This is the story of Paris, but different than most of us know. There will be no descriptions of romantic dinners with a view of the Eiffel Tower, or marveling at Champs-Elysées. There will be no pictures in front of Arc de Triomphe. We won’t look inside The Louvre and won’t stop by the Notre Dame, to look for the famous hunchback. On the contrary, we will focus on the other, equally interesting places.

Everyone knows Paris, even if he had never been to that city before. We’ve seen the amazing and romantic scenery of Paris in so many movies, that it may seem we will feel quite casual when we finally arrive. At the same time, tourists feel a big excitement before the trip to this unique place. That thing even holds a special name – it’s “Paris Syndrome”. Some scientists claim that it’s a painful surprise when you realize it’s not as beautiful as on the screen and it affects mostly Japanese tourists, who are strongly disappointed with the reality. But the first opinion is more favorable - that the syndrome is simply a fascination, a joyful excitement resulting from arrival, which can even manifest itself with accelerated heart rate.

So let's go. Strolling down the Lepic Street, we can stop by for a cup of coffee at Café des Deux Moulins. Every fan of the movie "Amelia" knows this place very well. Our attention will be also focused on peculiar red door, because this street is full of them. There's quite a reason why they are painted to this particular color (quick-witted will quickly associate the redness with the movie "Moulin Rouge") –there are brothels behind such doors.

Talking about Moulin Rouge, we cannot skip Montmartre district with lots of narrow streets. In Krakow, its equivalent would probably be Kazimierz – both districts have the same, special ambience. It used to be a favorite place of bohemians, but today the region is flooded by tourists and it lost a little bit of its original atmosphere. The most famous tourist attractions are the flea markets and the booksellers market. At the Place Marcel Aymé you can take a look at the unfortunate hero created by a French writer. That character had the ability to walk through the walls, but one unlucky day he stuck in one and has been stuck in it till this day.

At the Place du Tertre you can order a portrait painted by one of the local artists. Of course, you will have to pay for it – there you cannot even take a picture of the works, because the artists won’t let you. It is also worth to visit the museum of one of the most eccentric artists, Salvador Dali - l'Espace Dali. And if anyone is planning a trip in early October, he will have a chance to participate in the wine harvest festival of Montmartre. He will have the opportunity to celebrate with others the end of harvest season and the opening of the wine season with a glass of wine. Then there are concerts and a huge party.

After leaving Montmartre, you can visit the 19th arrondissement. You can get there by a subway (station Buttes Chaumont or Botzaris), and there you will find the favorite Parisians park, the Park des Buttes Chaumont. It's a perfect place for a picnic with a blanket and a basket full of food – no one will chase you away from here. It’s important to know when you can go there: during the season (1.V-20.IX) it’s opened from 7 AM to 10 PM, while in the winter from 7 AM to 9 PM. It’s surrounded by numerous cafes, and inside there are plenty of fancy twisted old trees, streams, cascades, there are even artificial rocks and a suspension bridge. If you love esoteric, you will find something fun – on a 30-meter high spot created by humans, there is the Temple of Sibyl. The antique-styled temple was founded in the nineteenth century, and according to the legend it’s standing in the middle of pentagram. What more is needed to attract daredevils?

If you want to relax in one of the city parks, for example, in the Bois de Boulogne, or the Field of Mars, you may encounter a problem with finding a free bench. You won’t actually find one in local parks, because there aren’t any. There are chairs, which you can place anywhere you want. Very clever and convenient, isn’t it? However, if there’s anyone who prefers to relax by the river Seine, will probably happy to hear that annually a new tropical beach is created there. For more than ten years, before the season starts, up to few thousand tons of sand are imported, just to for fun of t he tourists.

While strolling through the Latin Quarter it’s worth to look for La Rue du Chat-qui-Pêche ("The street of the fishing cat"). Just for a stroll - after all, it’s one of the narrowest streets in Paris. And those, who want to see the smallest Parisian house, should go to the 10th arrondissement, to 39 Rue du Château-d'Eau. There a small, two-storey house with a width of just 1.20 meters is located. However, if you look in the guides for “the smallest house in Paris” it will tell you that is situated by Quai Voltaire 13, but its facade measures 1.40 meters, so the first place belongs to the house of 10th arrondissement, even though it is less pretty.

The journey across the capital of France, called by many the heart of the world, is a life adventure - even if it is not so wonderful, sweet and romantic like in the movies. And apart from the fact that it is better to know French language, as the residents of the country on the Seine don’t want to use any other language than their own, it’s worth to come here. Just to drink great wine, try the famous cheese and listen to the sad sounds of French music. And then, when leaving, you will catch yourself singing quietly "Aux Champs Elysees" by Joe Dassin.

Translation: Karolina Strzałkowska


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