Archived - Emma O Donnell
Powered by Blogger.

Three Nights in Paris

 Earlier this month, I went to Paris for three nights with my boyfriend. It was our third visit so we decided not to visit some of the typical tourist spots and instead explore some parts of the city we missed last time. The highlight of the the trip for me was visiting the Luxembourg Gardens and walking around the Latin Quarter.

Luxembourg Gardens

The Luxembourg Gardens was the first place we visited on our first full day. It was a really hot day so we decided to pick up some fruit and pastries and take them to the park. The Luxembourg Gardens are a really lovely place to relax and take a break from the busy city. There's lots of seated areas where you can stay in the shade or soak up the sun. The fountains and the palace are really beautiful. I found it unusual that there were palm trees around the fountains but it makes the place feel a little tropical, especially in the sun.

Saint Germain Des Pres

Saint Germain Des Pres is a really lovely area to walk around. It's quite a wealthy part of town, often known for housing LaDuree and the famous Cafe De Flore but there are also some really lovely spots such as The Fountaine Saint Suplice that we stumbled across. We also visited the Musee D'Orsay. It has some really beautiful pieces including a collection of Van Gogh's works. It also has a great viewing point from the top and a large clock face which overlooks the Seine. As it was so hot during our visit, we sat down by the Seine for awhile and took in some of the views.

Notre Dame and the Latin Quarter

The Latin Quarter near the Notre Dame has quite a mix of cafes and bars with some gems hidden away off the main streets. It often can be quite touristy so you have to wander down a few alleyways to find more secluded spots. I really liked a little park we found across from the Shakespeare and Company shop. It has some really beautiful views of the Notre Dame and it feels quite peaceful for being so central.

Palace of Versailles

On the third day we decided to visit the Palace of Versailles. The palace is quite breathtaking and the gardens are really amazing. The only thing I didn't really like was how touristy it was. A lot of the rooms inside the palace were very packed so I didn't really want to spend too much time inside the palace. I much preferred the palace gardens and grounds.

Maison De Serge Gainsbourg

Serge Gainsbourg's house is a personal favourite. We visited it last time we went to Paris and its just a really special place. Its located in Saint Germain Des Pres, not far from the Seine. The house of the French singer has been left exactly as it was since he died in 1991. However, outside the walls change every other month with new street art appearing in commemoration of Serge Gainsbourg and his partner and muse Jane Birkin.

Where We Ate

Food was a bit hit and miss this time. However, wine and desserts were the highlight for me most nights. On the first night we arrived pretty late so a lot of the restaurants were closing. We didn't have long to choose somewhere so we ate at a place called Le Lutece. I had fish on a bed of vegetables but it was a little plain. However, I did enjoy an apple tart I bought and the waiter was very nice.
On the second night we went to Montmatre and ate at the square near the Sacre Coeur at a restaurant called Au Cadet de Gascogne. We didn't a have the best service there but I did enjoy my pizza and wine (very Fernch lol). The square which I think is called Place de Tetre has a really nice atmosphere at night. I would definitely recommend visiting Montmatre at night.
The next night we weren't really sure where to eat and were really tired from walking so we ate at a cafe near Shakespeare and company called La Bucherie. We didn't have the best experience there. The food was average and the waiters were more interested in talking around new customers than the customers they did have. I would recommend trying to find cafes on side streets. They have a much better atmosphere. After leaving the restaurant, we took a walk along the Seine and Saint Germain Des Pres. Even though it started raining really heavy, we decided to walk to a restaurant we ate at the first time we visited Paris. Its called Zero Zero Sevres and its in an area called Vaneau. I had a gourmet coffee which is honestly the nicest thing, we need it in the UK. It consists of a shot of espresso, and a trio of desserts. I had a mini creme brulee, a pot of tiramisu and a chocolate mousse ... yum!
On the last day, we had lunch in a nice cafe near our hotel in the 14th arrondissement. I think it was called La Bouffarde. I had a lovely omelette and a cappuccino. On the way to the airport, we stopped off at Saint Michel and I had an amazing flower shaped gelato with a macaroon on top from a shop called Amorino. I think they have one in London too. I spotted it earlier that day and decided that I needed one!

Well done on making it this far, its been a long post! I hope you've picked up a few ideas of where to go the next time you visit Paris.

My Five Favourite Movies Set in Paris

I'm going to Paris in a week's time so I thought it would be fun to write a post about my favourite movies that are set in Paris. 

Midnight in Paris (dir. Woody Allen)

Midnight in Paris is like a love letter to the city. It has some of the most beautiful shots of Paris and it takes you right across the city and the surrounding area stopping off at Monet's Garden in Giverny, the Palace of Versailles, the Seine and the Latin Quarter. Written and directed by Woody Allen, it tells the story of a Hollywood screenwriter and aspiring novelist, Gill Pender (Owen Willson) who takes a trip to Paris with his fiancee (Rachel McAdams). Gill has a romantic fascination with Paris in the 1920s and on one late night excursion he seemingly travels back in time to his beloved era. Midnight in Paris is one of the best romantic comedies I've seen and it has a great cast with the likes of Marion Cotillard, Lea Seydoux, Kathy Bates, Adrian Brody and Tom Hiddelston.

Breathless (dir. Godard)

Anyone who knows me knows that I love Godard movies, especially those that are set in Paris - Breathless, Band of Outsiders and Vivre Sa Vie. Breathless is about a small time thief on the run who reunites with an American student in order to persuade her to run away with him. I love Breathless because it gives a much more romanticized look at 1960's Paris. The famous scene in which Jean Seaberg sells newspapers along the Champs-Elysses always come to my mind when I think of Paris. Shot along Paris's left bank, the film travels from the chic bars of St.Germain to the streets surrounding the Notre Dame. Band of Outsider's famous Lourve scene in which the three characters set out to beat the record of running through the Lourve in 9 minutes and 45 seconds is a staple of new wave Paris for me. Vivre Sa Vie is another film you should watch to get a feel of new wave Paris. Vivre Sa Vie documents the life of a prostitute called Nana who is played by the wonderful Anna Karina. Although it gives a lot more realistic look at Paris, it still has the mischievous charm of Godard movies and its fair share of chic cafe scenes.

The Dreamers (dir. Bernardo Bertolucci)

Although a large proportion of The Dreamers takes place in a Parisian flat, the film takes you on an extensive tour through French and Parisian culture. Set to the backdrop of the 1968 student riots, it tells the story of an American student (Michael Pitt) who forms a friendship with a brother (Louis Garrell) and sister (Eva Green). The trio are obsessed with film and often meet to discuss French new wave movies and Hollywood classics. I love The Dreamers because it cleverly intertwines film clips and cultural references with a romantic drama. Based on the French classic Les Enfants Terrible, the Bernardo Bertulocci film is a master class in French culture.

Last Tango in Paris (dir. Bernardo Bertolucci)

Another Bernardo Bertolucci film, Last Tango in Paris, tests the boundaries of the relationship between a widowed French hotelier played by Marlon Brando and a young French woman played by Maria Schneider. Like the Dreamers, the content of the film may put off some viewers (a certain infamous scene was a tough watch) but I think Last Tango is a real masterpiece. Last time I was in Paris, I stumbled across the building by the Bir Hakeim bridge which features a lot in the movie. Its actually a beautiful place to visit because you can view the Eiffel Tower from a relatively quiet spot without the usual tourist buzz.

Cleo from 5 to 7 (dir. Agnes Varda)

Cleo from 5 to 7 is another French New Wave film shot on location on the streets of Paris. It is about a narcissistic young French pop singer called Cleo who has been brought down to earth by a cancer scare. As she waits for the results of her biopsy, she wanders around Paris visiting many of the left bank shopping streets, river fronts and gardens. The film mixes the elements of a musical with a realist drama in a really charming way. I love the day in the life style of this film and I think it gives a really interesting insight into Paris in the sixties.

I hope these movies make you fall in love with Paris too. Let me know in the comments if there are any movies set in Paris that I need to see! :)