A luxury walking tour of Paris – Part Two
Paris can be overwhelming at times, so slow it down and take the city step by stunning step along its famed avenues and boulevards.
In part one of this decadent tour through Paris, I left you in the resplendent department store Galeries Lafayette.
The heart of song and dance in Paris
If you leave the retail therapy for another day, and continue on your tour, you will find yourself back on boulevard Haussmann. Cross the road and head to the back of the Opéra building, taking rue Gluck this time. Following the building to the front, you will find the Opéra gift store for some souvenirs for the classical music or ballet devotees back home.
Keep following the Opéra building around until you reach the front for some up-close pictures of the façade. If you look closely, you will discover that the façade is made up of tributes to some of the most influential figures in art, such as Bach and Mozart, and countless sculptures depicting poetry, dance and song. Can you identify all the sculptures in this picture?
If you have a spare evening or afternoon, be sure to book yourself a night at Opéra Garnier for some ballet, opera or a simple tour. Visiting the interior of the building is by far one of the most impressive things you can do in Paris, if only to marvel at the Marc Chagall painting on the ceiling over the auditorium, which depicts all forms of art that parade upon the stage below.
Parisian luxury and an indulgent goûter
When you’ve filled your memory card with photos, head down rue de la Paix and admire the extravagance of one of Paris’ most luxurious areas. Keep to the right hand side of the street and soon you will come to a large square called Place Vendôme.
If you continue around to the right hand side of the square, you will come across The Ritz – hotel to the stars, where Princess Diana spent her final moments before her tragic demise.
If you are lucky, you may happen across a crew shooting a page for Vogue magazine, or a celebrity on their way back from shopping. When you’ve taken in all the glamour that you can, continue on to rue de Rivoli. Once there, turn left and continue down the road until you arrive at Angelina’s.
This tea salon is known for its indulgent hot chocolate recipe as well as the Mont Blanc, its wonderful signature, creamy, pavlova-type dessert, so be sure to try them both. This was a favourite haunt of Coco Chanel, whose studio was just around the corner at 31 rue Cambon, and where she spent her afternoons sipping rich chocolat chaud among the belle époque décor and gilded mirrors.
Exploring France’s most famous museum
After you’ve consumed enough hot chocolate to sustain you for a year, cross the road and explore the Tuileries gardens, stopping to smell the flowers on your way to the Louvre, up on the left.
Beyond the Louvre’s iconic pyramid, nestled in the heart of the ‘U’ shaped building, you will find a little staircase leading to a corridor. Follow the corridor through to the courtyard beyond, and if you are lucky, take in the melancholy chords of the cellist who frequent this area.
On the right, you will find an archway that leads out of the building and onto quai Francois Mitterand. This is where I will leave you until we continue our tour in part trois…Image credits:
1. La marche parisienne, by Montse PB on Flickr
2. Opéra Garnier facade with sculpture labels, via Wikimedia
3. Angelina patisserie, by Neko tang on Flickr
4. Cellist in the Louvre’s Cour Carré, by Photonquantique on Flickr