If Cecile’s beloved city is London, mine is undoubtedly Paris! Under a blazing sun or a heavy rain, from dawn to dusk, as a tourist or resident, my love for Paris has always been an unshakeable fidelity! And even if the French capital shines during all seasons, it’s summer that enchants me the most. That time of year does not necessarily rhyme with waves of tourists and crowded sidewalks… Once school holidays have arrived, many Parisians are hurrying on the roads towards Brittany, southern France and beyond. What about tourists ? they will be agglutinated at the foot of the Eiffel Tower, sprawling on the steps of the Butte Montmartre or stucked on the forecourt of Notre Dame at noon. This gives us plenty of opportunities to explore the Louvre Museum area before crossing to the Rive Gauche and strolling to the Jardin du Luxembourg.
Starting point of this summer walk, the majestic Cour Carrée at Louvre!
highlighted by the emerging sun, it opens its gates at the very moment when the first curious run at the museum’s ticket offices and head quickly to Mona Lisa, tired of her success. And it’s in the huge galleries still left by all visitors that the ride begins. While the famous room 6 at Dénon is facing the effervescence of the opening, you can quietly visit the rest of the museum – or at least part of it – between 9 and 11am. Our favorites, the huge collection of Egyptian antiquity at Sully area and the atmosphere of Cours Marly and Puget on the Richelieu side.
The entrance ticket to the Louvre costs 15 € there and 17 € online but you can enter for free every first Sunday of the month, from October to March, and all year long if you have less than 26 years old and European resident. Except on Tuesdays, it is open daily from 9am to 6pm and until 9.45pm on Wednesdays and Fridays.
Gardens, sculptures and Rive Gauche.
Let’s head to the charming garden of the Palais Royal via Place Colette and Kiosque des Noctambules, a contemporary artwork by French artist Jean-Michel Othoniel. Then the sculptures and fountains by Daniel Buren and Pol Bury take us to Café Kitsuné, one of Cecile’s favorite addresses. The morning sun sublimates the garden but it is in the shadow of one of the most famous Paris passages that we continue the walk, the Gallery Vivienne and its beautiful mosaics before turning back and cross the Seine River.
From the 1st district of Paris, there is plenty of ways to reach the other side of the famous Parisian river. Pont Royal, Des Arts, Neuf, Saint-Michel and many more… We enjoy the calm of this morning to cross the Ile de la Cité and its tiny Pont au Double which licks the feet of the famous Notre-Dame Lady. Certainly the tourist activity’s starting but the place is not as suffocated as in the afternoon. The right time to fill in your SD card and bring back some nice pictures of the Cathedral! Behind Notre-Dame, the garden offers a very nice point of view! A few historical words, in the middle of the the Notre-Dame‘s square is the point zéro de Paris… Basically, it is the kilometric point 0 of the roads leaving the french capital, which is used as a reference for calculating distances with other cities in France. That’s not a detail to everyone !
Once on the other side, the roads that lead to the Jardin du Luxembourg are numerous… But one thing is certain, getting lost in the small streets making the transition between 5th and 6th district is a must do! Also, lovers of pastries run at Odette whose cream puffs, specialty of the house, claim to be the best of Paris. Once on the edge of the 6th, we go through rue de l’Hirondelle then rue Saint-André des Arts and walk into another typical Parisian passage, the Cour du Commerce Saint-André where the few terraces welcome the first customers for lunch. Notable addresses include Le Procope, the oldest café in Paris founded in 1686 but also the Relais Odéon. Personally, for the lunch, we find our happiness rather in the lovely rue de Buci. Eggs, mixed salads, fish, pasta, burgers, the Café Jade menu is varied and the price/quality ratio quite correct. If you’re more into cheese boards and smoked salmon, you’ll find what you’re looking for at theSmiths Bakery. And for dessert, go to Amorino! All the establishments are not equal and it will be necessary to ignore the cruel lack of kindness of some waiters to appreciate the lunch… But in this very lively district, there is a bunch of good addresses.
The afternoon is well established and it’s time to head to the Luxembourg Garden, one of the most beautiful in the french capital. And it is while strolling around the Odeon that we can see the silhouette of the Senate and the Luxembourg Palace. on the other side of the gate wide open, the central basin. If you are in a romantic mood, take your boy/girlfriend in the shade of the fountain of Marie de Medici – instigator of the creation of the Luxembourg Garden in 1612 -. If you are more in a sporty mood, you will be happy with the basketball and tennis courts. Here is a link with all the practical information of the garden.
Here are 6 kilometers of summer walk that you can find in image in the video below and whose route is pined on this map that we created just for you. Yeah, we’re so nice! Also, do not hesitate to be carried away by curiosity and to stroll blindly – but always eyes wide open! That’s how you discover the soul of a city. See you very soon for some other Parisian walks and in the meantime, come say hello on our Instagram. Also, do not forget to subscribe to owntheroads.org !