Tag Archives: paris

Paris, The bright and colorful Capital of Freedom

Paris is the Capital of France. Paris is the city of lights. Paris is a dream for all the lovers. Paris is the place for all Epicurean delights. Paris is the symbol of freedom. Paris is the destination for the artists. Paris is…



I went to Paris and I planned to write an article on the best venues in the city. It would have made you envious to visit the Capital. My work was easy. Between the good restaurants, the wonderful architecture and the nightlife, I had a lot of ideas. I was happy to see my friends and walked in the streets, with the sun and the warm weather that is unusual at this time of year. The nice thing about Paris is, that there are many restaurants with terraces. It is the perfect place to relax with family and friends. Indeed, in France we like to take time after work to go out with pals. Why? Because Paris welcomes people from all over the world who want live in the French capital. They are students or artists who come find to inspiration, or just a better life, totally immersed in the Parisian lifestyle…


Courtesy of Céline


Life in the capital never stops. I can still hear the laughter, the music on every corner and the perfume of freedom in the air. I remember everything, but I can’t write something about Paris without mentioning the horrible events of November 13, 2015.

I was wandering the streets of Paris in November when terrorism struck the nation and left families suffering. I could have been one of the innocent people killed at the sites of these coordinated attacks. I could have been on Rue de Charonne or Rue de la Fontaine, where at least 23 people were murdered. I could have been on the terrace of the restaurant Le Petit Cambodge, drinking innocently, when bullets took the lives of 12 human lives. I could have been one of these 89 bodies killed mercilessly in Le Bataclan.

130 is the number of souls that flew away. It’s the number of smiles that disappeared in one night. But 130 isn’t just a number. It’s the faces, the names, the people. They were children, spouses, parents. They were simply human beings. They may have been the love and the universe of someone, and now they are gone. You were between 17 and 68 years old. You were Catholics, Muslims, Atheists. You were French, American, Chilean, Belgian, Turkish, German, Spanish, Portuguese, British, Romanian, Tunisian, Algerian, Moroccan, Mexican, Swedish, Venezuelan, and Italian. You represented Europe and the world. You are in our memories.

The terrorists responsible for these attacks hurt our liberty. They made us falter but we will be stronger. Whoever they are, they will not take our joy for living.

Paris, continue to sing L’Hymne à l’amour, continue to make resound La Marseillaise. The show must go on. I want to hear the music roaring in our ears. Paris, please continue to glisten, to make eyes shine, and to let us love freely.

Today we are all of the Generation Bataclan. As long as there is life, there is hope, even for a city in mourning.


Courtesy of Julie Verdier


Today, as a tribute, I am going to drink excessively, I am going to wear a shorter skirt, I am going to listen my Rock music on high volume, I am going to live for you, for freedom, for our youth. I am going to dance even though my body is broken. I am going to laugh, even though my heart wears your grief. I am going to stay strong. We are threatened but free. So young people, rise to fight for our “Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité.” Rise and live because there so many things to do. Paris, your lights are not turned off.

Terrace Montmatre

Terrace Montmatre

Follow me to Montmatre, the most picturesque place, with all these amazing painters and its small and cobbled streets. Let us discover Le Sacré-Coeur (the Basilica of the Sacred Heart) and its view on Paris. The scene is magical, especially by nightfall. Walk in the 7th district and take a seat on the terrace of Café Varenne, in front of Le Palais de l’Elysée, and taste a typical meal from the local gastronomy. The dishes of Sylvain Didier and his wife, the owners, are unique and authentic, and their reputation is known to the United States. Everything is homemade. Eating here is like sharing a meal with family. The atmosphere is convivial, around the fashionable drink, called “Spritz”, which came from Italy.

Café Varenne

Café Varenne

Ponts-Bateau Mouche

Ponts-Bateau Mouche

Take my hand and let’s go lay down in the 11st district, in a beautiful restaurant and a very girly tearoom, Rose Thé. Since 2002, Corinne, the owner, has made homemade quiches and pies, both salty and sweet. The chocolate cake without flour is delicious and you can buy and taste various kinds of tea. Take the Bateau-Mouche and discover the city sailing over the River Seine. Kiss on the Mirabeau bridge. Come to discover the decadence of the girls of Folie’s Pigalle or the mysterious dancers of Le Moulin Rouge. Drink to innocence at the Bar La Vue. Situated at the 34th floor of the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Paris Etoile, near La Place de la Porte Maillot in the 17th district, the bar offers a panoramic view of Paris. Its selection of wine, spirits, and cocktails is for all tastes. The bar is a must-do activity during a trip to Paris, especially if you are looking for a romantic and glamorous backdrops.


Bar La Vue

Courtesy of Duc

Courtesy of Duc

In memory of those who lost their lives on November 13, 2015…

Stéphane, Pierre, Nick, Jean-Jacques, Anne-Laure, Cécile, Thomas, Guillaume, Alva, Chloé, Emmanuel, Maxime, Quentin, Macathéo, Elodie, Ciprian, Lacramioara, Nicolas, Baptiste, Anne, Pierre-Yves, Nicolas, Precilia, Marie-Aimée, Elsa, Nicolas, Patricia, Vincent, Asta, Manuel, Romain, Lamia, Lucie, Elif, Milko, Fabrice, Romain, Thomas, Mathias, Marie, Claire, Germain, Antoine, Romain, Grégory, Christophe, Julien, Suzon, Mayeul, Salah, Véronique, Michelli, Matthieu, Cédric, Nohemi, Juan Alberto, Stéphane, Thierry, Olivier, Stéphane, Frédéric, Pierre-Antoine, Raphaël, Mathieu, Djamilia, Mohamed, Nathalie, Marion, Halima, Hodda, Jean-Jacques, Hyacinthe, Nathalie, Guillaume, Renaud, Gilles, Christophe, Cédric, David, Charlotte, Emilie, Isabelle, Fanny, Yannick, Cécile, Luis Felipe, Marie-Charlotte, Justine, Quentin, Victor, Christophe, Hélène, Romain, Bertrand, Christopher, Aurélie, Manu, Anna, Marion, Franck, Caroline, François-Xavier, Sébastien, Armelle, Richard, Valentin, Matthieu, Estelle, Thibault, Raphaël, Madeleine, Kheireddine, Lola, Hugo, Claire, Maud, Sven, Valeria, Fabian, Ariane, Eric, Olivier, Stella, Lola, Alban, Cédric, Cécile, Djalal, Justine, Vincent, René, Marie, Amine, and all those who remain anonymous.

And for all 350 who were injured.

Off the Beaten Track: Introduction

Contributing writer Tom Aussems from The Netherlands introduces a new blog series focusing on  unique neighborhoods around the world. Each segment of this series highlights an interesting niche of a major city that proves to be amazing and off the beaten track.

The power went out in Paris’ 18th arrondissement. Tucked away in a cobblestoned alleyway, it was quite the adventure to make it back to the room. The run-down hotel showed little aspiration of earning a second star, with its springy bed, stale croissants, and magnificent views of the next-door neighbor’s toilet. However, that particular trip to one of Paris’ shabbiest neighborhoods sparked a desire to absorb local culture and follow paths less traveled. Eating airy sugar-coated crêpes, sipping soda in smoky cafes and strolling Clignancourt’s anonymous streets might not be mentioned in tourist guides, but these experiences prove to be more fulfilling than anything offered in pre-packaged deals. Before you know it, you’ll find yourself staring at real estate pamphlets, daydreaming of becoming part of the neighborhood, rather than merely visiting.

An authentic and vibrant local lifestyle unfolds away from downtown’s silly dance: a bunch of tourists sprinting in the same direction, queuing up for coffee, and taking pictures of street signs. Wandering through these areas, where hop-on-hop-off buses are banned and big retail chains are unwanted, puts travelers in locals’ rather than tourists’ shoes. Captivated by the Eden-like neighborhood atmosphere, travelers create lifetime memories and develop a strong desire to experience a feeling of belonging. Ultimately, that is what makes traveling and discovering new places so rewarding.

Flickr - Neighborhood Charm

Photo by Flickr user: Shadowgate CC2.0

This series attempts to focus on neighborhoods that may not appear on a typical tourist’s list, but nonetheless, offer unique local vibes. Due to snobbish traits or indulgent motives, sheer simplicity is often overlooked when travelling. Thankfully, invaluable experiences don’t usually require a fat wallet. Just forget about the nearest cathedral for a second. Take a break and settle down on a bench in the shade of a hidden parklet with a locally brewed tallboy. Throw away the travel book and rely on your senses to lead your way to neighborhood gems, completely off the beaten track.

Parisian Disney Magic

Disney’s plan to build a theme park just a few miles outside of Paris was met with opposition from those who feared cultural imperialism from an American company. However, today Disneyland Paris and the accompanying Walt Disney Studios receive over 15 million visitors each year, which makes it the most popular tourist destination in Europe.

I recently visited the park with a few friends; we figured that Paris + Disney + Christmas = MAGIC. Despite our enthusiasm and optimism, the idea of visiting Disneyland Paris made me feel a bit uneasy. In my mind there could only be two dramatic results: complete disappointment or utter exhilaration. Would Disneyland Paris be an exact replica of Disneyland Anaheim? Or would it be completely different? I was determined to see what made the park unique from its American cousin, and whether or not the park planners made any cultural accommodations.

Disneyland Paris good: Getting to Disneyland from Paris is a breeze! Paris’ RER commuter trains make several stops in Paris and continue to Marne de la Vallé, the suburb where the park is located. Trains come roughly every ten minutes; the ride takes about 35 minutes and costs approximately 22EUR round trip. The train station is located at the gate of Disneyland, right next to the awesomely pink Disneyland Hotel. Besides the RER trains, there is also a SNCF station that receives French national trains and high-speed TGV trains. There is even a shuttle that brings visitors to the park from Charles de Gaulle Airport and Orly Airport. Already, Disneyland Paris’ transportation options put it far ahead of its Anaheim counterpart, with its enormous parking lots and massive parking structures.

Walking into the park, everything looks eerily like the U.S. version. In fact, the layout for both Disney parks is almost exactly the same. A cheery and nostalgic Town Square greets visitors and behind that, Main Street USA with its charming old-fashioned candy shops, boutiques and arcades leads the crowds to a central plaza and the foot of Sleeping Beauty’s castle. Compared to Sleeping Beauty’s castle in California, the castle in Paris is not quite as wide, although the towers definitely appear to be taller. Shiny gold accents and stained glass give the castle a rich look, while cube-shaped trees add an air of whimsy.

Stained glass and brilliant gold accents on Sleeping Beauty’s castle.

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Père-Lachaise vs. Recoleta

THIS versus THAT: Cemetery Showdown

Some may find it strange to visit a cemetery while on vacation.  However, cemeteries can often times help convey centuries of history, literature, politics and art.  In particular, Père-Lachaise Cemetery in Paris and Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires are two fantastic examples of cemeteries that are attractions in themselves. The tragic stories, beauty and solemn peace found amongst the tombstones is simply to die for!


Situated in the 20th Arrondisement of Paris, the Père-Lachaise Cemetery is a veritable who’s who of French and international writers, musicians, politicians and the wealthy elite.  Built in 1802 and stretching across 110 acres of north-eastern Paris, the cemetery was actually not a very popular with many Parisians who preferred to buried closer to the city center.  All that changed in 1804 when Molière and La Fontaine’s remains were transferred here, giving the grounds much needed prestige.  Previously, Moliere’s remains had rested in a cemetery that was reserved for unbaptized babies due to the fact that at the time of his death, actors were not given proper burials.  Molière’s move to Père-Lachaise over 125 years after his death definitely cemented his position amongst France’s literary heroes.  Over the next 200 years the cemetery became the final resting place for many of France’s beloved artists, including Chopin, Balzac, Pissaro, Edith Piaf, Proust and Yves Montand. Interestingly enough, two of the most visited graves at Père-Lachaise do not belong to Frenchmen, but rather an American and a Brit. Jim Morrison’s grave is by far one of the most visited graves in the cemetery. . . and it is also the one that attracts the most graffiti and vandalism.

Photo courtesy of Liz Gancher

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