- From the France series
Or how you can see Paris from a different angle?
In 2014, we spent one week in Paris. Dido was celebrating his 30 and I was there regarding my Ph.D. research. It was March just before the start of the spring and we knew that the sunny weather was just a dream. We were ready to face the grey street in Paris, the rain, and the wind. But we also knew that the quiet and warm halls of the Library and the Archive will welcome us without objection. For me, Paris is rainier than London and the weather in the French capital is more inconstant. But it is Paris and that’s enough. Here is an alternative itinerary which you can consider for your next trip.
That’s was our first time using Airbnb and since then we haven’t booked any hotels. We chose a flat in an old French building at the 13th arrondissement close to the National Library. The key was under the mat. We had a wonderful view. The metro was just around the corner, not more than 5 minutes walk. And one of the days we even visited the street market on Boulevard de Reuilly organized every week. Street murmur, breakfast, French black coffee, that’s how we fell in love with 13th arrondissement.
National Library of France
To be able to do my research and not “damaging” the plan we have prepared, I was getting up early in the morning and walking to the Library. It was 10 minutes away from our flat. The neighborhood was great and that’s allowed me to relax completely before the long day outside. I even managed to help an old woman to find the metro station (yep, I became a real Parisian for less than a week).
I spent every morning in the reading room, buried in books, articles, walking through the large corridors with red, soft carpets. An incredible building, with rich and amazing collections, and a wonderful team of librarians (this word always reminds me of The Mummy and how Rachel Weisz proudly says: I am a librarian). The French Library also has exhibition spaces so anyone interested can visit it. Complete silence, only the noise from the pages of the books and the keyboards. Parisian mornings offer zen sounds that few people can appreciate.
National Archive of France
The other very special place I would like to share with you is the National Archive of France. Do not miss to visit the museum there. Many years ago, this building has been the Museum of French history and it is not a coincidence that you can find remarkable interior design and architecture, the preserved rooms from the XVIII century. The Museum of the National Archive is situated in the building from the XIV century the last saved from this period in Paris.
These two locations keep the French spirit and they can be included in the list of the places to visit.
Art Paris Art Fair
A contemporary art fair in the art capital of the world is something pretty normal, right? The main mission of the event is to present modern art in an accessible form to everyone. Every year since 2012, the Art Paris Art Fair has a different focus. In 2014 г., when we were in Paris it was an Asian focus. Asia is developing the contemporary art scene and follows interesting tendencies. What we saw was very brutal and connected with their culture and understanding of their life and the world. This place is a must-see for one more reason – the location. The Art Paris Art Fair takes place in the Grand Palais. Nowadays this historical location is mainly used for cultural events and an exhibition hall which is impressive.
We continued our arty walk thirsty to see contemporary art in different shapes. In Centre Pompidou, we visited the exhibition of the world-famous photographer Henri Cartier Bresson. He has been part of the Magnum and he has left his trace in contemporary photography as we know it today. We waited in line to see this incredible artist in the center of contemporary art. Omg! When that will happen in Bulgaria?
We were so happy to see the original works from Bresson. We didn’t plan this in advance, Paris surprised us.
The building is so big that one day won’t be enough to see everything. We chose to see only this exhibition and we headed to other places as part of the plan.
Album Comics Paris
Who is a fan of comic books and superheroes? We are. Who loves to visit different comic book stores around the world while traveling? We love. That’s why finding one of the famous comic book stores in Paris wasn’t so hard. When we crossed the door of this magical place Atlas Comics Paris we stayed there for more than one hour and we bought many comic books for our collection. In the store, there are new issues and old comics, it’s like a real archive representing the evolution of the superheroes. I don’t know about the kids, but we felt in the right place. This imaginary world is so tempting when we compare it to the reality we live in.
Besides the classical and contemporary art, on the streets of Paris, we saw many graffiti art from famous artists. One of the treasures we found was Le Tour 13 right before its destruction. Le Tour 13 is a gallery building where every floor, every wall, every possible spot were turned into a masterpiece. Unfortunately, the building was destroyed even that lots of people try to save it. There is an interactive site where you can see all the colorful wall paintings.
We saw some of the works of Space Invader. And you, which graffiti artists have you seen during your travels?
Les Jardins in Paris
Our itinerary passed by Les Jardins du
From Montmartre, we decided to walk to this park by foot. Well, this short walk offered us a little adventure because we passed by some strange neighborhoods, we saw people who looked at us even more strange, we crossed the streets that can be walked by foot… omg, where we were? Finally, we got there. The sun was high in the sky, the dogs were running, the kids were playing, some of the people were laying down on the lawns, some of them just were reading books. So Paris!
Paris is different for everyone. That’s how we saw it. We hope that you will be inspired to see the French capital from a different angle and enjoy the daintiness.
Be happy everywhere!