Welcome to a new post in my weekly blog series, Passionate About Paris.
Ah, Paris in the Spring: beloved of film makers, song writers, photographers and romantics. Are you planning to visit Paris in April? Here’s a heads up: it’s a great time of year for so many reasons, but do remember that the Paris Marathon will take place on Sunday April 15th so expect greater crowds and more pressure on accommodation around that time.
With spring on the horizon you can become a flâneur (one who strolls) in relative comfort and hopefully some sunshine. Here are some ideas for different ways to get to the heart of Paris:
If you want to see Paris as and with a Parisian, take a look at Parisien d’Un Jour – a great initiative in which you can be taken on a guided walk by a Parisian for behind-the-scenes Paris. Tours can be accommodated in several languages and are free of charge, just make a donation to keep this non-profit association going. Maximum group size is 6 and the organisation is endorsed by the Tourist Office and other official bodies. http://parisiendunjour.fr/index.php?lang=en
Another great (and free) initiative is Paris Heritage Strolls: no guide or organized tour just follows the route at your own pace. Choose from 6 strolls – I’m already planning my next visit to Paris and my choice is going to be the Paris–Bridge-and-Statue Stroll.
What’s on: The International Agricultural Show may not pop into your mind as you ponder what to do in Paris, but with 8 different itineraries there really is masses for everyone to see and experience. The kids will be spoilt for choice with the activities available, the wine lovers can find out about the wine producing regions and laying down a cellar, while those who want to discover new tastes and flavours will be in foodie heaven. The Paris International Agricultural Show runs from 25th February to 4th March and is open from 0900-1900 (late opening on 2nd March until 2300). 1 de la Porte de Versailles, 15th arrondissement. Admission Admission prices: Adults €12, children 6-12 years €6, under 6 years free of charge Métro : Porte de Versailles or Balard http://en.salon-agriculture.com/
Free art festival at the Centre Pompidou The Pompidou Centre’s Nouveau Festival offers artists the chance to create multi-disciplinary installations that cover painting, film, sculpture, theatre and music. In 2012 the festival’s themes are of childhood, ghosts, imagination and teleportation. The festival runs from February 22 to March 12 (not Tuesdays). Open Wed- Mon 11-9, late night Thurs until 11p.m. Entry is free. Pompidou Centre, Place Georges Pompidpou, 4th arrondissement. Métro : Hôtel de Ville or Rambuteau. http://www.centrepompidou.fr/
Another free, fun event is being held at the Espace d’Animation des Blancs Manteaux on March 9th, 10th and 11th. The Salon du Vintage is all any retro lover could wish for, from vintage clothes, furniture or even a 60s hairdo. Over 60 stalls will sell pre-1990s goods and you can even get a vintage tattoo! The salon is open on Friday from 1400-1900; Saturday and Sunday from 1000-1900. Entry is free. 48 rue Vieille du Temple, 4th arrondissement. Métro : Rambuteau.
A treat for the girls (and actually for the boys too) can be found at Marie Antoinette perfume store, with a fabulous selection of original perfumes, as well as soaps and all sorts of beautifully-scented items. There’s a men’s skincare range to keep them occupied! Marie Antoinette Parfumerie can be found at Place du marché Sainte Catherine, 4th arrondissement (the Marais) and is open from 1200-2000, Tues to Sun. Métro : Saint Paul
And finally…. Don’t forget that there’s 20% discount on apartment rentals for readers of this blog travelling to Paris in February or March this year. Naomi Benamy has a selection of gorgeous centrally-located apartments offering a great opportunity to live the local life as detailed in this blog post. Just mention that you saw her details on my blog to obtain the discount. Contact Naomi via her website which has details of her apartments: http://nbenamy-apartments-in-paris.blogspot.com/