Even The Residents Are Tourists In This City
PARLER PARIS: EVEN THE RESIDENTS ARE TOURISTS IN THIS CITY
May 20, 2002
*** THE HEART OF A YOUNG KING
I saw it yesterday for the first time–a tiny walnut of a thing ensconced in a glass container on a shelf in the crypt of the Saint Denis Basilica. It is the heart of a young uncrowned king, Louis-Charles de France, better known as Louis XVII, the son of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette.
The story goes that the eight-year-old automatically became king when his father was guillotined during the French revolution in 1793(at what is now Place de la Concorde). He was then held at the Temple Prison and was officially reported to have died there on June 8, 1795.
An autopsy was performed and as was the custom, his heart was removed, but reports quickly spread that the body was not that of Louis XVII and that he had been taken away live by sympathizers with another child’s body left in his place. Two years ago, genetic tests solved the great mystery proving the heart to actually be his.
When I used to visit Paris as a tourist, for a week or so at a time, I would think: "a week just isn’t enough time to see or do it all." After my first year living here, when I spent almost every waking hour getting to know Paris, I thought: "one year just isn’t enough to see or do it all." Now after almost eight years, I’ve realized that a lifetime will not be enough to see or do it all.
Paris is certainly one of the most profoundly cultural spots in the world. When I hear of those who light here for two days, take a two-hour open-air bus tour, visit the Mona Lisa at the Louvre, take the elevators to the top of the Eiffel Tower and then leave happy to have "seen" Paris, I shudder.
Each day I live here, I realize how little of Paris I truly know.
Recently, a visiting friend invited me to join her on a walking tour of the Basilique Saint Denis, somewhere I’ve never been before. The Métro line 13 takes you quickly and easily to Saint Denis.
The Basilica is one of the first gothic cathedrals ever built, a magnificent example with cross rib vaulting and flying buttresses. Very few of the original stained glass windows survived the French Revolution (they used the lead to make weapons), but even the later replacements are impressive.
Clearly a memorial to the kings, buried there are 42 kings, 32 queens, 63 princes and princesses and 10 great men of the kingdom, including little Louis’ heart. With more than 70 Renaissance monumental tombs, the royal necropolis of the Basilica is possibly the most important group of funerary sculptures dating between the 12th and 16th centuries.
If you don’t have a walking tour guide, audio guides are there to rent, and I do suggest that you at least have a book or information from a Web site to lead the way, as there is more to learn there than can be taught in just a quick turn of the building.
There are many sites you can visit with more information, but the official one for the city (in French, of course) is: http://www.ville-saint-denis.fr/
Contact Basilique de Saint-Denis; 2, rue de Strasbourg 93200, Saint-Denis; tel. 01 48 09 83 54.
Happy Pentecôte, a la prochaine fois …
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Parler Paris /parlerparis/
Written and Edited by Adrian Leeds
Published by International Living
Issue Number 39, May 20, 2002
In this issue:
*** Become and Expert in Buying Art and Antiques
*** The Worst Arrondissement to Get Married
*** Journey Through Paris, Provence, and Avignon
*** Travel Writers–Will You Make it?
*** Picnic Among the Roses at the Bagatelle Gardens
*** Parisian Theater in English
*** Best Tarte Tatin in Paris
*** What’s Wrong With Parler Paris?
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
*** BUY ART AND ANTIQUES LIKE AN EXPERT
Get out your list of art and antiques to purchase…and get ready for four jam-packed days of flea-marketing in Paris, June 20 – 23 or July 4 – 7, 2002.
Professionals [ADRIAN, PROFESSIONAL WHAT?] will take you to the best and most reputable dealers and assist in discovering, negotiating and shipping what you purchase in art, furniture and objects from the 19th and 20th centuries.
Plus, you’ll hear from [WHO?] as they tell you about [WHAT?] as you’re wined and dined throughout the four days.
This will truly be an experience you’ll never forget…and you’ll return with important and valuable momentos.
Save $300 by registering now at the advance registration price of $1,195 (all inclusive.) For more detailed information about the schedule, you may now visit our site at: /parlerparis/guidedtours/index.html or contact Lauren Bender, at Paris à La Carte by clicking on this email: mailto:[email protected]?subject=ppfleamarket
For assistance with hotels, air travel and other
ns, contact Barbara Perriello, Agora Travel in Delray Beach, Florida at 1-800-926-6575 or 1-561-243-6276, email: mailto:[email protected]?subject=markettour
*** THE UNLUCKIEST ARRONDISSEMENT?
By Thirza Vallois
Until 1860, Paris had only 12 arrondissements. But then Baron Haussmann had the toll walls of Paris demolished and pushed the city out as far as the fortification walls. The villages that lay around Paris, between those walls, were incorporated into the city.
There was a big row over which arrondissement would be allocated number 13–nobody wanted this number of ill omen (which is skipped over in French hospitals and many hotels). Worse–since there was a popular belief that ‘couples who get married at the Mairie of the 13th, will be adulterous to each other,’ the number became downright anathema. If you are considering marriage in Paris, be careful where you take up residence! At the time of Haussmann, the area which was to become the 13th was no better than a cholera-ridden shantytown (think. Victor Hugo’s "Les Misérables"). Whether its populace cared to have the number of ill omen imposed on it or not was of little consequence–nobody bothered to consult them and the number was simply dumped on this dump of a neighborhood.
Editor’s note: Look out for Thirza’a detailed article on Paris arrondissements in Thursday’s Paris Property Insider. If you’d like more information about her "Around and About Paris" series of books, write to mailto:[email protected]?subject=thirza and I’ll pass it along.
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* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
*** GETTING TO KNOW THE ARRONDISSEMENTS OF PARIS
On June 16th, you’re going to get the chance to [ADRIAN, CAN YOU ADD IN SOME JUICY DETAILS ABOUT WHY THIS ARRONDISSEMENT TOUR IS SO COOL?]
Thirza Vallois, author of "Around and About Paris, Volumes I, II and III," will be joining me to give a chauffeur-driven bus tour of Paris by arrondissements–a special part of International Living’s "Journey Through Southern France," June 15-24, 2002.
The rest of this tour includes meetings with real estate professionals and other experts in their fields, where you will learn about visas, tax, insurance and other property issues, as they relate to foreigners buying in France. Then, it’s off to Paris to see apartments and properties for yourself.
Afterward, you’ll discover Provençal cottages and homes, and quaint villages, again with agents and property experts who can give you insider information on the real estate market in Provence.
Then, you’ll visit the Luberon, before landing in Avignon, where you’ll see the hilltop villages of Gordes, Roussillon, Bonnieux, and Lourmarin. Take a tour of Mont St. Victoire that Cézanne immortalized on canvas and shop the market in St. Remy en Provence for linens, olive oil, cheeses, fragrances and baskets…wonder at the history of Les Baux…speak with agents and visit properties in these ancient villages nestled among the fields of lavender and sunflowers.
For more information click here: http://www.ildiscoverytours.com/france_dt/, call toll free on (800) 926-6575, or email: mailto:[email protected]
*** THE SECRET IS ALMOST OUT
Keep an eye out on your in box–for a letter to you lovers of Paris about an exclusive club…get the key that unlocks the door to the real Paris.
* * * * * ADVERTISEMENT * * * * *
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From no-star hotels to five-star palaces, Paris has an overwhelming selection of places to stay–how can you be sure you’re getting the best deal you can during your time in this city?
We’ve identified a handful of exceptional hotels in the most desirable and central neighborhoods in Paris…all for under $100.
To read more, click here: http://www.insiderparisguides.com/hotels/index.html
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*** TRAVEL WRITERS WORKSHOP IN PARIS THIS SATURDAY
There are only two places left on the Ultimate Travel Writers Workshop III, which starts this Saturday.
"Thank you for offering so much to all of us, and providing not only a marvelous array of speakers and events, but excellent textbook materials that will be a tremendous resource I know I will turn to often. Classes were to the point, inclusive of our individual needs and concerns, and covered an exhaustive array of quite valuable tools and tips. I have been telling everyone who will listen what a great experience I had."
— Colleen A. Quill, Travel Writers Workshop I
To secure your place now, contact Barbara Perriello: tel. 1-800-926-6575 or email: mailto:[email protected]
*** PICNIC AT THE BAGATELLE GARDENS WITH PARLER PARLOR
The Bagatelle Gardens reveal the art of gardening through the centuries, and the rose gardens in particular are sublime. Used as a hunting lodge by Napoleeon, the château there was built in 66 days by the Comte d’Artois following a wager with his sister-in-law, Marie Antoinette.
Next month, Parler Parlor (the french-English conversation group) are meeting there for a picnic, and I’d like you to come join us. It’s free, and you’re more than welcome to bring a friend.
Meet us June 9th, at 1 p.m. just inside the entrance of the garden. Bring your blanket, lunch and drinks to Parc de Bagatelle, Route de Sèvres à Neuilly. (Entrance fee is about 2 euro.)
To get there:
By Métro: Porte Maillot
By bus:#244 and #43 to the end of the line then walk to the entrance
By car: exit from the Périphérique Maillot / Bois de Boulogne, take the direction pont de Suresnes by way of l’allée de Longchamp.
For more information about Parler Parlor, visit: http://www.parlerparlor.com Email: mailto:[email protected] Or call Elisabeth at 01 44 19 76 61 or Adrian at 01 40 27 97 59
*** WHAT’S ON IN PARIS THEATER
Just ask yourself–what do you really know about the guy who sits across from you at work?
The Moving Parts Theatre Company presents a reading of Randall Holden’s play "Deletions" with Geoffrey Bateman, Geoffrey Greenhill, Derrick Brenner, and Steve Croce. Directed by
Sunday June 9th at 7:30 p.m. at Carr,s Restaurant; 1 rue du Mont Thabor, 75001 Paris; Métro Tuileries.
The evening opens with a reading of Ken Mackenzie’s "Remember to Push the Button Marked SAVE"
For more information contact Stephanie Campion Email: mailto:[email protected] 01 44 93 59 72 or 06 14 67 18 58
*** DON’T LEAVE WITHOUT TASTING THE TARTE TATIN
An excerpt from the Leeds Good Value Guide to Paris Restaurants http://www.insiderparisguides.com/restaurants/index.html
Traditional French/North African
3, rue Martel, Arrondissement 10
Métro Château d’Eau
Lunch "Formule": 10 euro; entrées: 6.50 – 7.50 euro; plats: 8 – 20 euro; desserts: 2 – 6 euro
Mehdi Gana was one of Omar’s top waiters (Chez Omar in the 3rd) until he broke away with a partner and opened up his own restaurant just this year. He takes a big risk in this up-and-coming ethnically diverse neighborhood in the heart of the 10th, just near the jazz club "New Morning," to open a hip a spot as this.
Dark wood benches from an old brasserie line the walls accompanied by dark wood tables and chairs. Soft colored walls and a classic zinc bar add to an old-world yet contemporary sleek feel, not unlike a New York Soho bar. Clientele are much the same, too–young, hip, classy. The menu is unusual in that you can dine on both North African Tajine or Couscous or very French Magret de Canard. (All of which I highly recommend.)
On a dark wood table in the center of the restaurant sits the array of desserts. Do not leave without a piece of the Tarte Tatin, served with crème fraiche, of course. It is one of the finest I have ever tasted and seriously rivals the one at Le Petit Nicois. Mehdi was trained well by Omar in client service, so I am sure you will be pleased with how well you will be treated.
*** SPEAKING ABOUT THE HOTEL DU NORD
[ADRIAN, CAN WE DELETE THIS?]
Owner, James Arch is on the verge of selling the Hôtel du Nord (102 quai de Jemmapes, Paris 10th), the home of "Laughing Matters." If you would be "hypothetically" interested in participating in a share offer to form a company/association that would buy the SARL Hôtel du Nord, please contac;
Karel Beer, Beer Necessities http://www.anythingmatters.com Email mailto:[email protected]
*** LA CORRECTIONS
In last week’s Parler Paris, I mentioned that the TGV goes from Paris to Stasbourg, but this route is still being planned, and the line will not be open until 2006.
I also incorrectly stated that the 1938 film "Hôtel du Nord" was shot at the real Hôtel du Nord. It was actually shot in a studio.
Also, the brick city hall of the 19th where I enjoyed my chocolat chaud turned out to be a post office.
Finally, although I saw no evidence of this on my walk, the contemporary apartment complex "Grange aux Belles" is apparently one of the most dangerous places in the neighbourhood, as a "popular meeting spot for drug dealers and addicts."
Thanks to all the readers who wrote in with the above pieces of information.
*** TO READ MORE:
Go to /parlerparis/
*** HAVE A SPECIAL MESSAGE? WANT TO EXCHANGE LINKS?
If you would like to have your message read by the subscribers of the Parler Paris Nouvellettre®, please email me at mailto:[email protected]
If you have links about Paris or France and would like reciprocal links, please email me at mailto:[email protected]
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