Who can be blamed for stopping frequently to gawk slack-jawed at the numerous window displays showing off style, beauty and creativity extraordinaire? The French gawk too and have a fun name for this pleasant past-time: lèche-vitrine, literally ‘licking the windows.’
Scenic Metro Ride
Ride Metro Line 6 (which is largely above ground), from beginning to end for a great glimpse of several residential districts of Paris that takes you through parts of the chic 16th (below ground), 15th, 6th, 13th and ends in the 12th. Don’t forget to look out the window between stations Passy and Bir-Hakeim for one of the most spectacular views of the Eiffel Tower and the Seine. Also make sure to glimpse the Seine activity from Quai de la Gare to Bercy, a rapidly developing and upcoming area of Paris. Start either at Nation or Charles de Gaulle Etoile stations. It’s also fun to peer into the windows of the apartments going by; best to view this at dusk/night when Parisians are home with the lights on so you can have a free French style and design lesson by catching glimpses of how the apartments are decorated inside.
Monthly Events Listing
Bookmark this URL called ‘Bill of the Month’ which lists current events for each month, http://en.parisinfo.com/shows-exhibitions-paris/the-bill-of-the-month/.
Church concert listings are available in weekly city guides that can be purchased at any news stand. Some concerts have an admission fee, but many are free. Music in the stunning churches and cathedrals of Paris have outstanding acoustics, and the free concerts can be as good as the ones you pay for. Favorite churches for concerts are the stunning St-Eustache, The American Church in Paris, Sacré-Coeur, and many people would consider a visit to Paris incomplete without hearing the grand organ at the Notre-Dame.
Enjoy the hundreds of street performers who entertain Parisians and visitors alike. Buskers in Paris are of some of the highest caliber in the world and often hop onto métro cars at random and spontaneously entertain the passengers. A small token of a few centimes or a euro is always appreciated by these hard-working artists.
Pont Des Arts
On any given day or evening, thousands of people gather on the beautiful pedestrian-only bridge Pont des Arts, leading to the Louvre on the right bank, and Saint-Germain-des-Prés on the left bank. Previously famous for being a backdrop for displaying artwork, the bridge is now loaded down with ‘Love Locks’ and has already buckled under the weight of the locks from couples, declaring apparently, too much love. The locks are appearing on other bridges throughout Paris, presenting real concern and problems for the City of Paris. As with many initiatives that start in Paris, the Love Locks phenomenon has been copied by other cities.
The Seine River Banks
Another popular hanging-out area in warm weather is anywhere along the River Seine. Small groups of friends gather, lovers share a bottle of wine as they whisper sweet nothings to each other, and dreams are contemplated.
Think back to the wild gatherings that were hosted by the likes of Gertrude Stein and attended by famous Impressionist painters, philosophers and writers of the day such as Renoir, Monet, Hemingway, Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir. Today, these events are tamer (well, signs of “wild” can still be witnessed) and continue to take place in Paris weekly. You are bound to meet positively fascinating people from all walks of life at these private events. The French go to these exclusive soirees to meet internationals and other French; internationals and expats go to meet French people and other expats. Everyone is interested in the ensuing language/cultural exchange and these events are a great way to expand your social circle in Paris, quickly. Costs vary from free of charge to 25 or 30 euros, and include all-you-can drink wine and food.
Chez Grace: Vernissages (art and photography shows) in Grace’s spectacular Montmartre apartment, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 01.42.62.45.98 to reserve.
Paris Expats Soirees/Dinners: Patricia Laplante-Collins has been hosting dinner soirees for years and this is a great place to make new friends, www.parissoirees.com.
Jim Hayne’s: Famous Iconic American (who happens to be a former porn star) has been hosting sold out, standing room only, Sunday night dinner soirees every Sunday for the past 30 years: www.jim-haynes.com.
Every week free skating trips are organized in Paris. On Friday nights thousands of roller-bladers zip through the streets of Paris with the PariRoller. The throng departs at Montparnasse, starting at 10 PM and ending at 1 AM, with full cooperation from the police and volunteers. Fast and fun to watch, come out and cheer on the skaters, and if you dare, join in! Visit the site for more information, http://pari-roller.com. The Rando-Rollers on Sunday is for families and beginners and skaters and departs from Place de la Bastille at 2:30 PM. Visit here for more information, http://www.rollers-coquillages.org/.
Numerous museums and galleries maintained by the City of Paris have been free to visitors on all opening days for years. This applies to the permanent (but not temporary) exhibitions of interesting museums such as the Musée Carnavalet, the Petit Palais, Maison de Balzac, Maison de Victor Hugo and many others. Visit this site for a list of all museums in Paris including institutions that are offered by free admission on occasion, http://www.francetourism.com/practicalinfo/museums.htm.
Buying Discount Opéra Tickets
Same day, half-price/discounted tickets can be purchased for the Opéra and other theatrical events at Le Kiosque Theatre, beside Madeleine. The kiosque is open from Tuesday to Saturday, from 12:30 to 8 PM and Sunday from 12:30 to 4:30 PM and is located at Place de la Madeleine near Hediard, Metro: Madeleine.