There are many ways to see Paris.
Museum-hopping, church-skipping, cafe-dawdling, wine-sampling, garden strolling…
Paris is a big place. Easy to get lost. Not that that’s a bad thing.For a more direct route though, one could follow the Paris Meridian.
It’s a meridian line that cuts Paris in half along the north-south axis, bisecting the Paris Observatory. It was used by French cartographers for more than 200 years. Nowadays, the Greenwich Meridian in the UK is used as the line designating 0 degrees longitude on all world maps and globes.
Unfortunately, the Paris Observatory was closed, so we couldn’t visit the Meridian Room, with the line traced on the floor inside. But a statue of the French mathematician, Urbain Le Verrier, who spent most of his career here, stands vigil. His calculations of discrepancies in Uranus’ orbit lead to the accurately predicted discovery of Neptune.For the steely eyed travellers (of which Andrew is, but not Lakshi who got over this really quickly!) there are 135 bronze medallions set into the ground all over the city along the Paris Meridian in honour of 19th century astronomer, François Arago, who solidified this as a global meridian. They are hard to locate and difficult to spot when you get there. They can be found in the road, footpaths, even inside and outside the Louvre!
Arago medallions along the Paris Meridian
Straying off the straight and narrow, we resorted to museum-hopping.
But a modern open-air museum this time in a trendy part of town. Something different?Next it was church hopping into Saint Sulpice Church.
If it looks familiar, then it is. The author Dan Brown used this sunlight line defining the exact time of Easter on the Gnomon of Saint Sulpice as his “Rose Line” in his book, and subsequent movie, The Da Vinci Code. And according to his story, this brass strip also marks the Paris Meridian (actually close by outside, so not quite).
Saint Sulpice Church
Atop the highest point in the city is Sacré Cœur (Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris). This Roman Catholic church has the best view, back and forth!
Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris
It’s always a popular, crowded spot to watch the world whizz by.Cafe-dawdling now. And pretty spoilt for choice to be honest.Or wine-sampling?
It wouldn’t be a French business lunch without a glass of Bordeaux’s finest, onion soup, crusty baguette and a snail or six!
And finally garden-strolling. Jardin du Luxembourg (Luxembourg Garden) to be exact.
With it’s own Statue of Liberty and incredible fountains, just for show.But don’t leave Paris without doing one last thing. It would be pretty hard to not notice the lovely patisseries dotted about, with a tasty selection of desserts to meet anyone’s fancy. Ladurée is the famous luxury bakery of the infamous French sweet delights.
But the cream of the crop is the famous macaron. And the cream of that crop can be found at Pierre Hermé.And that takes a bite out of another Bucket List item!
Sample the delights of French Patisseries
What a fantastic city! We were lucky enough to be able to stay in the heart of the city for 10 days to discover as much as we could.
But there’s plenty on offer to seduce you back.Visited 5th to 15th October 2014.