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!
Metro: Porte de Pantin
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.
Paris à vélo c’est sympa!
22 rue Alphonse Baudin
Tel. +33 (0)1 48 87 60 01
One of the greatest things about the re-constructed Place de la République is this:
A kid’s haven in the middle of the city, this alternative to a traditional park is like a communal, open air living room with a never ending toy box, holding everything from chalk to legos to tricycles, out and available for imaginations to run wild. The layout is totally open, making it feel inviting and free like a back yard, just full of other young friends to play with!
The “R de Jeu,” as it is called, is open every day but Monday, all through the summer months.
You can see all the layers of activity: human-sized (ok, little-human-sized) connect four, kitchenette, cup chairs…plus they boast 600 different games, which you can access in the red bodega at the center of the play zone (you can see it in some of the shots here).
And of course, there are chairs and tables for parents to sit and relax!
He even has his hard hat!
Doing her thing….
If you’re traveling with young kids or just want an amusing diversion on your way to the Canal Saint Martin, make sure you pass this way!
Where: Place de la Republique
More information on the official website here