Paris at walking pace : Aristocratic and Imperial Paris
  • 10
  • Sep
  • 2009

To help you explore the City of Light, I found 4 interesting walks for all legs, moods and degrees of curiosity in the Thalyscope. 

If you want to hear the heartbeat of imperial and aristocratic Paris, then you should journey into the city’s historic centre. We investigate the area around the Seine ( duration: 3h30)

It all began on the “Ile de la cité”, more than 2000 yeras ago. Your starting-point is Notre-Dame cathedral. Look carefully at the richly decorated façade adn visit the little garden behind the cathedral to view the flying buttresses and the elegant spire. 

Then walk to the Palais de Justice where you will be amazed at the Sainte-Chapelle (open 10-17h), it’s a masterpiece of French Got. You need to go inside because there are so many stained-glass windows in which the daylight conures up magnificent shades of gold, royal blue and crimson. If you don’t want to qeue, than you can take a ticket for a concert in the evening.

Now walk past the Conciergerie and come to Place Dauphine (dubbed “the genitals of Paris” because of the shape of this esplanade and its central location in the city). This place is my favorite Place in Paris. I find it so romantic and there are several places where you can have a nice drink or even eat a little snack.The place Dauphine opens onto the Pont Neuf, despite its name, it is in fact the city’s oldest bridge. When the weather is fine, the stone benches make a fantastic observation ponts over the Seine. Descend the steps and walk to the tip of the island. What could be more romantic !

The right bank owes it aristocratic cachet to the Louvre. Enter the palace via the Cour Carrée and the Cour Napoléon, where the famous pyramid fo I.M.Pei was enthroned in 1989. The Louvre was a medieval fortress and its foundations are still visible today. Have a seat at Café Marly to enjoy the view from the terrace behind the row of columns.

The Tuileries are a delightful 24 hectare park in the heart of the city. Do as the habitués do and take the time to relax in one of the metal armchairs. This green oasis is also an open-air museum with sculptures by great artists (Rodin, Dubuffet,Giacometti, Maillol, …)Walk to the middle of the garden and then follow the avenue to the right which will take you to the Rue de Rivoli.

From there the Rue de Castiglione leads to the stately Place Vendôme, where an architectural gem awaits you. This place is the most sumptuous address in Paris. At n° 12 you’ll find the jeweller Chaumet ( the firm mad the wedding finery for Empress Mari-Louise, Napoleon’s second wife). To the left at nr° 15 is the mythical hotel Ritz. Having lunch there at l’Espadon is affordable or heading for a drink at the Hemingway Bar in the evening is great fun. The Bloody Mary was invented here. And so you can admire the glitzy interior of the hotel. Also take the time to study the Colonne Vendôme in the middle of the square. 

Now walk into the prestigious Rue Saint-Honoré and admire the shops : this is “the” street for fashion. The  Ladurée tea salon on the corner of the Rue Royale is the perfect place to rest your feet and sample the pastries in an Empire-style setting. The speciality of the house is the macaroon, two crunchy biscuits sandwiched together with a layer of cream, available in a whole host of exotic flavours. A taste of heaven.


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