Paris Neighborhood Video Tour: Bastille – Part 2 (5:45)
Bercy (boulevard de Bercy 75012)
If you head a little south-east past Gare de Lyon you’ll reach the Bercy Stadium, a large sports complex and concert venue. Covered by steps and diagonal slabs of grass, this is a favorite hang out for many skateboarders. However, if you walk a little further to the east, you’ll come up to a nice park and a few more lesser-known places in Paris. Read the entire story here…»
Every schoolchild is familiar with the story of Cinderella—or Cendrillon, as she is known in France. But you will see an unforgettable retelling of this classic French fairy tale when you spend a night at the ballet at Paris’s Opéra Bastille this December.
The Bastille Opera in Paris
Rudolf Nureyev set this ballet to the music of Sergei Prokofiev back in 1986 for the Paris Ballet to perform, but Nureyev added a completely new twist to the story. This Cinderella is set in a 1930s-era Hollywood. Young Cendrillon dreams of becoming a star of the silver screen, and her hopes are thwarted by an evil stepmother. Of course, she has magical help and intervention through the powers of a movie producer. Cendrillon dances her way through sumptuous film-inspired sets, including the classic films Metropolis and King Kong. Cendrillon of course ends the ballet happily in the arms of her Prince Charming and with a bright future of stardom ahead of her
You will never see another telling of Cinderella quite like this one. It has all the magic, mystery and innocence of the classic tale, plus the glamour and romance of the golden age of film. Read the entire story here…»
Though we may think of carnivals as a uniquely American entertainment, Paris’s annual Foire du Trône carnival (or fun fair, as the English call it) has been in existence since 957 AD! This two-month long festival brings lights, laughter, rides, games and fair food (with a French flair) to Pelouse de Reuilly in Bois de Vincennes in the 12th Arrondissement, and a visit to this carnival will provide you with an unforgettable introduction to the spring season.
You cannot visit any carnival, and particularly not the Foire du Trône, without sampling some of the rides. Though the brightly colored lights, whirling seats and laughter may seem familiar to any American who has been to a county fair, remember that the French always add their own style. Many of the French rides are somewhat more extreme than their American counterparts—lasting 10 minutes rather than two to three, for example, and trying very hard to help you lose your sang-froid in helpless laughter. One of the most famous extreme rides is aptly called L’Extreme. It twirls its riders high in the air, their feet dangling out over nothing, breathless with the terror/joy that is the thrill-seeker’s desire. Read the entire story here…»
The city of Paris is known for many things – its sidewalk cafes, haute cuisine and designer fashions. But amusement parks? Not so much. That is unless you’ve heard of the Foire du Trone, the annual country fair that takes over Paris’ Bois de Vincennes each spring for two entire months – this year from April 4-June 1. With dozens of rides and flashy arcades, the Foire de Trone is a perfect way to get outside, enjoy the spring weather and take part in an age-old French tradition.
Located by the 12th arrondissement of Paris, the Foire du Trone, or Fair of the Throne, is the largest funfair in Europe, attracting roughly 5 million visitors each year. But this event’s roots date back to the year 957, when the French monarchy reigned supreme. Today, the county fair has all of the modern-day rides you’d expect from an amusement park – roller coasters, a Ferris wheel and bumper cars – but some traditional elements remain, like the acrobats and jugglers. Read the entire story here…»
France has a long history of accepting immigrants from all corners of the earth. Today, the country is full of thriving immigrant communities playing a large role in public life, particularly in the urban areas. France’s immigrant history, however, has not always been something to be proud of. Like in the United States, France’s immigrant populations have historically been segregated, treated as second-class citizens and been subject to racism. To its credit, France has been eager to examen its own colonial past, as painful and embarrassing as it may be. Running through the summer at the Porte Dorée Immigrant Museum is an exhibit focusing on the 1931 colonial exhibition in Paris. Paris is a city steeped in history; cultural, political and architectural. New York Habitat has summer apartment rentals in Paris that will put visitors at the doorstep of the city’s history. Read the entire story here…»
Paris is a jazz-lovers city, perhaps more so than any other. Turn on the radio and you’ll be sure to hear a quartet or two, smooth saxophonists play for change in the Metro and the cover price for the city’s jazz clubs says a thing or two about the value of jazz music here. Starting in early June and running until late July, the Paris Jazz Festival is a celebration of France’s love of jazz music. Each weekend Parisians gather in the Parc Floral de Paris for a series of performances by famous jazzmen. A New York Habitat accommodation in the 12th arrondissement is the best place to stay during the festival–as you know–hotel prices are high come summer and rooms are not easy to come by.
The Parc Floral is one of our favorite Paris concert venues. Contained within the enormous Bois de Vincennes, by the edge of the 12th arrondissement, the Parc Floral de Paris is a vast aggregation of manicured plant life set around a tranquil, manmade lake. Best of all, visitors can literally lay amongst the flowers on small grass pathways that maze through the Versailles-worthy gardens and homemade picnics are encouraged. Even during the jazz festival, concert goers are encouraged to bring along food, wine and a blanket to lounge on. Concerts take place only on weekends during the festival and an all day entry price is a mere €5. Crowds are generally family-oriented and low key, don’t expect to see any mosh pits break out. This year’s lineup has yet to be released but past performers have included American guitar great Buddy Guy. While rock music is surely king in France, there are many jazz-inspired young Parisian bands that play at the festival as well. Read the entire story here…»
We’ve waxed poetic about Paris’ Bercy Quarter in the past and anchoring the neighborhood is the François Mitterrand French National Library. More than just a place to read or study, the French National Library has a diverse offering of exhibits. Running until early April are two very different offerings. One of the exhibits, titled Heros: From Achilles to Zidane, is a great place to bring the kids. The other exhibit, entitled Hell at the Library, Eros in Secret, is strictly for adults, even the French intellectuals running the library are denying entry to those under 16 years old. New York Habitat has big apartments in the 12th arrondissement for families in town for the Heros exhibit and smaller accommodations for the couples or solo travelers interested in the Eros presentation.
The Heros exhibit takes a wide lens to modern hero worship. While the exhibit is fun for kids who get to marvel at superman and soccer star Zinnedine Zidane it is equally interesting to adults wanting to understand the reasons behind their own admirations. Located in the 12th arrondissement, the library juxtaposes the myths of Hercules and Joan of Arc with that of Che Guevera and musical stars like Jimi Hendrix and begs the question what makes mortal men heros? And what, if anything, do they all have in common? One theme also worth exploring is the context of hero worship–surely Charles De Gaulle was no hero to the Germans, nor was Che Guevera to the CIA or Zidane to Italian soccer supporters. Read the entire story here…»
Any trip to France is incomplete without a few weeks spent living in the capital like a chic Parisian and at least a few days in a bucolic French-countryside village. Unfortunately for some of us, finances and a short time off from work force us to make a choice. And more often than not it’s the boulevards, designer boutiques and grand restaurants that beat out the Roman ruins, small farms and funny French accents. Thanks to some ingenious urban renewal, Bercy Village plops the French countryside (or at least an imagined version of it) right in the middle of Paris. Many of New York Habitat’s Paris accommodations put you within walking distance of the faux countryside charm.
We’ve already told you about the ascension of the city’s Bercy quarter , but the Bercy Village deserves some attention all to itself. Located in the 12th arrondissement, the village brings to life the spirit of market shopping entirely unique in Paris. On each side of the street are low-rise buildings plucked right out of the 18th century and restaurant tables jut out onto the cobblestoned pedestrian rue from the village’s several cafes. Read the entire story here…»
Far too often, Visitors to Paris hunker down in the Latin Quarter, the Marais, Montmartre or another heavily-trafficked Seine-side neighborhood. While we have nothing against the winding rues and bustling boulevards of Central Paris, there are nooks of the City of Light that deserve more attention. One such corner of the city, tucked away in the 12th arrondissement is Bercy. Close to the rest of Paris but with a decidedly different feel, New York Habitat has dozens of accommodations in and around the oft-overlooked Paris neighborhood.
The heart of the neighborhood and all of its attractions are tucked along the Seine river, in between the Pont de Bercy and Pont National bridges. On the right bank of the river is the National Library of France named appropriately after the president who commissioned its creation, Francois Mitterrand. A jewel of modern French architecture, the library is much more than a place to conduct research or catch up on your French, the structure is a bonafide tourist attraction. The library is composed of four L-shaped, 25-story buildings designed to resemble open books. In between the four towers is a serene sunken garden filled with academics, young students and architecture buffs. Read the entire story here…»
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