France, Je T’aime – Part One: Paris – Rues et Jardins

Paris Montparnasse Tower View 02

A walk about Paris will provide lessons in history, beauty, and in the point of Life. – Thomas Jefferson

Paris is a moveable feast – Ernest Hemingway

I don’t believe I could’ve picked a more perfect period in my life to experience Paris for the first time after having experienced other European capitals (the infinitely more laid-back Amsterdam and Dublin) to ease me into the overwhelming moveable feast that is Paris.  It helped that my fiancée had been to Paris twice before, as while together we came to it with the wide-eyes of outsiders (it’s easy to see why so many ex-pats holed up in Paris for a spell have written some of the kindest words about the city of lights), her tourist knowledge kept us from going mad while wandering the streets and the metro.  Paris is best experienced by walking, and this first post in an epic five piece series capturing our French adventure through pictures will focus on the maddeningly beautiful, confusing streets and the resplendent parks and gardens of Paris the burst with life, secrets and the profound.

When in Paris…

You Must:

  • Take in the panaromic views atop the Montparnasse Tower.
  • Stroll around Montmarte which offers steep San Francisco-esque uphill walks to posh touristy blocks (which house le Moulin Rouge and le Sacre Coeur) that offer amazing views of the rest of the city below.
  • People-watch in the Luxembourg Gardens where it’s as if someone merged a palace grounds with Central Park – EVERYONE (tourists, families, kids, couples, retirees) comes here to play, unwind and promenade.
  • Visit the English-language bookstore Shakespeare & Company in the Latin Quarter just off the Seine, which boasts on its second floor a cozy free library where you can lounge and imagine the heydays of Fitzgerald and Hemingway (and find a corner of a shelf dedicated to my favorite writer, Graham Greene).

The Spin’s Parisian Fun Tips:

  • If you strategized packing lite and planned on laundry, be sure to go to a laundromat owned by a nice old Frenchman who will help guide you though the more practical points of Parisian Laveries.  For best, most pleasing results, go to one on a lazy Sunday evening before dinner (we found a deserted one near our hotel in the Opera and Theater district).
  • Sometimes the best food in France is….Italian.  Il Piccolino in the Opera and Theater District at 10 Rue de Constantinople, recommended to us by our hotel concierge, offers intimate and quirky dining environs where a delightful little old man will speak your language (the best he can) while he reads you the truly special specials, and hand-written menus offer poetic descriptions of the freshest homemade Italian dishes (you might see your server or hostess dart across the street to their co-owned market for fresh veggies and other ingredients).  Reservations a must due to the small space.

Written and Photographed by David H. Schleicher

The Spin’s Five Part “France, Je T’aime” Series:


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