5 great things about life in PARIS
Paris is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful cities in the world and has many famous ‘blockbuster’ sites: the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre, Notre Dame Cathedral, Disneyland Paris, to name but a few. However, there is also a host of hidden treasures that make the City of Light such a special place, all waiting to be discovered by anyone lucky enough to be spending time there…
Paris-Plages – picnicking on the beach
During the summer months, as if by magic, beaches are created on the banks of the River Seine and La Villette Canal system. It is even possible to hire deck chairs and beach umbrellas, and when the sun shines, Parisians flock here for picnics. Other popular picnicking destinations include the trendy Canal Saint-Martin in the 10th Arrondissement and the hilly Parc des Buttes-Chaumont (formerly a quarry) in the 19th.
Image: Paris-Plages alongside the River Seine
Museums featuring the artist's studio
Some of the smaller, less well-known museums in Paris offer a unique insight into the lives of famous artists. Here you can visit the studios and gardens where the artists themselves lived and worked, as well as seeing their work on display. Examples of these ‘ateliers’ include those of the sculptors Auguste Rodin, Emile-Antoine Bourdelle and Ossip Zadkine, and the painters, Gustave Moreau and Eugène Delacroix.
Velib - exploring Paris by bike
Paris was one of the first cities in the world to set up a bike-hire scheme (known as ‘Velib’), and what better way to explore the hidden churches, museums, back streets, squares and cafés of this beautiful city than by the use of pedal-power. There are now over 20,000 bikes located over a network of 1,800 stations, where they can be picked up and dropped off.
Image: discovering Paris by bike
Weekly neighbourhood markets
Every week, the countryside comes to the city in the form of street markets to be found in many local districts throughout Paris. Here, Parisians peruse the street-side stalls, groaning with fresh produce and flowers, before selecting their purchases. For those seeking out antiques and vintage pieces, the weekend flea markets (Les Puces) are the places to go, the most famous being Les Puces de Saint-Ouen and Les Puces de Vanves.
Image: a neighbourhood market in Paris
Churches as concert venues
Many of the city's churches, both large and small, double up as music venues, and in this way, provide an opportunity to soak up the atmosphere of these historic buildings while listening to beautiful music at the same time. Churches where regular concerts take place include Saint-Eustache, Sainte Marie Madeleine, Saint-Ephrem, and Sainte Chapelle.
Image: the spectacular stained glass windows of La Sainte Chapelle
You can search for Winter's schools in Paris by going to this link
All images courtesy of iStock, other than Musée Bourdelle (courtesy of J. Barber)