be one.

How do you become a drifter? Generally, a drifter is an explorer or seeker, who finds themselves immersed in life wherever they have travelled to, and tends to stay there for an extended period, while occasionally moving from place to place. Drifters can make their money from short-term jobs such as bar work or helping out on a farm.

Places to Visit: As we said, it is unlikely you will set out to become a drifter, but you are most likely to do so in the popular explorer and backpacker locations we mentioned earlier, specifically South East Asia, owing to the relaxed way of life and considering how cheap it can be to get by.

Escapist

Mountain retreat. Escape from it all!You can perhaps be an escapist while fitting into many of the tourist categories we have already explored. We often say that a holiday is out opportunity to ‘escape from it all.’ An escapist embraces this fully, heading to remote destinations where they can relax in a peaceful surround, be it a quiet village, a beach hut, or somewhere in the countryside.

Places to Visit: This one comes down to your own personal choice. If we started listing places now, everyone would head there and it would defeat the purpose of wanting to escape!

Sports Tourist

Sport traveler on a golf courseIf you are someone who heads off on holiday to go cycling, meet other groups from around the world to play football, or head off with friends to play golf, then you are an all-out sports tourist.

Places to Visit: Anywhere with a reputation for great golf courses is worth visiting. The Caribbean is filled with beautiful resorts, as is Portugal and the south of Australia – Adelaide and Melbourne, in particular, are golf hot spots Down Under.

Educational Tourist

The academics amongst us will often take an educational holiday. This type of tourism often follows a person who has previously been an anthropologist or archaeologist, and can be used to describe a person either looking to learn a language, understand a culture, or discover why a particular place is the way it is.

Places to Visit: Anywhere you have an interest in and want to learn about!

Your Next Steps

Now that you know the type of tourist you are, or the type you would like to become, it is the perfect time to think about where you want to go on your next holiday.

Use our suggestions of places to visit, or perhaps think of your own based on the category you want to fall into, and explore the possibilities available. If you’re a different type of tourist from the one you thought you’d be, and feel you’re missing out on certain opportunities, then fear not, for you have time to put that right.

This article was contributed by Rob who is a keen traveler having a lot of fun and still trying to work out which type of tourist he is. This year, he plans to become an explorer, traveling across Australia and New Zealand with hired relocation campervans to take in the beauty and majesty of those two countries.

A traveler’s guide to Paris

Paris the beautiful, Paris the greatWHAT TO EXPECT:

Paris is just about the most elegant, beautiful city on earth… in other words very different from London (in London they say “Paris is boring,” but don’t believe it). It’s also very organized—notice all the little green men cleaning everything. It has great vistas, great museums, great monuments, and best of all great food! That said, if you don’t speak French, don’t expect much from the natives. They believe anyone interesting and informed is going to learn French—and generally they have been right! Learn as much as you can and struggle along. And DON’T ever forget to say “Bon Jour” (hello) every time you enter a shop, cafe, or restaurant and DON’T forget to say “Merci” (thank you) every time you are served by someone or leave a shop, cafe, or restaurant. Otherwise you will identify yourself as a hopeless, rude bore unworthy of much attention. Regardless of what you’ve heard the French are not rude—they are in fact unfailingly polite—so make sure you are too or you will feel their wrath.

Gargoyles site on Paris rooftops

Paris gargoyles on the terrace of the so called Notre Dame de Paris

The absolutely first thing I experienced was the smells, the most delicious smells ever, everything around me came into my nose and made me want to eat it! It was such a relief after London!
~Lily has all her olfactory faculties intact.

All of the glamorus people walking about it is easy to stick out like a soar thumb. But if dressed accordingly Paris can be one of the most hospitably places. REALLY. The Parisians have this reputation of looking down on Americans, but as long as you put some effort in to fitting in to their world, nothing can stop you.
~Stella is as glamorous as anyone.

WHERE YOU SHOULD GO:

THE LOUVRE
We shouldn’t have to tell you why you ought to go here. It’s possibly the most famous art museum in the world and with good reason. But be careful: it’s GIGANTIC. Just take a section at a time, you can’t do the whole thing at once or you’ll be dead after four hours. Take one wing and enjoy.

The Louvre Pyramid at sunset Paris

The Louvre Pyramid (Pyramide du Louvre) is a large glass and metal pyramid, surrounded by three smaller pyramids, in the main courtyard (Cour Napoléon) of the Louvre Palace

Ugh. The Italian hall—all those mannerist—just one mediocre painting after another. And it feeds you right into this tiny little room where the Mona Lisa hangs, and where all the tourists who have no interest in painting have only come because they were told that they should. None of them are even LOOKING at this painting that they paid all this money to see, all are just wandering around aimlessly. You have to get as far away from the Italians as you can to enjoy the Louvre at all…
~Isaiah actually loves mannerists…in moderation anyway.

The entire group got lost trying to get out and wound up in the African section which surprisingly was the one of the BEST sections in the entire museum. Beautifully arranged, and wonderfully exhibited. Definitely worth the excursion to the basement.
~Tyson still refuses to carry a map

Leonardo Da Vinci's Mona Lisa

One of the most iconic portraits in the world, the Mona Lisa hangs in the Louvre Museum in Paris.

THE GARE D’ORSAY
Quai d’Orsay
The Louvre is for classic paintings… the Gare d’Orsay is for the more modern. It’s also a beautiful museum, a converted train station hence it’s name. You make your way to the back where the escalators are hidden to go up to the impressionists—Cezanne, Monet, Van Gogh, Degas—for whom the museum is famous, but don’t forget to look for the grand model of the Paris Opera, under the floor… it’s a great view of Paris a century ago, and the model is truly outstanding.

The D’Orsay museum, besides being the mecca of impressionist art, has the most pleasant, comfortable atmosphere. Maybe it is the greenish tone to the light, or the towering ceilings in the main entrance hall, something about it makes me feel as if I am neither in the past nor the future.
~Stella loves open spaces.

It’s filled to the brim with beautiful paintings and it’s a very well laid out museum, but the great surprise comes when you’re wandering along and suddenly you come across this very, very large canvas of a vagina—and it’s MASSIVE—and people are backing away, wanting to look at it, but at the same time really uncomfortable. It’s called the “Origin of the World,” by Courbet and it’s something else.
~Isaiah is still traumatized.

L'Orangerie

Château de Versailles – L’Orangerie

THE ORANGERIE
If the Gare d’Orsay didn’t sate your appetite for impressionists you’ll want to see this (what was once private) collection of first rate stuff. Just walk through the Tulleries when you get out of the Gare d’Orsay. It’s the building just before Place de la Concord.

The center stairway of the Pompidou in Paris

The exterior of the Museum Pompidou, showing the center stairway

THE BEAUBOURG (Centre Georges Pompideau)
OK. Time for a real modern art bonanza. This museum (huge, but then, aren’t they all?) is a mind-boggling event- just wander around and enjoy. We couldn’t get our students to leave, they were enjoying it so much.

The Beaubourg was so awesome… we spent six hours there, had lunch, saw all the exhibits, visited the Hitchcock show… we just kept wandering and gawking. My favorite place in Europe!
~Stella loves Hitchcock

Now this is my kind of museum. Where else can you see psudo-sacriligious drawings by Patti Smith and giant video “bottoms” by Yoko Ono on the same floor!
~Isaiah loves Yoko Ono’s bottoms.

RODIN MUSEUM

Augusto Rodin's famous sculture, The Thinker, at his home in Paris

One of the most iconic sculpture portraits of the 20th century, Rodin’s Museum houses The Thinker

77 Rue de Varenne
Auguste Rodin is apparently the most famous sculptor to come out of France. The palace that houses his collection used to be his studio when he and a dozen or so other artists took over the place when it was on the verge of being demolished. Wander around the expansive sculpture gardens, sit and have a refreshment in the outdoor cafe, and, of course, tour the house with all his works. Rodin lived here, carried on his affairs, and did a monumental bunch of work. The “Gates of Hell” never looked so heavenly.

LE MUSEE DE LA MUSIQUE
Get ready for a surprising, unforgettable trip. You put on headphones and wander near glass encased instruments which begin playing as you approach. You’re taken on a magical mystery tour of musical history, and you’ll come away humming lots of great tunes from great composers. An education unlike any other for which you’ll be grateful the next time you head off to the symphony.

Costumes for the Russian Parade, by Picasso

Costumes for the ballet Parade (The Russian Ballet, Opera)

PICASSO MUSEUM
You could do worse than spend a morning with one of the greatest artists of the 20th century, even if you haven’t ever gotten into his work. This museum has so many outstanding examples of what he did best, it just might change your mind. And if it doesn’t… just fixate on the building, one of the great examples of a French “palace” called “hotel”. Note: take a map, or you might never find this place.

COMEDIE FRANCAIS
2 Rue de Richelieu
What? You can’t speak French? Never mind. You’ll not forget your chance to see a Moliere comedy and keep guessing what they’re saying. No frowns! This company is one of the world’s finest and if you go around to the left side from the front door, around the corner from the entrance, you’ll see a little window. If you show up an hour or so early at that window you can see a great show for less than five dollars. If you can’t figure this is a bargain of a lifetime LEAVE PARIS IMMEDIATELY.

WHERE TO EAT:

Around noon head to one of the great outdoor markets, (try MOUFFETARD) buy some terrific cheese, a baguette, some fruit, some salami (if you like it) and of course, a little wine, and go off to one of the little parks to eat (remember to bring a knife to cut things). It’s the most Parisian thing you can do and WHAT GREAT TASTES! One excellent place for a picnic is at the tip end of the Ille St. Louis, opposite from Notre Dame. Take stairs down to the water and watch the boats pass in the shade of weeping willows.

Fresh fruit and vegetables in Paris

Fruits and vegetables in the rue Mouffetard in Paris.

Ahh, The markets! MERDE! They smell like the epidemi of summer: fresh fruit, flowers, and sunlight. But in Paris everything smells good—even the subway. I invite everyone to smell the subway in Paris, maybe it isn’t fresh cut grass or expensive perfume, but I swear you will never smell anything quite like it.
~Stella

There are falafel bars near Notre Dame, in a little side street called RUE DES ROSIERS which runs parallel to the Seine. It’s often packed so you can’t miss it. Very good food for very little money. Outdoor crepe stands are also good there but beware of the restaurants in that street—most are just tourist traps.

If you’re on a tight budget (and you usually are) save up for at least one great meal, because that’s what Paris is all about. Here’s two or three great ones that aren’t TOO expensive.

A LA BICHE AU BOIS 45 Ave Ledru-Rollin
Here’s one of the few family bistros left in Paris, and here’s a time for you to have a 5 course meal at least. You need a reservation at night, but you can just wait in line for lunch. We had excellent food AND an excellent battle of ideologies inspired by the cutlery there.

Ronald: Stop threatening Lily with your knife!
Isaiah: I’m NOT threatening her… I’m making a point!

Parisian cafe culture

Go to La Place Royal for an exquisite dining experience.

Lunch at BAR VOLTAIRE on the Quai Voltaire across from the Louvre. (NOT at the restaurant next door, which is one of the most expensive. Ask for the PLAT DU JOUR and you’ll get something terrific from the same kitchen, and you also get a terrific french atmosphere. Also one of the highlights is CRUDITIES which is a salad of vegetables, outstanding.

LE PETITE PASCAL 33 rue Pascal
A terrific neighborhood bistro, fairly inexpensive. Lovely food, an atmosphere of locals and you’ll be treated well.
BUT…. IF DADDY’S PAYING:

WILLI’S WINE BAR
13 rue des petits champs
ph: (33) 14.26.10.50.9
World famous. Brilliant food and wine. You’ll need a reservation.

Try the BOUILLON RACINE
3 rue Racine (on the left bank)

Or LE BOOKINISTES
53 Quai des Grands-Augustins
ph: 01.43.25.45.94
People line up for this kind of cuisine.

WHERE YOU WANT TO GO:

You’ll notice most places you want to be in Paris serve coffee. Consider it a national pastime. Some people play sports… others are more civilized.

The beautiful Place des Vosges

Place des Vosges, a historic town square, is the perfect meeting point for celebrations.

PLACE DES VOSGES
Wander through the HOTEL SULLY (right off the Rue de Rivoli down from Bastille) and go into the back garden. Keep going through the door at the end and you’ll wind up in the PLACE DES VOSGES the first of the grand places, architecture all of the same kind. It’s pretty impressive, and the cafe at the end has great coffee and croissants in the morning.

MARCHE ST. CATHERINE
Around the corner from the PLACE DES VOSGES (turn left if you walk a block toward the Picasso Museum) there’s a little square filled with inexpensive cafes you might want to try.

CAFE BEAUBOURG
Right opposite the Museum. Everyone who’s anyone, and ever wanted to be someone, plus a lot of folks that just want to be around them, hang out there, all day and night. It’s great for breakfast—eggs the way you want, the best coffee, juice, croissants, toast all for $12 (well, we didn’t say Paris was cheap.)

On Saturday and Sunday evenings sit upstairs, so you can watch the review. Just go for coffee if you’re needy, but if you can afford it go for lunch, dinner, or just a snack.

CAFE FLOR

Another hangout for the snotty set. Cafe Flor has the best hot chocolate in the world!

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This story was brought up to us by the San Francisco Art and Film for teenagers

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Photo Credits, Flickr Creative Commons, from top:

Paris…, Paris…, by Ӎѧҧ@Ҷҿ

Paris gargoyle, By Moyan_Brenn_BE_BACK_on_3th_SEPT

The Louvre Pyramid at sunset, Paris, by Marco Boekestijn

Mona Lisa, by Joaquín Martínez Rosado

Château de Versailles – L’Orangerie, by Panoramas

Stairz, By Nicolas Hoizey

Close up of The Thinker, By Brian Hillegas

Costumes du ballet Parade (Les Ballets russes, Opéra), by dalbera

Magasin, by besopha

La Place Royal, by BurgTender

Today has been ok., by piermario

Paris, by Moyan_Brenn

Paris – The City of Love

Paris won me over.


The first time I ventured to the city of love I was fifteen, accompanied by my family, exhausted after six weeks of non-stop travelling, encountered terrible weather and wasted two of our four days at Euro Disney. Don’t even bother. If you want Disneyland, go to California, I learnt my lesson.


The second time I went to Paris was purely to see a friend. I was going to bypass the city having nearly written it off after my first disastrous trip. Thank goodness I didn’t. Paris certainly deserved a second chance. It is, after all, the city of love.


There are some areas in Paris that are obvious must-see tourist attractions; The Eiffel Tower, The Louvre Museum, Versailles Palace, Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame Cathedral, Champs-Elysees and Place de la Concorde. However, as in any city, there are hidden gems that many tourists unwittingly bypass.


If you’re planning a trip to Paris and want to try something a bit different, give these suggestions a go.

1. Check out Saint Severin Church in the Latin Quarter.

This Roman Catholic Church is one of the oldest remaining churches standing on the Left Bank and continues to be used as a place of worship. The building was started in the 11th century, however many of its features date from the 15th century.
This church is worth checking out primarily for its ancient stained-glass windows which were inspired by the seven sacraments of the Catholic Church. This little gem is right in the middle of the city, and hardly any tourists know of its beauty so make sure you check it out on your wanderings!

2. Shakespeare and Co Bookshop, right by the Notre Dame.

This shop is what I would classify as an ‘adorable Parisian shop.’ It’s traditional and rustic with lots of nooks and crannies. Any book from here would be a great addition to any library.
The shop opened in 1951 as Le Mistral, and was renamed in 1964 as a tribute to the original Shakespeare and Co Bookshop which shut down during the German occupation of Paris. The shop has featured in popular films, Before Sunset and Midnight in Paris.




3. Picnics by the Seine River

There’s something about a picnic in Paris that seems more magical than a picnic anywhere else. There are a few grocery stores around the inner city which are perfect for picking up some picnic worthy food – cheese and crackers, pastries and fruit, wine… When the weather is warm, there’s nothing like sitting on the banks of one of the most famous rivers in the world and taking in the Parisian scene. Definitely give it a try!

4. Montmartre

This 130 meter high hill in the north of Paris is one of the most popular neighborhoods to explore. Primarily known for its white-domed Basilica of the Sacre Coeur on the hill’s summit, this neighborhood also has a strong nightlife. While you’re exploring this area, make sure you check out the vineyard, vigne de Montmartre. It is the most famous of the Parisian vineyard and while its wine is rather expensive the earnings are used to help social institutions, so you can feel charitable at the same time!

5. The Cinematheque Francaise near Bercy

For anyone who loves films, The Cinematheque Francaise is quite a find. It holds the world’s largest collection of film archives, movie documents and film related objects. The Cinematheque also screens films around around the world daily – perfect if you’ve got a couple of hours to spare!

6. Le Marais

This impressive district of Paris holds many architecturally outstanding buildings which also hold a lot of historical significance to the area. The area has become a fashionable district over the past fifty years, becoming home to many art galleries, trendy restaurants, and fashion houses. While you’re in the Marais district, be sure to check out the Place des Vosges, which is the oldest planned square in Paris. It is placed on the border of the 3rd and 4th arrondissements and was built by Henri IV from 1605-1612




7. Christmas in Paris

If you happen to spend Christmas in Paris make sure you stop by Galeries Lafayettes, the ten-story department building in the 9th arrondissement. The Christmas decorations and their giant Christmas tree is quite an extravagant site and sure to get you into the Christmas spirit.

8. Jardin des Plantes and Luxembourg Gardens

Jardin des Plantes is France’s main botanical garden. It covers 28 hectares and is one of seven departments of the Museum national d’historie naturelle. The gardens house a labyrinth which makes exploring the gardens especially inspiring.
The Jardin du Luxembourg, or Luxembourg Gardens is the second largest public park in Paris. It covers 22.5 hectares and is the garden of the French Senate. It is integrated extremely well into the city life around it which makes it very popular and easily accessible for all. Many French locals enjoy strolling through the park, playing chess, reading, enjoying the cafes or puppet theatres and renting a toy sailboat.
There are many nooks and crannies to explore in these gardens and they also make an excellent place for a spring or summer picnic.




9. Bois de Vincennes

This English style park to the east of Paris is one of those ‘gems’ that frequently are bypassed by tourists in favor of the Eiffel Tower and other such attractions. The park is three times larger than New York’s Central Park and four times larger than London’s Hyde Park with 2,458 acres to its name. Bois de Vincennes was originally a hunting preserve for the Kings of France but now features four lakes, several sports venues, a zoo which is home to many unique animals such as Asian elephants and a heard of mouflons, playgrounds and expansive gardens.

10. Rue Mouffetard

Rue Mouffetard is a personal favorite and one of the most vibrant and lively streets I’ve come across in Paris. The street is in the 5th and is part of Paris’s oldest neighborhoods. The street, which is mainly pedestrian, has many restaurants, shops, cafes and open markets. Definitely one to check out, if not for the shopping then at least for the atmosphere!







Shakespeare and Co Bookshop image (c) Laertes
Rivoli Marais Image (c)Wikipedia

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