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Paris

                                             
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ESSENTIAL TOP TEN

PARIS



STROLL THROUGH LA MOUZAIA

19th Arrondissement

Metro: Rue de s Boulets


Discretely tucked away in the 19th arrondissement, close to the Parc Butte Chamont, La Mouzaia is a Parisian neighbourhood like no other. Originally built as a workers estate in 1879, it has since been transformed into a stunning mixture of tiny colourful houses, cobblestone alleys and luxuriant gardens awash with fruit trees, lilac, roses and honeysuckle

                                           

The neighbourhood is built on top of a number of gypsum quarries which prevents over development of the area, ensuring it's charm will remain untouched. Surprisingly this beautiful quartier remains relatively unknown, even to Parisians. A visit will take you to another world in the heart of one of the most popular cities in the world. Take your time and enjoy the peace and quiet, La Mouzaia is particularly wonderful in Spring.

 THE CONCIERGERIE

1 Quai de Horloge 75001



Anyone who needs to be reminded that power is a precarious beast should make a visit to the ominous and haunting Conciergerie. During the French Revolution, the Conciergerie housed over 4000 prisoners. Superstar inmates included the doomed and often misunderstood former queen, Marie Antoinette along with the architects of her demise Danton and Robespierre. You can even visit their cells to get an intimate feel for their incarceration.

 From this  to this 

Marie Antoinette's cell is particularly touching. Once, all powerful and living in splendour beyond imagination, the former queen was reduced to sharing a small space with two guards watching her from behind a screen at all times. Visitors to Versailles cannot fail to note the difference between her bedroom in the palace and the cold, dingy cell in which she spent her last days before facing the guillotine in the Place de la Concorde.
                                                                                
                                                                             

As you move through the former prison, you will become aware of changes in light and temperature. High status prisoners, like those mentioned above were afforded a little more space and fresh air while lower status inmates were crammed into tiny straw strewn cells. The women's courtyard feels claustrophobic, ringed by cells and still featuring the original washing stone. Don't be surprised to find yourself speaking in hushed tones and looking behind you. The dark energy of the Conciergerie remains and offers the visitor an insight into the bloody reality of the French Revolution. Schedule a visit after Versailles to remind yourself that great excess can often end in disaster.

FETE DES TUILERIES

Jardin des Tuileries

1st Arrondissement


If you are in Paris in summertime and need to cheer yourself up after a visit to the compelling but freaky Conciergerie, make the short walk into the Tuileries and revisit your inner child in the amusement park that sets up camp between July and August each year.

Popular with locals and tourists, the park offers a vintage vibe with mixture of old school and high octane rides. Flirtatious teenagers, elderly thrill seekers, hipsters looking for an ironic thrill and bourgeois families making their annual visit, enjoy everything from the strangely scary ghost train to the water soaked craziness of the roller coaster.


                             

Perfectly located in the heart of the city, a mere five minute walk from the Louvre on the Rue de Rivoli side of the gardens, the fun park is best enjoyed in the late evening, when it's carnival lights cast a slightly hallucinogenic glow over visitors giving the whole experience a slightly surreal appeal. Loads of fun.

Musee de la vie Romantique

16 Rue Chaptal,75009





 This charming museum situated at the bottom of Montmatre offers visitors an enthralling peak into the social lives of the superstars of the Romantic period in France. Built in 1830, the museum consists of two twin studios, a greenhouse, a gorgeous garden and a peaceful rose scented courtyard.

                      

The house was owned by the Dutch painter Ary Scheffer and was the setting for a glittering salon heaving with artists, writers and musicians. If only the walls could talk. Chopin simmered while his lover George Sand dallied with her former paramour Delacroix, Litz flirted with Scheffers mistress and Ingres endevoured to rise above it all.

                                                               

George Sand, in fact, is so closely linked with the house that an entire floor is dedicated to her family portraits, jewellery and even household possessions! Particularly touching are the Clesinger plaster casts of the androgynous writer's right hand and Chopin's sensitive left hand. Exhibitions reflecting the Romantic period are ongoing throughout the year. If you are lucky enough to visit in early summer, take advantage of the beautiful teahouse in the courtyard under the trees.

For more info: 

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mus%C3%A9e-de-la-Vie-romantique/148568295184376?sk=timeline&ref=page_internal

The Medici Fountain

Jardin du Luxembourg


Intensely romantic and intimate in setting, the Medici Fountain has long been a place of pilgrimage for couples and those with an artistic soul needing aesthetic nourishment. Shaded and swathed in ivy, the fountain was originally commissioned by the Queen Maria de Medici, wife of King Henry IV. Homesick Maria wanted to recreate the organic atmosphere of the fountains in the Boboli Gardens in Florence. 

                                                      

Originally constructed as a classic Grotto, the fountain as been re-imagined many times but really found it's mojo in 1861 by the addition of a 50 metre pool bordered by plane trees. The reflective ambience created by the cool, dark green water creates the feeling that you are entering another dimension. Ottin's sculpture of Polypheme surprising Galatee in the arms of her lover Aeis seems particularly fitting, given that the location has long been the setting for secret trysts among Parisians.


THE PARIS HIGHLINE

La Coulee Verte

12th arrondissement from Bastille to Porte de Vincennes


 Take a walk on the ever so slightly wild side by exploring the inspiration for New York City's fabulous Highline, the Coulee Verte. 4.5 kilometres long and installed along the old Vincennes railway line, the Coulee, will give you a very different perspective of the City of Lights.

                                              

The walk offers a sensory adventure moving from bridges to street level, through tunnels and beautiful gardens. One moment you are in an urban environment, the next surrounded by nature. There is even a cycling track available along the second half of the highline. The walk is easy to access via elevators or stairways along the path and you are unlikely to spot another tourist on the way. This is strictly Parisian territory. The Coulee can be enjoyed at any time of year, adapting itself to the changing seasons with ease but a stroll during the early evening in Summertime is unforgettable, particularly if you are with someone you love.

                                                      
  

THE MOLITOR SWIMMING POOL

Hotel Molitor

2 Ave de la Porte Molitor,75016


Once upon a time in Paris, there was a spectacular swimming pool open to all. Movie stars, Olympians, bourgeois families, blue collar workers and everyone inbetween took turns showing off, flirting, sunbathing and even ice skating in the winter! Decades past, and the beautiful pool fell into disrepair, only graffiti artists, junkies and ravers thought to pay it a visit. 
     
                            

Rescue came in the form of Colony Capital in partnership with the hotel group Accor and Bouygues. Now, 80 million Euro's later, the pool has been restored to it's former glory. Glistening, aquamarine under the sun, but now it's glamour now comes with a hefty price tag. The astronomical cost of joining the pool club is around 3000 Euro, with a day visit priced around 150 Euro. It is better value to stay at the ultra cool hotel because a swim is thrown in with the room rate. If you can stretch yourself, The Molitor is a trip. Anyone who has visited one of the beach clubs in Cannes or St Tropez will recognise the clientele. Absolutely fantastic for people watching but don't take it too seriously. The experience of floating in one of the most beautiful pools on the planet in the heart of this stunning city is truly mesmerising. Go on, treat yourself, You only live once.

For more info about Pool & Hotel    
http://www.mltr.fr/en

SAINT SEVERIN

1 Rue des Pretes-St-Severin

5th arrondissement


The church of St Severin ranks as one of the most beautiful places of worship in the world. It's slightly surreal, flamboyant style of Gothic architecture combined with interior harmonic design is unforgettable. While Notre Dame can seem imposing, imperious and consumed by tourists, St Severin offers an expansive, calming and reflective experience.
                                                                     

                                                     

The Ambulatory in particular, is a playful, whimsical space featuring vertical coiled columns, each different from the other shooting upwards to form the vaults. Some have called this space “The Palm Grove”. In one of the Apse chapels alongside, you can see the remains of an ancient well used by locals before construction. Try and time a visit to include a Sacred Music Concert, a sonic wonderland will surround you. Simply beautiful.

MARCHE ST PIERRE

Rue Charles Nodier 75018


Budding designers, established professionals and anyone interested in beautiful textiles will adore the Marche St Pierre in the 18th arrondissement. The area is brimming with haberdashery shops, including the multi story oldest department store in the city Dreyfuss. Perfect for those looking to bring gifts home with a Parisian touch. Tablecloths, napkins, towels and bedding are available in a variety of fabrics and design. Velvets, linens, cotton and silks tempt the eye and are surprisingly easy on the wallet too. This area is still frequented by the elite of French fashion and interior design. The smaller shops such as Moline and Reine are an absolute must. Fabulous for people watching, a French Bridezilla on the prowl for perfect lace is something to behold! 

http://www.marchesaintpierre.com/


 

  PALAIS GALLIERA

MUSEE DE LA MODE

10 Ave Pierre 1er de Servbie

16th arrondissement

                                                                            

                           

It would be a pity to visit the most fashionable city in the world without indulging yourself in this stunning museum. The quality and variety of exhibits is unparalleled and will transport you into centuries past. The 18th Century department is jaw dropping and a perfect accompaniment to a visit to Versailles. Two suits and a chemise worn by the Dauphin, along with a bodice said to have belonged to his mother Marie Antoinette are surprisingly affecting. It is funny how clothing can give you an immediate sense of a person.

                                   
  

You can spend hours wandering through the various departments, gazing at gowns worn by the Empress Josephine, through to Dior's New Look and Givenchy's classic designs for Audrey Hepburn. Give yourself time to view the museum in it's entirety. Every department must be seen because each piece is astounding. From underwear to accessories, prints and designs through to photography, you will be spellbound. Visiting on a rainy day is a special treat, moving from the glorious museum out into a misty, rainy day feels very Parisian.

                                  

Please note that due to the fragile nature of it's pieces, the museum does not have permanent collections on display. Between every exhibition, the museum is closed to the public.

You can check opening hours etc, here;    http://www.palaisgalliera.paris.fr/en


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