France

Paris: Saint-Michel

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If you only have few hours to spend in Paris, take Ligne 4 of le métro to the station Saint-Michel. In my opinion you will have the best Paris experience in such short time. You can cross the Pont Saint Michel and you will be on la Cité, the heart of Paris,

or you can walk along the Seine river and meet some local artists:

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You can see what les Bouquinistes have to offer,

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or you can have a meal in an elegant restaurant, facing the Seine river,

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in a very French ambiance and decor.

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When you return to la Place Saint-Michel, on the left bank of the river you will see the tallest fountain in Paris:IMG_5337

with these weird creatures standing in front of it.

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The Place Saint-Michel is known as the site of the Fontaine Saint-Michel (St. Michael Fountain), constructed by Gabriel Davioud in 1855-60. Nine major sculptors participated in its construction.  Originally, the fountain’s central statue was supposed to be Napoleon Bonaparte, but the original idea came under criticism from opponents of Napoleon III; it was finally decided that the statue would be an image of Saint Michael, the Archangel (Saint Michel in French), with two dragons that spout water into the fountain and figures of the four classical cardinal virtues.

In the evening you can expect some kind of entertainment in front of the fountain:

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maybe not very traditional for the French culture.

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The name of this restaurant will remind you that you are on the left bank of the river ( le rive gauche) in the famous Quartier Latin.

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On your way back, don’t forget to pay attention to the beautiful decorations of le métro stations designed by Hector Guimard. Today his designs are seen as architectural gems, but in his lifetime, Parisians thought his Art Nouveau style outdated, and many of his métro entrances were demolished.

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