Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Promenade Plantée

Métro:  Bastille ( line 1 or 6 ) for the entrance Viaduc des Arts
             Porte Dorée (line 8) or Porte de Vincennes (line 1) for the entrance Porte de Montempoivre
Entrance: Viaduc des Arts- Avenue Daumesnil, 75012 Paris
                 Porte de Montempoivre- Boulevard Soult, 75012
Hours: 9:00 am to 8:30 pm (Summer Season) -Check the website for details because it varies from day to day.
Cost: Free
Website: www.paris.fr  (includes a printable map)

So have you ever felt like it's time to burn some calories (mostly from the chocolate éclairs you have been indulging in) but you don't want to spend money on a gym pass ( rather spend it on the next round of chocolate éclairs)? No problem! You can just walk the 5k of the Promenade Plantée! This old train line received a nice makeover and was transformed into a park.

Plan of having good shoes because it ain't a 10 minutes walk for it goes from Bastille to the Bois de Vincennes! But the nice things about this park is that a/ you can't get lost, b/you won't get run over by a car and c/ it gives you an elevated view of the streets of Paris. So enjoy this walk, or run if you are brave.  However, if you don't feel like spending hours in it, you can just exit just about anywhere (check the printable map on the website to find the numerous exits).


The last part of the park: Reuilly-Vincennes is a bit more wild and secluded. You also go through a few tunnels. Although, during the day it's perfectly safe, I wouldn't recommend it in the evening, especially in winter season where it can be isolated and dark- just saying.


Saturday, July 27, 2013

Moulin de la Galette

Métro: Abbesses ( line 12 )
View from Rue Lepic, 75018 Paris

No, you're not in the Netherlands but in Paris! Le moulin de la galette is the only flour mill left in Paris which can still be used. Build in 1622, it is actually composed of two mills, the other one being hard to see from the street. In the late 1800, it was a popular spot for popular dances (including french cancan) as well as a tavern. Sadly, it is on a private property and you can't visit it so enjoy the view!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Passage Choiseul

Métro: Quatre Temps ( line 3 )
Entrance: 40 rue des Petits Champs, 75002 Paris
                 23 rue Saint-Augustin, 75002 Paris
Hours: Monday - Saturday 8:00 am to 8:00 pm
Cost: Free

 Every passage way has a different flavor. To me, Passage de Choiseul is the spot for fancy shoes . You can tell that it is the good quality stuff; although maybe not as modern and hip as fashionistas would like.

Originally, it was a row of little mansions which were destroyed; thanks to a bank which thought they could replace the mansions by a hip housing complex. Of course the idea was abandoned when the area became a bit "has been". Only the gallery (1825 -1827) remains of this project.

It is most lively during office hours with all kinds of little eateries opened for lunch. However, don't expect a rush in the evening. Most shops close after 6:00 pm and it becomes quiet if not dead.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

L'éclair de génie

Métro: Saint-Paul ( line 1)
Address: 14 rue Pavée, 75004 paris
Hours: Tuesday - Sunday 11:00 am to 7:30pm
Cost: around 5 euros
Website: http://www.leclairdegenie.com/

I have to confess I am addicted to those éclairs. The concept is simple: Homage to éclairs! Christophe Adam plays with flavors and textures like no others. Those éclairs melt in your mouth. They are light and yet so powerful in flavor. My favorite is the passion fruit. It truly feels like you are drinking a freshly squeezed glass of juice. (Praline-Pecans is also pretty good). It is divine, even miraculous. I was never let down by any of his éclairs. the only let down is the price. Count at least 5 euros. I guess 5 euros for a moment of pure pleasure is acceptable once in a while. Luckily for my waist line, I don't live in the neighborhood because I would be so tempted to eat one for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Port de l'Arsenal

Métro: Bastille ( line 1, 5 or 8)
Address: 11 bd Bastille, 75012 Paris
Cost: Free
Website: www.fayollemarine.fr

Part of the Canal Saint Martin, le port de l'Arsenal has the flavor of a little Parisian get away. In the 16th century, it was actually part of the ramparts and the fort that protected the walls of Paris; hence its name: Arsenal. During the revolution it was dug into a pond, and later became part of the project of the Canal Saint Martin.

Today, it is a marina that brings you out of the busy streets of Paris. Along the dock, you will also find the gardens with play areas for the kiddos!


Thursday, July 18, 2013

Canal St Martin

Métro: République (line 3, 5, 8, 9 or 11) - Jaurès ( line 2, 5 or 7bis)
Address: Quai Valmy / Quai de Jemmapes, 75010 Paris
Website: www.paris.fr


Canal Saint Martin is a huge canal, 5km long. So I decided that this time I would only walk the portion located between station République to station Jaurès which is also known as Locks 7 an 8 of the Temple (it's kind of the middle portion of the canal).

Canal Saint Martin was actually ordered by law by Napoleon in order to bring drinkable water to Paris and improve the hygiene and medical condition of its inhabitants. Construction began in 1805 but was dropped a few years later for lack of funding. It was Louis XVIII which took over the project into completion.

On pictures, Canal St Martin is romantic and it is. But I have to give a fair warning that people go there in the evening to share a few drinks with their friends. Also the canal St Martin is also home for over 200 homeless. Personally, I never had problems but I was never there after 9pm either.

One of the emblems of this portion of the canal, the store Antoine & Lili. It's a clothing store (Women) located on 95 quai de Valmy. I adore the bold colours!

I love all the street art. You have lots of different styles, techniques and colors. I am not much for tagging but some of it is actually really cool.


A good way to enjoy the canal is also taking a cruise. I've never done it because I'm on a tight budget and you need to count at least 30-40 bucks per head but maybe one day when I win the lottery...

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


Métro: Quai de la Gare (ligne 6) or Gare d'Austerlitz (ligne 5)
Address: 34 Quai d'Austerlitz, 75013 Paris
Cost: Burgers starting from 4 euros
Hours: everyday from noon to midnight
Website: http://www.mob-usa.com/

So as I posted a few days ago, my sister and I went to visit la Cité de la Mode et du Design. We got there around lunch time and before we knew it, we were hungry. Our eyes were automatically drawn to this little place that looked like it belonged there and yet it was so un-French. But of course! Straight from Brooklyn, I present to you M.O.B.!

 Menu seems pretty straight forward, burgers and hot dogs. So we placed our orders and we enjoyed the complementary magazine that was a special food comic book, just like home. Before you knew it, the place was fully packed and people were drooling over our food while they waited for theirs. Tip: always be there first!

Yum! So here's the deal: I forgot to tell you, it ain't meat. What!!? A burger without meat?  Yes M.O.B. is a vegetarian restaurant. Everything from main course to dessert. My patty was made from eggplant. I ate veggie burgers a hundred times in my life (yep, they're good) but it was by far one of the best. It was surprising at first because compared to the more tamed and dried versions I had before, this one was really moist and flavorful. Even my sister that is 100% carnivorous enjoyed every single bite of it.

Thanks, we did. Well, beside the chocolate cheesecake my sister ordered. It was too vegan for us made with oats, cashews and soy. After She's Cake, we could not possibly like the M.O.B 's version of it. It just wasn't good to our untrained taste buds.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Saint Sulpice de Paris

Métro: Saint Sulpice (line 4), Mabillon (line 10), Odéon (line 4 and 10)
Address: Place Saint-Sulpice - 2, rue Palatine, 75006  Paris
Hours: everyday from 7:30 am to 7:30 pm
Cost: free
Website: http://www.paroisse-saint-sulpice-paris.org/

I have to say that I am usually not a big fan of visiting churches and cathedrals in France because I find them dark and a bit spooky. However, I was intrigued by Saint Sulpice's unusual architecture as well as its Delacroix murals. One of my favorite thing was actually the courtyard in front of it and I felt like I was traveling to Rome for a second.  Thanks to Napoleon who chose to destroy part of the Church to install a fountain instead.

The surrounding neighborhood is also very charming and I really enjoyed walking the streets around the church. We don't actually know how old this church is. They know it existed prior to the 10th century (pretty cool, I'd say) but obviously, it was remodeled multiple times since. The actual structure dates from the 17th century.

Alright so I went in looking for Mister Eugène Delacroix murals. It was right at the entrance, under my nose. If I had not known it was there (inside the Chapel of Holy Angels), I would have missed it completely. So fair warning to you!

Delacroix was commissioned by the city of Paris in 1849 to complete this mural. He worked on it from 1855 to 1861. Surprisingly, he did not choose to paint angels as we can imagine them (cute and peaceful aka angelic) but rather as combatant and determined. I say why not, let's be rebellious for once!

Just for the anecdote, Victor Hugo got married in Saint Sulpice as well as Robespierre.

Under the Revolution , Saint Sulpice became the Temple of Reason. I thought that was pretty cool knowing that most of the time, the revolution meant destruction for religious buildings.

 And now for the very unique feature, here's a gnomon! A what? Yeah, I did not know either.  It is the part of a sundial (the solar clock thingy) that casts the shadow so to be able to read the time using astronomy. In 1743, the pastor wanted to be able to predict with exactness when Easter should be celebrated using the equinox so he asked Astronomy scientists to install one. If you turn around, you can see the hole for the sun ray on the opposite wall. See it's like visiting a Science museum at the same time!

Hope you enjoyed our little visit to Saint Sulpice. It's actually a pretty cool one. And that's why it is mentioned in the Da Vinci Code (scene with the meridian)!


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