Dare To Discover Your Own Paris

11 February 2019

Eva continues to explore Paris and takes us on a tour of some hidden gems.

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Discovering Paris does not mean solely to enjoy the architecture, culture and atmosphere of the city. Small, symbolic details reveal the thinking and, from my humble opinion, the soul of Paris. For instance, there is no presidential box in the Opéra Bastille. Instead, one of the regular seats is considered the presidential seat. These explorations bring you to different places and hopefully enable you to escapade the sacred touristic sights and create your own vision of Paris. I hope that the following four tips for walks in Paris will be inspirational for you. 

Covered Passages 

Parisian covered passages are a unique possibility to immerse yourself into the unbelievable diversity of local shops each of them preserving a spirit of the owner, time of creation and part of the city. Expect that even protectionist Paris did not escape globalisation, therefore, Marks and Spencer found its way into this hidden world. Established in the 19th century, there are about 25 remaining covered passages from the previous 150, all located on the Right Bank. They were built sequentially to invite a passerby for a continual shopping and an escape from dirty streets. Following the Passage des Deux pavillons leading to the Galerie Vivienne, with a small break to reality before continuing to the Passage des Panoramas and Passage Jouffroy enables you to espace the hustle and bustle to savour an atmosphere of passed times.

Graffiti in Rue Édouard Manet by Pejac

Street Art in the XIIIE Arrondissement

The favorable policy of the XIIIe arrondissement towards graffiti created of this part of Paris an open-air gallery. The graffiti range from small, meaningful works to big stencil images influencing more profoundly the urban space because of their visibility. The former represents Pejac’s reflexion on The Luncheon on the Grass, which is purposely situated in Rue Édouard Manet. The allusion of the impressionist painters’ fight for a place on the artistic scene brings us to the Place Pinel that is especially rich in graffiti ranging from a tribute for Evelyn Nesbit by Btoy to Shepard Fairey’s vision of Marianne painted on the occasion of terrorist attacks in 2015. The former draws attention to female graffiti artists. The latter reveals an achievement to bring graffiti into the presidential office. 

Three Parisian Parks

The omnipresent legacy of Baron Haussmann’s and Napoleon’s III urban changes unites my choice of three parks, which were created at that time. Parc Monceau reveals an unexpected heritage of Parisian history. What seems as a classical colonnade are actually remnants of a church in Saint-Denis and an arcade with a still visible traces of fire is a relique of the old City Hall. 

The Parc des Buttes-Chaumont offers a splendid view of Paris from the Temple de la Sibylle and a relaxing walk around an artificial lake. Cité Internationale Universitaire de Paris is located near Parc Montsouris. It is a complex of university residences affiliated to various countries in a public park. The buildings are especially architecturally interesting because they keep a Parisian style of the 20th century and add specific elements of the country they represent.

Hidden Architecture in the Music World 

Even if you are not a fan of music, the temples of music are architecturally attractive, To escape the music, you can take part in a guided tour. Apart from the external architecture, both the Philharmonie de Paris and La Seine Musicale feature a magnificent auditorium in an organic style. To illustrate, the smaller auditorium in La Seine Musical is all covered in wood that is beneficial for the acoustics and for its familial atmosphere. The Palais Garnier is overall breathtaking, especially the monumental stairway and the Grand Foyer. However, it is the ceiling painted by Marc Chagall that reveals an inspiring dialogue between different styles of art. 
Opéra Bastille. 

Tips for Virtual Travelling

Covered passages 
Street Art XIIIe
Cité Internationale Universitaire de Paris
La Seine Musicale

By Eva Strnadova