Sunday, 9 March 2014

Day 22: Paris Greeter

On my second day, we decided to go on a walking tour with a greeter. Greeters are volunteers. The walking tour that usually lasts 3-4 hours is free. The website encourages to donate but greeters can not receive these donations.

This is my 4th time in Paris and I have more time to try something new.

 I am particularly interested in learning more about the life of the locals, which is why I frequent markets and visit suburbs. I thought it'd be great if I can actually hang out with a local.

Meet, Jacques Gillon. A 60 year old, french journalist who volunteers as a greeter. I asked him why he decided to share his precious time and hr replied with something that moved me, "I love my city and I want to show people how beautiful it is".

How often can we hear Filipinos say that? Often we warn people about our city. Sure we say awesome things about our beaches but we rarely have good things to say about our big cities. I count myself as one of the guilty.

We saw a lot of beautiful buildings as we walked from Bastille to Marais and deep into the Jewish Quarters.

Place de Vosges is one of the most beautiful squares in all of Paris. Commissioned by Henry IV, this is one the oldest semblance of city planning. A bigger scale planning one came later during the time of Napoleon. Jacques said the beauty of this architecture is rooted in symmetry. He added an interesting bit that the king built the facade first.

Another thing we saw are the medieval buildings within the city. It's like a graceful architectural soirée. It's beautiful how they all go together.

We also had a glimpse of how the rich people then lived. Imagine the royals!

I saw so many things and I think I'm better off creating a flicker account! Otherwise this blog is going to be so long and I still haven't figured out how to create a cut.

What impressed me though is the effort of the French government to preserve these architecture. This building was claimed by the government and restored to its original beauty.

After a couple of hours walking, we invited Jacques for coffee. Here I learned that the French have 5 weeks of government mandated holidays/leave. The best part is everyone gets this benefit! The French, afterall, is famous for Liberté, égalité, fraternité.

Jacques added that this part of the road is turned into a beach strip for those who can't go to the beach for holidays.

From this picture I took...

To this...(had to google this one)


In this regard, some of the restaurants and offices close for 3 weeks in august. Best to check before you make your travel arrangements.

It's almost bedtime so I'll sleep.  I strongly suggest you tour with  a local next time you visit paris.

For those interested visit

Still on pause,


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