When this former Parisian, now a tourist, visits the French capital, there is little pressure to hit landmarks, museums, or famous parks. It is all about taking a family stroll downtown, and getting reacquainted with my parents and my brother’s family while savoring favorite locations. Paris, always a willing partner and a generous host, provides the perfect backdrop for our adventures. This summer, we had a great day in the 14th arrondissement. A family stroll in Paris is more fun outside crowded touristy areas. I like “le 14ème”  because it seems to have different personalities and does not show off. The architecture is not as uniform as in other areas. From the local eyesore (la Tour Montparnasse,) to the famous brasseries that helped establish Parisian café culture, the crêperies of the former Breton colony, to a handful of touristy sites (les Catacombes,) a famous cemetery, and cheaper-than-average hotels (mostly international chains,) the 14th arrondissement offers a lot of variety to a lot of different people. I like the neighborhood mostly for its authentic Parisian flavor, regular streets, lined with regular buildings, regular cafés, regular parks and regular shops. Yet, the 14th arrondissement is still Paris; it can be charming and surprise at every corner.

Family stroll in Paris

family stroll in Paris

On an overcast July day, when Paris often seems to hesitate between spring and summer, my family and I strolled along peaceful streets in the western section of the 14th arrondissement. That time of year, the weather can change within minutes, and a few raindrops are not entirely out of the question. It is best to dress in layers, and to carry a small umbrella, sunglasses tucked away in the pocket of a denim jacket, just in case. Fortunately, these habits are easy to remember for a former Parisian turned Seattleite. Besides, the weather is mild and makes walking for hours an enjoyable experience.

family stroll in Paris

Don’t like the weather? (rue des Thermopyles)

family stroll in Paris

… wait five minutes! (rue des Thermopyles)

 

To rest tired feet, there are small parks (“squares” en français) and benches along the way.

Family stroll in Paris

Jardin Alberto Giacometti

Family stroll in Paris

 

There are opportunities to peek into Parisian lives.

Family stroll in Paris

La vie #enterrasse

family stroll in Paris

 

There are fun discoveries in the heart of the big city.

family stroll in Paris

The family that exercises together, stays together. (Square Olivier Noyer-Léonidas)

family stroll in Paris

“This is, after all, an urban space reserved for seniors!” “Mamie” exclaims.

family stroll in Paris

Picture snapping counts as exercise too, n’est-ce-pas?

 

When we get hungry, there are many unassuming cafés and restaurants to choose from. Sans chi-chi. Low-key. Une terrasse. Une table. Cramped space. Simple fare. Good company… and people watching!

family stroll in Paris

Essential food groups: Croque-Madame, frites, salade verte

family strolls in Paris

Steak-frites, sauce Béarnaise

family stroll in Paris

A happy “Mamie” and two of her grandsons

family strolls in Paris

A Parisian, in his natural habitat.

 

A little later, we pay tribute to favorite French icons au Cimetière de Montparnasse (Montparnasse cemetery.) There are so many celebrities resting there, it is difficult to choose. This time, we call on actor Philippe Noiret and Serge Gainsbourg.

family strolls in Paris

Bonjour, Monsieur Noiret.

family strolls in Paris

Salut l’Artiste! A tribute to “the Man with a Cabbage Head,” (and his love of cigarettes.)

family strolls in Paris

Feeling at home – and at peace – in French cemeteries.

 

Finally, after several hours of walking, talking, laughing, and exploring, it is time to head home, but first, l’Apéro: And what better place than a Parisian terrasse to wrap up our family stroll in Paris?

aperitif

family stroll in Paris

Avec a friendly Parisian waiter, bien sûr!

family stroll in Paris

“Tata Véro” and her nephew

 

A bientôt.

 

All photos by French Girl in Seattle

Please do not use without permission

A 1990 tribute to an ailing Serge Gainsbourg (1928-1991,) and one of his iconic songs, la Javanaise,  with Jane Birkin (in the audience,) Michel Sardou, Patrick Bruel, Laurent Voulzy, Vanessa Paradis.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lyKMHEnRmVg

My favorite Philippe Noiret movie: Le Vieux Fusil (the Old Gun,) Philippe Noiret (1930-2006,) Romy Schneider.

Véronique - France with Véro
Véronique of France with Véro

Véronique of France with Véro

Vero shares her homeland weekly on social media with virtual tours, photo essays, live events and other publications at France with Vero. Learn more.

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11 Comments

  1. Leslie on October 8, 2016 at 8:55 am

    Your post was a wonderful way to start my day! Thank you so much!

    • French Girl in Seattle on October 14, 2016 at 6:43 am

      Merci de votre visite Leslie. So happy you enjoyed my family stroll!

  2. Stephanie on October 8, 2016 at 10:52 am

    Loved this article and I, too, love the 14th. And I loved Philippe Noiret. One of his last roles was performing “Love Letters” in Paris with Anouk Aimee. I was so lucky to have seen them there.

    • French Girl in Seattle on October 14, 2016 at 6:47 am

      You were lucky indeed. I would have loved meeting Monsieur Noiret. A talented actor, and a very classy gentleman.

  3. peterparis on October 9, 2016 at 1:51 am

    A nice proof of what may seem as a simple walk in a not touristic area can offer as pleasures! … if you know how to appreciate them!

    • French Girl in Seattle on October 14, 2016 at 6:48 am

      Merci de ta visite, Peter. In Paris one never knows what one may find at a street corner. Maybe that’s why it is such a beloved and special city?

  4. Carol Ann Peeler on October 15, 2016 at 10:42 am

    I love experiencing areas of Paris which are fairly new to me through your pictures and comments. Thank you so much for your wonderful posts! I hope I can go back to Paris soon. I will never tire of going there!

    • French Girl in Seattle on October 16, 2016 at 6:46 pm

      Merci Carol Ann. I am glad you enjoyed discovering a new area in Paris. I enjoyed feeling appreciated 🙂 A bientôt.

  5. Jessica on October 24, 2016 at 11:58 am

    I love this post so much! I lived in the 13th arrondisement, and I used to stroll through the 14th all the time. This brought back so many wonderful memories and feelings. While I definitely ventured to the touristy areas, my friends and I always ate and socialized in the 13th and 14th. It really IS the truest flavor of Paris! 🙂

    • Sara Hopkins on May 19, 2017 at 8:06 am

      The 14th is a treat! There’s musée Bourdelle also and a great oyster cabane right near Tour Montparnasse. Which isn’t so bad when you’re too close to really see it…
      Thanks for a lovely blog!

  6. judith carlson on May 19, 2017 at 1:20 pm

    Merci…I see the Frenchman’s love for Gainsbourg and Birkin…and your son junior has grown into a handsome young man…You intrigue with tales of the 14th…sounds like exactly what I am looking for on my trip…

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