Paris – eclectic mix of cultures and art

No time would be long enough to discover all the beauties, major and off-tracks, splendid buildings and tiny shops Paris hides. To try to make the most out of it, a well-constructed list and a detailed map were my best travel companions when I visited (came in very handy indeed). Yet so many things left undiscovered for now but not for ever.

Paris Eiffel Tower from sidestreet

Eiffel Tower sneak peek

First timers definitely should not miss out on the major landmarks that characterize the city and make it the second most visited spot in Europe. But after you overcome with emotion climbing to the top of the Eiffel Tower (make it on foot if physical condition allows), wondering at Arc de Triomphe’s traffic junction, and trying to explore one tenth the world’s largest museum, the Louvre, getting lost in less touristic parts (you have to dig deep to find these though) and discovering some of the controversial districts of Paris is something you should squeeze into your short schedule if you want to see this thriving metropolis from a different perspective.

The Notre Dame windowSomeone left the window open – Notre Dame

A visit to the Notre Dame should be on every travelers list but if you are happen to be there the first Friday of the month you will experience something rather special. The wreath of thorns which was placed on Jesus’ head before he was crucified is on show in the cathedral between 3pm and 4pm on this specific day of each month. Enchanted by the Holy Mass take your direction towards the local students’ favorite district, the Latin Quarter. Pick up a book from the Shakespeare and Company bookshop (37, rue de la Bucherie) on the left bank of the river Seine and stroll along the colorful streets of this exciting neighborhood until you reach rue Mouffetard, a street less packed, but not less fascinating. Grab some fresh fruits from Pomi (142, rue Mouffetard) before popping into Androuet (134, rue Mouffetard) for some fine cheese. Everything is about olive oil and colorful packaging at Oliviers & Co. (128, rue Mouffetard), and don’t leave without sampling some delicious natural chocolate at Jeff de Bruges (112-114, rue Mouffetard). Anoki (106, rue Mouffetard) offers upcoming local designer accessories for ladies, and you can even get your nails done at the funky Culture of Color Nail Bar under number 132. Art movie lovers should not skip a visit to L’Epée de Bois art cinema (100, rue Mouffetard) accessible through a mysterious, narrow doorway blending in so well that it’s easy to miss. Apart from the diverse mix of trendy places there are a number of promising restaurants, cafeterias and bars along the road where you can enjoy a real Parisian coffee or a nice glass of French wine without having to queue for a table (at least during the day).

rue Mouffetard in Latin district ParisMore silent and less crowded – rue Mouffetard

Androuet cheese shop ParisFine cheese from Androuet

Oliviers and Co ParisHouse of Olive oil – Oliviers & Co.

Anoki ParisLocal design at Anoki

Once in Paris, get a feel for India. What am I talking about? Just get off the metro at Gare du Nord and you will see it yourself. Totally different but exciting enough the so-called Indian district of the city, packed with Saree shops, Bollywood movie stores, vegetarian and non-veg restaurants and South Indian sweet shops. French language hardly can be caught on the streets, so the experience is rather something like being in a tiny version of India. I picked up some sweets from Ganesha Sweet shop, purchased red banana from the supermarket, then sat for a hearty dinner at one of the many Indian restaurants. Before the night came down I left with a stomach full, good memories and the smell of Indian spices in my nose.

Indian district Paris

Indian supermarket ParisParis mixes with India

To explore Paris off the beaten track requires a good amount of time spent in the city, which anticipates many return trips. But “Paris is always a good idea” so why not to return to the city of lights every now and then?

For more snapshots check out Paris lies in the details

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18 thoughts on “Paris – eclectic mix of cultures and art

  1. Oh wow! I love this post! Makes me want to go back to Paris! I was there alone, Easter break 1998! I never saw the “India” part though, time to head back there soon. Great post yet again! 😊

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  2. Fantastic posting. I love Paris, I would love to go there again. I visited the Louvre and went up the Eiffel Tower, amazing. Fantastic photography in your posting 🙂

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  3. I’m returning to Paris next month, and your lovely post makes me even more anxious to get there. Thank you for liking my “favorite gluten-free birthday cake” post, and for stopping by my site. I know I will enjoy exploring yours further. -Moira

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  4. Very interesting post!!! You really succeeded in capturing the atmosphere of the city and I surely enjoy reading such posts! Have you written anything about Berlin (one of my favourite cities)? 🙂

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  5. Thanks for visiting my recent post. That led me to this post on Paris, probably my favorite city. We were last there in June and your recommendations are on the mark. I’m looking forward to following you to see your future essays.

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  6. Pingback: Paris lies in the details | journeyfiles

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