Our alternative journey to discover Paris with Elisa continues. Here you can find the first part of the interview we did after her last trip to France, while today you’ll read about a special tour, off the beaten tourist track and in the heart of the city.
What is the most underrated and the most overrated thing about Paris?
The most overrated things in Paris are the Champs Elysèes and the Arc de Triomphe that are not so authentic. The same concerning Montmartre and the Eiffel Tower. You can visit these sites on your first trip to Paris but not worth seeing a second time.
The most underrated things in Paris are the Rive Gauche, the truest area of the city, the least artificial; the Latin district, that represents the city’s oldest area. Here you can find the Sorbonne, the Panthéon, Saint Sulpice (the largest church in Paris), Montparnasse, an historic and charming district. The Rive Gauche, the “most literary” area, where you can find the largest number of independent bookshops, stationers, writing materials in general.
Elisa’s special tour!
Let’s starts from Pont Neuf which connects the Rive Gauche to ‘Île de la Cité, Paris’ heart. Pont Neuf is the oldest bridge in Paris, it was never destroyed or rebuilt and it has remained intact.
From here, you can reach Place Dauphine which is located in the middle of Paris. Then, walk along Rue Guenegaud, Rue Mazarine, Rue de Seine, historic streets very popular, where there are family-run artisan shops. Here you can buy something special at antique dealers, bookshops, fabric and furniture shops.
These streets lead to the Boulevard Saint-Germain where, in the square is located the church of the same name. This is the oldest church in Paris, it was once an ancient abbey dating back to the 1100s.
Then take Rue Bonaparte until you reach Place Saint-Sulpice where you can admire the neoclassical church, the largest in Paris. Continue to Place de l’Odéon where stands one of the most important theaters of the city and then arrive at Luxembourg Gardens.
After playing with the boats in the lake and taking a break on the reclining green chairs, walk along Boulevard Saint Michel. Let’s take Rue de Sufflot and see the Panthéon appears! Here are buried important people. Pantheon can be visited again, including the dome and the internal colonnades.
Back on the Boulevard Saint-Michel, or Boul’Mich as the Parisians call it, continue south to Place de la Sorbonne, full of cafes and nice clubs. Then, walk along Rue des Écoles, the area of the most prestigious universities and high schools in Paris. Pass in front of the Sorbonne with the statue of Montaigne where students rub their shoes before exams!
Walk again along Boulevard Saint-Micheluntil you reach the square where there is a fountain, look over Pont San Michel: turning right you find Notre-Dame!
At this point visit the church and then rest, after having covered the whole city by foot!