Paris: 12 November 2009

I was looking through some of my photos and realised that I never posted anything on here from my visit to Paris in November last year!

I took an absolute truckload of photos, and it was the first time that I had used my new camera so some of the photos are not quite as good as they should be, but they show something that I want to share so I will still post them in any case. Given the large number of photos, I will split this update into three over the week, with a post for each of the three days that I was there.

Paris truly is an amazing city. It is the only city in Europe that I have visited multiple times, and I always want to go back. The food is absolutely amazing – quality and taste are clearly at the forefront of French cooking, and with centuries of intricate technique to draw up, it is no wonder that French food has the reputation that it does.

As for the city itself, it is such an amazing city to simply wander around and lose yourself in. There is so much beauty and atmosphere.

As for the French people, well yes it is difficult to communicate as an English speaker but as long as one makes the effort to know a few phrases and at least try, I find that the Parisians are just as accommodating as anyone else. I think it is perhaps the French attitude that turns people off. They have an amazing culture and history, and are very proud. They do things their way and if you don’t like it, they don’t particularly care. If you appreciate the attitude of the French within this context, then you’ll realise that it’s not necessarily a bad thing!
We start at the Rome Metro station. Nothing particularly special about this station, it’s just close to where I was staying.

Next is the Trocadéro Metro station. The name comes from the Palais du Trocadéro, which used to stand on the site until its demolition in 1937. Today, the Palais de Chaillot stands on the site. It is where the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on December 10, 1948, and was the first NATO headquarters.

From the Palais de Chaillot, is a beautiful view of the Eiffel Tower. The tallest building in Paris, it was built in 1889 as an entrance arch for the World’s Fair, marking the centennial celebration of the French Revolution. Today, it is the single most visited paid monument in the world, but interestingly, it was considered an eyesore when constructed and the plan was for it to be demolished after 20 years. In fact the only reason that it wasn’t demolished was because of its use a communications tower. Needless to say, retaining the tower turned out to be the right decision!

The Parc du Champe de Mars is the park on which the Eiffel Tower was constructed. It is named after the Campus Martius (“Mars Field”) in Rome, a tribute to the Roman god of war, and used to be used for military drills.

We head down Boulevard Garibaldi and some of the surrounding streets before reaching Montparnasse. Montparnasse doesn’t have much for the tourist, and contains a mixture of commercial and artistic uses. My reason for coming here was to eat at a little place called Crêperie de Josselin, which is a very traditional crêperie that sells arguable the best crêpes in Paris. It’s very local and there are never any tourists around here, which is always a positive.

Next is Denfert-Rochereau. The reason for coming here was to see the famous underground Catacombs of Paris. Unfortunately, they were closed to the public due to the continuing actions of some vandals over the prior months. Luckily I had been before but for my dad, it was a big disappointment not to be able to see them. We walked around the area for a little bit, and stumbled upon this building which appeared to be some sort of arts school.

In the area, is the Cimetière du Montparnasse. The cemeteries in Paris are really beautiful, haunting places, and some of them are tourist attractions in their own right due to famous people who are buried there. Serge Gainsbourg, amongst others, is buried here.

We then headed to the Bastille. The Bastille was a prison, and was stormed on 14 July 1789, and act which is generally considered to signify the start of the French Revolution. The site is now home to the Opéra Bastille, and the July Column.

Rue de la Roquette has nothing of note for the tourist, but it is home to my favourite boulangerie and boucherie. Seriously good meat and bread and, because it’s not in a touristy part of town, the prices are very reasonable. I stayed near here the first time I visited Paris and on this occasion, made a special occasion to head out here to get dinner each night. The food really is that good and although other great affordable places must exist in Paris, I haven’t been able to find anything of that quality, for that price anywhere else.

Finally, is the great department store Galeries Lafayette, and some nearby streets. The food hall in Galeries Lafayette is to die for, and has a larger selection of anything you could ever want than anywhere else. Some of the prices are obscene, but it is heaven to walk through. The Christmas displays in the windows outside were some of the best I have ever seen anywhere in the world.

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Paul
Paul
Paul founded The City Lane back in 2009 as a place to share photos of his travels around Europe with friends and family. The City Lane might have changed quite a lot since those early days but one thing that’s remained constant is Paul’s passion for food, travel and culture, and a desire to photograph and write about his experiences. Paul has a strong inquisitive nature that drives him to look beneath the surface in order to discover what really makes a city and its people tick, and what better way to do this than over a good meal or drink, with a city’s locals, at places that people who live in that city actually frequent. Paul is also a co-host of The Brunswick Beer Collective, a podcast that may or may not actually be about beer.

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