Monday, September 14, 2015

Istanbul Off the Beaten Path

In early October I plan to spend a week in Istanbul.  Not so remarkable.  What is unusual for me is that I plan to stay on the Asian side, in Kadikoy, and visit several neighborhoods and sites that I've wanted to visit for years.  I plan to explore the lovely village of Kuguncuk, known for its old wooden houses and heritage of diverse cultures.  Ditto, to visit the Beyerbeli Palace, a lovely Ottoman palace chock full of history and in an enviably beautiful position on the shores of the Bosphorus.  I will explore the Moda quarter in Kadikoy, known for its Bosphorus-side tea gardens and ice cream shops. I hear there is an excellent wine bar in Kadikoy with delicious Turkish vintages.  (Yes, there are numerous wonderful wines in Turkey, many made from tongue-twisting grape varietals.) And the Kadikoy market area which I've long loved will be my local.... can't wait.  I will post information on my finds, which are sure to be numerous.

Visit Unique Sites During Les Journées du Patrimone Weekend

The weekend of September 19 and 20 will be the dates of the annual European Days of Patrimony.
This extraordinary weekend (celebrated all over France and in other European Countries) is a time of free museum admissions and even better--- opening of historic sites or public buildings not generally open to the public.  There are hundreds of sites to choose from.  Here are three that might be of special interest:

In the 5th and 6th arrondissements:  The Palais du Luxembourg (home to the French Senate and once a palace of a Medeci) and the Sorbonne.  Beautiful historic buildings...

In the 14th éme the Reservoir de Montsouris, a subterranean warren of tunnels, arches and water courses is open.  And only open on this special weekend.  Just adjacent to the lovely Parc Montsouris, this underground reservoir truly gives you the best 'off the beaten path' bragging rights.  Plus is is beautiful.

Google the Journées du Patrimoine website for a full list of all the special openings and free admissions.  This is a very popular event so do expect some long lines.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Consider the Canal St. Martin

The Canal St. Martin is a waterway built in the late 19th century to make a more direct route for barges around Paris.  Now the traffic to this quarter is emphatically human, as residents and visitors enjoy this once-gritty, now hip neighborhood just a bit beyond the Marais and Place de la Republique.

The Canal has long been a lovely spot to stroll the sunny quais and criss-cross the wrought iron foot bridges.  There are still barges plying its locks, always fun to watch as the canal rises and falls to permit navigation by these large boats. There are sightseeing cruises too... Canauxarama is one company that offers narrated tours up the Canal to the Bassin de L'Ourcq. 

The dining and shopping gets better and better in this quarter.  Check out the perennially popular Chez Prune cafe on the banks of the Canal, or, have a well-curated glass of wine at the tiny Verre Volé  on  rue Lancry.  Excellent craft coffee can be found at the charming 10 Belles coffee café.  An Artzart on Quai Valmy is always a good source for affordable posters and artworks.  For more, talk with us about crafting a great day in Paris around the Canal St. Martin. Nearest metros: Republique or Juares.