A secret corner of Paris

May 3rd, 2009, 08:43 AM
  #1  
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A secret corner of Paris

I may regret this forever, but I do understand that lots of you who keep returning to Paris are looking for some of the hidden attractions that (almost) nobody knows about.

I have little interest in fancy brasseries and that sort of thing, and I have long been overwhelmed by the incredible beauty and sophistication of the city, which I don't really think I need to point out to anybody.

But one of the things that I really enjoy is the part of Paris that time forgot as the centuries rolled along. Some of you might have no interest in old rundown places, but for those of you who enjoy a totally different view of the city, I can offer you this photo essay of a tiny corner of Menilmontant : http://tinyurl.com/d4c6qq
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May 3rd, 2009, 08:49 AM
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I love the windows and doors.
A new and refreshing look from all the Eiffel Tower shots..

thanks
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May 3rd, 2009, 08:52 AM
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But we all have to take those Eiffel Tower shots the first time.
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May 3rd, 2009, 08:53 AM
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Thank you. This is the kind of thing I do my travelling for.
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May 3rd, 2009, 09:01 AM
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I'd nominate Paris's Cour de Rohan
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Y12AMhVdtc
the video is a little shaky but it's authentic to the detail of a Parisienne not cleaning up after her dog
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May 3rd, 2009, 09:04 AM
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Excellent, thank you. Reminds me a bit of a quirky little private street near the Parc Montsouris. It was more gentrified but the same sort of hidden treasure.
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May 3rd, 2009, 09:05 AM
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Wow thank you Kerouac!
I love the old images of yesterday that are still available today. It reminds me of when I lived in germany 25 years ago. You know seeing the real area and not the touristy areas. I think every trip needs to include a visit to reality too. You know get the touristy pictures (I will be doing that in 3 short days , but see the rest too. How fun. Thanks again.
L
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May 3rd, 2009, 09:06 AM
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yep, I have mine
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May 3rd, 2009, 09:16 AM
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Oh, I also started a thread on the Canal Saint Martin yesterday, but that's not nearly as much of a secret. Still, if you want to give it a look, here it is: http://tinyurl.com/dz5cbs
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May 3rd, 2009, 09:17 AM
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Oh, I forgot to say that that thread isn't finished yet. I still have to do the second half of it...
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May 3rd, 2009, 09:25 AM
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Kerouac, thank you for sharing your lovely collection of pictures. Makes me wish I were there now!
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May 3rd, 2009, 09:29 AM
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Kerouac: What a lovely treat on a rainy Sunday afternoon. Your 20th arrondissement photos are quite compelling, the perfect antidote to the materialistic side of tourism.

And I enjoyed the Canal St. Martin photos as well. You have a very interesting eye.

Many thanks.
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May 3rd, 2009, 09:36 AM
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This is part of the Paris I've been getting to know, and love, on my last few trips there. Last August we spent a day in Belleville and a day in the Menilmontant neighborhood. Just fascinating. In both areas, BTW, we found absolutely amazing food for a pittance. Going back to our hotel neighborhood in the 7th was a bit of a shock.
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May 3rd, 2009, 10:04 AM
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I love the 20th. I have ever since I was in HS and rediscovered “The Red Balloon” (“Le Ballon Rouge”). Even tho I saw it as a little kid, I watched it in both French class and English class (where I had to write and analyze it). It was the first glimpse I can ever remember, of seeing Paris @ the age of 5 or 6, and then to revisit the movie a decade later in HS just reinforced my budding love for a city I had yet to meet. “Le Ballon Rouge” was filmed mostly in the 20th and has changed little from the feel of that movie.

So on my first trip to Paris I stayed one night @ Hilton Arc de Triomphe and then spent 11 days at an old 2 star property in the 20th and saw with my own eyes the new diversity & old charm of the 20th. It is like the bastard child of all the arrondissements – it is skipped over by many and called a slum. I know of a nice little park tucked away where I never find ANY tourists – only locals... and I can sit and ponder anything and everything and chat with the locals who are always surprised that I am in the area and they are somewhat touched. They always think I lost my way to/from the cemetery or ended up in the 20th by mistake – it makes for a great ice breaker. Also, I can stay longer in Paris when I stay in the 20th – it is the dollar stretching arrondissement!!!

I know of many little spots, cafes, brasseries, parks, shops, etc. When I went for my longest trip, I stayed in the 20th for 24 days – I felt like an honorary local. I had my morning daily routine and never had to leave and go farther than 200 meters for anything. Since it is still very close to the center of Paris (compared to most cities in the USA), and b/c the metro is so efficient, I would hop on the train and explore ALL of Paris day by day... it makes for a great home base for me.

Thanks Kerouac, for providing a great view of the upper 20th. One of many faces Paris has to offer that ppl miss. If you get the chance, visit the lower 20th too – and please post it!!!

~Jay
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May 3rd, 2009, 10:30 AM
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Thanks for sharing, K

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May 3rd, 2009, 10:37 AM
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My very first Paris address was in the 20th arrondissement on rue Jouye-Rouve. I paid 160 francs a month for an appallingly primitive but magnificently clean room in a residential hotel. Not only was the toilet in the hall but also the wash basin.

I will never forget the old fat cleaning woman who would sit on the edge of my bed and talk to me. Her eyes would sparkle with anything that I could tell her of the amazing United States.

Then I would go down to the superette and shoplift, because I could not afford to buy much more than a baguette.

Oh what an incredible moment of my life that was.
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May 3rd, 2009, 10:44 AM
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^Much like the fat cleaning lady, I too get sparkley (and glazed) eyes when ppl speak of their stories from their Parisian past. Do you blog them or ever write them down online for public view? Or do they just come up in travel forums?

~Jay
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May 3rd, 2009, 11:04 AM
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How interesting. Absolutely loved your window and door photos. We are always looking out for photo ops with unusual windows and doors and have a series of them in a small room of our house.
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May 3rd, 2009, 12:19 PM
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This what my husband and I describe as the 'just another church' syndrome of Paris. There are so many amazing places that don't get written up. You pass a place that is just amazing and look in the guidebooks to see what it is and it just isn't there. Thanks for opening a door to another part of Paris.
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May 3rd, 2009, 12:24 PM
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I loved this. Very beautiful and a bit melancholy, non? As so many beautiful things are...
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