This very well equipped studio apartment, professionally designed and decorated in subtle grey and celadon green, has as its focal point the new and comfortable queen-sized bed that can be made up as twins. Topped by a magnificent oval mirror, it is surrounded by custom cabinetry that provides lots of storage as well as a desk at which you can pen your memoirs.
FREE one-hour property consultation! Guests of Parler Paris Apartments or Parler Nice Apartments who are considering the purchase of their own "pied-à-terre" for pleasure and profit, can take advantage of a free one-hour consultation while enjoying the apartment in the City of Light or on the Riviera. Simply complete the request form to book your consultation.
Dear Parler Paris Reader,
Paris Plage map at the Bassin de la ViletteParis Plage map on the SeineCafé chairs Eiffel TowerHenri le Cactus
SPECIAL NOTE: From time to time, instead of "Speak Paris" (Parler Paris), you will be receiving "Speak Nice" (Parler Nice). It only makes sense that when I'm on the Côte d'Azur, that instead of pretending to be in Paris talking about Nice and the Riviera, that we should just call 'a spade a spade' and talk about Nice instead.
For those of you who are only interested in the Riviera, and not Paris, you may opt in to just Parler Nice. And for those of you who have been reading Parler Paris for a long time, you may just have to put up with a Parler Nice on occasion. If you're not interested in what goes on on the Mediterranean coast, then just delete the issue and forget you ever saw it.
Dear Parler Paris and Parler Nice Reader,
Life's a beach. Whether in Paris or Nice, life can take place on the "plage" (beach).
Today I'm on a real beach, although it's made of pebbles, not sand. Saturday I was on the not-real beach, although it's made of sand, not asphalt. Confused?
Paris Plage opened it's sandy gates on July 19th (closing August 17th), and is an annual event this time of year since its inception along the Seine in 2002. It was one of Mayor Bertrand Delanoë's bright ideas to give city-dwellers an escape to the seaside...and it worked. In 2006 another plage opened along the Bassin de la Vilette.
Unlike all other French beaches, topless sunbathing isn't permitted and of course, neither is swimming in the Seine, but nevertheless, it's a welcome break from the cobblestones and grassy parks and has grown each year topping four million visitors in 2007 (it must have been seriously hot and sunny that year!).
Paris Plage is not without controversy, however. A dispute between Paris Plage and Le Touquet-Paris-Plage, a commune in the Pas-de-Calais department in northern France, erupted in 2006 over the rights to the name. The City of Paris sued Le Touquet for impinging on its trademark, but the truth is, Le Touquet-Paris-Plage was named in 1912...so you form your own opinion! (The case was dropped in 2008.)
Even though I was headed to the real beach on Sunday, I didn't want to miss at least one stroll along Paris Plage before they close the sandy gates and it's gone until next year, same time same place. I can actually proudly admit to having been on the Paris sand next to the River Seine on the first day of the first year in a bathing suit, no less (and not topless), and being interviewed by one of the TV channels for having been such an enthusiastic beach bum.
There is plenty to do along Paris Plage -- or not to do. We had a nice dinner of crêpes and rosé wine at "Les Nautes" then strolled along the 'boardwalk' where both 'much' and 'nothing' was going on. There are picnickers, kids playing in the sand and both kids and adults creating sand castles and creatures. In the oversized hammocks are those who choose to do 'nothing' but enjoy the R and R. A miniature Eiffel Tower brilliantly made of café chairs imitates the real thing with perfection along the route. Musicians are making music under the archways where the acoustics are best and street performers are performing whatever talents they have that will earn a buck.
Meanwhile the boats are gliding by, one after another, each one as different as boats can be, some as long as a football field (maybe longer) and some as tiny as a skiff. The river police whiz by while the tourist barges take a slow cruise and the boat parties look awfully elegant and inviting. It's a beachy paradise in the City of Light and Life.
Nothing, nothing, nothing (for me) is as relaxing as a sandy beach next to a calm, shallow, aqua water -- the kind of water where one can float on a raft endlessly. In fact, it's what I've been dreaming of in preparation for this vacation.
One time floating on the Aegean Sea on one of Santorini's volcanic rock beaches, I floated so far out that my friends' young and strong son had to swim out with fins to rescue me. It was a bit frightening! Another time in Algajola on the island of Corsica, I slept for two hours on a raft on the water and woke up the next day with serious sun poisoning rendering my lower lip as big as a bike tire's inner tube. Yet, none of these experiences have deterred me from getting back on the raft and floating to oblivion at every opportunity.
Since plages of all kinds are my personal heaven, it's no wonder that I chose to make my own "Paris Plage" apartment imitate life on a beach. It has a large terrace, a sandy-like tile floor, aqua tiles set in the shape of waves, a lantern that gives off light like refracting water and a backdropped mural of Paris' annual summer plage (by Trompe l'Oeil artist, Pascal Amblard). It was as close to life on a beach as my interior design talents and Mosaïste Veronique Husson's tile talents could muster up.
Yesterday I trained down to Nice and was welcomed by my apartment, Le Matisse, and "Henri le Cactus" who grows inches between each stay. A friend is meeting me today and while we hope to hit the Nice pebbles this afternoon, tomorrow we will rent a car and head to one of the Riviera's best sandy beaches -- not sure yet which will strike our fancy. A friend who has a second home in Cap d'Ail suggested the Monte Carlo beach as the best, as long as we don't mind spending a bit more than usual on the lounge chairs and umbrellas.
Wednesday you'll read all about our beachy adventures. Then Saturday my friends and I fly to Calvi, Corsica, where we will become beach lizards (or raft rats) for one solid week...and you will not hear a peep from me until resurfacing on August 11th.
P.S. I want to thank everyone who wrote in response to "The Uglier Side of Life in Paris" for your supportive and poignant comments. In the near future, we will have a forum where you will be able to share your comments with all of our readers, but until then, at least I get to see what an intelligent, appreciative, warm and heart-felt audience we have. Again, many thanks.
P.P.S. Exceptional offer on a fraction of an elegant studio right in the center of Paris! Located on a charming side street on Ile de la Cité, "Le Notre Dame" has been entirely restored to include its original centuries-old wood beams, fireplace and antique touches. Shares begin at as little as 14,900€ per two week share and are sold as two two week blocks. Visit Le Notre Dame for more information.
Adrian Leeds® Top 100 Cheap Insider Paris Restaurants -- You don't need to be rich to dine well in Paris, you just need to be in the know!
Online since 1996, Adrian Leeds' Top 100 Cheap Insider Paris Restaurants has been completely updated for 2011. This restaurant guide has been a favorite among visitors to France for many years.
The guide includes 100 restaurants from the 20 arrondissements in Paris, so no matter where you are in the City of Light, you can discover great food and better value. You’ll find detailed descriptions of the food, service and ambiance, complete with Google maps, a glossary of French food terms and guidance on how to have the best dining experiences in Paris! If you want to dine “à la française” on your next trip to the City of Light, be sure to pack this guide.
"Wonderful options in every arrondissement, usually small family operations. There is a fairly wide range of prices, none overwhelming and a few real bargains. I have never been disappointed. I feel as if I have had a true Paris experience, sometimes I even make friends to look forward to seeing next trip. I buy the guide every time I go to Paris and follow the recommendations faithfully." -- Becky Balcom