Sous le ciel de Paris: A small Parisian guide (Pt.1)
(Reading: 7 minutes) / Photography: Andrea Ochoa
Thomas Jefferson once said that “A walk about Paris will provide lessons in history, beauty, and in the point of life.” After a few weeks in this city, I could not agree more with his phrase. It is not coincidence that Paris is the most visited city in the world: the list of places to see and things to do is endless. So, I share with you the first part of my Parisian guide, with some of my favorite places. Do not miss these musts!
- Eiffel Tower
It is the ideal place to start a tour in Paris. Why? The Eiffel Tower is the symbol of the city. This controversial iron structure was built for the Universal Exhibition of Paris in 1889. Climbing to the top to contemplate the views of Paris is a must. Fun fact: it is the most photographed building in the world.
- Museum of Orsay
Without a doubt, my favorite museum in Paris. Originally, this place was a railway station: the Gare d’Orsay. Subsequently, it was mail center and even hotel. It was until 1975 when it opened its doors as a museum of 19th century art. Featured works by Edgar Degas, Paul Signac, Vincent Van Gogh, Claude Monet, Toulouse-Lautrec, Auguste Renoir and Aguste Rodin are in it.
- Walking along the Seine River and the Alexandre III Bridge
Walking the Seine River is a real must: whether walking, running or on a boat. Watching the sunset from the Alexandre III Bridge is a unique experience: you can watch the sunset with the Eiffel Tower as the background.
WHERE TO EAT ? Chez Francis
Chez Francis is ideal if you want to enjoy an aperitif, dinner or drinks with a view of the Eiffel Tower. The menu is exquisite, and although I personally like it more for dinner, any time of day is amazing with that view. You cannot miss the cheese Saint-Marcellin de la Mére Richard accompanied by wine, the Filet Chateau and the Vanilla Crème Brulee, great!
Address: 7 Place de l’Alma, 75008 Paris
- Champs Elysees Theater
It is a mixture of classic style and art deco, built in 1913 by the architect Auguste Perret and the sculptor Antoine Bourdelle. It is the seat of the National Orchestra of France, so enjoying a concert of classical music, a work or ballet, is a must.
- Palais Galliera
For those who love fashion, this museum is a must. Originally it belonged to the Duchess of Galliera, but in 1977 it became the Museum of the Fashion of Paris. It exhibits temporary exhibitions of French design and costumes, from the 18th century to the present day. The collection consists of 70.000 items, including clothing by Marie-Antoinette, Louis XVII and Napoleon Bonaparte, as well as 20th century designers such as Balenciaga, Balmain, Dior, Chanel, Jean Paul Gaultier, Yves Saint Laurent, among others.
GOING OUT? Le Malabar
This bar has an alternative style and the food is great. Whether it’s for a starter, a small dinner, a few drinks or attending the classic Sunday brunch, this place is a must. I recommend you try the Tartare de Boeuf and “The Channel”, a gin drink with a touch of mint and fruit.
Address: 88 Rue Saint-Dominique, 75007 Paris
- Pont des Arts and Pont Neuf
Although the tradition of lovers locking bridges goes back to Rome, the Bridge of Arts and the Neuf Bridge are famous in Paris. In any case, if you do not want to put a padlock, the view of the Seine River is incredible from both bridges.
- Notre Dame
Built between 1163 and 1345, the Cathedral of Notre Dame (Our Lady) is one of the oldest Gothic chapels in the world and is dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The coronation of Napoleon Bonaparte, the beatification of Joan of Arc and the coronation of Henry VI of England were carried out in this one. There is a viewpoint at the top of the towers, and you can visit the bell tower where the mythical Hunchback of Notre Dame lived.
Cradle of existentialist thinking in Paris, this neighborhood became one of the most prominent places of Parisian intellectual and cultural life at the end of World War II. Brasseries, cafes and jazz nights could not be missed in the golden age of Jean Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir. Although 17th century buildings are preserved, renowned designers and artists have boutiques on the avenue Saint-Germain-des-Prés.
WHERE TO TAKE COFFEE? Café de Flore
A classic: this café dates back to the 1880s and has been the meeting place for politicians, intellectuals and artists such as Jean-Paul Sartre, Picasso, Simone de Beauvoir, Ernest Hemingway, Truman Capote, among others. I recommend you try the Flore Special Chocolate and the Opéra Cake, delicious!
Address: 172 Boulevard Saint-Germain, 75006 Paris
- Luxembourg Gardens
Located between the Saint-Germain-des-Prés district and the Latin Quarter, the Luxembourg Garden is inspired by the Florentine Boboli garden. It was created by the initiative of the queen Marie de Médicis in 1612 and is divided in two: one part with French style and the other with English style. Photographic exhibitions are shown in the bars and there are concerts at the kiosk periodically.
- The Sorbonne
The Sorbonne is the historic university of Paris. This Faculty of Literature and Humanities was founded in 1257 by Robert de Sorbonne and reformed by Cardinal Richelieu. His famous professors and students include Pierre and Marie Curie, Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, René Descartes, Louis Pasteur, Lavoisier, Victor Hugo, among others.
- Pantheon of Paris
This building in the heart of the Latin Quarter was the first major monument in Paris. Its construction was carried out between 1764 and 1790, and shows a combination of Gothic architecture with Greek architecture. Under the Third Republic and coinciding with the funeral of Victor Hugo, the Pantheon became a building destined to lodge the bodies of the illustrious men: Voltaire, Rousseau, Victor Hugo, Marie Curie, Louis Braille, Jean Monnet, among others.
WHERE TO EAT ? Au P’tit Grec
Definitely the best crepes I’ve tried in Paris. This place lost in the alleys of the Latin Quarter, has the P’tit Grec, a crepe with grilled aubergines, feta cheese, salad, tomato and onion, delicious!
Address: 68 Rue Mouffetard, 75005 Paris
- Catacombs of Paris
This network of underground tunnels was converted into a common cemetery in 1786, because many of the city’s cemeteries had run out of space. It is estimated that more than six million corpses were placed in the limestone mines of Roman times, by orders of the Paris police. Definitely, a weird must.
- Institute of the Arab World
This work, designed by the French architect Jean Nouvel in 1987, is a center for the dissemination of Arab culture. Both the design and the exhibitions are extremely interesting, and the terrace offers one of the best views of Notre Dame while you can enjoy my favorite food: Lebanes aet Le Ziriab by Noura restaurant, such a must!
These are just some places that you definitely cannot miss if you visit in Paris. Don’t miss the second part of this Parisian guide!