Place des Vosges
It is the Crown jewel of a district that is not lacking in attractions! The Place des Vosges is one of the oldest squares in Paris, and also one of the most beautiful. Visitors stroll under the arches or along the paths of the central garden, taking time to admire the beautiful facades of red brick. Shops, open on Sundays contribute to the liveliness of the spot. The square is the ideal departure point for a walk in the Marais, one of the most charming historic neighbourhoods in the capital, with its rich heritage and special atmosphere. The many mansions of the 17th and 18th centuries have been transformed into internationally renowned museums: Musée Picasso Paris, Musée Carnavalet, the house of Victor Hugo museum ... The Rue des Rosiers, the epicentre of the Parisian Jewish community, is well worth discovering for its atmosphere, its shops and its restaurants.
Situated on the site of former wine warehouses, the Parc de Bercy still retains some reminders of its past, such as a vineyard and an old railway line. Located at the heart of the 12th arrondissement, between Gare de Lyon and the Cour Saint-Émilion district, the Parc de Bercy is a lovely place for a walk whatever the season. On one side is the largest concert venue in Paris, Bercy Arena. At the other end is the 'jardin romantique' with its little lake and island, populated with ducks and lilies. And in between, film lovers visit the Cinémathèque française (designed by American architect Franck Gehry). Biodiversity is an important part of the Parc de Bercy, with the Maison du Lac (exhibitions on the gardens, conferences, etc.), the Maison du Jardinage (advice for new gardeners, gardening classes, etc.) the Chai de Bercy (wine store) and the Orangerie. The park is a popular with families for walking, football and rollerblading and is a perfect place for Parisians to unwind.
Place de la Bastille
In the centre of the square, the famous "Génie de la Liberté" (Spirit of Freedom) commemorates the revolution of 1830, but is well known for the 1789 revolution. At the time, the square was occupied by the Bastille Prison, which was a symbol of absolute power in the Ancien Régime. After the prison was destroyed after the revolution, nothing remained. Today, the square plays host to large cultural events such as concerts, fairs and citizen events, and has many bars and restaurants close by on Rue de la Roquette for nightowls to frequent. The square is also the starting point for a stroll on the Faubourg Saint-Antoine, where you can discover courses and picturesque passages: Passage du Chantier, Cour de l'Etoile d'Or, Cour des Trois Frères... the iconic landmark of the district is the Opéra. Designed by architect Carlos Ott, this marvel of modern architecture with transparent facades was inaugurated on the day of the bicentenary of the French Revolution.
Jardins des Plantes
The history of the Jardin des Plantes. Just push the door of the Hôtel de Magny, built at the end of the 16th century, and you will travel back in time. The major stages in the 370-year history of the Jardin Roy, now the Jardin des Plantes, are told here. Smelted in 1631, the bell of the chapel of the royal garden of medicinal plants, the oldest remaining witness of its existence, welcomes the public at the entrance. Further on, the reproduction of an engraving from 1636 gives an idea of the layout of the site at that time, then in the next room, the bust and the portrait of Buffon illustrate the important role played by the famous naturalist with regard to the institution. Then, the construction of the various buildings, galleries, greenhouses and the menagerie are evoked. The final rooms house (under controlled conditions) the extraordinary resources - archives, old books, vellum paper - from the library of the Museum.