Here's another SAMPLE ENTRY from my current app "Paris Travel: the City & Great Day Trips." The complete app may be downloaded at Apple's iTunes App Store. This app takes you to many unusual places within daytrip range of Paris, and within the city itself, along with the popular favorites. It is also available on Google's App Store for download to most Android devices under the name "Paris Day Trips Travel Guide."
Maps & text © Earl Steinbicker.
Paris Walking Tour Number One
Nothing is more symbolic of Paris than the Eiffel Tower, so it seems appropriate to begin your walks with the classic view of it, perhaps ascending to the top for a sweeping panoramic survey of the city.
The suggested tour described here continues on through the most interesting neighborhoods (quartiers) of the Left Bank (Rive Gauche) but stops short of the Latin Quarter, covered on the next walk.
Along the way you will be able to visit some of the greatest sights in Paris, including the Invalides, the Rodin and Orsay museums, the picturesque quays along the Seine, and the colorful St.-Germain-des-Prés district. The walk ends in a delightful area that is especially rich in outdoor cafés, where you can relax in the traditional Parisian fashion.
The quickest way to get to the starting point of this walk from most parts of Paris is to take the Métro to Trocadéro. You can also reach it by bus routes 22, 30, 32, or 63. Buses 72 and 82 stop at the foot of the bridge opposite the Eiffel Tower. By Taxi, ask the driver for Place du Trocadéro.
CAFÉ DE FLORE
LE PETIT SAINT-BENOÎT
BAR DU MARCHÉ
LA CRÊPE RIT DU CLOWN
To see a DIAGRAM MAP of this tour just touch the photo in the upper left. It will then fill the screen and morph into a map. Touch that to keep it on screen, THEN slide a finger from right to left for the rest of the map and more photos. Touch upper left to return to text. Numbers on the DIAGRAM MAP correspond to numbers in the text.
Places mentioned in BOLD CAPITAL type have their own separate entries for full descriptions, reached by touching the name. These links DO NOT FUNCTION on this blog, nor are the photos and additional practical information posted here.
Begin your walking tour at the Trocadéro Métro Station (1). Next to this stands the massive Palais de Chaillot, a Neo-Classical structure left over from the Paris Exposition of 1937. Built in two symmetrically-curved wings, it now houses a theater and a few minor museums that you might want to visit on another day.
Step out onto its central terrace for the most spectacular view of the Eiffel Tower possible, then continue straight ahead, going down steps past the gardens and fountains. The Pont d'Iéna, built by Napoleon in 1814 to commemorate a victory over the Prussians, spans the Seine and leads to the Left Bank. Rising dramatrically in front of you is the EIFFEL TOWER (2).
From the base of the tower a large open park called the Champ-de-Mars, originally a military parade ground, spreads southeast to the imposing École Militaire. Built in the 18th century, this famous military academy had among its graduates a young artillery lieutenant named Napoleon Bonaparte, who it predicted would "go far under favorable circumstances."
Napoleon, of course, did go far, but today he rests just around the corner at Les Invalides (3). Built by Louis XIV in the late 17th century as a retirement home for wounded war veterans, this monumental complex now houses several attractions. Along its southern end stands the Church of the Dome, an outstanding structure in the French Classical style designed by the most important architect of the time, Jules Hardouin-Mansart. Inside, in an open circular crypt, is a red porphyry sarcophagus containing the mortal remains of Napoleon. The great emperor is still deeply revered by the French people. Other notable soldiers buried here include Vauban and Marshal Foch.
The same complex includes the Museum of the Army (Musée de l'Armée), one of the greatest military museums on Earth. Part of it is on the east side of the inner courtyard and is devoted to the history of the French Army, while the section on the west side has a fine collection of medieval armor, weapons, and intriguing exhibits dealing with the two world wars of the past century. Connecting with it is the Museum of Relief Maps, which features superb scale models of Franch strongholds from 1668 to 1870.
Continue on through the complex and follow the map to one of the most enchantring sights in Paris, the RODIN MUSEUM (4).
The route now leads through the elegant Faubourg-Saint-Germain, a district of gracious mansions presently occupied by government ministries and foreign embassies. Next to the river is the Palais Bourbon, an 18th-century palace built by a daughter of Louis XIV and later embellished by Napoleon. Since 1827 it has housed the National Assembly, the lower house of the French Parliament.
A right turn on the Quai Anatole-France takes you along the Seine to Gare d'Orsay, a former railroad station built around 1900. Alas, its platforms proved to be too short for express trains and after 1939 it fell into virtual disuse. There were plans to demolish the noble structure, but reason prevailed and after a variety of more-or-less artistic uses it was converted into a museum in 1986. No visitor to Paris should miss the fabulous MUSÉE d'ORSAY (5).
Leave the museum and continue along the quai, which becomes even more colorful as you approach the Pont des Arts, a charming iron footbridge across the Seine that was opened in 1803.
Just beyond it is the Institut de France, home of the venerable Académie Française, a prestigious body charged with protecting the purity of the French language. This is surely a hopeless task in the land of le week-end and le hamburger. Other learned societies also meet beneath its majestic dome.
Adjacent to it is the former Royal Mint, the Hôtel des Monnaies (6). This now houses the small Museum of Coins and Medals, covering the entire scope of French minting from ancient to modern times. Closed for renovation until late 2013.
From here the route gets a bit tricky, so you'll have to follow the map carefully. It leads through some very old and colorful streets to the School of Fine Arts (École des Beaux-Arts) (7), founded in the early 19th century on the site of a former monastery. Although not generally open to the public, there are exhibitions of works by the students that you can see. Enter at 13 Quai Malaquais. Open Tues.-Sun., 1-7, € 4, reduced €2. W: ensba.fr.
Turn left on the Rue Bonaparte and left again on Rue Jacob, continuing on to the tiny Place de Fürstemberg. This is easily the most charming and romantic small square in Paris, with an atmosphere right out of the 17th century.
On its west side is the house where the artist Eugène Delacroix lived and worked until his death in 1863. It has been preserved as he left it, and is now the Delacroix Museum (8). Don't miss seeing this remarkable little gem. 6 Rue de Fürstenberg, Paris 75006, T: 01-44-41-86-50, W: www.musee-delacroix.fr. Open Wed.-Mon. 9:30-5. Closed Tues, Jan. 1, Dec. 25. Adults €5, free for under 18, for all on first Sun. of month, July 14, holders of ticket to Louvre Museum.
A right turn into the quaint Rue de l'Abbaye brings you to Place St.-Germain-des-Prés, one of the main centers of activity on the Left Bank. This is a great place to sit down at an outdoor café and just watch the world go by, perhaps at the famous Deux Magots or the Flore.
Facing the square is the 11th-century Church of St.-Germain-des-Prés (9), whose origins go back to the 6th century and which ranks as the oldest church in Paris. Originally this was part of an enormous Benedictine abbey whose 42,000 acres of land was surrounded by a defensive moat and extended all the way to the Seine. During the French Revolution the abbey was broken up and much of the church was vandalized. An unsatisfactory restoration in the 19th century didn't help matters, but the interior is still worth visiting for its interesting mixture of Romanesque, Gothic, and later styles.
Continue down the lively Boulevard St.-Germain. Many of the narrow streets leading off this thoroughfare in either direction are worth exploring if you have the time. When you get to the Odéon Métro stop, turn left into the well-hidden Cour du Commerce St.-André, a tiny alleyway lined with old shops.
There is so much to see around here by just poking into the little passageways and following your instincts. When you tire of this, turn down the delightful Rue St.-André-des-Arts to its eastern end, where some nice outdoor cafés provide the perfect spot to relax at the end of this walk. From here it is only a few steps to the St.-Michel Métro Station (10), where you can get a subway or RER train back to your hotel.
If you happen to be still burning with energy, you might want to begin Walk 2, THE LATIN QUARTER & CITÉ.
Text & maps © Earl Steinbicker.
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