Paris, City of Fountains

Fountain in Square Louvois 1

One of the things I love about Paris are the scores of fountains scattered throughout the city. Many are quite famous as tourist sights: the Fontaine Saint-Michel on the Left Bank, the Fontaine des Innocents near Les Halles, the Medici Fountain in the Jardin du Luxembourg, and the fountains at Place de la Concorde, Place des Vosges and the Louvre pryamid, to name just a few.

But one of my favorites–and one I came across completely by happenstance–is the Fontaine Louvais … Continue Reading →

Picturesque Park Off the Busy Blvd. Sebastopol

Square Emile Chautemps 5

One of the true pleasures of Paris is the array of surprises that one stumbles upon when strolling the twisty-turny lanes through the City of Light. From medieval architecture to historic statues, and from stately fountains to tiny parks and green spaces, there’s something new and exciting practically around every corner. One such delight is the Square Emile Chautemps, located just off the very busy and very commercial Boulevard Sebastopol in the 3rd Arrondissement. Continue Reading →

The Medici Fountain: A Luxembourg Gardens Gem

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Many tourists in Paris make a trip to gorgeous Jardin du Luxembourg in the 6th Arrondissement to admire its exquisite landscaping, children playing with toy boats on its circular basin, more than 100 statues and other monuments scattered throughout the park’s nearly 57 acres and the ornate Luxembourg Palace, which today serves as home to the French Senate. One of the true gems of the Luxembourg Gardens, however, is not as frequently visited—the Medici Fountain. And that’s a shame, because the fountain is not only beautiful, but is deeply rooted in Paris’s rich history. Continue Reading →

Honoring Victims of War at Paris’s Anne Frank Garden

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Visitors to the City of Light who enjoyed today’s annual Armistice Day parade and the ceremonial placement of a wreath at the tomb of the unknown soldier under the Arc de Triomphe might also wish to take a moment to solemnize the second World War, in particularl the millions of Jews who were murdered by Nazi Germany (including about 77,000 French Jews). What better place to honor them than with a visit to a serene city park dedicated to perhaps the most well-known of all the victims of the Holocaust—Anne Frank? The charming but difficult-to-locate Jardin Anne Frank memorializes the teenaged girl known worldwide for the diary she kept while she, her family and friends hid from the Nazis in Amsterdam during World War II. But the quiet green space in Paris also more broadly memorializes all those who’ve lost their lives to war. Continue Reading →

A Hidden Marais Garden Open Only On Weekends

Clos de Blancs Manteaux 1

One of Paris’s most delightful parks—the Clos des Blancs-Manteaux in the Marais–is definitely one of the City of Light’s most hidden treasures. Many visitors stumble across Clos des Blancs-Manteaux by complete accident. And that’s entirely because they’re in the right place at precisely the right time. Why is timing so important? Because this lush three-tiered park is open only on weekends due to its location in a courtyard shared with an adjacent preschool. But it’s definitely worth a special weekend trip. Continue Reading →

A Hidden Paris Gem: Palais-Royal Gardens

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One of Paris’s most serene public parks is one not often visited by tourists to the City of Light—the gardens of the Palais-Royal, directly north of the Louvre in the 1st Arrondissement. Why is it such a secret gem? First, the Palais-Royal itself is not commonly visited by tourists—or even Parisians themselves. The former royal palace today is home mostly to a host of French bureaucracies and administrative offices. And second, the garden—though very large—is part of an entirely enclosed courtyard in the center of the complex, making it nearly invisible to passers-by. And that’s a shame because its beautiful fountain, gorgeous landscaping and iconic double rows of perfectly manicured trees lining long promenades combine to create the quintessential Parisian green space. Continue Reading →

Relaxing in Paris’s Charming Parks

Square du Temple

Paris memories: Today, I am thinking about all of the wonderful parks in Paris, from the huge, sprawling green spaces (Jardin des Plantes, Luxembourg Gardens, Tuilieries) to the tiny parks and squares throughout the city. They’re a delight at any time of the year, but in Spring they’re downright gorgeous! Continue Reading →

Place des Vosges: Paris’s Most Beautiful Square

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There are many beautiful parks, squares and “places” throughout Paris, each with its own special charm. But ask a Parisian–or even a visitor to the City of Light–to name Paris’s most beautiful square, and the answer is routinely the Place des Vosges. Continue Reading →

A Salute to Louis XIV at Place des Victoires

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A little-visited but still quite scenic—and historic—site in Paris’s 1st Arrondissement is the Place des Victoires, a circular “square” that was created to honor King Loius XIV. Place des Victoires is a short walk from the more popular Palais Royal, but few tourists make their way to this locale. And that’s mostly because aside from a large statue of Louis in the center of the circle, there’s no real “sight” to see. That’s a shame, because the circle has delightful 17th century architecture and, for history buffs, roots stretching back to the French royal House of Bourbon, and links to the French Revolution and Napoleon Bonaparte. Continue Reading →

Off the Beaten Path: The Historic Square du Temple

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On the northernmost edge of the Marais is a fantastic public park that is quite literally an oasis in the midst of urban Paris—the Square du Temple. Because the Square is a considerable distance from any major tourist site, the garden and park is used almost exclusively by locals, particularly families living nearby. The park also provides a splendid view of the ornate Mairie du 3rd Arrondissement, the municipal offices for that district of the city. And for history buffs, the park occupies the site of a former fortified monastery of the Knights Templar and the infamous Tower of the Temple prison that served as the final “residence” of King Louis XVI before his execution. It’s well worth visiting, and is a short walk from the Musee des Arts et Metiers or from the Place de la Republique. Continue Reading →