Every year on August 25, France celebrates the liberation from German occupation in 1944 at the close of WWII. This year, Paris will host a light and music show at the Hotel de Ville, in the open square outside of the city’s town hall. Following the light show, the square will transform into a massive dance floor. This will be a night of celebration!
For this year, the 70th anniversary, President Francois Hollande is expected to attend, along with other government and Military representatives.
In the early days of photojournalism, Magnum photographer Robert Capa captured scenes from the days leading up to and after the liberation. Below are a few from that collection of images. It seems foreign to look at Paris under the stress of war, but also wonderful to see the celebratory faces and crowds in the streets that are so familiar and unchanged even today.
Paris. August 26th, 1944. Crowd on the pavement after snipers in buildings overlooking the Place de l’Hotel de Ville opened fire on the celebrations after the liberation.
Paris. August 25th, 1944. French troops being welcomed during the liberation of the city.
Paris. 8th arrondissement. Champs-Elysées. August 26th, 1944. Members of the French Resistance and soldiers of the French Army celebrating the liberation of the city.
August 25th, 1944. German soldiers surrender to French Resistance fighters during the liberation of the city.
To see our apartments located near Hotel de Ville:
Two bedroom Loft at Saint Paul
Ile Saint Louis Studio
Three bedroom, Air Conditioned Quai de Montebello apartment
You can’t walk a block without passing a boulangerie in most Parisian neighborhoods, and nothing beats that smell of fresh baked croissants wafting out onto the street. However, in case you believed otherwise, not all baguettes are created equal. And it’s a never ending escapade to taste many in order to discover the best ones around the city.
In one of our favorite neighborhoods, the Haute Marais, you’ll have to eat a baguette or croissant or croissant aux amandes every day to get through the list of delicious boulangeries you must try. Below are some off the top of our list, all within walking distance of landmarks like Place de la République, rue de Bretagne, and the Cirque d’Hiver.
38 rue Debelleyme
From Tuesday to Saturday, 7:15 am to 8:15 pm
Sunday, 7:15am to 4:30pm
2. 134 RDT
134 rue de Turenne
From Monday to Friday, 7:15 am to 8:15 pm
3. Chez Manon
25 rue de Bretagne
From Monday to Saturday, 6:00 am to 8:00 pm
Our nearby apartments:
Check out these great pictures and more of the iconic kitchen wares store E. Dehillerin on rue Montmartre near what used to be Paris most important food market for the city’s restauranteurs, les Halles. More here
Markets pop up every day around Paris, in different locations throughout the week. Vendors sell cherries by the kilo or several varieties of juicy pears, depending on the season. Never ending piles of delicious produce–fresh for eating and colorful for picture taking.
The French are known for their specialty shopping, getting their cheese at the fromagerie, their bread at the boulangerie and their meat at the butcher. And on top of the open air markets listed in the link above, there are also a few covered markets around the city. The oldest one, located behind the storefronts on rue de Bretagne in the 3rd arrondissement (the Haute Marais), is the Marché des Enfants Rouges. Not only the oldest covered market in Paris, it is one of the oldest in all of France.
Here’s a picture from back in the day.
One of the best things about this market, aside from it’s prime location, is the picnic style eateries that have opened inside. Alongside the produce market are a collection of food stands with all kinds of different cuisines: Japanese, Moroccan, Italian, Crêpes…
All of which can be enjoyed at the picnic tables that line the stands. Have a glass of wine, in a nice to-go plastic cup, of course! And enjoy your meal at the shared tables in this little pocket of historical Paris that has become one of the city’s contemporary gems.
And afterwards, what better way to digest than to browse the boutiques of rue Charlot?
Check out some of these rentals around the corner from les Enfants Rouges:
You’ll know from our post on the secret rose garden that we love the hidden passageways and short cuts that make navigating Paris like a architectural treasure hunt. One more connecting promenade that we fall in love with over and over again is the Hotel de Sully. Although with more conspicuous entrances, passing between Rue du Faubourg Saint Antoine and the Place des Vosges, it is rare that this verdant park ever feels crowded.
A certain refuge from the busy avenue that goes from Bastille down to become rue de Rivoli, the passageway from Faubourg Saint Antoine is quite imposing and feels like maybe you’re not allowed to go through there. This is one of the main reasons I credit for the minimal foot traffic, especially from the street side. From the park side, however, what you see is light coming through the doorway under the otherwise shaded arcades that encircle the place des Vosges.
You’ll see some gorgeous architectural details throughout. But do take your time to look at all the doors. They are all heavy and wooden, carved in and outfitted with giant sculpted door knockers. The picture below is the underside of a stairway next the the small bookstore between the stone courtyard and the garden.
If ever you are looking for a beautiful backdrop for family photos, or for a quieter place to enjoy a sandwich from Paul or Miss Manon (both near the Hotel de Sully entrance on rue Faubourg Saint Antoine), you’ll find it here.
Just as beautiful in the fall, as in the summer, the ivy wall turns all shades of fiery red and orange.
Definitely add this to your list of must sees on your Marais walking tour. Or take a look at our nearby apartments and make this part of your daily commute.
In one of Paris’ northern parks, la Villette, the lawn transforms on summer evenings into a picnic ground with blankets spread out facing the big white screen of the open air cinema. Each summer, La Villette selects a summer’s worth of films around a certain theme, this year being adolescence and the nostalgia of childhood.
La Villette borders the canal as it makes its way towards the periphery of Paris. It is worth getting there a little early, while it is still light out and before all the best spots are taken, to walk around and enjoy how diverse Paris is once you get out of the central areas. When you’re looking for a spot to get comfortable, it’s good to know you can also rent folding chairs for 7 euros a piece.
Ranging from comedy to drama and romance, movies like Carrie and Lolita are lined up with more cult classics like Fame and American Graffiti, and then even more recent films like Moonrise Kingdom and 17 Filles. A great mix of old and new, French, American and other nationalities, you’re reminded that going to the movies can be a cultural experience, and in this case, a memorable Parisian experience.
Here is the full program. Descriptions are in French, but you’ll recognize most of the titles.
And if you bring a wine picnic, don’t forget your cork screw!
After the USA just celebrated the Independence Day with hot dogs and fireworks, the French prepare for their own National celebration next week. Bastille day, the 14th of July, commemorates the storming of the bastille on the same day in 1789. The Bastille was a fortress that acted as a State Prison, and its destruction remains a symbol of the people rising up against the Monarchy and aristocracy. The French Revolution represented a change in government from Monarchy to Republic, and so the day has become a celebration of the political empowerment of the people.
The highlights of the celebration are the Military Parade that marches down the Champs Elysées, a festival at the place de la Bastille, and the 35 minute fireworks display behind the Eiffel Tower.
Preparation for the parade begins at 9:10 and last officially from 10-12, the time of arrival and departure of the President of France, Francois Hollande. If you want to catch the air show, it is scheduled to begin at 10:45.
Paris’ Military Parade on July 14 is the largest in Europe, and each year some of the foreign troops are invited in to put on their own distinctive Military displays, like this image below of French Polynesian forces in 2011.
The fireworks display begins at 11PM and is best seen from around the Seine, Trocadéro, and the Champs de Mars.
To learn more about the history of the city of Paris including the revolution, stop by the Musée Carnavalet in the Marais.
Or for a non-traditional 14th, there is always Napoleon Dynamite playing on an outdoor screen at Wanderlust, 32 Quai d’Austerlitz, 13ème, 10:30PM
Joyeux 14 juillet!
To get lost in Paris is the best way to discover it. Normally, on foot, this is a great way to see the city. Exiting a metro station or starting from your apartment rental in the Marais (just picture it!), you wander the windy streets of the oldest part of the city, or turn off onto a smaller street from one of the Haussmannian-lined boulevards in the 8th or 9th arrondissement. Hours go by, and you realize you’ve walked halfway across the city. It’s a great adventure, and your feet will remember every step of it!
So to give your petits pieds a rest, to cover more ground, and even get into some of the quieter neighborhoods away from the busy tourist areas, it’s nice to ride a bike in Paris.
Paris à vélo c’est sympa is a bike tour and rental company in the 11th, just outside of the neighborhood called the Haute Marais (pronounced oat ma-rey), takes the approach of immersing their customers in an experience as a Parisian local. You’ll go through parts of the city that you might not otherwise think to go to. And while exploring, you’ll learn about local habits and customs and stories that will add dimension to your understanding of Paris and it’s people.
Some of their tours will also take you on more central routes. The founder is a bicycle enthusiast who fell in love with Paris from the seat of a bicycle, so you can be sure to find that same passion and enthusiasm from all of the tour guides at Paris à Vélo.
If you have a bike trip planned taking you out of Paris and into the French countryside, you can also make Paris à Vélo your point of departure and terminus. They rent bikes by the day and for longer periods depending on what you have planned.
Here’s where you can find them.
22 rue Alphonse Baudin
Tel. +33 (0)1 48 87 60 01
One of the great things about Paris is how photogenic the city is. Early black and white photographs from the beginning of the 1900s, experimental or journalistic, for tourism, or for education, and the same for photographs from today. The world is more full of amateur photographers than ever before, and we all get to reap the benefits as we get inspired by the different perspectives, fleeting moments, and unchanging landscape that makes up the principal footprint of Paris.
Because I can’t enough of Paris, it’s been a lot of fun to begin building out my own narrative of Paris, for Paris Deluxe, covering all the angles of how we experience Paris today, and all the depth of history we can access in this amazing city.
Here’s some of what you’ll find:
Ideas of where to eat in various neighborhoods, such as the Marais.
Great shots of the hustle and bustle of Paris that remains somehow aesthetic rather than chaotic, of course!
And a personal favorite, a board of French clichés we call, evidemment, “So French!”
We’d love suggestions from you of collections that you’d like to see, or collections you would like to see expanded upon.
Come by and browse. Tell us what you think, here or on Facebook, and, along the way, find some inspiration for your Paris vacation!