A week in Paris

Whenever I attend a tennis tournament, I try to combine tennis and a bit of sightseeing.
I’ve been to Paris many times – I’ve even worked in Paris for a year – so this time I wanted to get off the beaten path, so no touristy places like Champs Elysées or Montmartre, and explore the 12th district (where Bercy is located) and the 13th district (where I stayed for a few days).

12th and 13th districts are much less touristy than central Paris but are nonetheless a fascinating area to explore on foot.

Modern architecture walk

These riverside districts have been in permanent mutation for the past 30 years and are shaping up to be the new architectural face of the capital. If you’re an architecture buff, you should enjoy this walk on the waterfront, from the Pavillon de l’Arsenal to the Parc de Bercy.

Passerelle Simone de Beauvoir

Read the complete article here.

Bercy Village and Parc de Bercy

This area was once devoted to the trade of wine. Next to Cour Saint-Emilion, you can still spot the warehouses, now converted into restaurants, offices, shops and a museum.

The Cinémathèque, designed by Frank Gehry and the POPB, home of the BNP Paribas Masters border the park:

La Cinémathèque Française

POPB

For more pics and infos on Bercy neighbourhood, click here.

Musée des Arts Forains

Even if you don’t like museums, I’m sure you’ll enjoy this one. This is a must if you want to do something different in Paris.
Housed in a former wine warehouse, the Musée des Arts Forains (Fairground Museum) is a wonderland of vintage carousels, carnival rides and games.

It’s not the traditional museum where you can only watch and can’t touch, here visitors ride on the carousels and try out the other attractions like the waiters’ race.

Musée des arts forains

Musée des arts forains

Musée des arts forains

I really had a great time and for a couple hours I was a kid again.

Butte aux cailles

Full of bars and restaurants, the Butte Aux Cailles is a great place to chill out.

The Butte Aux Cailles district sits on a small hill, rising around 60 meters, between the noisy Place d’Italie and Chinatown.
The neighborhood was named after Pierre Caille, former landowner in 1543. At the time, Butte aux Cailles only consisted in uninhabited terrain and a few windmills bordering the rivière de la Bièvre (River Bièvre).
The 17th century saw the development of numerous industrial activities around the river which led to Butte aux Cailles becoming the center for tanning. Unfortunately, the dye factories turned the River Bièvre into an open-air sewer so they decided to bury it under the French capital.

Today la Butte aux Cailles retains the feeling of a small village in the middle of a big city.

Butte aux cailles

Street art in the 13th arrondissement

Street art

Street art

Chinatown

South of Tolbiac the shop signs suddenly turn Chinese, Vietnamese, Cambodian and Laotian, oriental spices fill the air and even McDonalds is decked out ‘à la Chinoise’. Welcome to Paris main Chinatown (Quartier Chinois), set amid 60s tower blocks in the triangle formed by avenue d’Ivry, avenue de Choisy and boulevard Masséna.

Chinatown

Chinatown

Chinatown

Not really a must do but if you happen to be in the 13th arrondissement it is nonetheless worth visiting.

Manufacture des Gobelins

The royal tapestry factory was founded by Colbert when he set up the Manufacture Royale des Meubles de la Couronne in 1662; it’s named after Jean Gobelin, a dyer who owned the site. It reached the summit of its renown during the ancien régime, when Gobelins tapestries were produced for royal residences under artists such as Le Brun. The name Gobelins thus became famous throughout the courts of Europe.

Tapestries are still made here and visitors can watch weavers at work.

 

This year’s US Open tennis tournament will take place from August 26th to September 9th. New York is gearing up to offer plenty of festivities, inviting celebrities, international food vendors, and live musicians to perform on the grounds. Of course, all of tennis’ top pros will be there, too. If you’re looking to join the fun, you need to be prepared. NYC is an enormous city, so you need to come with a plan. Check out this guide to get yourself ready for courtside action!

How to Get There

For a large event like the US Open, it’s generally advisable to take public transit. The No. 7 subway line has a stop at Willets Point/Shea Stadium, which is located in the northern part of the park. You can also take the Long Island Railroad (LIRR), which stops at Shea Station at the same place as the subway. Please note that this train only stops here for the US Open, so don’t schedule any other plans around it.
It’s also possible to drive to Shea Stadium, and there is quite a lot of parking nearby. Grand Central Parkway, the Van Wyck Expressway, and the Long Island Expressway all have exits near the stadium.

7 Trains 03.jpg

Where to Stay

New York is a city of options, and as such there are lots of choices for good places to stay. Flushing Meadows is close to La Guardia airport, so any “airport” hotel is conveniently located near the US Open tournament grounds, which is great for people who are flying in to town for the event. The Mariott. Holiday Inn, and Howard Johnson at La Guardia are both good choices for local lodgings. If you’d like to stay at somewhere more upscale, look into the Hotel de Pointe Flushing or the Marco LaGuardia Hotel by Lexington. On the other hand, if you’ve spent all your money on US Open tickets, you can also look into staying at the YMCA in Flushing, which does offer accommodations.

Attending the US Open

If you haven’t already done so, make sure to buy your tickets as soon as possible because they are going fast. You can buy tickets for the whole series, or select rounds, and they also offer group packages. If you get tickets at the event, a grounds pass for the day costs $45 and grants access to all but the matches in the Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Arthur Ashe Stadium

When you get to the stadium, you need to go through the security line to have your bag checked. However, if you don’t bring a bag, you can take the express security line and skip the excruciatingly long wait. The express line is a god send during the busiest sessions.
During the first rounds of the tournament, there are matches happening all over the place all day, so it can be tricky to figure out where to be. Soak everything in by spending the first couple days learning where everything is, so when a match comes up that you are really interested in, you’ll know right where to go.

Kids' Day

Other Things to do in New York

While you’re in New York, why not do something non-tennis related as well (as if you can have enough tennis in your life)? Flushing is home to an exciting China town that has everything from dim sum to comic books, and there it has something to interest everyone. Corona Park has lots of cool attractions like the Unisphere and is also home to the Queens Museum of Art, which houses a unique collection of New York-related artwork. Queens also has a fantastic botanical garden that spans 39 acres. Originally created for the World’s Fair, its Rose Garden and Fragrance Walk are not to be missed.

Unisphere

John Gower is a writer for NerdWallet, a personal finance website dedicated to helping tennis lovers save money with financial tips on everything from travel tips to info on prepaid tuition and college savings plans.

Pics by Victoria Belanger (Train 7), Jonathan (Unisphere) and pics of my trip to the 2006 US Open.