Pont Alexandre III Bridge
Many consider the 19th century Pont Alexandre III Bridge to be the most beautiful in all of Paris—we heartily agree! Aligned with The Esplanade des Invalides, the Pont Alexandre connects the Grand and Petit Palais on the Right Bank with The Hotel des Invalides on the Left Bank (8th and 7th Arrondissements respectively).
The bridge is lavishly decorated with lamp posts and sculptures of nymphs and cherubs (think winged babies). On each end of Pont Alexandre are large gilded statues on 56’ high granite pillars. Each of the ornaments on the bridge was created by a different artist. Although the construction of the bridge only started in May 1897, the first stone was laid by Russian Tsar Nicholas II in October 1896—symbolizing Russian-French friendship (it’s named after his father, Tsar Alexandre III).
Created in 1900 for the Universal Exhibition, the Petit Palais seamlessly blends modern and traditional French architecture. Composed of four wings around a semi-circular garden bordered by a decorative peristyle or row of columns, the building opens onto the Champs-Elysees gardens and inner courtyard. Albert Bernard painted four decorative murals between 1903-1910 in the Symbolist style, and Cormon and Roll painted 15 meter long galleries telling stories from Paris’ rich history, from the Battle of Lutetia to the French Revolution. The building additionally includes paintings by Ferdinand Humbert, Paul Baudoüin, Maurice Denis, wrought ironwork by Charles Girault, mosaics from Facchina, and stained glass created in the Champignuelle’s workshop.
Petit Palais holds hundreds of paintings, sculptures, and other forms of art acquired by the City of Paris since 1870, considered the major pole of its collection. The second pole consists of pre-modern art bestowed by the brothers Auguste and Eugène Dutuit who both shared a passion for European history and the culture of other civilizations. The collection includes ancient Greek and Roman works, Flemish and Dutch paintings from the 17th century, manuscripts and books from the 15th-17th centuries, and art objects from the Middles Ages and Renaissance. Since then, countless priceless items have been added to the museum’s collection.
View from the Place de la Concorde Bridge
Completed in 1791 during the days of the French Revolution, the Place de la Concorde Bridge offers a great sunset view of both the Notre Dame Cathedral and the Eiffel Tower.
Peering into the unique windows of the Citröen Showroom, it isn’t hard to spot the twisting and curving 63 meter (207 feet) slide that winds from the eighth floor to the first of the car showroom. For only 2 Euros, you can hop on this slide, reaching the bottom in only 15 seconds!
Le Bon Georges
Benoît Duval-Arnould worked for the French branch of the Campbell’s Soup company before deciding to follow his dreams in 2013 by opening Le Bon Georges, a post-card-pretty, traditional-style bistro in the 9th arrondissement. “I wanted to take traditional bistro cooking to a new level by using the best produce available,” explained Mr. Duval-Arnould. “My beef comes from Blonde d’Aquitaine cattle raised in Lorraine. The grain of this meat is very fine and it has a delicious mineral-rich taste. In season, most of my vegetables come from a farm just outside of Paris. .” The menu at the very popular Le Bon Georges changes almost daily but runs to homey, carefully cooked dishes such as rabbit stewed with prunes, roasted rack of lamb and butter-braised yellow pollock with roasted baby leeks. The côte du boeuf Polmard, or rib-steak for two, has to be reserved in advanced.
Canal Saint-Martin Walk – Between 10th and 19th Arrondissements
The 10th arrondissement spreads onwards from two train stations: Gare du Nord and Gare de l’Est. The tranquil (and chic) 4.5 km. (2.8 mile) St. Martin Canal (inaugurated in 1825) is a wonderful place for a nice stroll/cycle, taking you past nine locks, metal bridges, and various colorful neighborhoods. Being not as crowded with tourists as other areas of Paris, the southern stretch is an ideal spot for café lounging summer picnics and late night drinks. The 10th arrondissement is known as one of the city’s true melting points; North African markets of Barbés, the Pakistani quarter of Gare du Nord, and areas of Turks and Kurds among others.