The large river who cross Paris from west to east
give to the town most of its identity. Most tourists like to see it on the famous
"Bateaux Mouche", but the walk along the banks of the Seine allows
to discover a big part of the most beautiful and the most touristic sites like
parisians do. And besides, it can be made in a very "gay" atmosphere.
Between Art, history and Cruising spot for gays, Paris-Gay.Com propose to enjoy Paris by feet.
The walk begins by the Maison de Radio-France
If done entirely, the walk can easily take half a day. The chosen eastward direction, is convenient to use bus when distances are a bit long. The 72 line follows the Seine river in the eastward direction, and links some of the most magnificent sights of Paris for the price of a single ticket.
More information on the site of the RATP.
(RER C/Radio France)
The Maison de Radio-France is a curious and huge circular building with a famous central tour, typical of the architecture from the 60s, hosting national radios. The all building is being restructurated and modernisated and large parts are wrapped in huge white canvas. It could be an art work from Christo! The radio and television museum is closed but you can still see the public studios if you go in one of the numerous public broadcastings or concerts, free of charge for most of them.
Just across the street, the Pont de Grenelle (Grenelle Bridge) join l'Ile aux Cygnes (the island of swans).
Dividing the Seine River, this Ile Aux Cygnes is a very pleasant walk between barges, pleasure steamers or "Bateaux Mouches". It follows "Le Front de Seine" and its modern buildings from the 70's. Additionally, this island is in our guide because there is discrete cruising in daytime, less discrete in the night.
At the West end of the island, the second in height (after the New York one of course) Statue of Liberty looks to America.
At the East end of the island, Bir Hakeim's bridge, with its elevated railway and the Eiffel Tower offers a sight of Paris very "picture postcard".
Take the Bir Hakeim bridge to the right and follow the Seine in direction of the Eiffel Tower.
Most of the parisians never did, but being in the hights of Eiffel Tower is still an amazing experience and worth the queuing. Try to avoid touristic hours !
Tickets are sold for first, second or third floor. Of course, third floor ticket holders can stop for a while at second and go up later. A good way to keep some surprise for later.
Sport adicts can buy cheaper tickets to climb the stairs up to the second floor. The top floor is only reachable by elevators.
A good way to really enjoy the Tower is to go up by elevetors and down by stairs. It's a splendid way to feel the magic of it.
More informations on the Eiffel Tower website.
Cross the Iena Bridge to reach the Trocadero gardens, just across the Seine.
Trocadero Gardens is one favourite spot for skaters who offer amazing demonstrations. During warm days in summer, lots of parisians like to sun tan in bath suit aside the basins. Lots of beautiful guys too ! These vast art-deco buildings and gardens were built for colonial exhibition in 1937.
Upstairs is the most famous sight of the Eiffel Tower, facing it, with Trocadero gardens and fontains down. And even more beautiful at sunset, when the lights are on. Every hour after sunset, the Eiffel Tower sparkles ten minutes long. Just magic!
Follow the Seine along the right bank to the place de L'Alma :
Lovers of Duffy, Picasso or Matisse should stop at Musée D'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (Modern Art Museum of Paris) in the art-deco building of Palais de Tokyo. The entrance is at the other side, Avenue du President Wilson. Remember that all Town Museums (Musees de la Ville de Paris) are free of charge (only for permanent collections).
A little aside the walk, the Musée Galliera waits for fashion lovers. Regulary, it shows its collections with thematic exhibitions. It stands just across the Palais de Tokyo. Entrance avenue Pierre 1er de Serbie.
Place de l'Alma, the gilded flame is a reproduction of the Statue Of Liberty's one. First a gift from International Herald Tribune in 1987 to celebrate friendship between France and United States, it became a symbol for Lady Diana fans after her death in the road tunnel bellow. Since then, lots of romantic tourists stop by and drop a note or a flower. And many of our friends are very romantic ! The place has no real interest, but troops of tourists pass henceforth Place de l'Alma, and coaches slow down in the tunnel to see, in a macabre way, the 13th stake where the car crashed.
Some Sundays, the tunnel is a pedestrian only zone, so you can see this famous place better...
Leave the Place de l'Alma following the bank, under the trees to the Place de la Concorde.
Our route pasts the Palais de la decouverte (Palace of the Discovery), a museum dedicated to science and technology, with many experiments to be done and near Grand Palais and its major exhibitions, to arrive Place de la Concorde.
If you do not plan to visit museums or if you are tired, you can wait for bus 72, direction Hotel de Ville, which will take you to Place de La Concorde.
Place de la Concorde is the biggest Paris place with 80.000 square meters, and one of the most beautiful. Around the central obelisk, from Luxor, four main roads discover alternately Church of Madeleine, perspective of Champs-Elysees, garden of Tuileries and, on the other side of the Seine, National Assembly.
Today's pretigious, the Place de la Concorde was, during the French Revolution the home of the terrible guillotine, for capital executions !
Facing the end of the Champs Elysees is the entrance of the jardin des Tuileries.
Both side of the entrance are two terraces with two museums. Nearest the Seine is the Musee de l'Orangerie and its impressionist collections and especially Les Nympheas room. On the other terrace is the Musée du Jeu de Paume for photo and 19's and 20's illustrations lovers.
The Jardin des Tuileries (garden of Tuileries) was created by Le Notre (who designed the Versailles' gardens) in the 17th century. It is a long park which leads to the Museum of the Louvre. His name come after the Palais Des Tuileries, royal and imperial Palace until 1870, today gone, who was the fourth side of the square made by the Louvre.
In the 18th century, it was allready a cruising place for homosexuals who were protected because the police had no right to enter in the Royal Domain. So the police used "mouches" (flies), beautiful young men to attract "infamous", as there were called, bring them out of the domain and arrest them !
Today the Jardin des Tuileries is still a meeting place for gays, especially near the pyramide and the Porte du Carroussel.
Go out of the Jardin des Tuileries by taking the subway stairs at mid-lenght of the gardens. It goes under the highspeed way to the river Seine.
It is most pleasant in Paris to walk along pedestrian only banks of the Seine. And most of it, they are mainly frequented by gays. To the point that the place is known under the name of "tata beach" (sisi beach). There is always a lot of people but more particularly in summer, naturally, who don't hesitate be sunbathed in swimsuit.(see the "Paris-plage" galery).
So if you have the luck of the good weather, do not hesitate to take your time, to stop and to watch boats and beautiful boys. Everybody is there to see and be seen.
Art and history lovers must see the Musee
d'Orsay and the "hotels particuliers" of the opposite bank.
In the evening, the walk can become magic thanks to the big coloured lights from the tourist boats.
Continuing to follow the bank, Quai du Louvre and climb up the stairs just before the Pont Neuf, the oldest bridge of Paris.
It is the end of our walk, just in front of The Samaritaine, the former large store (its closed now but you can admire the beautiful Art Nouveau wall) and close to Forum Des Halles mall with numerous shops.
And what about the so close Musee du Louvre? It worth at least one complete day for itself.
It takes only ten more minutes by feet, passing across Hotel de Ville (Town Hall) or Georges Pompidou Center and its modern art collections, to reach Le Marais and enjoy its gay shops, bars and restaurants. AT LAST!