Spring has made its way to Paris! And with it comes the charm of discovering cobbled paths that lead to secret gardens, where you can sit for hours and lose yourself with a good book, or better yet, a good friend.
A favorite of these spots can be found in the Marais, of course. Where exactly? 60 Rue des Francs Bourgeois.
The Archives Nationales is the heart of Parisian history since 1808. Within two regal buildings, Hôtel de Soubise and the Hôtel de Rohan, all the pre-French Revolution archives are stored. Upon entering, you discover an enchanting space hidden within a bustling city.
Pass through the small entrance on the north side of the courtyard, and the scenery quickly changes from architectural marvels to verdant landscapes. A maze-like path weaves through fountains and rock formations. The four gardens you encounter were designed by French landscape architect Louis Benech, also known for the Tuileries Gardens. Have a seat on one of the benches surrounded by the scent of roses, and enjoy this clandestine Parisian paradise.
If you’re looking for more ways to the spend the perfect afternoon in Paris, here are a few tips in my recent collaboration with Eurostar. Though I warn you, you may never want to leave!
When the sun comes out, so do the Parisians. On a recent spring-like day, moods were high and there was a lightness evident in the air. Now this is what spring is meant to feel like! My Italian and I joined a group of friends at the gardens of the Palais Royal for my favorite summer pastime, le pique-nique. It was here too that I played my first game of pétanque, the famous French sport so often played in and around Paris. Immediately I took a liking to this game of ball throwing, even winning a few times. Perhaps the champagne helped!
It was beneath these blue skies that once again, I felt lucky to live within such immense beauty.
On the way home, a little surprise in the form of fashion to end a well-spent day, la vie parisienne.
My neighbor is Picasso. Rather, his art collection, contained in the Picasso Museum. How privileged do I feel living in such close proximity to some of the greatest art works in history? Very. But for the moment, a long moment ending sometime in Spring 2013, the museum is closed. That leaves me to explore the artwork surrounding the museum, more modern in style, some of it equally abstract.
Anyone who lives in Paris or visits often knows that you need only to look up to find artistic expressions in the form of graffiti, posters, murals… Often times the art found on the exterior walls of Paris is more interesting than that found inside the museums. If you take the time to look for it.
The beauty of the Picasso Museum lies also in it’s structure and surrounding garden. An ideal place to seek refuge and read a bit of French philosophy, do some writing of your own, share a baguette, or play a game of ping-pong. The latter one of my favorite Paris past times. And the composition of the sky above the museum at dusk is in itself a masterpiece.