Monthly Archives: October 2016

Family stroll in Paris

Family stroll in Paris

When this former Parisian, now a tourist, visits the French capital, there is little pressure to hit landmarks, museums, or famous parks. It is all about taking a family stroll downtown, and getting reacquainted with my parents and my brother’s family while savoring favorite locations. Paris, always a willing partner and a generous host, provides the perfect backdrop for our adventures. This summer, we had a great day in the 14th arrondissement. A family stroll in Paris is more fun outside crowded touristy areas. I like “le 14ème”  because it seems to have different personalities and does not show off. The architecture is not as uniform as in other areas. From the local eyesore (la Tour Montparnasse,) to the famous brasseries that helped establish Parisian café culture, the crêperies of the former Breton colony, to a handful of touristy sites (les Catacombes,) a famous cemetery, and cheaper-than-average hotels (mostly international chains,) the 14th arrondissement offers a lot of variety to a lot of different people. I like the neighborhood mostly for its authentic Parisian flavor, regular streets, lined with regular buildings, regular cafés, regular parks and regular shops. Yet, the 14th arrondissement is still Paris; it can be charming and surprise at every corner.

Family stroll in Paris

family stroll in Paris

On an overcast July day, when Paris often seems to hesitate between spring and summer, my family and I strolled along peaceful streets in the western section of the 14th arrondissement. That time of year, the weather can change within minutes, and a few raindrops are not entirely out of the question. It is best to dress in layers, and to carry a small umbrella, sunglasses tucked away in the pocket of a denim jacket, just in case. Fortunately, these habits are easy to remember for a former Parisian turned Seattleite. Besides, the weather is mild and makes walking for hours an enjoyable experience.

family stroll in Paris
Don’t like the weather? (rue des Thermopyles)
family stroll in Paris
… wait five minutes! (rue des Thermopyles)

 

To rest tired feet, there are small parks (“squares” en français) and benches along the way.

Family stroll in Paris
Jardin Alberto Giacometti

Family stroll in Paris

 

There are opportunities to peek into Parisian lives.

Family stroll in Paris
La vie #enterrasse

family stroll in Paris

 

There are fun discoveries in the heart of the big city.

family stroll in Paris
The family that exercises together, stays together. (Square Olivier Noyer-Léonidas)
family stroll in Paris
“This is, after all, an urban space reserved for seniors!” “Mamie” exclaims.
family stroll in Paris
Picture snapping counts as exercise too, n’est-ce-pas?

 

When we get hungry, there are many unassuming cafés and restaurants to choose from. Sans chi-chi. Low-key. Une terrasse. Une table. Cramped space. Simple fare. Good company… and people watching!

family stroll in Paris
Essential food groups: Croque-Madame, frites, salade verte
family strolls in Paris
Steak-frites, sauce Béarnaise
family stroll in Paris
A happy “Mamie” and two of her grandsons
family strolls in Paris
A Parisian, in his natural habitat.

 

A little later, we pay tribute to favorite French icons au Cimetière de Montparnasse (Montparnasse cemetery.) There are so many celebrities resting there, it is difficult to choose. This time, we call on actor Philippe Noiret and Serge Gainsbourg.

family strolls in Paris
Bonjour, Monsieur Noiret.
family strolls in Paris
Salut l’Artiste! A tribute to “the Man with a Cabbage Head,” (and his love of cigarettes.)
family strolls in Paris
Feeling at home – and at peace – in French cemeteries.

 

Finally, after several hours of walking, talking, laughing, and exploring, it is time to head home, but first, l’Apéro: And what better place than a Parisian terrasse to wrap up our family stroll in Paris?

aperitif

family stroll in Paris
Avec a friendly Parisian waiter, bien sûr!
family stroll in Paris
“Tata Véro” and her nephew

 

A bientôt.

 

All photos by French Girl in Seattle

Please do not use without permission

A 1990 tribute to an ailing Serge Gainsbourg (1928-1991,) and one of his iconic songs, la Javanaise,  with Jane Birkin (in the audience,) Michel Sardou, Patrick Bruel, Laurent Voulzy, Vanessa Paradis.

My favorite Philippe Noiret movie: Le Vieux Fusil (the Old Gun,) Philippe Noiret (1930-2006,) Romy Schneider.

9 Responses to Family stroll in Paris

  1. Loved this article and I, too, love the 14th. And I loved Philippe Noiret. One of his last roles was performing “Love Letters” in Paris with Anouk Aimee. I was so lucky to have seen them there.

  2. I love experiencing areas of Paris which are fairly new to me through your pictures and comments. Thank you so much for your wonderful posts! I hope I can go back to Paris soon. I will never tire of going there!

  3. I love this post so much! I lived in the 13th arrondisement, and I used to stroll through the 14th all the time. This brought back so many wonderful memories and feelings. While I definitely ventured to the touristy areas, my friends and I always ate and socialized in the 13th and 14th. It really IS the truest flavor of Paris! 🙂