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One of our favorite French words is flâner. It means “to stroll,” but has a much more idle connotation, evoking the idea of wandering without an end point in mind. From time-to-time, it does the soul good to simply head out to see just what the day, and the city, has to offer. To help you get started, we’ve put together seven summer walks in Paris, from the Bois de Boulogne to the Promenade Plantée, which will take you past some beautifully iconic Parisian spots. After that, where your feet take you is the responsibility of your inner flâneur.

7 Summer Walks in Paris

Bastille to the Promenade Plantée

This is the perfect stroll to take on a Thursday or Sunday morning, so you can take a tour around the Marché Bastille. If you’re feeling so inclined, pick up some delicious seasonal fruit, fresh bread and perhaps a koign amman or two from the Breton crepe-making stand (just get them and thank me later).

Head from the market to the left, past the front of the Opéra Bastille, and take a left on rue de Lyon. It’s only about a five minute walk to the fork in the road with avenue Daumesnil, and you’ll find the entrance to the Coulée verte, the former railway-turned-elevated-park, on the left. Take the stairs up and enjoy the greenery as you stroll along.

The Jardin de Reuilly is roughly a 20-minute walk away and is where the park returns to street level. You can stop here to enjoy the picnic you picked up at the market, or continue another 10 minutes to the Promenade plantée to settle on the grass there.

Rue de Seine to the Eiffel Tower

This scenic walk will take you through the 6th and 7th arrondissements of Paris, two of the prettiest in the city (partly the reason why so many of our Paris Perfect apartments are located here). Start at the top of rue de Seine, just behind the Institut de France, at the Square Gabriel Pierné. If you’re there in the springtime, you’ll see the trees in the square covered with beautiful pink cherry blossoms, but if not, the stone book benches are worth checking out, and you can fill your water bottle at the drinking fountain. Staying hydrated on these walks is so important!

Head south down rue de Seine. There are lots of galleries in this neighborhood, so take time to peruse the art through the windows as you stroll. Next, you have two options: you can either take a right on rue Jacob, or you can continue down and take a right on boulevard Saint Germain.

The first option will lead you down rue Jacob, which turns into rue de l’Université, a straight walk to the Eiffel Tower. Along the way, you’ll pass many old hôtels particuliers, mansions once inhabited by the French nobility, and past the back of the Assemblée Nationale (National Assembly, or parliament building), before crossing the Esplanade des Invalides. Continue along rue de l’Université, until you reach the Eiffel Tower. You’ll find yourself at one of the best viewpoints of the Iron Lady from the ground, framed by Haussmannian style buildings. This walk will take you about 45 minutes total.

The second option will lead you past the classic cafés made most popular by the American literary set of the early 1900s, such as Les Deux Magots, Café de Flore and Brasserie Lipp. Keep walking to the west until you reach the fork in the road by the Solferino metro station. Take the left fork onto rue Saint Dominique. You’ll stay on this street until you reach the Champ de Mars, but it will first take you over the Esplanade des Invalides and past the Le Recrutement Café, which is now one of the most Instagrammable views of the Eiffel Tower (are you following us on Instagram yet?). If you’re not in a hurry, there is plenty of shopping on rue Saint Dominique, or you can stop for a bite at Café Constant or Les Cocottes. This walk is a bit longer and will probably take around an hour.

Arc de Triomphe to Fondation Louis Vuitton

If you enjoy bookending your walks in Paris with French cultural institutions, this walk is for you! Start at the Place de l’Étoile, where the Arc de Triomph sits, and head down Avenue Foch. As you walk, admire the beautiful Haussmannian buildings of the 16th arrondissement on either side.

It’s a roughly 20-minute walk to Porte Dauphine, where you’ll take the third exit off the traffic circle to cross over the périphérique (ring road) and into the Bois de Boulogne. While you can stay on the road the rest of the way, we recommend you take the first left onto the Route de l’Étoile path and enjoy a more tranquil walk surrounded by  greenery.

Once you’ve crossed the Allée de Longchamp, veer to the right onto Route Sablonneuse, which will take you straight to the Fondation Louis Vuitton. As beautiful as it is from the outside, we recommend heading inside to check out whatever exhibitions they have on at the time or head to an open spot on the grass to enjoy a picnic should you choose to bring food.

Alternatively, this walk could be done in reverse, if you prefer to take the shuttle out to the free Fondation Louis Vuitton and then make your way back to the Arc de Triomphe to climb it and watch the sun set over the city; it’s the best Eiffel Tower view in town!

Lamarck-Caulaincourt to Abbesses

Although these metro stops are next to each other on the line 12, you miss so much of the gorgeous neighborhood of Montmartre by staying underground! This walk does require some upstairs treks at the beginning, so it’s perhaps not one to do on a day when you’re tired, but consider it a free pass to reward yourself with a treat later.

Start at the metro station Lamarck-Caulaincourt. Once you’ve exited, turn around and walk up the stairs that come around the entrance to the metro. Pause at the top and turn around for one of the most iconic views over that part of the city. Cross the street and walk up next to the little square (Square Joel Le Tac), until you reach the stairs on rue Girandon. Take the stairs to the top, and you’ll find yourself on a corner. To the left, you’ll see the top of the Sacré-Cœur. Head in this direction. You’ll pass the now Instagram-famous La Maison Rose.

Take a left after passing La Maison Rose, and go downhill for two more iconic Parisian sites: the Clos Montmartre, the only vineyard left in the neighborhood, and Le Lapin Agile, one of Montmartre’s first cabarets. Go right after the vineyard on rue Saint Vincent, back up the hill, until you reach Square Marcel Bleustein Blanchet, a lovely little garden with the most beautiful view over the back of Sacré-Cœur. It’s the perfect place to stop for a rest, a picnic, or just to fill up your water bottle and admire the basilica.

Once you’re ready to move on, take the road that loops around the back of the basilica, and then a right onto rue du Chevalier de la Barre, heading into the heart of Montmartre’s bustling artsy/shopping district. At the end of that street, another left and a right will land you on the famed Place du Tertre, where you can watch the artists at work and perhaps even buy a piece for yourself. If you walk around to the far (southwest) corner of the square, you’ll find a long staircase at the end of that street. Head down (but not before taking in the view) and continue (nearly) straight on rue Drevet, which will curve down to the right and take you straight to the Place des Abbesses. In the park on the right, you’ll find the Mur de Je t’aime, with “I Love You” written 311 times in 250 languages.

If you’d like to head to another part of the city, you can hop on the metro, but we recommend strolling down the rue des Abbesses and finding an open spot on a terrasse, to sip a cold drink and people watch- as the Parisians do.

Square du Temple to Place des Vosges

The historic Marais neighborhood is one of the most popular in Paris with locals and tourists alike, and for good reason. There are so many hidden gems tucked into its little nooks and crannies. We’ll start this walk up at the beautiful Square du Temple, which has a great neighborhood feel thanks to an open-grassy area for picnickers and a play structure for children (if you’re staying in one of our Marais apartments, you’ll be right next door!). If you need a pick-me-up pre-walk, grab a coffee at The Broken Arm on the north side of the square.

Head next to the south side of the square and take a left onto rue de Bretagne; our first stop is at the Marché des Enfants Rouges, the capital’s oldest market. Stroll between the stalls. Here you’ll find everything from fresh fruit and vegetables to Moroccan and Japanese cuisine to fresh Italian cannoli. If you’re a bit peckish, we recommend grabbing a sandwich from the legendary Chez Alain Miam Miam, or grab some picnicking materials if you plan to sit out on Place des Vosges at the end of the walk.

Head out the other side of the market, stopping to peruse the photos from the vintage shop on the right and to smell the flowers of the florist on the left as you leave. Take a right back onto rue de Bretagne, continuing down to take a right on rue Vieille du Temple. There are lots of shops on this street, and many of them French brands, warranting a pause at their windows. Continue down this street, and you’ll pass the famed crêperie Breizh Café on your right, before seeing a park full of rosebushes on your left, perfectly framing the back of the Musée Picasso behind it. Two more blocks and you’ll take a left hand turn onto rue des Francs Bourgeois.

If you opted not to get a coffee earlier, you may want to make a pit stop at Le Voltigeur. The staff enjoys writing little notes on the tops of their cappuccinos in chocolate syrup. Keep heading straight down rue des Francs Bourgeois and it will take you straight to Place des Vosges. Settle onto a bench in the park to people watch, plop on the grass for a picnic and to soak up some sun or walk around the the square, peeking into the art galleries and ogling the delicious pastries at Carette.

Shakespeare & Company to Port Royal

We love this iconic Left Bank bookstore, from its history to its charmingly stuffed bookshelves to the killer view of Notre Dame, so it’s the perfect place to start this walk. Head into the store and pick up a book; you may want it later, and there are a number of great books based in Paris that the store keeps right at the front- and then stop next door for a quick coffee at the Shakespeare & Co Café. Don’t grab a pastry though- we’re saving that for our next stop!

Take a right after the cafe and go down rue Saint-Julien le Pauvre, then take a left on rue Galande. Your next destination is a nondescript brown façade hiding the most delicious Swedish-style cinnamon rolls in Paris- Circus Bakery. Grab one to go, then continue on rue Galande, until you take a right on rue Lagrange, which will put you directly by the Marché Maubert at the Maubert-Mutualité metro station. Take a stroll through the market; whether or not you actually buy anything is irrelevant to the French market experience, unless you’re stocking up for a picnic.

To the west of the market, on the right hand side, hop on rue de Carmes and head straight for the Pantheon. This stunning building in the Latin Quarter was a former church dedicated to and housing the reliquary of Saint Geneviève, the patron saint of Paris, and is now a mausoleum housing the remains of France’s most important citizens. If you look to your left when standing in front of the Pantheon at the end of the street, you’ll see the church now bearing her name and the steps made famous when Owen Wilson caught a car to the past in the film Midnight in Paris.

Walk around the front of the Pantheon and you’ll see the street that leads directly down into the Jardin du Luxembourg, our main destination for this walk. Stroll through the gardens and find a classic green garden chair to sit. You have a cinnamon roll to eat and a book to read, after all. It’s one of the most ideal places to while away a day, with excellent people watching and a diversity of scenery not found in every park in Paris.

You can end the walk as you wish, but we recommend walking down the Jardin des Grands Explorateurs towards Port Royal and stopping for a drink on the terrasse at La Closerie des Lilas. If you’re lucky, you’ll enjoy the live music the restaurant often has!

Berges de Seine to Pont Marie

What could be more idyllic than a summer stroll along the Seine? This is perhaps the simplest walk on our list, but one of the most scenic and diverse at the same time; you’ll see most of Paris’ most celebrated landmarks along your way. Depending where you’re coming from, you can either start at Pont de l’Alma or Pont Alexandre III, but in either case, we recommend starting on the Rive Gauche, or the south side of the river. Most of this walk used to be highways that ran along the river, but starting with the Berges de Seine in 2013, have slowly been transformed into green spaces for Parisians to enjoy. These parks all along the river now bear the name Parc des Rives de Seine.

Walking along the quai, you’ll pass the Pont Alexandre III and Les Invalides on your right, with Concorde and the Tuileries across the river to your right. On either side of the Pont Alexandre, you’ll find outdoor restaurants and bars where you can stop and have a drink or a snack along the way. We recommend crossing the river at the Passage Leopold-Sedar-Senghor, a wooden pedestrian bridge in front of the Musée d’Orsay which has stairs that lead down to the quai, as well as a connection to the street level. From there, you can admire the Musée d’Orsay on your right and the Tuileries and Musée du Louvre on your left.

Continue down the quais on the Rive Droite, or north side of the river, passing under the Pont Royal, Pont des Arts (former love lock bridge), and the Pont Neuf (Paris’..

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If you’re coming to Paris, or visiting any of the American museums that offer a collection French Impressionist paintings, you must read The Judgement of Paris by Ross King. It’s as good as an excellent mystery, and you’ll be spellbound as the incredible story of the birth of Impressionism in Paris unfolds.

The Judgement of Paris

The title is brilliant because it refers to two mythic events which changed the world. The book itself is about the judgment of paintings to be displayed at the bi-annual “Salon” in the 1860s and the birth of Impressionism.

The double entrendre is an event in Greek mythology from Homer’s Iliad where a golden apple must be presented to the most beautiful goddess in the world.  Zeus orders the handsome, Trojan mortal, Paris, to judge world – either Athena, Hera or Aphrodite. With much, much difficulty and much temptation by the other two goddesses in the contest, Paris chooses Aphrodite, who has offered him the world’s most beautiful (mortal) woman. Hera was furious, and the result led to the Trojan War. In scale and outcome, the two events were equally significant.

The Salon selection committee was the most important in the art world, and for painters, it meant months of work to prepare their works for submission in early spring. The Salon was everything for them. Ross notes: “The Salon was a rare venue for artists to expose their wares to the public … One of the greatest spectacles in Europe, it was an even more popular attraction, in terms of the crowds it drew, than public executions.”  The Salon lasted for only six weeks, but drew a million people!  Artists would do anything to be displayed there, for having your painting(s) chosen meant future clients who would buy your works.

Credit: One of the most popular paintings at the Salon

The Turning Point: The Salon of 1863

The book’s story beings with the most famous painter in the world at the time, Ernest Meissonier. He was the darling of the art world, known for accurate, detailed paintings which achieved the highest prices in the art world (He’s unknown today). It’s a cautionary tale for all and reminds me of the great stories of investment manias – from tulip bulbs in the 1400s (Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds) that were worth a king’s ransom to real estate in Las Vegas in 2005.

Credit: Another popular painting at the Salon

Imagine the salon of 1863: over 2,000 paintings in a salon over 250 yards long.  Everything was mixed together. The most popular paintings were by Jean Leon Jerome and touched all the points: Intricate, delicately eroci from ancient Rome and Greece. The ideals of the era were to stick with copying classical art and its stories. The painters who were admitted to the famous Salon stuck to that, and the biggest paintings of the era were in them. Painting ordinary people or outdoor scenes just wasn’t done.

Meissonier was brilliant at detail. In fact, he was so accurate in his paintings that this wealthy painter ordered white flour to be poured over his large garden so horses could walk through it, which would enable him to accurately paint their hooves in “snow.” Today, this painting can be seen in Musée d’Orsay.

I love this painting. Look at the dirty snow the horses are trotting on. Yes, this was replicated by Meissonier in the form of tons of flour across his château gardens, where he then trotted real horses across it.

And for the painting above, Meissonier built a railroad track and small wagon that could “run” across his gardens while horses galloped next to it! Not sure he got all the movement down correctly, but it wasn’t for lack of trying.

Things Started to Change

In another room of the Salon was a strange painting by Jean Francois Millet: Man with a Hoe. Not pretentious, just a rustic scene of working peasants. Many critics hated the painting, and the head of the selection committee called it “Democratic Art.” But that was in fact the revolution that became Impressionism.

I wont spoil the story, but then comes along a little-known artist called Eduard Manet, who failed to sell paintings for all of his life. Because the judges were devoted to the Italian Renaissance painters and classical scenes  – from noble and religious themes – to exact styles.

It began when a young group of painters thought it would be interesting to paint outdoors, starting with Eduard Manet. The idea of natural painting was so unheard of that Manet and other artists copied the body movements and positions from paintings at the Louvre, but laid them outside. Manet was a painter in his 30s and fortunate to be supported by his mother. He was persistent and a constant failure.

The most famous salon was that of 1863. The new style Manet painted was actually outdoors and for ordinary people, similar to Millet’s Man with a Hoe. 1863 marks the year when most of the new style of painters – Courbet, Manet, Pissarro, Whistler, Jongkind – were rejected. After complaints, the Emperor allowed their paintings to be shown in another part of the Salon, and thus was named the famous “Salon of Rejects” or Salon des Refuses.

Credit: Salon des Refues

Manet is the opposing character and an unknown artist. Before, most artists relied on classic paintings in the Louvre to copy scenes and even movement. Manet strangely thought to paint people of that era, but in similar positions to classics. When one of his paintings was finally admitted to the Salon, he was humiliated by the reaction of the world. When he tried to stage his own salon with Impressionist friends, it too was a failure.

Dejeuner sur l’Herbe was accepted for the 1963 Salon. This painting so insulted the world that Manet was publicly ridiculed. It showed real people of the 1800s, dressed in clothes of that period … sitting outdoors on the grass. Horror! No mythic story, no religious story, but everyday life – almost. I’ve never quite latched onto why the young men with top hats would be sitting with nude young women… but Manet was testing his new ideas.

And this painting of Manet shocked the entire world! Yes, traditional painters showed nude women, but always in pretense to be doing something else. This was a naked woman in full.

Contrast Olympia above with the painting that sold for a fortune at the same time; completely lewd and erotic, but done with a classic theme! That was okay.

Interestingly, it was wealthy Americans who appreciated this new style of art. They bought many for a pittance and brought them home.  That’s why you find many impressionist paintings in the United States.

MUSEUMS IN PARIS

If you’re coming to Paris, you must visit the Musée d’Orsay, as well as the Musée Marmottan Monet! The Orsay is world famous for its impressionist paintings, as well as classical paintings that have been forgotten!

The Musée Marmottan Monet is a jewel and has the world’s largest collection of Claude Monet’s paintings, including the painting which gave the name, Impressionists. If you read one book this month, The Judgment of Paris is my suggestion!

The post The Judgement of Paris: A Must-Read Book About Impressionism appeared first on Paris Perfect.

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For many around the world, France is instantly equated to great wine. While we can’t argue that the French do know their wine, but did you know they also produce excellent liquors? If you’ve traveled to Paris without trying these French spirits, you’ve been missing out! Diverse and intriguing, many of these drink just as well alone as they do in a cocktail. We’ve rounded up a list of French spirits for you to sip and savor while visiting Paris.

French Spirits to Taste on Your Trip to Paris

Calvados

This is an apple or pear based brandy hailing from the Normandy region. Dating back to the 1500s, it bore the name “Calvados” long before the department from which it hails, which was officially named Calvados after the French Revolution. 70% of the production of Calvados bears the AOC label, which means the geographic location of the apples or pears grown for Calvados, as well as the production process, is regulated. AOC Calvados must be aged for two years in oak barrels!

Drink it: neat or on the rocks, in a balloon glass, and accompanied by cheese or chocolate if you so choose.

Credit: Chartreuse

Chartreuse

Named for the Chartreuse Mountains, a section of the French Alps near Grenoble, chartreuse is a green or yellow liqueur made with 130 herbs and spices. It has been made by the Carthusian Monks for over 250 years, and the recipe remains a secret to this day. Yellow chartreuse is 40% ABV (alcohol by volume), while green chartreuse is stronger at 55%.

Drink it:either alone (preferably on the rocks) or in the classic Chartreuse cocktail Last Word (which also includes Ginebra, Marrasquino and Lima).

Pastis

If you’ve ever visited Marseille or the south of France, you’ve probably seen people drinking pastis, an anise-flavored liqueur. Its popularity in this part of France stems from two reasons: Paul Ricard, who created the first brand of pastis, was from Marseille; and anise-based liquors are a Mediterranean tradition, such a sambuca in Italy. Pastis is typically drank diluted with five parts water to one part pastis.

Drink it: at Chez Janou in the Marais, which has an incredible selection of over 80 different kinds of pastis, as well as delicious Provençal dishes, if you’re looking for a true southern experience in the heart of the capital. Check out our apartments in the Marais to be just a short walk from the restaurant!

Credit: Cointreau

Cointreau

This triple sec is predominantly known for being an ingredient in other cocktails, such as margaritas, but is also consumed on its own as a digestif. Its creator, Adolphe Cointreau, was a confectioner, and his distillery saw its greatest success in the orange liquor.

Drink it: added to your favorite cocktail; we suggest a variety of margaritas!

Credit; Lillet

Lillet

Lillet is an interesting case among the aperitif liqueurs. Like vermouth, it’s an aromatized wine, made of 85% Bordeaux wines and 15% citrus liqueur, which brings the ABV up to 17%, a bit higher than most regular wines. Invented in 1887 by the Lillet brothers, it gained international popularity when mentioned as an ingredient in the Vesper, a twist on a martini created for the James Bond novel Casino Royale. The original was white, but the company now makes rosé and red versions.

Drink it: on the rocks with a slice of orange, or mixed with tonic water–ideally on the balcony of your Paris Perfect apartment.

Cognac

Cognac is a classic French spirit that has slowly been coming back into style in the world’s cocktail bars over the past few years. Made of grapes and barrel aged for a minimum of two years, according to the AOC rules, it’s produced in the region around the town for which it is named, and the majority (especially the big name companies) are made by blending different ages and vineyards of Cognacs together. This helps create a uniformity of taste between bottles in more commercialized companies, and also allows for complexities that you don’t get in a production from a single year and vineyard.

Drink it: neat, if it’s an aged Cognac, to really taste the nuances of flavor or in a cocktail like the sidecar if a younger Cognac.

Armagnac

Like its more popular cousin, Armagnac is a French spirit made from a blend of four different types of grapes, grown in the Armagnac region of Gascony, southwest of Bordeaux. If only distilled and not aged, the resulting eau de vie (a clear, colorless fruit brandy) is called Blanche Armagnac and is controlled under the AOC label. To go from eau de vie to brandy, it must be aged in oak barrels for a minimum of one year. The main differences between Armagnac and Cognac are the grape blend used to make it and the distillation (one distillation for Armagnac, two for cognac).

Drink it: neat or in fruit-based cocktails.

Credit: Bénédictine

Bénédictine

Like Chartreuse, Bénédictine is an herbal-based French spirit made of 27 herbs and spices. It was developed by a wine merchant named Alexandre Le Grand in 1863, allegedly based on a 16th century medicinal recipe created by a monk named Vincelli, and reportedly only three living people know the recipe at any given time. Bénédictine is an intriguing blend of herbs, cognac based and is included in classic cocktails such as the Singapore Sling.

Drink it: either neat or in a cocktail, like a Vieux Carré, or as a replacement for vermouth in a Manhattan.

Pommeau

This aperitif drink is made by mixing two parts apple juice with one part apple brandy, either the aforementioned Calvados, from Normandy, or its sister brandy Lambig, from Brittany. Once mixed, it’s aged for nearly 30 months to achieve its smooth, sweet flavor. It has its own AOC label for each of the two regions.

Drink it: on its own, chilled, accompanied by melon, foie gras or blue cheese.

Mirabelle Liqueur

Made of mirabelles, the small, sweet yellow plums that are a specialty of the Lorraine region, this eau de vie has a sweet, crisp flavor. Rather than aging in oak casks like a brandy, eaux de vie are aged in stainless steel casks so that the flavor of the wood doesn’t affect the flavor of the drink. Mirabelles are grown throughout the world, but 80% of their commercial production comes from the Lorraine region, around Nancy and Metz.

Drink it: as a digestif, after a meal (generally one where alcohol has already been served).

Grand Marnier

When thinking of Grand Marnier, most of us think of their iconic Cordon Rouge bottle. While this isn’t the only spirit the company makes, it’s certainly the most popular- a blend of Cognacs infused with Caribbean-sourced oranges.

Drink it: either neat, as a replacement for Cointreau or triple sec in classic cocktails like the Cosmopolitan, or eat it in the form of a Grand Marnier crêpe!

Crème de Cassis

This sweet liqueur was created in the Burgundy region and is made of blackcurrants (cassis in French). While the fruits are grown all over the world, French crème de cassis is protected under a PGI (protected geographical indication) to ensure that a Crème de Cassis de Bourgogne only contains blackcurrants grown in the Bourgogne (Burgundy) region, or more specifically in the commune of Dijon, if mentioned on the label. While occasionally served as a digestif, it’s more common to find it mixed with other alcohols.

Drink it: mixed with white wine for the cocktail called a kir, or with champagne for a kir royal.

Have you tried any of these French spirits? Which was your favorite?

The post Santé! 12 French Spirits to Taste on Your Trip to Paris appeared first on Paris Perfect.

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The grand train stations in Paris capture the nostalgic romance of travel. SNCF’s six large mainline terminus stations connect the city to its suburbs, France’s regions and international destinations.

Grand Train Stations in Paris

Their names provide clues to their locations and the regions they serve. All can be reached easily by Metro (subway). Designed to impress, these majestic landmarks are rich in history, architecture and art. Tempting shops, cafés and restaurants provide reasons to linger, with handy services and even free pianos available to play. And naturally, you’ll find stylish Paris Perfect holiday apartments within reach.

Gare du Nord

Dating from 1864, Gare du Nord (Station of the North) lies just north of the city center. The stone façade resembles a triumphal arch, crowned with statues representing Paris and destination cities. Europe’s busiest station serves northern France, including Lille, Boulogne and Calais, plus Paris’ northern suburbs. It’s the hub for Eurostar trains to London, and high-speed Thalys connections to Brussels, Amsterdam and Cologne. Take regional express line RER B for Charles de Gaulle Airport.

The station’s cinematic architecture has graced movies Amélie, The Bourne Identity and Ocean’s Twelve. Inside there’s restaurant L’Étoile du Nord, Paul bakery, luggage lockers, currency exchange and shops. Art Deco brasserie Terminus Nord beckons outside. Source local produce at historic covered Marché Saint-Quentin nearby. 18 rue de Dunkerque, 75010

Gare de l’Est

Also in the 10th, Gare de l’Est is ten minutes’ walk from Gare du Nord (or take the bus or Metro). One of the largest and oldest train stations in Paris, the elegant 1849 building features lofty sculptures of cities Strasbourg and Verdun. The first Orient Express train for Istanbul left from here in 1883, and the station still hosts the luxe blue-liveried Venice Simplon-Orient-Express trains. A monumental mural by American Albert Herter in the main hall depicts World War I soldiers departing for battle.

Trains connect to eastern France (including Nancy, Strasbourg, Metz and Reims), Germany (Stuttgart and Frankfurt) and Luxembourg, plus Paris’ eastern suburbs. For refueling, head to rooftop bar Le Perchoir de l’Est or brasserie La Consigne. Services span boutiques, Marks & Spencer Food, left-luggage and currency exchange. Place du 11 Novembre 1918, 75010

Gare Montparnasse

In southwest Paris, the 1840-founded Gare Montparnasse was once called Gare de l’Ouest (Station of the West). The original station was famous for a dramatic 1895 derailment, when a train crashed out through the building, ending up nose down in the street. It was also where Paris’ German military governor surrendered to a French general in August 1944, after disobeying an order from Hitler to destroy the city.

The historic station was replaced in 1969 with today’s modern edifice. Its old adjacent site now houses Tour Montparnasse, offering panoramic views from its 56th-floor observation deck (see our Montparnasse guide). The station’s inter-city TGV Atlantique trains serve Brittany, Bordeaux and southwest France, taking in Chartres, Le Mans, Rennes, Saint-Malo, Nantes, La Rochelle, Biarritz, Lourdes and Toulouse. Transilien line N goes to Versailles-Chantiers station. Facilities include left-luggage, currency exchange and shops (visit chocolatier Jeff de Bruges). Bistro Le Petit Sommelier is nearby. 17 boulevard de Vaugirard, 75015

Gare d’Austerlitz

One of six major train stations in Paris, Gare d’Austerlitz is in the 13th in the city’s southeast. On the Left Bank, beside the Seine, it offers leafy river views. Trains run south to Chateaudun, Vendôme, Tours (handy for the Loire Valley), Orléans, Limoges and Cahors, with connections to Toulouse. Most long-distance services to the southwest now run from Gare Montparnasse, with Austerlitz concentrating more on the southeast. RER C line trains link to Versailles Chantiers and Versailles Château Rive Gauche.

Opened in 1840 and originally called Gare d’Orléans, the station’s current name hails from Napoleon’s 1805 victory at the Battle of Austerlitz. It offers cafés, a pharmacy, newsagents and lockers. Botanical garden Jardin des Plantes is opposite for a picnic. 85 quai d’Austerlitz, 75013

Gare de Lyon

Another of the atmospheric train stations in Paris, Gare de Lyon is on the Right Bank and a short stroll across the Seine from Gare d’Austerlitz. Set in the eastern 12th district, the station was built for the World Exposition of 1900 and boasts classic architecture. The station’s clock tower, akin to Big Ben, is iconic. France’s third busiest station is the northern terminus for the Paris-Marseille railway, with high-speed TGV trains running to France’s southeast often via Lyon. Destinations include Avignon, Aix-en-Provence, Cannes, Nice, Antibes, Montpellier, Grenoble, Dijon and Perpignan. International routes link to Italy, Switzerland, Germany and Spain.

The RER A rail line runs from here to Disneyland Paris (exit at Marne-La-Vallée-Chessy). The station hosts famous 1901-founded restaurant/bar Le Train Bleu. On Hall 1’s first floor, it whips up classic French food amid luxurious, heritage surrounds. Services include luggage lockers and charge points. Place Louis Armand, 75012

Gare Saint-Lazare

Opened in 1837 as a simple wooden structure, grand Gare Saint-Lazare is the city’s oldest station, set in the northwestern 8th quarter. Paris’ second-busiest station is the gateway for long-distance Intercitiés trains to verdant Normandy, to the northwest, along the Paris-Le Havre railway. Destinations include Rouen, Caen and Cherbourg. Transiliens trains reach Paris’s western suburbs.

French artist Arman’s towering clock and bronze suitcase sculptures animate the forecourt. Three-level mall St.Lazare Paris in the passenger hall hosts around 75 shops, including Sephora, Lacoste and Petit Bateau, plus food courts. The station is also near Boulevard Haussmann’s famous department stores. Beloved by local Impressionist artists, the station was painted by Manet and Monet. Novelist Émile Zola referenced Gare Saint-Lazare in La Bête Humaine and photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson took an iconic shot here. 13 rue d’Amsterdam, 75008

Whether you’re arriving into Paris or departing for a day trip or second part of your European vacation, our reservation team is ready to help get your Paris accommodations sorted. Give us a call at 1-888-520-2087 from the USA or email reservations@parisperfect.com.

The post Our Guide to the Grand Train Stations in Paris appeared first on Paris Perfect.

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Philippe’s mother, Ninette, turned 102 last week and we drove to Normandy to celebrate.  Until last year, Ninette lived unassisted in the family’s three-story home. A wonderful housekeeper came every day to prepare lunch and, as she reached 100, to help with bathing and morning toilet, but she slept alone in the big house.

Ninette even accompanied Philippe on his annual opera pilgrimages to Wagner’s hometown of Bayreuth until age 101. Both share a love of opera and Wagner, and the trip seemed to energize her to walk, talk and listen as she did in former years.

Unfortunately Ninette had a simple fall last winter and broke both femurs. After months in hospital, she was moved to a retirement home in the small town of Le Treport, the village next to her former home.  The fall and the operation diminished her faculties enormously, which might be a good thing, as she usually thinks she’s staying in a nice hotel.

View from Ninette’s room

We offer most sincere thanks go to several doctor friends of Philippe’s including:

Jean Marc, a Wagner and opera fanatic like Philippe, who agreed to operate on both legs and put pins in Ninette’s femurs when the anesthesiologist in the Amiens hospital refused. Without Jean Marc, the verdict would have been infection and death. He and most French doctors are unsung heroes. Socialized medicine has meant low fixed prices for everything involving doctors. Jean Marc is one of the best orthopedic surgeons, and he struggles to earn €3,000 per month.

And equal thanks to Florence, who’s a gerontologist and runs a large hospital ward for elderly patients in Paris. When it seemed no hospital had room to take Ninette for her recovery, Florence found her a beautiful room, and Philippe was able to visit her often. Philippe would visit with a bottle of champagne, and Florence and friends would join them in Ninette’s room. Last month, Ninette was well enough to go home, or as close as possible to the little seaside town of Le Treport, on La Manche or the English Channel.

Ninette doesn’t remember her two sons’ names anymore. She calls each her petits lapin or little bunnies – not remembering their names, but always happy to see them. Thierry and Philippe, ever the mischievous boys, have begun to call themselves Lapin Un et Lapin Deux.

It’s sad, and at the same time a blessing, that she doesn’t recognize her surroundings. Ninette thinks she’s in a hotel and is always complimenting the staff. She has always told us that she owes her long life to two things: her husband’s coffee and champagne. Philippe’s dad was a coffee roaster in the region, so the family grew up tasting beans and roasts.

Their old house is closed now, but the wisteria still blooms every spring. We recently toasted her birthday (and Philippe’s), with champagne and chocolates from La Maison du Chocolat.

The retirement home is typical of the region–very nice people work there. I was at the home when dinner was served and love the fact that it comes with your choice of water, wine, beer or Normandy apple cider. Only in France!  The servers laughed when I took pictures, as I explained that I don’t think these are the drink options in US retirement homes.

Ninette came to France hidden in a furniture truck at the end of World War II, to join her future husband Pierre. Pierre made a nice living as a wholesaler of canned goods and coffee for the region’s restaurants and shops, until the grandes surfaces or hypermarkets took hold.  He continued to roast coffee, until he sold his business to a competitor, when he was in his late 70s. Pierre passed away at age 97, and you might find the story of his capture at Dunkirk and of life in their town interesting.

We spent a delightful evening catching up with cousins Pascal and Marie Agnes, and spent the night in their beautiful home. Pascal is a dermatologist in the region, whose daughter’s wedding we attended last summer. Ladies, if only you could get to Normandy for your beauty treatments. Since medicine became socialized in the ’80s office visits were fixed at €30 — before office expenses, assistants, nurses, supplies and taxes. So he slowly migrated his business to beauty and women from all over the region come to him for Botox injections, laser treatments, light therapy and now, a new series of treatments with hyaluronic acid.

I love the French sticker art Marie Agnes found, especially the quote from Pierre Curie: “Il faut faire de la vie une rêve et d’un rêve une réalité.” It was especially touching because their home is on Pierre et Marie Curie rue and because Philippe attended the Pierre et Marie Curie Medical School in Paris, one of the best in the world.

This may be one of the last times we make a regular stop in Eu and truly the countryside seemed greener and more beautiful than ever.  Cows were in fields for the famous milk and cheese from Normandy. We drove from Normandy to London on a beautiful summer morning, and as ever I was transported by the village life, the greenery, the rolling fields of this magical region.

The post French Family Update: Ninette Turns 102 appeared first on Paris Perfect.

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Whether you’re traveling with your children, your parents, another couple or just a friend, it’s always more comfortable when everyone has their own bedroom to retreat to at the end of a long day of Paris sightseeing. Fortunately, we have many beautiful two-bedroom apartments that are perfect for mid-size groups. Keep reading to discover some of our most stunning Paris vacation rentals!

Two-Bedroom Paris Vacation Rentals

Saint Amour

Just steps from the Champ de Mars and the Eiffel Tower, the Saint Amour apartment is the ideal apartment for visiting Paris with kids, as its second bedroom is equipped with bunk beds. Light-filled and airy, you’ll love making it your home during your Paris vacation.

Brittany

This gorgeous duplex in the heart of the Marais has its two bedrooms on the upper level, making it a great spot if your traveling companions have different bedtimes. Additionally, its stellar location makes exploring the historic Marais neighborhood easy, with markets and museums right at your doorstep.

Château Latour

Two bedrooms and a stunning view over Paris- what more could you ask for? The Château Latour apartment‘s bedrooms feature soaring views over both the Eiffel Tower and all of Paris, while the apartment itself has an incredible 7th floor (8th floor American) balcony for optimal enjoyment, especially when the weather is nice.

Viognier

If you want to feel like you can reach out and touch the Eiffel Tower from your balcony, the Viognier apartment will fulfill that exact dream! This would be an ideal apartment for two couples, as the single beds in the second bedroom can be put together to form a king bed.

Anjou

How could we talk about some of our favorite two-bedroom apartments without mentioning one at 25 Place Dauphine? The Anjou apartment has a handicapped accessible studio on the ground floor of the duplex, with the larger living space on the top floor. It’s perfect for anyone whose group wants to do different things, as each floor is equipped with either a kitchen or kitchenette, and are separately accessible.

This is just a taste of the two-bedroom Paris vacation rentals we have to offer. Give our reservations team a call at 1-888-520-2087 from the USA or email reservations@parisperfect.com to kick-start your Paris planning!

The post Two-Bedroom Paris Vacation Rentals that will Give you Real Estate Envy appeared first on Paris Perfect.

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Paris is one of the gastronomical capitals of the world for a reason. In addition to its Michelin-starred restaurants and beloved baguettes and cheeses, travelers also visit for the myriad of food streets in Paris. There is a food street for every type of traveler and budget, and many of these streets are located within walking distance of our Paris Perfect vacation rentals. Here are some of our favorites!

Fantastic Food Streets in Paris

Rue Cler

Rue Cler is arguably one of the most popular food streets in Paris. Located in the 7th arrondisement, very close to the Champs de Mars, the Eiffel Tower and Invalides, this is a pedestrian-only thoroughfare. This street is known for having very high-quality products, so it’s more expensive than some of the other food streets, but you know that what you’re getting is top-notch. Also, we don’t recommend heading there on Mondays, as some of the shops are closed. If you visit on Sunday, make sure to get there in the morning.

Apartments Near Rue Cler

Nearest Metro Stop: Ecole Militaire, La Tour Maubourg or Invalides

Rue Mouffetard

This street is deceiving at first: though it’s one of the oldest streets in the city, it’s recently been populated with chain cafes and restaurants that cater to wandering tourists. Head beyond that to the open-air market on the southern end of the street, near Square Saint-Médard. You’ll find vendors selling fresh fruits, vegetables and fish, along with a few independent specialty shops. The church in the square is also stunning!

Apartments Near Rue Mouffetard

Nearest Metro Stop: Censier-Daubenton or Place Monge

Rue des Martyrs

Rue des Martyrs is not only one of the best food streets in Paris – it’s one of the best streets in Paris, period. This street has everything, so if you’re in the mood to shop and snack at the same time, we suggest adding it to the top of your list. Book lovers can get lost in Librarie Vendredi, and vintage lovers will feel right at home in Chinemachine, a boutique that specializes in designer vintage clothing and shoes (think Jimmy Choo, Louboutin, Vera Wang). And, of course, the food: try Mesdemoiselles for gourmet madeleines, Maison Brémond for traditional candies and treats from Provence and La Chambre aux Confitures for artisanal jams in over 50 flavors.

Nearby Paris Perfect Vacation Rental: Mondeuse

Nearest Metro Stop: Pigalle

Rue Montorgueil

This street has deep roots in Parisian food history: from the 12th to mid-20th centuries, Rue Montorgueil and the surrounding area were the primary markets serving the whole city. Today, the street is still a main hub for food lovers. In addition to the variety of independent artisans like the cheese shop (Le Fermette), Le Palais du Fruit (fruit and vegetable shop) and Alain Tribolet (butcher shop), there are also a few great restaurants to try. L’Escargot opened in 1832 and is the place to try the famous French dish! For dessert, stop by Stohrer – allegedly the oldest bakery in Paris.

Nearest Metro Stop: Etienne-Marcel

Rue des Rosiers

One of the best food streets in Paris is also one of the oldest: Rue des Rosiers. This street was once the main thoroughfare of the Jewish quarter of the city, and it was named for the rose bushes that used to line the walk. Today, there are delis and shops where the rose bushes used to grow, and visitors stand in line for over an hour to taste the delicious falafels at L’As Du Fallafel, or to marvel at the original cobblestone streets. We also recommend Sacha Finkelsztajn for Yiddish baked goods.

Apartments Near Rue des Rosiers

Nearest Metro Stop: Saint-Paul

Rue Saint-Dominique

This is the street for anyone who loves pastries and sweets. Can you believe that there are eight bakeries within four blocks? Follow your nose to sample the meringues, croissants, chocolates, and of course, the macarons. Also notable is the shop Maison Dubernet, which specializes in traditional French delicacies like foie gras, cassoulet, and pate. It’s one of the best streets in Paris!

Apartments Near Rue Saint-Dominique

Nearest Metro Stop: Invalides or La Tour Maubourg

Rue du Bac

Like the Rue Saint-Dominique, this street is for fans of dessert. Rue du Bac is rumored to be the street where the famous French pastry the millefeuille was invented in the 1860s. It’s also where chocolate devotees will find Foucher, a family-owned chocolate shop that has been based on this street since 1819. This street is also neighbors with the famous French department store Le Bon Marche, which has a sister food boutique called La Grand Epicerie, where you can truly find any type of food. If you’re visiting Paris in late spring, you can check out the annual Bac Sucré, which is a food festival on Rue du Bac that includes tastings, demonstrations and more.

Apartments Near Rue du Bac

Nearest Metro Stop: Sèvres – Babylone

Rue de Lévis

This food street in Paris is truly a local gem. The artisanal shops and food vendors date back to the 1800s, and the shop owners have fought hard to keep chain stores and big businesses from intruding on their little area of the city. It’s one of the markets where you’re just as likely to see a CEO rubbing elbows with a waitress shopping after her shift, and you’re unlikely to run into as many tourists as you might find on some of the other streets, particularly Rue Cler. And take note: it’s best to visit this street before 1pm, and avoid Mondays.

Nearest Metro Stop: Villiers

Rue Saint-Antoine

Most of the food streets in Paris are somewhat narrow, tucked away off of the larger boulevards. Not the case with Rue Saint-Antoine, which is a wide, heavily trafficked street with many shops and boutiques. You’ll find artisanal, independent shops for each type of French specialty: there is a cheese shop, a chocolate shop, a butcher, a honey shop, a tea shop, and so on. There are also a few modern clothing and shoe shops scattered in between, not to mention one of the prettiest churches in the Marais neighborhood, the Saint-Antoine church. If you step off the metro at Saint-Paul and see the merry-go-round, you’re in the right place.

Apartments Near Rue Saint-Antoine

Nearest Metro Stop: Saint-Paul

Rue Daguerre

Anyone who loves French films might recognize Rue Daguerre from one of Agnes Varda’s films: Daguerréotypes, a documentary about the people living and working on this little market street. Varda loved this street; she claimed it had absolutely everything you needed to live all along one street: a butcher, a fruit shop, a bakery, a hairdresser, a grocery store, a tailor, etc. It’s located in the quieter 14th arrondisement of Paris, where you’ll also find the catacombs and the Montparnasse Cemetery.

Nearby Paris Perfect Vacation Rental: Monplaisir

Nearest Metro Stop: Denfert-Rochereau

Rue Saint-Anne

When you hear Rue Saint-Anne, do you automatically think of… Little Tokyo? Maybe not. But that’s exactly what you’ll find when you hop off the metro at Pyramides and take a stroll down this charming street. If you don’t get here early enough for dinner, you may be standing in line outside with the locals for a minimum of thirty minutes; the restaurants are tiny and extremely popular. You’ll find everything from sushi to ramen and even Vietnamese food, not to mention a bakery that features matcha-flavored chou pastries and other classic French desserts with a Japanese twist.

Apartments Near Rue Saint-Anne

Nearest Metro Stop: Pyramides

One of the wonderful benefits of renting a Paris Perfect apartment is that you have your very own kitchen! Stop by one of these fantastic food streets and buy as much as you can carry. But first, give our reservations team a call at 1-888-520-2087 from the USA or email reservations@parisperfect.com. They’ll get your home-away-from home organized.

The post 11 of the Best Food Streets in Paris that will Feed your French Food Cravings appeared first on Paris Perfect.

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The City of Light is famous for its stunning architecture, but which are the most beautiful squares in Paris? We’ve rounded up 15 favorites from classic locations to secret spots. Our guide also includes stylish Paris Perfect apartment rentals near must-see squares.

Beautiful Squares in Paris 1st Arrondissement

Place Vendôme

Upscale Place Vendôme is one of the classic beautiful squares in Paris. King Louis XIV commissioned this grand octagonal square, but in 1810 Napoleon replaced his statue with a bronze central column made from 1,200 enemy canons. Admire Vendôme’s luxe jewellery boutiques and the carved faces on walls.

Stay: Chopine (sleeps six)

Place Dauphine

At the west end of Île de la Cité, charming Place Dauphine is a tranquil spot. Created for Henry IV in 1607, this triangular haven is lined with elegant buildings, cobblestone streets, cafés and galleries. Its tree-shaded benches are ideal for relaxing, watching pétanque or just soaking up the view.

Stay: 25 Place Dauphine (five one-bedroom apartments and a two-bedroom duplex)

4th Arrondissement

Place des Vosges

High in our list of beautiful squares in Paris, Place des Vosges is the jewel in the crown of the medieval Marais neighborhood. Built by Henry IV in 1605, the city’s oldest planned square is flanked by eye-catching red-brick architecture. It offers ornamental trees, shaded benches and a cooling fountain.

Place de l’Hôtel de Ville

Beautiful squares in Paris don’t come more impressive than Place de l’Hôtel de Ville. Home to the massive, 19th-century, Neo-Renaissance town hall building, Hôtel de Ville, this Marais square sits beside the Seine. Traditional lamp posts, water features, flowers and blossoming spring trees punctuate the space, which hosts regular festivals.

Place du Marché Sainte-Catherine

Leafy, bicycle-friendly Place du Marché Sainte-Catherine is a pretty hidden gem in the Marais. This intimate, pedestrianised cobbled square is framed by white buildings and dotted with trees. Relax on a bench or sip coffee at one of the outdoor café terraces. Its fairy-lit bistros are magical at night.

Stay: Brittany (sleeps four), near all three squares

5th Arrondissement

Place de la Sorbonne

Fronting famous university the Sorbonne, the Latin Quarter’s Place de la Sorbonne is an iconic city square. Enjoy views of its dramatic chapel, while enjoying the student-thronged cafés fringing this large, tree-lined plaza. Founded in 1639, the square opens onto shop-flocked boulevard Saint-Michel and looks romantic at night.

Place de la Contrescarpe

Little cobbled square Place de la Contrescarpe is an attractive oasis to while away time. There’s a tree-shaded fountain in the center and cafés with outdoor seats around the sides. Halfway along popular foodie market strip Rue Mouffetard in the Latin Quarter, it’s a top spot to eat your spoils.

Stay: Lussac (sleeps three), near both squares

6th Arrondissement

Place de Fürstenberg

Curvy, cute Place de Fürstenberg in historic Saint-Germain-des-Prés is an Instagram favorite. Framing scenic views of Haussmannian architecture down side streets, its central island of spindly trees with a trad five-globed lamp post is a winner. Art museum Musée National Eugène-Delacroix and fab florist Flamant add to the charm.

Place Saint-Sulpice

Dominated by Saint-Sulpice church, large public space Place Saint-Sulpice dates back to 1754. Its monumental fountain features four bishops and stone lions. Look out for pink-flowering chestnut trees in spring and the annual antiques flea market.

Stay: Savigny (sleeps six), near both squares

7th Arrondissement

Place du Palais-Bourbon

The Law (‘La Loi’), a 19th-century statue by Jean-Jacques Feuchère, holds court over Place du Palais-Bourbon. South of the Assemblée Nationale in the historic Palais Bourbon, this cobbled square has lovely lamps, a gilt clock and giant blue door. Visit on weekends, when government workers are away, for the best shots.

Stay: Marcillac (sleeps four)

8th Arrondissement

Place de la Concorde

Glorious Place de la Concorde is Paris’ largest square, east of Avenue des Champs-Élysées. This 18th-century plaza with its Egyptian obelisk and mighty fountains offers views of the famed avenue and Tuileries Garden. Its cobbled streets also host the finale of the Tour de France bike race.

Stay: Lambrusco (sleeps four)

Place de l’Étoile

From Place de l’Étoile (aka Place Charles de Gaulle) 12 avenues fan out in a star shape. West of the Champs-Élysées, its central circle hosts the spectacular Arc de Triomphe, built in 1836 as a monument to Napoleon’s army and now a memorial to France’s war dead. Its terrace-top offers lofty views.

Stay: Tremoine (sleeps four)

9th Arrondissement

Place Édouard VII

Hidden between Palais Garnier opera house and Madeleine church, Place Édouard VII has symmetry to die for. This small pedestrian plaza is surrounded by arched colonnades and a circle of tall heritage buildings, so look up! It’s home to Théâtre Edouard VII and a statue honoring the Francophile British king.

Stay: Saint-Pourçain (sleeps six)

Place Saint-Georges

Bordered by chic Haussmann-style townhouses, circular Place Saint-Georges in the Quartier de la Nouvelle Athènes is an elegant affair. Quaint details include the Metro station sign, old iron railings and lamp posts. The historic fountain by sculptor Denys Puech honors 19th-century, local illustrator Paul Gavarni. Horses originally drank here.

Stay: Mondeuse (sleeps six)

18th Arrondissement

Place du Tertre

A paintbrush throw from Sacré-Coeur Basilica, leafy, cobbled Place du Tertre is touristy but fun. Opened in 1635, it was once Montmartre’s village square and a haunt for bohemians. Atop Paris’s highest hill, it’s crammed with stalls of artists painting portraits, landscapes and caricatures. Cafés beckon for coffee and cake.

Stay: Mondeuse (sleeps six)

Our reservation team is ready to help get your Paris trip started. Give us a call at 1-888-520-2087 from the USA or email reservations@parisperfect.com.

The post 15 of the Most Beautiful Squares in Paris appeared first on Paris Perfect.

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Paris is defined, as much as anything, by the two sides of the Seine River–the Left Bank and the Right Bank. But no one can stay on just one side; there’s too much to see! This is where the bridges in Paris come in handy. There are 37 of them criss-crossing the river and connecting the two sides of the city. Fortunately, in keeping with its reputation, the bridges of Paris are as beautiful as they are functional. In fact, many bridges are destinations in and of themselves. We’ve selected some of our favorite Paris bridges, proving that getting to your destination is half the fun.

The Most Beautiful Bridges in Paris

Pont Alexandre III

Nicknamed “the most beautiful bridge in the world,” those who have laid eyes on the Pont Alexandre III are generally inclined to agree. The bridge was built between 1896 and 1900 and was named for Tsar Alexander III, the Russian ruler during whose reign the Franco-Russian Alliance was ratified. It was designed in the Beaux-Arts style, and its ornate decorations, especially the Art Nouveau lamps and the huge gilded statues that preside over each side of the bridge, are still a marvel today. The bridge was inaugurated in 1900 in time for the World’s Fair, along with nearby neighbors the Grand Palais and Petit Palais.

Our apartments in the 7th arrondissement are located close to both the Pont Alexandre III and Pont de Bir-Hakeim, giving you the opportunity to cross each of these beautiful bridges as often as you’d like!

Pont de Bir-Hakeim

The Pont de Bir-Hakeim connects the 15th and 16th arrondissements and is one of two viaduct bridges in Paris, with a foot and car path below and metro line above (the other being the Pont de Bercy, also used by the line 6 metro in the 12th and 13th arrondissements). It was made especially popular by the movies The Last Tango in Paris and Inception. Connected to the Île aux Cygnes (Island of the Swans) at its eastern end (one of the five Statues of Liberty in Paris is located at the western end!), it is decorated with many commemorative plates and statues, but its biggest draw is the incredible view that it offers over the Eiffel Tower, both from the footpath and from within the line 6 metro as it passes between the stations Bir-Hakeim and Passy. The bridge was originally named the Pont de Passy, but was renamed in 1948 after the Battle of Bir-Hakeim, between French and German forces in World War II.

Pont Neuf

This is the oldest bridge in Paris- while neuf does indeed mean “nine,” it is also the masculine singular of the word “new,” an amusing irony for a bridge whose construction began in 1578. It was the first bridge to be built connecting main roads– the rue de Rivoli on the Right Bank and the rue Dauphine on the Left, allowing access to the Île de la Cité and Place Dauphine in the center. You’ll inevitably cross it when arriving at your Paris Perfect apartment at 25 Place Dauphine, as Henri IV, the king who commissioned the bridge, looks on from the west side of the bridge.

Pont des Arts

Officially its name is the Pont des Arts, but you may know it better as the “love lock bridge.” A tradition developed a few years back of adding a lock onto the sides of the bridge with couples’ names written on them, then throwing the key into the Seine to represent an bond that could never be broken. While the jury’s still out on whether or not this did bring luck to the tens of thousands who added locks to the bridge, the locks were removed in 2015 due to their weight damaging the integrity of the bridge and were replaced by glass paneling. The bridge itself now looks more modern, but just as beautiful, with the Louvre framing its Right Bank side and the Institut de France sitting on the Left. (Before adding a love lock to Paris’ most beautiful sites, read this.)

Pont de la Tournelle

Connecting the Île Saint-Louis with the Left Bank, Pont de la Tournelle boasts both an impressive view over Notre-Dame and a statue of the patron saint of Paris, Sainte Geneviève. Facing east, away from Notre Dame, she’s an easy sight to miss, as you might only see her back- a mistake that her creator, Paul Landowski (who also designed the Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro), always lamented. Legend has it that the prayers and determination of Geneviève, a magistrate’s daughter, saved Paris from being pillaged by Attila and the Huns, as she convinced the Parisians to stay and fight for their city. As such, she is depicted in the statue as protecting a small child– Paris. Just a short walk from our Maubert apartment, you can bid bonjour to Geneviève as she watches over the city from her perch on the Pont de la Tournelle.

See all of these beautiful bridges (along with the other 32) by planning a trip to Paris. Our reservation team is ready to help organize your Paris accommodations. Give them a call at 1-888-520-2087 from the USA or email reservations@parisperfect.com.

The post Here are 5 of the Most Beautiful Bridges in Paris appeared first on Paris Perfect.

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When visiting a new country, there’s always the risk of some culture shock. It’s helpful to have a few practical Paris tips in mind before you leave to ensure you’ll know how to be respectful of the culture and the general way of life.

5 Paris Tips

When in Paris, do as (most of) the French do and follow this handy little etiquette guide to help yourself blend in with the locals. If you have any more tips to add, leave them for us in the comments!

Electric Scooters and Bikes
Scooters have taken the world by storm, and Paris is no exception. They’re a fun, easy way to get around the city on a nice day. Of course, there are a few things to know that will help keep yourself and others safe as you’re scooting from place to place.

First, you may soon notice designated parking spaces for electric scooters (called trottinettes in French), and they could soon become mandatory (as they already are in a few other European cities). This is to keep the sidewalks clear and safe for pedestrians. In the meantime, even if you don’t see a scooter parking spot, make sure to park them out of the way of pedestrians and cars, not just lying on the pavement or in the street. And speaking of pavement, you could also be fined for riding scooters on the sidewalks, which again could endanger the lives of pedestrians, especially children and the elderly (Read more about the future of electric scooters in Paris).

If you prefer bikes to scooters, never fear: Paris is an extremely bike-friendly city. With over 600 km of bike lanes and a robust bike-sharing program (called Velib) across most arrondisements, bike travel is a convenient and environmentally-friendly way to explore. Much like the electric scooters, there are also app-based bike-sharing companies doing business in the city (Uber’s JUMP recently launched). And also like the trottinettes, there are talks of how to better organize bikes when not in use. Make sure to check out our handy guide all about the different bike rentals and bike-share programs in Paris.

Oh, and if you don’t plan to use scooters OR bikes, you should still take note: make sure you’re not walking in the bike lanes. It’s a simple but one of the most important Paris tips!

Metro Etiquette

While we’re on the subject of getting around, we can’t overlook the importance of the metro. The Parisian metro is efficient and popular, and its coverage of the city is impressive. Like anything else, there are a few simple etiquette rules that will help you navigate the metro like a true Parisian. First, it’s customary to give up your seat to any elderly, pregnant, or disabled person — probably a common sense law for most metro systems. Also, on some of the Paris metro cars, you may notice there are seats that can be folded up or down. If the metro isn’t too crowded and you see one of these is available, feel free to fold it down and take a seat. But if the metro is starting to get pretty crowded, you’ll need to fold the seat and stand.

And lastly, a quick pro-tip: you’ll notice a few different types of metro cars throughout the city, as they gradually update each route to the new cars. In some of the older models, the doors don’t automatically open: you’ll need to press a small button or flip a latch on the door when the metro arrives in the station. Watch a Parisian person do it so that you get the gist!

Tipping

Tipping rules vary from country to country, and France is no exception. Here, we’ll give you an easy guide for when it’s appropriate to tip or not in Paris. The general rules include:

  • Taxis: you don’t need to leave any tip; however, if it’s a longer trip (like to the airport), you can round up the fare to the next euro.
  • Restaurants: Tips are not mandatory, however if you really enjoyed the service or had nice rapport with your server, you can leave a couple of euro to show your appreciation (or, like taxis, round up the bill)
  • Tour guides: Yes, it is customary to tip your tour guide!
  • Hairdresser: A tip of around 10% is customary if no service charge has been added to the bill.

Read more about tipping in Paris in our comprehensive guide.

Love Locks

You’ve probably seen a photo somewhere of the love locks that line some of Paris’ most famous bridges. The legend goes that if two lovers write their names on a lock and then hang it from the bridge, they’ll be destined to stay together forever. While this is a lovely sentiment, it is not the best way to express your love for Paris itself. Parisians see these locks as vandalism and a threat to their historic city. In the interest of keeping those bridges lock-free and in good shape for years to come, we’d like to recommend a few other romantic ways to express your love during your visit:

  • A dinner cruise on the Seine! A candlelit meal with views of the Eiffel Tower — what could be more romantic than that?
  • A private photo shoot for you and your loved one, to preserve your memories in the City of Light forever
  • Hire a chef to prepare a special meal for one night of your stay, or several!

Pickpockets

Pickpockets are not a fun topic, but we can all agree that’s much better to be prepared! As with any large city that is heavily frequented by tourists, pickpockets can be a problem. Men shouldn’t keep things in their back pockets and women should have a closed purse that they keep near them at all times. We don’t even recommend hanging a purse off the back of a cafe chair or leaving it on the ground at your feet. Be especially vigilant on the metro!

Where to Stay

Of course, an article with Paris tips would be incomplete without suggestions of where to stay. Obviously, at Paris Perfect we’ve got you covered! Give our reservations team a call at 1-888-520-2087 from the USA or email reservations@parisperfect.com.

The post 5 Paris Tips: What you Need to Know before you Go appeared first on Paris Perfect.

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