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Thunderstorms over Paris

21 Aug

After many days of sweltering heat, today Paris is bracing itself for heavy thunderstorms predicted for late afternoon / evening.

Have your camera ready and you might see Paris in a light – or rather lightning – in which you have never seen it before.

Last summer, one day at sundown, I was walking along the Seine direction Pont Neuf when suddenly dark clouds started gathering astonishingly fast and the city got hit by massive thunderstorms.

While the sun was setting, countless lightning bolts flooded the city with the most unreal shades of purple, orange, pink and blue.

Everyone stopped and stared and even the Parisians themselves took out their camera phones and photographed the beautiful scenery.

I will never forget the sight when the Eiffel Tower was hit by lightning, it just took your breath away. But no worries, no one got hurt.

If you are in Paris today I will keep my fingers crossed that you may witness a similar spectacle, I promise you will never forget the beauty of it.

Have a nice day wherever you currently are

La Mer à Paris – Paris Plages at the Bassin de la Villette

13 Aug

I am njoying a warm evening in Switzerland before returning to Paris tomorrow.

One of the highlights that I am looking forward to is visiting Paris Plages again; two beaches right in the city of Paris.

Held from July 20 to August 19, 2012, and already in its 11th year, Paris Plages is well-known and loved by many. I recommend to skip the Pont Neuf Plage though and head right to Paris Plage at La Villette Bassin.

This is by far the more charming Plage, it is less crowded, has a more relaxed feel to it and an especially large area dedicated to children’s entertainment. Still it is spacious enough for adults sans children to enjoy calm and relaxing beach-time without too much of a hullabaloo.

It is the perfect gathering place for people of all ages for trying out new activities, for socializing, eating, drinking and simply for having fun.

Villette Plage for grown-ups

Restaurants, shuttle boats, ballroom dance classes (mostly attended by the not-so-young- anymore-but-young-at-hearts) where people of every age stop by, admiring the, mostly, graceful dancers. Just look at people’s faces in the picture below; if you want to see happy and loved-up couples, you will find them there.

There will also be a performance of Molière’s “Le malade imaginaire” on water on  August 15 – 17. For the more nautically-inclined there is the Nautical Centre at the Quai de la Loire where you can also book boat rides, there are pedal boats (big favourite for many, me included), typical French Petanque games, table football – and to start your day in a serene mood, you may attend one of the Tai-chi classes held every morning from 10 am to 12 pm (also at Paris Plage Pont Neuf).

I’ve taken the “aerial view” picture from atop the canal’s highest bridge, from which you have a great view over the whole Plage.

Villette Plage for children

Slides, Zip Wires, beach games, water zorbs, a pirate ship, science workshops in collaboration with la Cité de la Science, a mini-golf course and more.

Find detailed information about both Paris Plages here (in English and French) and details about the canal and the different events around it here (in French only).

Wishing you a great Summer holiday in Paris!

Frame Notre Dame with Bananas and Roses

12 Oct

Notre Dame Bananas

While visiting Paris it is almost mandatory to add a photo of Notre Dame to your collection.

Make your photos unique by snapping them through a special frame. E.g. the Eiffel Tower through the metal construction of the Passerelle Debilly (especially nice at dusk when the bridge is illuminated) or through the flowers of the Musée du Quai Branly and Notre Dame through a lush wreath of violet and yellow flowers with red roses and a finish of banana leaves.

The banana plant and roses frame with Notre Dame peeking through is at Square René Viviani (see this map for location and metro stations), which is a beautiful little square, with lots of greenery and many benches inviting you to sit down and take a little break. The square has a rather eventful history involving a tale of a curse by pagan witches, it has been a cemetery once, you can find remains from the 19th century restoration of Notre Dame around and you may also come across Paris’ oldest tree, which is about 400 years old. Learn more of all this on Wikipedia.

NotDame booths across the street

Despite some of the rather spooky elements in the square’s history, this mini-park offers a wonderfully relaxing and peaceful atmosphere. Continue your walk along the Seine into the direction of the Louvre or visit the Île de la Cité to discover Notre Dame up close.

You may come across the little Pont de l’Archevêché, leading up to Notre Dame, the pont is adorned with thousands of love locks. Couples proclaim and immortalize their love by attaching to the bridge padlocks with their names on them. Every now and then the city tries to remove these love tokens (also from other bridges like the famous Pont des Arts), but the lovebirds from allover the world never give up and  it seems that the “cadenas d’amour” will stay for yet another time to come.

Love Locks Pont

Unlike the padlocks, the autumnal leaves are not staying, hurry up and snap your very special framed photo now, to eternalize your very own love for Paris.

All Posts Are Now Also Sorted by Arrondissement

22 Aug


To facilitate looking up my articles by Parisian arrondissement I have now categorized them for you.

Wherever in Paris you want to go, this new search function gives you an easy overview on all the mentioned places and adresses located in the same area.

Also, I haven’t just listed the twenty arrondissements by their numbers, but also added to each a well-known place, momument or similar, to make knowing what is where a breeze.

My arrondissement categories are:

1st arr. (Louvre)

2nd arr. (Bourse / Stock Exchange)

3rd arr. (Temple & northern Marais)

4th arr. (Hôtel de Ville, Notre-Dame & southern Marais)

5th arr. (Panthéon & Quartier Latin)

6th arr. (Jardins du Luxembourg)

7th arr. (Eiffel Tower)

8th arr. (Champs-Elysées)

9th arr. (Galeries Lafayette)

10th arr. (Gare du Nord / de l’Est)

11th arr. (Place de la République)

12th arr. (Bercy)

13th arr. (Paris Rive Gauche & main Chinatown)

14th arr. (Gare Montparnasse)

15th arr. (Vaugirard & High-Rise District)

16th arr. (Passy & Ave. Foch)

17th arr. (Place de Clichy)

18th arr. (Montmartre)

19th arr. (Buttes-Chaumont)

20th arr. (Ménilmontant & Père Lachaise)

Start The Day with The Mayans And A Breakfast With A View of The Eiffel Tower

12 Aug

Today I’ve visited the  Maya exhibition (until October 2, 2011) at the Musée du quai Branly showing more than 160 objects of Maya origin, pieces of art and everyday life, depicting the history of this ancient culture, from its rise to its fall.

Many of  the exhibits have never before been shown outside Guatemala.

Musée du quai Branly

Start the day with a French breakfast at the museum’s resident Café Branly. Even though the café itself is not that spectacular, the view is, framing Paris’ best known landmark: the Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower - View from the café at the Musée du quai Branly

Keep your eyes open and you may find an introduction into Mayan food right on your plate.

musée du quai Branly
37, quai Branly
75007 – Paris
Tel. : 01 56 61 70 00

Find the map here

The café is open: Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday, from 9am to 6pm

Thursday, Friday and Saturday, from 9am to 8pm (as of Aug/Sept 2011)