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Bonne Année! Happy New Year! Well 2016 was a doozy but here we are one week down in 2017 so let’s get right into it.
One thing of Paris that I think doesn’t get enough attention are covered passages of Paris. Now found only on the Right Bank, these Belle Epoque era walkways offer a glimpse of the past and provide some very unique shopping experiences.
The covered passages, many with glass ceilings, were originally created as a way for Parisians to avoid bad weather (still true today) and the smell and grime of the streets (also somewhat true today). Just as in the past, the covered passages also provide a short cut between streets and some really fun window shopping. Only about 15 of the original 60 passages are left and each passage has its own character and are really fun to explore especially on rainy days.
When my friend and I set out to explore them, I printed out the super easy map from Smarter Paris. Smarter Paris does have an app but because the phone I was using was really old and didn’t have a SIM card (my new phone had had an unfortunate encounter with a bowl of water and was drying out), I printed out the map and followed it effortlessly. Passage des Princes was the only one we couldn’t find but I think that was due to the construction covering up some street names.
It takes about 3-4 hours depending on how often you stop to look and shop so definitely plan for half a day.
In the next several posts, I will be sharing photos of the covered passages we explored.
You probably have been wondering where The Paris Itinerary has been. It’s been crickets for awhile.
Well…The Paris Itinerary is expanding which is so exciting but with growth comes growing pains!
Part of this expansion includes some additional resources to help you better plan your trip to Paris! This includes some itinerary planning and webinars. Don’t worry, the blog will still be around but just not a dedicated weekly post.
As a big merci beaucoup (thank you) for being a loyal and valuable reader, all launches will be announced to my email subscribers first! If you happened to have just found The Paris Itinerary be sure to sign up as a subscriber and get the free video on what to pack and how to pack for Paris in the fall and winter all in a carry on bag!
While The Paris Itinerary expands to better serve you, be sure to check out The Paris Itinerary Facebook page. There I share blog posts as well as great curated information from other sources. Don’t forget on Facebook, you have to like or comment on the posts to still see The Paris Itinerary on your Facebook feed even if you have liked the page. You can also set up a notification so you know when something new has posted.
Starting soon, The Paris Itinerary will be more regular on Pinterest. You can also find The Paris Itinerary on Instagram and Twitter so whichever social media channel you prefer, I will be there!
Now, I have a question for you. What do you want to see or learn more about that will help you check Paris off your bucket list?
Located in the popular Saint Germain-des-Pres area of Paris (6th arrondissement), the Abbey of Saint Germain-des-Pres is one of the oldest churches in Paris with parts of the church dating back to Roman times.
© 2016 The Paris Itinerary
The Abbey is a mix of different architectural styles due to its long history of renovations but has the familiar cavernous sanctuary and soaring arches as well as beautiful wall frescoes and some amazing trompe l’oeil. You will notice the the “mason work” is really painted outlines to look like stone.
Painted frescoes – ©2016 The Paris Itinerary
Trompe l’oeil on the walls of the Abbey of Saint Germain-des-Pres – ©2016 The Paris Itinerary
Why you should visit:
- Being one of (if not the) oldest church in Paris, you can view the many histories of Paris in its architecture.
- Rarely busy (as in I have never had to wait in line to enter), this is an easy pop in and see site of Paris. It is also located directly across the street from Les Deux Magots (and a few more steps from Cafe de Flore) so after you have sipped your cafe au lait and finished your croissant, stroll over and see this magnificent church.
- You may be treated to organ practice. On my last visit, I enjoyed some lovely organ music as I explored.
- FREE. Abbey of Saint-Germain-de-Pres is still an active church so entrance is free although donations are accepted.
- Free guided tours are every Tuesday and Thursday at 3pm according to their website. However, Google showed Tuesday’s tour being at 11am…well it is France and everything is subject to change.
- If you miss the guided tour and really want a guide, there is an audio guide available on Google Play and Apple Store. There is a fee for the app download.
- You don’t need a guide (in person or audio) to enjoy this lovely church.
The Abbey of Saint Germain-des-Pres ©2016 The Paris Itinerary
How to get there:
- Address: 3 Place Saint-Germain des Pres 75006 (6th arrondissement)
- Metro stop: Saint Germain des Pres
- Directly across the street from Les Deux Magots
I hope you add the Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Pres to your Paris itinerary. Just like Sainte Chapelle is an easy add on visit if seeing Notre Dame, the Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Pres is an easy add-on if visiting the Saint Germain des Pres area and especially if you are stopping at the famous Les Deux Magots or Cafe de Flore cafes.
Have you visited the Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Pres? What did you think?
Just like that one of my computer programs crashed. Hmph!
Since blog posts are best with pictures, I am delaying my post until I get things straightened out…which hopefully, won’t be very long.
Meantime, if you missed my last two posts in this series, here they are…
1.) Don’t get scammed!
2.) Why you should visit Sainte Chapelle Cathedral.
Also, be sure to join me on Facebook Live!
Visiting Sainte Chapelle in Paris
One of the top visited sites in Paris is the Gothic cathedral of Notre Dame but located about 5 minutes away is another must see cathedral: Sainte Chapelle.
Sainte Chapelle facade
Also an example of Gothic architecture, Sainte Chapelle is a building marvel comprised of 15 stain glass windows that are each 15 meters high (a little over 49 feet). Built at the request of King Louis IX, this place of worship was constructed in an astonishing 7 years compared to the nearly 200 years it took to construct Notre Dame.
The stain glass windows of Sainte Chapelle in Paris
The stain glass windows tell the story of the Bible from creation in Genesis to the Passion of Christ. Amazingly, the majority of the glass windows are original! Pretty impressive considering the church is over 750 years old. A little side note, each pane of glass was carefully removed during WWII to protect them.
Ceiling at Sainte Chapelle in Paris
There are two floors although the cathedral is fairly small. The top floor with the stain glass windows was the private worship area for the King and his entourage. The lower level was for the palace staff and others of court not invited to the upper floor. Even the lower level is quite a work of art and very different than the soaring upper floor so don’t skip it. There is also a balcony off of the upper level that is on occasion open for visitors to step out on.
The balcony door
Why you should visit:
- Sainte Chapelle is so close to Notre Dame that visiting is an easy “add-on” to your itinerary while you are on Ile de la Cite.
- The stain glass windows. They are breathtaking – even on a cloudy day.
The rose window at Sainte Chapelle in Paris
- You can buy your ticket on-line and it is valid for one year from the purchase date (be sure to check their website for any updates to this). Tickets can be printed at home or shown on your mobile device. There is a convenience fee for buying on-line but bypassing the line is worth it.
- Part of the Paris Pass. Be sure to check the Paris Pass for any updates on how your pass can be used at Sainte Chapelle.
- Even if you do not have an advance ticket, everyone has to go through security and so don’t let the line deter you from visiting.
- There is an entrance fee (unless using the Paris Pass) because Sainte Chapelle is no longer an “active” church.
The wall decorations in Sainte Chapelle in Paris
How to get there:
- Address: 8 Boulevard du Palais on the Ile de Cite
- Metro stop: Cite
- Directions from Notre Dame: With the front of Notre Dame behind you, walk away from the cathedral and towards the building straight ahead. Then go around the building on the left side. This will be Quai du Marche Neuf and you will be walking along the Seine River. On the corner at Boulevard du Palais, you will see the restaurant Le Soleil D’or (see bonus tip), turn right and Sainte Chapelle will be about half way down the street
Bonus tip: Le Soleil D’Or sells the famous Bertillon ice cream out of a corner window.
I hope you add Sainte Chapelle to your Paris itinerary. If you do visit the cathedral, I’d love to hear what you thought of it.