Essence of Paris

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The essence of Paris. Qu’est-ce que c’est? What is it? It’s a mystery and every traveler to Paris tries to figure it out, to discover it, to emulate it, to savor it, and to take some home.

Youíve got to experience the accessorized Paris. And exactly what is this accessorized Paris? Well, anyone who has seen a beautifully dressed Parisian woman knows that the accessories are impeccable! The French can accessorize their outfits perfectly. Whether itís the perfectly tied scarf, the oh-so-chic hat, the designer boots, or that wonderful self-assured Paris walk, the Parisian look is just put together par excellence.

Just as a Parisian bedecks herself and can accessorize like none other, so is the city of Paris accessorized in the most unique of ways. As you tour the streets of Paris and appreciate the sights before you, without question the accessorizing of this city is what you see and what it’s all about! In walking, you’ll be close enough to the heart of the city that you cannot help but notice this phenomenon. This is the way to experience Paris! Contact us to book a Paris walking tour.

While the famous landmarks of the Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame Cathedral, and La Tour Eiffel should not be missed, there’s more to see in Paris. To truly see Paris, you must stroll the avenues and along the River Seine! By doing so, for example, you discover the “bouquinistes”, the second-hand booksellers, who sell their treasures from the green boxes along the Seine. There you’ll discover a potpourri of souvenirs, artwork, jewelry, antique books, and mementoes for sale. The concept of the bouquinistes has been around for centuries and is just one aspect of life along the Seine River.

As Blaise Cendrars, a Swiss born poet who moved to France, expressed “I could spend my whole life watching the Seine flow by…It is a poem of Paris.”

Walking along the side streets of Paris, you discover neighborhoods where the children are playing games and enjoying a patch of green. You may even catch sight of men deeply concentrating on their summer game of boules in a Paris park (yes men…I challenge you to find a group of ladies playing boules…in Paris or anywhere!). Wandering the avenues, you see the cafÈs where the Parisians are all facing the sidewalk as they sip their coffee. They don’t sit around the table, but on one side, towards the street! It’s oh so charmingly Parisian to see and be seen!

In fact, you usually feel compelled to pause and do the same! Besides, chances are you’ll get to witness the traffic of Paris. This is something to behold! Small and smaller cars buzz the streets and somehow those Smart Cars manage to squeeze into parking spots whose dimensions seem to be smaller than the car! More walking takes you by countless p‚tisseries, where the array of sumptuous delights is irresistible. Donít miss the decadent hot chocolate at LadurÈe and do sample a kouign aman pastry. This buttery pastry from Brittany gives you a taste of the region until you can take a trip there. When youíre ready, contact us for booking a tour in Brittany.

It’s a thrill to happen upon Paris picture perfect points! After photographing the Ile St. Louis side of Notre Dame (the more majestic side, in my opinion!), it’s a short walk to a special spotóa very dramatic yet quietly moving memorial. It’s the Memorial de DÈportation and should never be missed. The inscription says “1940 ñ Aux deux cent mille martyrs FranÁais morts dans les camps de la dÈportation ñ 1945”. The translation is ìTo the 200,000 French martyrs who were killed in the concentration camps between 1940-1945. Because this memorial is less well known, it is often missed…but try to get there! I never go to Paris without paying my respects to this humble, but very powerfully done memorial.

Left Bank, Right Bank. Everyone who has been to Paris has an opinion about where to stay and where to stroll in the capital. The Seine River splits the city and the lingo therefore becomes Right or Left Bank (of the Seine River). With the miracle of the metro and more effective than the metro — the foot — the traveler to Paris can soak up both sides of the Seine River without excluding one or the other and in my opinion, this is best done on foot! By walking, you can pop into a courtyard to see what’s there. By walking, you can stop to sample a pastry in a local shop, or pause to enjoy the charm of French children returning home from school, or catch sight of a wedding in a park, or see an architectural treasure that just isn’t possible from a metro, or a myriad of other magical moments that arise during a walk.

Just as each person tries to describe the Right Bank/Left Bank phenomenon, so will the essence of Paris forever be defined (or a definition be attempted!). Perhaps this is the very reason that Paris calls us back and after that…back again! Its qualities are timeless and its soul is fluid. It has a spirit that charms the traveler, a fascination that intrigues the curious mind, powerful places of interest that mesmerize a tourist, and has elements of pleasure to delight everyone! A Paris…off to Paris!

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