10 ways to fol­low your nose in the City of Light

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - TRAVEL 2013 -


PARIS is a won­der­ful city to ex­plore on foot, tak­ing in nu­mer­ous land­marks and stop­ping at count­less cafés and boule­vard shops.

Al­though it is pos­si­ble to cross the City of Light in only a few hours, visi­tors are spoilt for choice when it comes to pos­si­ble itin­er­ar­ies. The 10 routes given be­low take in only some of what Paris has to of­fer.

● Visi­tors in­ter­ested in the his­toric cen­tre should be­gin with a stroll on the two River Seine is­lands. The Gothic master­piece Notre Dame is on the Île de la Cité, while the neigh­bour­ing Saint-Louis has one of the city’s best pic­nic ar­eas, with views of the river­bank and the stun­ning cathe­dral.

● The Marais is prob­a­bly best known for its thriv­ing gay scene, crowded bars, trendy shops and restau­rants. Visi­tors can also dis­cover lots of traces of Jewish life, in­clud­ing a syn­a­gogue with an art nou­veau façade, kosher food stores and memo­ri­als to Jewish school­child­ren de­ported dur­ing World War II.

● Com­fort­able footwear is es­sen­tial for the steep walk up to Mont­martre, but views from the Basil­ica of Sacré-Coeur on the crest of the hill makes the ex­er­tion worth­while. The only down­side is the huge num­ber of fel­low tourists, pushy sou­venir sell­ers and street artists. The western part of the hill, with its small houses and façades over­grown with plants, is an in­fin­itely more pleas­ant ex­pe­ri­ence.

● To­day al­most noth­ing re­mains of the Bastille stormed by French rev­o­lu­tion­ar­ies in 1789, but the area is well worth a visit, if only to ex­plore the many beau­ti­ful court­yards and build­ings that once pri­mar­ily housed the city’s car­pen­ters and join­ers.

The quar­ter is also home to the Marche d’Ali­gre, one of the most colour­ful and lively veg­etable mar­kets in Paris.

● The left bank of the Seine is a good place to look for traces of the Ro­man pres­ence in Paris, such as the ther­mal baths near Cluny Mu­seum and the am­phithe­atre where young boys now play foot­ball. A small di­ver­sion to the Pan­theon, which has served as a church and a tem­ple of he­roes, is also worth­while.

● Thanks to its huge im­mi­grant pop­u­la­tion, Paris has the ad­van­tage of of­fer­ing visi­tors the chance to ex­pe­ri­ence a ta­pes­try of cul­tural life. The Tamil quar­ter near the Gare du Nord is full of places sell­ing ex­otic herbs and spices, as well as shops of­fer­ing saris and colour­ful stat­ues of deities. You only have to stroll a cou­ple of streets fur­ther be­fore ar­riv­ing in a pre­dom­i­nantly African area.

● In good weather, a walk along the Canal Saint Martin fol­lowed by a pic­nic in the shade of the stately plane trees is hard to beat. There are also nu­mer­ous pleas­ant cafés and shops along the canal bank and in the small side streets nearby.

● Visi­tors look­ing for

style should head for the Boule­vard Sain­tGer­main, where well- dressed Parisian women in high heels and men wear­ing blaz­ers like to con­gre­gate.

● The French liked to make fun of for­mer pres­i­dent Ni­co­las Sarkozy’s love for the high life. A walk around the Élysée Palace, the of­fi­cial pres­i­den­tial res­i­dence, and along Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honore of­fers visi­tors a view of some of the finest bou­tiques in the city.

● Villa Mouzaia is one of the lesser known but more in­ter­est­ing Parisian quar­ters, with its small houses and over­grown front gar­dens. Nearby is the Parc Buttes Chau­mont, where tired walk­ers can re­lax with a glass of chilled white wine and watch the world go by from the ter­race of the Café Rosa Bon­heur. – Sapa-dpa

FOOD FUNDIS: The Marche d’Ali­gre is a lovely mar­ket near the Bastille.

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