Exploring The Bohemian Side of Paris

Exploring The Bohemian Side of Paris

Location: 2 min read

True enough, Paris is always a good idea. It’s a mandatory destination in every traveler’s bucket list. Paris being the capital and the most populous city of France is MUCH more than just the Eiffel Tower and the Mona Lisa. In this article, Amanda Williams, a former journalist, turned travel blogger and adventure-seeker, explores the bohemian side of Paris.

The Jardin du Luxembourg in Paris, France, is also often referred to as “the gardens of seduction,” or “the lovers’ gardens.” The story goes that if a single girl sits down on a bench here, it will take less than 4 minutes and 30 seconds for a man to come and ask her out on a date. 

Credit: Amanda Williams

Much like Montmartre, some of Paris’ most interesting areas today at one point were separate villages outside the borders of Paris. Saint-Germain-des-Pres, for example, used to be a poor village on the outskirts of the city. Just like in Montmartre, artists and writers and other Bohemian types eventually flocked here, giving the area a young population and a reputation as a party spot.

Credit: Amanda Williams

Not far from Saint-Germain lie some of Paris’ most touristy spots — like Saint-Michel and Notre Dame. Saint-Michel is a maze of overpriced restaurants and souvenir shops, and the Notre Dame Cathedral often has lines that wrap around the building.

Credit: Amanda Williams

Also nearby is the Pont des Arts bridge, which connects the French Institute — where the French language is guarded and “preserved” — and the Louvre. It’s also where you can find thousands of love locks attached to the bridge. Here, lovers write or carve their initials on a padlock, lock it to the bridge, and then toss the key into the Seine, thus sealing their love forever.

Credit: Amanda Williams

Ending up back at Notre Dame, it’s like a shock to the system. The place is almost always thronging with people (especially in the summer months). It’s almost ironic, really. At one point, the church was on the verge of being torn down. It was only the popularity of Victor Hugo’s book (yes, that one) that saved it and turned it into the tourist attraction that it is today.

Credit: Amanda Williams

With a nod to the old tradition of carrying English-language books and promoting the work of new writers who would work in the store in return for their books being sold there, Shakespeare and Company still feel special.

While the typical tourist spots in Paris are unarguably iconic and worth seeing, it’s the glimpses into the other, less-well-known parts of Paris that were my favorite.

Credit: Amanda Williams


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You may have heard that parts of northern Italy are now on complete lockdown due to the novel coronavirus COVID-19, and that the US government is now recommending that people don’t book cruises for a little while. I’m not going to talk about the virus outbreak itself or weigh in on whether I think you should keep traveling or not (because I’m not a medical professional, and it’s also a very personal decision that will have different factors to consider for different people). But I DO want to comment on the inevitable long-lasting effect this is going to have not only on the tourism industry, but the global economy as a whole. Small businesses and restaurants will go out of business. Even big businesses like airlines might not survive, depending on how long this lasts. And the people who work in travel/tourism – from tour guides to housekeeping staff to travel agents to even travel writers like me – are likely already feeling the pinch. I’ve seen this in countries that have gone through political unrest and natural disasters, and studied tourism development and management (I have a masters degree in it!). It takes tourism a long time to bounce back after things like coups and hurricanes. But this virus isn’t just affecting one destination; it’s likely to affect the entire world eventually. So what can we do? For the people who are still going to be traveling, it will be more important than ever to spend money locally by supporting local hotels, restaurants, tour companies, artists, etc. Support as many different people as you can; remember that globally the tourism industry employs roughly 1 in 10 people. If you’re not going to be traveling in the near future, do what you can to support tourism locally. Go to local restaurants (your local Asia Town likely REALLY needs your patronage right now), explore a museum or state/national park you haven’t visited before, or even book a staycation at a hotel in your home city. And if you can’t do any of that? Start thinking about future trips (because eventually this will end), and doing some research online. For many who run websites (me included!), readers like you are crucial to keeping businesses running. ❤️

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Exploring The Bohemian Side of Paris