Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Quiet Corners of Paris
I found this delightful little book on www.booko.com.au and I was immediately won over when I read the title. I have an undeniable thirst for discovering and spending precious time, admiring and romanticising in beautiful tranquil nooks in Paris. And here was a book that promised to make my quest easier. I was thrilled.
Paris may well be the most beautiful city on earth, but as any resident or visitor knows, its not exactly a haven of peace; too much traffic, too much noise and too many people. But away from the swarm of tourists and everyday city hustle and bustle, I have found the most exquisite spots 'off the beaten track', which exist quietly and modestly around unexpected corners and behind misleading bland facades, in places that are often right under your nose but are easily missed. Not surprising really when there are looming iconic metal towers or giant glass triangles jutting out of the ground to hog all your attention.
So now with my new 'guide' in hand, I simply can't wait for my next trip to Paris (8 weeks, 4 days but who's counting ay)
If you're in Paris for a limited time then by no means would I advise you to disregard your regular guidebooks. Those touristy destinations listed inside are the 'must sees' and 'dos' that simply must been seen and done! But if you want a break from the crowds and clutter, or you simply love discovering secret unspoilt spots of beauty, nature and architectural extravagance then this book can navigate you to a completely different world within Paris.
Divided into chapters by arrondissement, discover cloisters, courtyards, gardens, museums, passages, shops, historic houses, architectural ruins, churches, arborteums, islands, hilltops and winding lanes. Most of the places listed are outdoors with pleasant green-garden atmospheres.
As my new guide/bible states:
'The madding crowd is a predictable beast, rushing from one trendy, new, hip, must-see spot to the next. When it comes to still backwaters, to uncluttered nooks and noiseless crannies, the crowds simply shy away, uninterested. Crowds draw crowds. Quiet places stay quiet.'
I agree with this whole heartedly. No one need fear that these secret spots are being unveiled - a good thing for those of us who like life on the quiet side.
My quick flick pick:
La Mouzaia, 19th arrondissement
Entrances: rue de Mouzaia, rue David-d'Angers,
rue Miguel-Hidalgo, rue de General-Brunet
Metro: Pre-Saint-Gervais, Botzaris
'La Mouzaia is the name of a neighbourhood that has Paris' largest number of low rise, freestanding or semi-detached garden homes - hundreds of them strung along some 30 streets, villa and hamlet complexes and cul-de-sacs. Why here? Because the quarter sits atop former gypsum quarries, in use until the nineteenth century, then filled and built over. The unstable soil can't bear weighty buildings.
It's lovely to get lost wandering down these streets or narrow alleys, some of them set at a tilt, most garlanded by greenery that often submerges yards and houses. Many are modest, in keeping with their original, largely blue-collar inhabitants. Others stand three or four stories tall; still others are half-timbered. Dreamily strolling from one leafy lane to the next, you'll gradually forget the twenty-first century and the rumbling city out there, and be sorely tempted to ring someone's bell simply to ask if life really is as sweet here as it seems to a passing stroller'.
Here are some of our Bed & Breakfasts located near La Mouzaia:
B&B #213: Irma and Alfio's cosy little garden nest.
B&B #345: Anne's refined and romantic dwelling.
B&B #188: Genevieve's remarkable 17th story residence.
Visit our web site for our listing of B&B apartments, with their very own tranquil gardens and/or courtyards.
Bonne nuit. PP x