Thursday Doors – Paris

When I’m walking through Paris, or anywhere for that matter, and see a door I like the look of, I’ll stop to snap a photo before carrying on. I’ve got my Google Maps timeline turned on, which saves me from having to write down the location of every single photo I take.

Once back home, I can look at the details of any given photo and Google will tell me where I took it. It’s such a time saver, and one that I rely on heavily. Especially when I’ve been somewhere like Paris where almost every other door jumps out at me.

Another thing I like to do is “walk” down the street in Google Maps, taking me back down that memory lane all of us travel bloggers love to be transported to.

I realised on Saturday while writing this post that Google Maps did me dirty. The above location provided for this door is wrong. So wrong, in fact, that the street it says this door is on doesn’t even have an address number matching what (thankfully) is included in my photo.

But I’m nothing if not determined, and spent a considerable amount of time walking up and down several streets nearby in an attempt to find this door. And I’ve found it!

Close .. but not close enough.

Please allow me to present the lovely blue door at 57 rue Saint-Jacques.

The colour pops, it’s got details galore including a surrounding pillar effect. And of course the wrought iron panels. Let’s take a closer look.

The left panel is adorned with a cherub holding a key. I’m not sure what the key is supposed to represent?

The panel to the right though – is he picking his nose? Shushing passersby? And what’s in his hand? My modern day brain only sees a mobile phone, which obviously can’t be right.

From what I’ve gathered, this building went up in 1850 and houses 17 apartments over 6 floors.

What’s most noteworthy to me is the street itself. Rue Saint-Jacques is an oldie, dating back to antiquity when Paris was known as Lutetia.


Thursday Doors is a weekly event facilitated by Dan. If you’re interested in participating, check out Dan’s blog.

Thursday Doors – Paris

Hello! It’s great to be back posting Thursday Doors!

This week I’m sharing a grand entrance I discovered while walking around Paris. It’s just one of many (many) doors that I photographed, so you can expect more Paris Doors content to come.

Look at this door and tell me what you think is behind it, because I would never have suspected that it’s a private mansion and home to the Morgan Stanley bank.

Hôtel de Camondo was built in 1875 for Abraham Behor de Camondo, and the property became popular for its art collection and hospitality.

The details from top to bottom are a treat. I particularly like the M in the crest above the door (obviously). What do you think it would take for Morgan Stanley to move out, so I can move in?

Next door to Abraham’s house was his brother’s .. now known for being the Nissim de Camondo Museum. I was lucky enough to visit it during my recent visit to Paris, and look forward to sharing my photos soon.


Thursday Doors is a weekly event facilitated by Dan. If you’re interested in participating, check out Dan’s blog.

Paris Photo Scavenger Hunt, A Recap

After my trip to Paris last month, I thought it would be neat to see how I fared on my Paris Photo Scavenger Hunt.

A quick refresher.. prior to my trip I shared a list of typically Parisian sights that make for a fun photo scavenger hunt.

One thing I’d like to stress, is that my list is simply a suggestion. Part of the fun is getting creative to check items off the list.

Beret

Horrible photo. Sadly my only beret shot this trip. Like ripping off the bandaid, let’s get it out of the way first so we can move on to more fun things. Oui?

Stained Glass

In a city like Paris, beautiful stained glass is ridiculously easy to find. Simply stepping through the doors of most churches will bring you up close and personal to beauties like this one at Èglise Saint-Séverin.

I’ve written about Saint-Séverin a few times here on MOTM, including this post where we took a look at the church’s interior.

Street Art

I spotted this large piece by Parisian artist Aydar, from quite a distance, while sitting on a terrace eating pizza. After lunch I dragged my best friend, Stephanie, with me to get a closer look. She’s quite striking with her simple black and white colours and intricate design isn’t she?

The Seine

I was waiting for the bus one afternoon when I looked over and noticed Place Louis Aragon (the area at the point on Ile Saint-Louis, one of 2 islands in Central Paris). On the busy Seine River, it’s a nice place to stop and reflect while taking in the action around you.

Poodle

A Prancing Parisian Poodle!

Carousel

There’s something like 20 carousels to be found around Paris, and this one is located in Jardin des Tuileries. Stephanie and I were headed to a big Christmas fare, which you can see some of its lights popping up in the background, when we passed this one. I liked the lighting here, and had to stop for a quick photo.

Sacré-Cœur

It was my last afternoon in Paris. Stephanie had left that morning and I was feeling quite sad about her going. We live hours apart so the next meetup could be years away with the ongoing plague situation. I was tempted to stay in bed watching trash television (I’m looking at you, Mamans & Célèbres!). But then I reminded myself that I was in my favourite city on the planet, and pushed myself to go out. A spur of the moment decision took me to Le Centre Pompidou to take in a birds’ eye view of Paris – including Sacré-Cœur in the distance.

Ornate Metro Sign

I’m not sure what you have where you live, but coming across these beautiful Art Nouveau entrances to the Paris metro system sure make the modern ones here in Vancouver look sad and pathetic in comparison. This one, the Cité metro station, is located on Île de la Cité next to a flower market.

Mona Lisa

Remember how I said at the top of this post that the list is simply a suggestion? I’ve been to the Louvre once and I, unlike millions, have zero interest in returning. Which means capturing a photo of the real Mona Lisa isn’t going to happen. When I saw these on a walk during a walk through Le Marais, I realised they were the perfect substitution for the scavenger hunt.

Baguette

One morning Stephanie and I enjoyed a petit-déjeuner of cappuccino, fresh pressed orange juice, pastries and a baguette on the terrace of a random restaurant. I love a good croissant but that baguette slathered in French butter .. chef’s kiss!

As Stephanie and I finished our breakfast, a gentleman drove up to park the silver car at the top of the shot. He hit the curb quite dramatically. I looked up and we made eye contact before we both started laughing. He opened his window and said something in French which I didn’t understand. Embarrassed, I muttered that I only speak English. He asked where we’re from. Canada, I smiled. He smiled back, and said something along the lines of smiling being the true international language. We wished each other a bonne journée and carried on with our respective days. It was such a lovely exchange between strangers, albeit brief, the kind I’ll remember for years to come.

Eiffel Tower

I have a really annoying habit of excitedly saying, “There she is!”, whenever the Eiffel Tower comes into view. Even when I’m traveling alone. I can’t help myself. So with Paris being mainly flat, and her being so tall, it’s not uncommon to hear me repeat that multiple times a day while I’m out and about.

I wrote about the Eiffel Tower in more depth here. Check it out for the kind of useless knowledge that my inner nerd lives for!

Terrace

At the same restaurant we enjoyed our breakfast above, I noticed this teddy bear at the opposite end of the terrace. There’s a neat history to these bears (known as Teddy Bears of the Gobelins), which you can read about here. And if you’d like to learn more about the terraces of Paris, I couldn’t explain it better than this article on Paris Perfect.

Love Lock

I put love locks on the list simply because they’re ubiquitous in Paris, making them an easy item to cross of your list. But, man, do I hate them.

You can read more about them in a previous post, here. On a positive note, at least Big Guy was nowhere to get seen during this most recent visit to Paris!

Cobblestone

I’ve probably mentioned before that I’m very clumsy. I’ve broken multiple bones in each foot, multiple times. So I spend a lot of time looking at the ground while walking, just to be safe. Especially somewhere like Paris where the ground can be made from a mishmash of materials at different levels. While walking down the sidewalk one day, I noticed how pretty it was with the mix of cobblestones and couldn’t help but make a quick video.

Fountain

Fontaine Saint-Michel was installed back during the great renovation of Paris, when Baron Haussmann changed the look and flow to the city we know today. Place Saint-Michel is a popular meeting spot for people due to its convenient location. Crossing from one side to the other, in my experience, usually means sidestepping and dodging other pedestrians and street performers. During this most recent trip, however, the Place was home to a Christmas Market and I was able to sneak in a photo of the fountain sans people – which is something I’ve wanted to do for years.

Croissant

I looove me a croissant. During a previous trip to Paris I even took part in a class to learn the art of making them myself (which you can read about here). So when I learned that a bakery near to our hotel had bragging rights of winning the best butter croissants in Paris back in 2018, it was obvious that we’d be trying theirs.

The line at La Maison d’Isabelle can be looong, so if you decide to go and would prefer to avoid the crowds, go late in the day like we did. We excitedly ordered several and carefully carried them back to our room.

They were .. a disappointment.

Both Stephanie and I really disliked them. The layered flakiness was admirable but the burnt tops and bottoms (along with an unidentifiable taste that we can only describe as ‘propane but not quite’) made them inedible. Perhaps it was just a bad day for the bakery – there are enough rave reviews online to make me suspect this – but I know that I’ll never go back. They were that bad. And life is too short for bad croissants.

French Flag

Shortly before leaving for Paris I read an article about a change to the flags hung around the country, specifically the shift from bright blue to navy being used in the tricolour flag. The change has been made quietly, without much fanfare or an official statement. This one, located at the Gendarmerie Nationale-Garde Républicaine on rue de la Banque, includes the brighter blue – while many around the city don’t. It’s one of those things you need to know about in order to notice.

Street Market

Marché Baudoyer, a smaller market with approximately 15 vendors, sells a variety of products from fresh produce to flowers to meats and fish. It’s also the first market in the city to have traded in the afternoons, as markets were always traditionally a morning thing.

Windmill

The famed Red Windmill, or Moulin Rouge, has been a favourite for many since the late 19th century. While I’ve only ever stopped for a photo before carrying on, I’ve heard that dinner and a performance costs a pretty penny – so I’m likely never going to make it inside to check out its Belle Epoque-style theatre. Have you been?

Pipe Organ

This is the second time that Èglise Saint-Séverin has been mentioned in this post, this time because of its impressive 18th century organ.

Gargoyle

Look up. Way up. Dotted around the facade of Basilica Cathedral of Saint Denis you’ll find these fantastically fancy drain spouts, also known as gargoyles.

Cat

Stephanie spotted this cat, and several more, high up on a building facade. A bit of research tells me that the building was once upon a time home to a confectionery called, “Au Chat Noir”.

Eclair

Stephanie and I regularly discuss Paris and one thing that always makes its way into our conversations are eclairs. Years ago we shared 2 from Eric Kayser so when I was on my way back to the hotel one evening, I stopped in to pick up a couple for dessert. One chocolate and one coffee, just like the first time. They were just as delicious as we remembered.


You may have noticed that I’ve not included photos for 2 things; crepes and macarons. This was accidental. Both are super easy to find, yet for some reason I overlooked photographing either. Next time!

And that’s a wrap, folks!

Feel free to print this page and bring it with you. And once you’re back home, you’ll have an album of quintessential Paris photos.

If you decide to take part, tag me on Instagram so I can see your photos!

Hello Paris!

Guys. I’ve made it.

I’m back in my most favourite city in the world and I’m so happy to be here!

After my last post, things continued to go sideways and I honestly thought I’d end up institutionalized before I’d ever get on the plane. Keeping myself together was all that I could manage. Blogging was furthest from my mind – so thank you for all of you messages and support. I shared something I’d never usually say online, and immediately regretted it. But the kindness I’ve been shown really means a lot to me.

My travel day was exhausting and long and by the time I checked on yesterday afternoon, there was no way I could do anything besides order room service, watch some television and go to bed. After 7 hours of sleep (which doesn’t sound like much, but it’s more than I get in my regular day to day), I woke up at 3am. At 5am I finally tiptoed downstairs (kidding, I totally galloped down those stairs) on the hunt for caffeine. So here we are. It’s 5:08 and I’m back in my room sipping my cappuccino.

Excuse the blurry photo.

My best friend arrives later this morning and I’m so excited to see her – and Paris! The next couple of weeks are going to be good and I’m looking forward to sharing what we get up to with you.

Check back, and often.

Paris – A Pastry a Day Challenge

Yesterday I invited you to take part in a Paris Photo Challenge. Today I’m sharing another fun challenge I’m looking forward to do on my upcoming trip to Paris.

Because life is too short to skip dessert!

But Marla.

A pastry a day!?

Yes! Hear me out!

You’ll be out pounding the pavement each day, visiting museums and galleries. You’ll get your steps in, so why not treat yourself? You’re on vacation after all!

Everyone knows that Paris excels when offering up delicious desserts and pastries. On a short visit, it would be impossible to enjoy everything. So instead, pick an handful to try and choose a different one for each day?

Why not print out the above suggestions list and take it with you on your next visit? If you do, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram with photos of your favourites!

Paris Photo Scavenger Hunt

When I was a kid, my sister and I used to play a game in the car. We’d each pick a different colour and then spend the entire ride desperately searching for vehicles in “our” colour. Whoever had spotted the most when we’d arrived at our destination would be crowned the winner. That was all fun and games until we realised that a city works yard nearby had a parking lot full of white vehicles. It then became about who would shout out first that white was their colour. Usually a fight would ensue and I’m pretty sure our Dad started to take a different route just to avoid the white vehicles all together.

But I just don’t see why being an adult means that the fun has to stop.

Since then I’ve taken part in many fun (albeit dorky) challenges like counting wildlife on a cross-province road trip, or excitedly pointing out monkey trees on drives through the neighbourhood. Since moving closer the the countryside, finding decrepit old barns is a new favourite.

One time in Paris, my best friend and I decided to do a photo scavenger hunt of typically Parisian sights. It was a perfect way to really pay attention to our surroundings. So I’ve made a similar list of things to look out for on your next visit to Paris.

Feel free to print this page and bring it with you. And once you’re back home, you’ll have an album of quintessential Paris photos.

If you decide to take part, tag me on Instagram so I can see your photos!

Thursday Doors – Paris

While looking through my various Paris photos, I realised that I’d never posted about the classical music concert I attended at Sainte-Chapelle. Which is strange, as it’s up there with some of my most memorable experiences. So I’ll have to get on that sooner than later.

In the meantime, here’s a small taste. Starting with front portal of the upper chapel with its statue of Jesus flanked by doors.

It was through the open door that I entered for the concert.

And here’s a quick peek inside of the 13th century chapel with its stunning (and mostly original) stained glass windows.

I’m gearing up for my next Parisian adventure (15 days to go!), so if you’d like to see what I get up to why not follow me on Instagram? Let’s be friends!


Thursday Doors is a weekly event facilitated by Dan. If you’re interested in participating, check out Dan’s blog.

Thursday Doors – Paris

This week I’m taking you for a tour around the exterior of L’église Saint-Germain-l’Auxerrois, a Catholic Church located in central Paris.

But before we begin, I should warn you to take a seat. If you’re into historical architecture and design as much as I am, this church might just take your breath away. I know that it did mine. Mostly because there was so much to take in. I didn’t know where to look.

The church we see today was mainly built in the 15th century, although the site saw previous variations dating back to the 7th century. Back when the nearby Louvre was home to French Royals, L’église Saint-Germain-l’Auxerrois was the Royal parish church.

While not as well-known as Notre Dame, this church does have the honour of hosting the former’s church-goers while it’s being rebuilt after the devastating fire of 2019.

Do you notice the figure holding his own head on the column above? That’s Denis, Patron Saint of Paris and France. He’s a common sight across the city. You may remember him from my earlier post.

L’église Saint-Germain-l’Auxerrois butts up against the Town Hall for the 1st arrondissement (district), with this pretty walkway separating the two. I now wish I had taken a stroll to see where it leads.

I really like the main entrance to the church. From the curved archway and decorative porch ceiling, there’s so much to marvel at.

Did you see my post last week about why I love Paris? I recommend you check it out if you didn’t. In that post, I shared a photo of a plaque under the Pont Neuf which relates to the Massacre of St. Bartholomew’s Day (1572) when a targeted attack by Catholics murdered 4000 Huguenots.

The start of the Paris attack happened here at L’église Saint-Germain-l’Auxerrois with the ringing of the church bells setting off the craziness. Many high ranking Huguenots were in town for a wedding, so it made sense for the Catholics to strike then. I’ve heard of weddings getting a bit out of hand but this .. this is next level. Yikes.

Founders of the church, from left to right, King Childebert, Queen Ultrogoth
and Deacon Vincent.
Saint Germain of Paris, Saint Geneviève
and an Angel carrying a torch.
Virgin and child.

I’ll be back soon with a tour of the inside of L’église Saint-Germain-l’Auxerrois. Be sure to check back, or sign up for email notifications so you never miss a post.


Thursday Doors is a weekly event facilitated by Dan. If you’re interested in participating, check out Dan’s blog.

Pont Neuf – Paris’ New Bridge

Pont Neuf – or New Bridge, en français – is ironically named given that it’s actually the oldest of the 37 bridges that span the Seine River in Paris.

For most of my visits to Paris, it’s been my bridge. The one I cross most frequently. A comforting landmark as I’ve made my way back to my temporary Parisian home at the end of each day.

It was back in 1578 that the first stones were laid, though Pont Neuf had a scandalous reputation even before construction was completed in 1607; resident gangs, robbers and murders, hustlers, pickpockets, prostitutes and even tooth pullers. Oh my! It even apparently had its own gallows for a time.

See those funny faces? They’re called mascarons and are replicas of the original stone masks that originally adorned the Pont Neuf.

I can’t find the source now but if memory serves correct, the below is a door that offered access to control the fuel for the once-upon-a-time gas lamps that lit the bridge. Anyone?

Minus the bird poop, I really like the ornate bases of the bridge’s lamp posts.

The Pont Neuf also has built-in benches which offer a place to give your tired feet a break while taking in the views.

Not much longer! Really looking forward to revisiting Pont Neuf.

Why Paris?

People often ask why I keep returning, and it’s simple. I love the vibe and culture. But since that doesn’t really explain it to someone who’s never been, I thought I’d compile a list of 10 reasons why I love Paris.

Food

Food, for me, is a massive factor for travel so I’m putting it first on my list. Whether you’re looking to enjoy the quintessential meal or discover a new to you cuisine, Paris has you covered. The options are endless, from starred Michelin restaurants headed by famous chefs to cheap and cheerful offerings at a local crepe or falafel stand. Sometimes after a long day of seeing the sights, it’s also nice to picnic in your hotel room – munching on delicious purchases you’ve made at the small specialty shops that dot every arrondissement.

History

Paris is old. Old old. 12,000 years old remnants from the Stone Age kind of old. The city was later known as Lutecia after it was conquered by the Romans before eventually changing hands to French Kings in the 5th century and being renamed, Paris. Throughout history Paris has seen a lot. Wandering the city I’m always amazed learning the stories of what makes Paris, whether it’s bullet holes in the sides of buildings thanks to WWII or beautiful churches that are older than my country by centuries. Everywhere you look there’s something to learn from. Keep an eye out for plaques like this one on the Pont Neuf bridge, which references the Massacre of St. Bartholomew’s Day (1572) when a targeted attack by Catholics murdered 4000 Huguenots.

Architecture

Stained glass and church spires and grand Haussmann buildings – oh my! Paris’ architecture is famous the world over. One of my favourite examples is La Conciergerie, most known for being where Marie Antoinette was imprisoned for the last weeks of her life before literally losing her head. The above space, known as Salle des Gardes (The Hall of the Guards) was built in the early 14th century and its craftsmanship blows my mind.

Art

World class art can be found in the many museums across Paris. Fancy getting up close to the largest collection of Monet paintings? Perhaps taking that selfie next to Rodin’s The Thinker sculpture is more your jam? And of course one of the most famous ladies in the world, da Vinci’s Mona Lisa charms countless people with her mysterious smile. Paris has you covered with these works – and so many more. A newer option is the digital immersive productions at Atelier des Lumières. The Van Gogh exhibition was really impressive, and I’m very much looking forward to the one focusing on Dali & Gaudi when we visit next month.

Street Art

But art in Paris isn’t limited to galleries and exhibitions. Paris enjoys a vibrant street art scene with works dotted across the city. Some by famous graffeurs and many by others still trying to make a name for themselves. One of my favourites – so far – is this beauty by artist Gregos which was created to recognise Women’s Day is 2004. You can find more information here.

Terraces

Sitting on a terrace in Paris is a pastime enjoyed by locals and tourists alike. It’s a wonderful way to spend time people watching over a cup of coffee, or catching up with friends over a bottle of wine. Whether you’re simply looking for an excuse to rest your feet or enjoy a café or glass of perfectly chilled rosé, a terrace is the perfect place to do so.

Green Spaces

Being a Vancouverite, where we’re used to being surrounded by nature, it’s a welcome sight in Paris to come across one of the city’s many green spaces. Jardin de Tuileries and Jardin Luxembourg are the most famous, but there are so many more of varying sizes to enjoy. One of my favourites is above, Jardin du Palais Royal.

Walkability

Paris ranks as one of the top walkable cities in the world. The Metro and bus systems are efficient but there’s something to be said about experiencing the city by foot. It’s a much more immersive experience, with Paris feeling like countless little villages strung together. Walking gives you the option of dipping into little shops or churches that catch your eye, stopping for a photo when the mood strikes or taking a break at a café. Even during my last visit, injured and forced to wear the ugliest of footwear, I still opted to walk as much as I possibly could.

Shopping

While you probably won’t find me perusing the expensive luxury brand shops on Rue Saint-Honoré, you can expect to find me shopping for food, homewares and random souvenirs to bring home for myself and those near and dear to me. I look for less crowded and unique options, like specialty shops or little brocantes (flea markets with a specialised focus) like this one in Le Village Saint Paul.

Doors

Paris is a treat for door lovers. If you’ve been following along on my adventures, you’ll remember this door as being my first entry into Thursday Doors. And you’ll also remember me mentioning I almost got run over when I foolishly stepped out onto the road to take this photo. Not my finest moment, but a good example of how much I love the beautiful doors of Paris.

There you have it, my very short list of reasons I love Paris. Obviously there are many many more, but I hope you’ve found some inspiration in the above to visit or return to Paris yourself.

Thursday Doors – Paris

Normally for my Thursday Doors posts I share images of full doors and entrances. This week I thought I’d do something a little different. I’ll share close up shots of the smaller details that I’ve fallen in love with while walking around Paris during my many visits.

Let me know in the comments section below which is your favourite.

This last photo was taken at Le Grande Mosquée, which is one of my favourite places to visit in Paris. To see my full post I previously wrote, click here.


Thursday Doors is a weekly event facilitated by Dan. If you’re interested in participating, check out Dan’s blog.

Thursday Doors – Paris

This week we’re in Paris, close to Notre Dame Cathedral. Earlier this week it was announced that the safety work done since the devastating fire of 2019 is complete, and the restorations can now begin. It’s exciting to think that visitors might be able to return as soon as 2024!

For now though, Notre Dame remains surrounded by protective walls. Which means an up close and personal look isn’t possible. It was while I wandered the neighbourhood, catching glimpses of the cathedral between rooftops, that I turned up the curved rue Chanoinesse and noticed her.

This is the kind of door that means business. Old (17th century old), sturdy and dotted with studs to get its point across. I love stumbling across doors like this because I can’t help but wonder what secrets hide behind them.

It turns out the 12 rue Chanoinesse is a residential apartment building. 15 units are spread over the building’s 4 floors. And sadly, none of them belong to me.

Le sigh.

While investigating the address I discovered a new (to me) website that mentioned part of this building was once rented to the Aga Khan and his family. Seriously? Either that or he owned it. Explanations vary from source to source.

Also interesting is that the road itself was the main artery of the Notre Dame cloisters, and its name is a nod to the many clergymen (canons) who lived here throughout history. I love learning fascinating tidbits like this.


Thursday Doors is a weekly event facilitated by Dan. If you’re interested in participating, check out Dan’s blog.