A luxury walking tour of Paris – Part One
Slow it down a little, and take Paris step by stunning step along its famed avenues and boulevards in this decadent luxury walking tour of Paris.
Place de la Concorde
Begin your stroll at Place de la Concorde and walk out to the Obelisk that was given to Paris by the Egyptians. During the French revolution, this square was renamed Place de la Revolution and it was here where Marie-Antoinette and thousands of other victims lost their heads to the revolution.
Hold your breath and savour the panoramic view that the square offers you – begin facing the Champs Elysées, leading up to Arc de Triomphe and La Défense (the business district) behind.
Then turn left and see the Eiffel Tower, Petit Palais, Pont Alexandre, L’Orangerie (the gallery that houses Monet‘s water lilies), the Tuileries gardens and through to the Louvre (the former royal castle).
Finally there is the Jeu de Paume (exhibition gallery), then the Madeleine church. This is where you will head.
The birthplace of macarons
Navigate the crossings till you get to rue Royale, and walk up toward the church (the one that looks Grecian) sticking to the right hand side of the street. Just after you cross rue Saint Honoré, you will find yourself at Ladurée, the birthplace of macarons.
Duck in for some morning tea in the dark and darling tea salon (first door, usually with a line), or if you are short on time, head to the second door and choose a few macarons to sample on the go.
A visit to the opera
After sampling a mouthful of heaven, continue on your way toward La Madeleine. Pop inside if you would like, but otherwise, continue to travel along the right hand side of the street, and turn right onto Boulevard de la Madeleine.
Continue on for three blocks, keeping to the right-hand side of the street, until the street opens up and you see the majesty of l’Opéra on your left. Take your camera out to the traffic island for a perfect shot, and then cross back to where you came from. Continue straight ahead, past Café de la Paix, along rue Auber, turning left at rue Scribe.
A little retail therapy
Just across the street you will find the Fragonard Perfume museum, which is free to enter, and gives you a taste of Nice without ever leaving Paris. If the history of perfume is not for you, do not fear, for the Fragonard boutique is the perfect place to choose your next signature scent.
If nothing there takes your fancy, then our next stop certainly will. After leaving the museum, continue along rue Scribe toward the back of the Opera building.
At the end of the street you will find the department store Galeries Lafayette. Make your way to the building on the right hand side (you will have to cross rue de Mogador) and head inside.
If you find perfume and accessories inside, you have found the right building. Make your way into the middle of the showroom floor and look up. Isn’t it just amazing? This Church-like stained glass dome was always meant to be a department store, showing you just how religiously Parisians take fashion and retail therapy!
Stay for a little browse through the many floors of Galeries Lafayette if you’d like, or spritz yourself with a little Chanel No.5 and head back out to the street.
Follow me for part deux of this decadent walking tour of Paris…Image credits:
1. Paris, by TristanL via Flickr.
2. Place de la Concorde, by innusa via Flickr.
3. Macaron, by Louis Beche via Flickr.
4. Opera Garnier, by Stuck In Customs via Flickr.
5. Verrière des Galeries Lafayette (Paris), by Philippe_ via Flickr.