- By Kevin
- On Jan 1, 2018
- Travel Tips
To see where to stay,most important places to visit,ratings,and more tourist information,use the Paris nearby travel guides to plan your new year holiday there.
The New Les Halles
Famously called“the belly of Paris,”Les Halles was the city’s primary wholesale fruit,meat,and vegetable market for 8 centuries.The smock-clad vendors,beef carcasses,and baskets of vegetables all belong to the past,as the market was relocated to the suburb of Rungis in the early[‘]70s.In a fit of modernity,all the pretty 19th-century pavilions were torn down and in their place a weird,partly underground shopping mall was constructed around a giant hole in the ground:the Forum des Halles(1–7 rue Pierre-Lescot,1st arrond.).Fortunately,in 2010,the city embarked on a massive renovation program to overhaul the shopping center and the surrounding gardens,which is why the entire area has been temporarily transformed into a construction zone.By the end of 2014,the whole thing will be covered by“the canopy,”an immense,undulating sheet of glass and metal that will gently float over the Forum.It won’t be finished before 2016,but the underground mall remains open and operational during the renovations.For information,visit www.parisleshalles.fr.
Le Marais,Ile St-Louis and Ile de la Cité(3e and 4e)
Home to royalty and aristocracy between the 14th and 17th centuries,the Marais still boasts some remarkable architecture,some of it dating back to the Middle Ages.One of the few neighborhoods that was not knocked down during Baron Haussmann’s urban overhaul,its narrow streets are still lined with magnificent hôtels particuliers(such as mansions)as well as humbler homes from centuries past.The Pompidou Center is probably the biggest and most well-known attraction,but the Marais also harbors a wealth of terrific smaller museums,as well as the delightful Place des Vosges.Remnants of the city’s historic Jewish quarter can be found on rue des Rosiers,which has been invaded by chic clothing shops in recent years.Nowadays,the real Jewish neighborhood is in the 19th arrondissement.
The Bridges of Paris
Despite its name(neuf means“new”),the Pont Neuf(Quai du Louvre to Quai de Conti)is the oldest bridge in Paris.The bridge was an instant hit when it was inaugurated by Henri IV in 1607(its ample sidewalks,combined with the fact that it was the first bridge sans houses,made it a delight for pedestrians),and it still is.For a quiet picnic spot,take the stairs by the statue of Henri IV(in the center of the span)down to the Square du Vert Galant.
The Pont des Arts(Quai François Mitterrand to Quai de Conti)was originally constructed at the beginning of the 19th century.Delicately arching over the river,the iron pedestrian bridge was actually quite fragile,a fact that was confirmed when it was hit by a barge and collapsed in 1979.Fortunately for us,it was reconstructed.This is probably the most romantic bridge in the city—with its splendid view of the Ile de la Citéand its itinerant artists sketching along therailing—and a must at sunset.
A modern way to get from the Left to the Right bank is via the Passerelle Simone de Beauvoir(Quai de Bercy to Quai François Mauriac).A graceful pedestrian passage,the bridge consists of two arching bands of oak and steel,which somehow intertwine and cross the river without the support of a central pillar.The central lens-shaped structure was constructed by the Eiffel factory,which was founded by Gustave.
With its enormous pillars topped by gilded statuary,it’s hard to miss the Pont Alexandre III(Cours de la Reine to Quai d’Orsay).Linking the vast esplanade of the Invalides with the glass-domed Grand Palais,this elegant bridge fits right in with its grand surroundings.The span was named after Czar Alexander III of Russia,and inaugurated at the opening of the Paris Exposition of 1900.
Incredibly,the small and lovely Pont Marie(Quai des Célestins to Quai d’Anjou–Ile St-Louis),composed of three gentle arches,was once loaded down by some 50 houses.The structure could not hold its charge,and during a flood in 1658,the Seine washed away two of its arches and 20 houses fell into the water.The tragedy,which claimed 60 lives,got city officials to thinking,and finally,in 1769,homesteading on bridges was outlawed.