Oh hay, a blog post! It’s been a little crazy around these parts – I took the world’s shortest vacation (despite having been back for a week I don’t feel like I actually went anywhere) and came back to a windstorm of work as the issue goes into closing. So, then, let’s culture ourselves!
There’s some general animosity in this country when it comes to France (anybody remember the ridiculous nonsense that was ‘Freedom Fries’?), and I have never understood it. France is awesome, guys. And Paris is so damn pretty, and it’s clean and it’s excellent to walk around in, and seriously – why do we humans need to be rushing everywhere to do everything all the time? Take a break! And when you do, visit these things.
You’ll hear a lot of people tell you not to go because of the lines and crowding. Don’t listen to them. The museum opens at 9:00, so get there at 9:00. The lines don’t stop moving until about 12-1, when the museum reaches capacity and they block it off. Even if you get there at 9:30, and the queue has already formed to the point of looking daunting, you’ll be in with tickets by 10. Just remember – pick your wing. Unless you plan on spending the whole day in the Louvre, you will not see the entire Louvre. (And if you’re wanting to see the Mona Lisa, go there first, because it’s amazing how many people gather around that canvas.)
Basillica of the Sacre Coeur.
The Basilica is located on a butte in the Montmartre area of Paris, and is probably the highest point of Paris, providing some of the most breathtaking views of the city skyline. You can take a funicular up/down the face of the hill or you can walk the many, many steps around the back and find yourself walking straight into a street festival (as I did), and see both the very lovely, old, small church before you head to the Basilica, where the ceiling will take your breath away.
Not so much because the road itself if cool – it’s just a wide expanse of road with some trees. Not even because it starts at the Place de la Concorde with the Obelique and ends with the Arc de Triomphe. Walk it because it’s a lovely walk, and because the Grande Palais and the Petite Palais rest on either side, beckoning you to join them in viewing badass arts. There is shopping, of course, and restaurants father than the eye can see (including my favorite incarnation of Laduree ever). There are also, like 8 cinemas on either side, so if you feel the itch to see a movie in the middle of your walk, you’ll have your pick of location.
Read a Damn Book: Hidden Gardens of Paris, by Susan Cahill (photos by Marion Ranoux)
Exactly what it says on the tin. Tucked in these pages are some of Paris’ best hidden gardens – ones that you could visit, if only you knew where to find them. (And now you can.)