Oct 1st, 2019, 01:18 PM

Escaping Paris Without Escaping Paris

By Lauren Tosbath
Montmartre / Image Credit: Lauren Tosbath
A guide to finding tranquility within the clamor.

Whether you are new to Paris or coming back from relaxing summer vacations, you are likely in need of a quiet escape. I spent the past four years in Fayetteville, Arkansas, surrounded by a friendly local community and the constant outdoors. I was able to contain a sense of relaxation in the busiest spots (grocery stores, farmers market, etc.).

When I came to Paris, I found myself overwhelmed, not being able to escape the constant honking, yelling, ranting, people talking overall. I did not know where to go to sit and relax without having to worry about others. I found myself constantly looking up quick getaway trips within my first month of moving. I decided I had to work with what I had and expand my knowledge on the local getaway spots in Paris.

I discovered a museum, Musée Gustave Moreau, hidden in the 9th arrondissement. The museum was installed in Gustave Moreaus home five years after he passed away in 1989, which gives one a sense of a traditional Parisian home.

The walls are filled with Moreau’s symbolism paintings, windows that welcome natural light, and beautiful architecture, such as a spiraled staircase. I saw a woman reading in one of the museum rooms and thought that was a lovely idea. I returned a few weeks later to complete my readings for school. Few people visited during the hours that I was there, so don’t worry about getting distracted.

Musée Gustave Moreau / Image Credit: Lauren Tosbath

Another museum that I recommend is Musée Bourdelle, located in the 15th arrondissement. The museum is designed to guide you through the process of Antoine Bourdelle’s narrative work. The museum consists of eighteenth-century drawings, paintings, sculptures that expand onto the gardens and courtyards, and splashes of art from the temporary exhibition. I visited during the “Back Side” exhibition, which will be open until November 17th.

During my visit, I spent a generous amount of time in the courtyard soaking in the sculptures displayed outside. People around me were napping in the long chairs as they basked in the sun, couples honeymooning, and a balance of tourists and locals enjoying the art. This was the perfect location to gather your thoughts peacefully.

Musée Bourdelle / Image Credit: Lauren Tosbath

If you are searching for more greenery than architecture, Jardin Des Plantes, located in the 5th arrondissement, is the spot. It opened to the public in 1640 and is home to several different gardens (rose, tropical, etc.), museums, even zoos. The area is so large that I only had time to visit the zoo and botanical garden, which were both phenomenal. On your way back to the city, I recommend touring La Mosquée de Paris.

La Mosquée de Paris was the first mosque constructed in Paris (1920) and still holds the title for being the largest mosque in Paris. Even though you can find beautiful architecture all around Paris, the vibrant, colorful architecture is a must-see. Walk around the corner to restaurant La Mosquée de Paris for traditional Moroccan meal, or a tea and pastry will easily satisfy. The décor, service, food, and diversity of customers immerse you into the beautiful Moroccan culture - a true escape.

La Mosquée de Paris / Image Credit: Lauren Tosbath

Since this is Paris, I must include a unique shopping experience. If you are searching for something “unParisian,” browse through Le Marche Aux Puces De Saint-Ouen. This market consists of many tents squeezed next to each other with a variety of vintage products. Although this will not take you away from the chaos, it can serve as a time machine, taking you back to another era.

Le Marche Aux Puces De Saint-Que / Image Credit: Lauren Tosbath

A neighborhood that does not give you the idea that everyone around you is in a rush or mad at the world is Montmartre. To escape the tourists visiting Sacré-Cœur and the home of famous artists, such as Van Gogh and Picasso, walk through the streets, and you will find endless charm and lovely locals. This neighborhood is decorated with greenery, art, and winding trails to walk along. It gives you the appearance of browsing through a small town instead of a large city.

Even though I was confident that escaping Paris would involve an expensive trip, I proved myself wrong. These charming and cultured spots forced me into a peaceful state of mind and made me fall more in love with what Paris has to offer. I recommend these spots and challenge you to escape your comfort zone and explore the undiscovered.