Cool..foggy…Paris in the Fall. Quaint shops, friendly Parisians, excellent cappuccino, and a local guide. All of these things made for a great adventure in Paris – not Paris, Idaho or Paris, Kentucky…but the real Paris in the country of France.
Fanny is a local blogger and now Airbnb experience tour guide – a great French lady with a love of her city and the community spirit that lives within Paris. Our adventure began at the crossroads of Montmartre and Pigalle. Pigalle being the risqué side and Montemartre the local residential side. Located here you will find the famous, or infamous, Moulin Rouge. While you can still see a show there, the best tip of the day was to go in the Machine and ask to go up to the rooftop bar. It opens only in the evening at 6:00 pm – but a great view of the city is to be had in this unique location.
The walking tour took us to unknown shops and specialty stores which abound in the Montemartre area. Croissants and Pan du Chocolat were sampled from a local Boulangerie to determine which team each of us preferred. Van was on the croissant team, relishing the thin layers and chewy insides of the delicately prepared bread, while I was definitely on the Pan du Chocolat team with the same delicate layering filled with just enough chocolate to make it totally sinful and a great accompaniment to that early morning cup of coffee.
We stopped in a little quiet park where there was a tribute to the French artist, Dalida. You can listen to her here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MFOe5sGnQK0 . Now you know a little more about the French people and whom they adore!
Vintage shops were explored, Fanny brought many treats and surprises along the way, and showed us some great landmarks known to the locals. The area is filled with history of what was once a stand alone community separated by farmland from Paris. Although the distance is not great, it was still it’s own comm.unity. Fanny provided cheese from her favorite Fromagerie for us to snack on, gave us vintage postcards that she has gathered in her searches of second hand and vintage stores like the one we went into, and toured us around both Montemartre and Pigalle.
We roamed around the neighborhoods, listening to Fanny’s stories. We crossed from Montmartre into Pigalle, and discovered this lovely Museum – the Musée de la vie romantique. We walked into the coutryard, stopped to smell the roses, took a group picture, and just enjoyed the beauty there. A special flowers exhibit was on display to return to another day.
We stopped at the local Patisserie and purchased some treats for dessert. Most notably Fanny insisted on trying two Parisian favorites, a lemon pie and eclairs the French way. The chocolate eclair was good but the coffee eclair was my favorite.
Lunch was hosted by a local children’s shop owner. We enjoyed cheese and bread, sparkling water, and juice, and best of all dessert…all bought a purchased within minutes of our location. The comraderie was delightful amongst all the group. Fanny was delightful and well worth the tour for all. We saw insider things and visited places we might never have otherwise known. Montmartre was delightful to explore and the reinvented Pigalle was a great example of change that can occur within a small geographic area when the business owners all ban together to make it happen.