The café is empty. I arrive early enough to secure the best seat on the patio; gloating, I settle in to begin my new day in Paris. My coffee slowly cools, and the almond-soaked croissant remains half eaten as I watch Paris wake up. The clatter of bicycles on the cobblestone streets; a group of giggling schoolgirls crossing the boulevard, dark brown braids bouncing, their fresh faces turning upwards toward the sun as it filters down into the ancient streets; a street vendor beginning to prepare a crepe for an early morning customer. I watch this all, drinking in the sights and sounds of Paris.
This is one of my favorite memories of Paris, from a trip I took years ago to visit my sister, whose husband was working in the city at the time. It was at this moment that I fell in love with Paris.
During my visit I discovered that Paris is a city made for people watching. Its parks and cafés are perfect for the leisurely enjoyment of watching life unfold. So I was delighted when, a few days ago, I came across Beth Arnold’s website “Beth Arnold Letter From Paris” and watched her video in which she describes her favorite areas and the best places to people watch in her neighborhood, Paris’s 1st and 2nd arrondissement. I thought that I would share this wonderful video with you so that you too can find that one special place and begin your own love affair with Paris.
A few of the many of the places Beth takes us to are:
Place des Victoires – one of the oldest most beautiful plazas in the city.
Cour Carree – The buildings round the Cour Carrée square in Paris belong to the Old Louvre (Vieux Louvre). In the heart of this complex you can see the Louvre Pyramid situated above the visitor’s center.
Café Marly – located at 93 Rue de Rivoli, a great place to stop for tea or lunch.
Pont des Arts – a pedestrian bridge over the Seine River, linking the central square (Cour Carree) of the Louvre with the Institut de France.
Bateaux Les Vedettes du Pont-Neuf – great boat tour along the Seine.
Place Dauphine – small and very pretty residential park tucked away on the western tip of the Ile de la Cite, a lovely escape from the bustle and traffic of Paris.
Place des Petits Pères – started life as the courtyard of the monastery of the Petits Pères until the late 18th century. A favorite haunt of movie directors who often film in this area. This is where you can also find Chez George, a restaurant loved by both Parisians and tourists. Reservations are a must! +33 1 43 26 79 15
Galerie Vivianne – “fashion, culture pampering, and food” all under one magnificent roof. One of the world’s first shopping malls.
Palais Royal – a favorite spot of many Parisians, the gardens are particularly beautiful in the spring.