04 novembre 2005
Les Arrondissements de Paris
Yesterday we began uncurling le escargot of the Paris arrondissements, covering le 1èr à le 5ème. Today's meanderings will take us from the 6ème à le 10ème. On-y-va! 6ème Saint-Germain-des-Prés. Once the hangout for bohemians and intellectuals, this neighborhood has undergone gentrification and is now very bcbg - bon chic bon genre - that’s “yuppy” to you, Yank. Existentialist writer and communist Jean-Paul Sartre and his lover Simone de Beauvoir used to “hold court” at Café de Flore here. Upscale boutiques, art galleries, and restaurants now can be found throughout this district. Nordstrom operates one of their european Façonnable boutiques on Boulevard Saint-Germain-des-Prés. There are many shoe stores, antique stores and antique booksellers in the district. The 6ème is also home to Palais Luxembourg, home to the French Senat and the Jardin du Luxembourg, one of the most beautiful and popular parks in Paris. L'église-Saint-Sulpice has been a fixture in the 6ème for a thousand years. 7ème The 7ème is home to la tour Eiffel and le Musée d'Orsay. Le Musée d'Orsay was built as a train station, converted to a museum and now specialises in the art of les impressionistes Many international residents can be found in this very wealthy neighborhood, not surprising in that many embassies are found here as is the home of the gouvernement Français* along le quai d'Orsay. * Pictured: Ministry of Foreign Affairs (the counterpart to the U.S. Department of State). 8ème This upscale neighborhood is in fact quite diverse. The area around Avenue-des-Champs-Elysées, one of the most famous streets in the world, has lots of shopping and lots of tourists, while in the area to the east, between Avenue-des-Champs-Elysées and Place de la Madeleine you will find a mixture of Haussmann-era buildings intermingled with businesses. 9ème The 9ème is a diverse residential area popular among an artistic crowd, that fact being something of a spill-over from the neighboring 18ème, which has for years attracted artists. Ths southern portion is similar to the 2ème arrondissement, with a mix of residential and business buildings. The stunningly beautiful Opera Garnier is located here. Farther north is Place Pigalle, the fading Red Light district, as well as the famous Moulin Rouge, The Red Mill, which opened in 1896. Moving away from Place Pigalle and back toward l'opera Garnier is boulevard Haussmann, named after Napoléon III's Préfet de Paris whose genius as a civil engineer gave Paris so much of her beauty and charm. On boulevard Haussmann are les grands magasins, department stores such as Galeries Lafayette and Printemps. 10ème Two great train stations in Paris are in the 10ème , le Gare de l'Est and le Gare du Nord. As you would expect from it's name, Gare de l'est serves eastern France and connects with Germany. From Gare du Nord, one may travel from Paris to Lille and other cities in northern France as well as visit Belgium, Holland and Scandinavia. This varied neighborhood also contains a bohemian element. À demain we will visit le 11ème à le 15ème.