We discovered Discover Walks: Guided tours of Paris quite by accident. Local Parisians take you on a walk around different neighbourhoods in Paris and show you tiny nooks and crannies that you would never find if walking the streets on your own. (Well we wouldn’t.) We have now done three and found them enjoyable and informative. The tour guides are quite a contrast to the guides we encountered in Bath and Bury St Edmunds who were happier to talk about themselves. These guides live in Paris and are keen to share their love and knowledge of the local area with those walking with them. It is a free walk, but you are asked to make a donation at the end – which we were more than happy to do.
Marie was our tour guide for the neighbourhood of Marais which spreads across the third and fourth arrondissements on the right bank of the Seine. One of the interesting things we learnt about was about the street art of the Invader. She showed us where the Space Invader has left his mark – sometimes they are large, colourful and obvious while others are more discrete.
you have to look very closely to find this one
This part of Paris was left undisturbed by Haussmann, the architect who rebuilt Paris in the mid 1800’s under the direction of Napoleon III. Squatters lived in the buildings left empty after the French Revolution and it became more and more dilapidated and run down. In the 1960s the Mayor of Paris embarked on reviving the area and it was rebuilt, keeping the original character of the area intact, so you will find many medieval buildings and parts of the original wall around Paris.
Marie entertained us with stories of people from the past such as Marie Antoinette and the man who wrote secret letters to her and tried to give her a diamond necklace. Today the Marais has many small art galleries and boutique shops. There are many hidden gardens and open green squares that we would never have found without Marie and they are filled with locals enjoying the open air and local community. It is a really fun area.
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