Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Ever-Famous Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris

Although the idea of choosing from apartments in Paris which are close to a cemetery may sound bizarre, when it comes to the famous Père Lachaise cemetery, this spot is regarded as a must-see when in Paris and its location in the 20th arrondissement is highly sought-after and regarded by both tourists and locals. The Père Lachaise cemetery in Paris is reputably the most visited in the world, thanks to its plethora of famous French figures, writers, artists and international celebrities who are laid at rest here.

Also known as the cimetière de l'Est, the Père Lachaise cemetery is located in eastern Paris, with its main entrance next to the Phillipe Auguste Métro. Many prefer to use the entrance at the Gambetta Métro station, since it is then a downhill stroll through the huge cemetery grounds, passing the likes of the Oscar Wilde tomb.

Père Lachaise Cemetery: RIP Jim Morrison and other greats

Paris’ Père Lachaise cemetery was established at the start of the 19th century, but initially received little attention as it was widely considered to be too far away from central Paris. After several relocations of famous tombs and its importance in the political left minds of Paris, Père Lachaise cemetery suddenly became hugely popular, its numbers jumping from dozens to tens of thousands over a few years.

Nowadays, the Père Lachaise cemetery recieves just as much exposure as would the Eiffel Tower or the Louvre. Millions flock to its grounds every year to pay their respects to their loved ones or to show their appreciation for a world-renowned personality.
The most internationally famous of the Père Lachaise cemetery are Jim Morrison of The Doors, Edith Piaf, the painters Seurat, Pissaro and the novelist Oscar Wilde. However, there are various names pertaining to French history, discovery and culture that are widely admired by the French population.

But whether its visitors come to pay their respects, or to simply relax in the beauty of this deeply peaceful Paris area, the Père Lachaise cemetery leaves a lasting and impression from the city of light.

More Paris information in this other Paris blog.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Paris Le Marais

If you ask almost anyone to recommend you a Paris district, you will hear “Le Marais”. Paris apartments for rent in Le Marais are the most sought after and the neighbourhood, which crosses the 3ème and 4ème arrondissements, keeps an old Parisian charm that is unique in the city centre. But what makes Le Marais so special? Here’s a short summary of the favourite Paris district.

The name Le Marais comes from its origins as marshland, which began to be built on many centuries ago. In the 17th century, the Parisian aristocracy took over much of Le Marais, building remarkable mansions. One of the highlights has to be the delightful Place des Vosges, which has had a great literary history and is now a hit for picnickers on its pretty gardens.

Le Marais was left nearly untouched by the Haussmann urbanisation and beaux-arts architectural style in central Paris which followed, apart from being given broader streets.

By the 19th and 20th century, Le Marais had become the Jewish quarters in Paris, especially around Rue des Rosiers. This was to become a target during the great wars when the Nazis invaded Paris and the area fell into decline between the 40’s and 60’s.

In 1969, the author and statesman André Malraux had Le Marais protected, to allow the museums, art galleries and historical façades to remain untouched by modern development. This has in fact led to one of Le Marais’ most charming features which can be found all over the neighbourhood; an old shop front of a bakery with a trendy boutique inside, for example.

Today, Le Marais still serves a strong Jewish community, with a synagogue on Rue Pavée. There is also a hip gay scene in the southwestern part of the district, around Sainte-Croix de la Bretonnerie and Vieille du Temple.

To get a good feel for Le Marais, the Saint-Paul metro station is a good starting point. From there you’ll find the authentic Paris shops, inexpensive places to eat and plenty of locals.

Definitely worth a stroll is the Rue des Francs Bourgeois which is remarkably open on a Sunday.

Rue Charlot has been labelled as one of the classiest streets in Le Marais, thanks to its mix of designer shops, eateries and art galleries. Located here, the interesting Le Boudoir et sa Philosophie has an interesting insight into Marie Antoinette’s style. This is also just around the corner from the Picasso museum, which houses thousands of the artist’s works.

Le Marais is an excellent area of Paris to explore, to sit at a terrace café or grab some cheese and wine and sit in the park. The real Paris experience awaits you in Le Marais.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Top 5 romantic offerings for your Valentine in Paris

Ok so you’ve arranged getting there and your Paris apartments reserved for your romantic Valentine’s weekend trip. Now to really sweep them off their feet; here’s a pick of the best ideas for spending quality time in Paris for Valentine’s Day.

  1. Take a romantic walk around the prettiest of Paris. A stroll along the Seine at twilight, in the charming Marais district, the dazzling Champs-Elysées or on the steep streets around Montmartre, is sure to set the mood. The latter provides stunning Paris views from the Sacré Coeur at its crest. Be sure to stop somewhere and warm up with a chocolat chaud in a tiny café.
  2. Have an intimate dinner by candlelight. This is just as romantic in your Paris apartment as it would be eating out, but do remember the candles and to dress the part. If you’re not confident in the kitchen, try some of the city’s world renowned cuisine. Reserve ahead in one of Paris’ upmarket brasseries.
  3. Spend a late morning browsing Paris’ markets. The farmer’s markets with cheeses and fresh crêpes are sure to whet your appetite, or rummage through antiques, jewellery and retro finds in the city’s excellent fleamarkets, such as the St Sulpice in Saint Germain.
  4. Watch an old film in one of Paris’ beaux-arts cinemas. For old-school cosiness, check out two particularly special picture houses in the Latin Quarter, Le Reflet Medicis or Le Champo. These offer up a selection of Film Noir and Nouvelle Vague, for a really ambient, arthouse feel.
  5. Just stay in bed all day! Get croissants from the bakery, put on your favourite music and arrange a romantic breakfast in bed, followed by a full day to relax and unwind from the comfort of your own Paris lovenest. This is sure to guarantee a perfect Valentine’s getaway in Paris.
  6. For more travel tips check out this Paris guide.