What a nice surprise to come back home after a week in Paris and get a Birthday gift in the mail from one of my friends. I guess some of my friends know me too well! My friend has ordered it in Amazon way before she knew I would actually be in Paris. I’ve been actually planning to buy this book awhile ago, after following its author, Nicole Robertson, from the blog Little Brown Pen.
So now I am unpacking my Parisian suitcase, putting away my new Les petites Parisiennes shoes, my new favorite perfume from Jovoy Paris, making myself a cup of coffee and slowly getting back to my New York’s routine.
Having the feeling of ‘Feels like home in Paris‘, living in a street that has the same name of a wine. Drinking my morning coffee on a typical French rooftop. Le Marais as the back yard, North of Le Marais as the hood. Getting off the Republique metro station or walking to Temple. Walking in a Parisian rain with no umbrella. Two chocolate mouse as a breakfast. Cute street names as Square Clignancourt, Rue Daru, or metro stop Poissionniere, just for the heck of saying it. Photography walk with local photographers, Birthday dinner with friends in a local place. Chocolate cake all for myself, Bon Anniversaire, Joyeux Anniversaire and a Happy Birthday song in French. Le Baron club. Miss “Queen Misterio” mask, original Photography prints rolled in two tubes. A 5-wine and cheese courses in one evening, Lunch in Collette. Having a private tour with Fred Le Chevalier the Street artist. Waking up to the view of the Sacre Coeur every morning and going to sleep with the same sight. Sundown around 10 in the evening, Sunrise even before 6. New friends, old friends, a friend’s photography exhibit at Village Royal. Buying cheese at Le Marche des Enfants Rouges, getting bread at Du Pain et des Idees and having lunch on a bench in Canal St. Martin with Anne Ditmeyer of Pret a Voyager. Teaching my sister the art of the dyptich, running into a private party in the middle of the day. Counting baguettes on a Sunday. Jam and Cheese in one spoon. Pink Ballerina shoes at Les Petites Parisiennes, Meeting Lindsey of Lost in Cheeseland. Merci Merci. H&M, Mama Shelter Hotel. Poiray rare perfume, Godiva Chocolate as a starter. My favorite cheese gorgonzola mascarpone. Running up in the streets of Montmartre, running down toward Pigalle or Jules Joffrin. Cooking class and a morning Parisian market. The smell of chocolate croissants in the morning. Recognizing some streets, finding my way around and having my sister with me on my Birthday…Priceless!
You set the dates, you purchased flight tickets, maybe you also saved some frequent flyer milages, just in case. You wrote your ‘to do’ lists, your ‘where to eat’ and ‘what to buy’ lists and you told the whole World that you are going to Paris. Paris, in spite of all the cliches, is still the most romantic city in the world. If this is your first time in The City of Lights than this post is not for you (yet) and I suggest you bookmark it and read it for your next time. If this is your second or third time in Paris, then this short Design Scene Guide is for you. This following post is dedicated to those who like design and love to spice up their lives with some style. For those who want to know the City of Light a little bit different. You will not find here the Tour Eiffel, Louvre, Champs Elysees or Montmartre, but you will get a glimpse to some of the stylish stores and places in Paris. This post is for the ‘Advanced Users’ of Paris with a touch of style.
Mama Shelter Hotel, designed and owned by Philippe Starck, is located in the 20th arrondissement. If I didn’t have the exact address, I could easily confuse the facade of the hotel with the cultural center and public library next door. But maybe this is the whole idea of the hotel, which wants to give its guests a homey feeling and a sense of security, or at least a feel of being close to Mama. This is also the reason for the logo of the hotel (mama hen legs) and why the concierge and the staff of the reception are wearing aprons with portraits of Mamas. The hotel was opened three and a half years ago (September 5th, 2008) by the Trigano family who also owns Club Med. The Trigano family has hired Philippe Starck to design the hotel and its concept and later on he became one of the owners himself. The vision was to create a hotel that combines an urban concept with a homey atmosphere, a hotel where the guests come to relax, hence the less central location. There are 172 designed rooms in the hotel, all designed in an urban look with an unfinished grey concrete wall. The highlight of the design is the plastic masks that serve as reading lamps next to the beds. The masks were purchased by Starck as there was no budget left for ‘real’ reading lamps. With time, the masks became very popular among the guests who tend to take pictures of themselves wearing these masks. There are two bars and a Pizza bar by the well known chef Alain Sendernes, an outdoor terrace that serves Brunch and a BBQ on the roof in the summer. The design of the main bar space is eclectic and combines long common tables and colored stripped sofas with the portraits of the mothers.
In the lobby of the hotel you can find a small gift shop to buy some unconventional souvenirs from Paris. The hotel is a great solution for those who already know Paris and want to have a different experience.
Mama Shelter, 109 rue de Bagnolet.
Directions: Get off Alexander Dumas station (line 2) or Gambetta station (line 3)
If you are in the neighborhood, visit Cimetière du Père-Lachaise, which is the largest cemetery of Paris, established in 1804 and look for Oscar Wilde, Honore de Balzac, Frédéric Chopin, Camille Pissarro and other well known graves. As the cemetery is located on the high hills of Paris, you can catch a great view of the city, which is highly recommended especially during dusk hours.
Walking on Blvd Beaumarchais, you can find some real Parisian gems. One of them is Merci, a well known chic, ethnical concept store, hidden at the back of a courtyard in number 111 of the Boulevard. At the entrance to the store, there is an old red mini car, which is now serves as the trade mark of the store. It is a three levels store, divided into sections. At the entrance level there is a small cafe with a book store, men clothes collection, perfumes and some little items of decorations, based on a concept the store has in mind. In my latest visit to Merci, the concept was clothes hangers and the entrance level was filled with different kinds of those. In the lower level there is a restaurant with sittings over looking a small flowery patio, selling kitchenware and greenhouse items, and on the second floor you can find women clothing, accessories, vintage and designed furnitures and home accessories. Occasionally, you can find Ives San Lauren’s and Stella McCartney’s items as well as local designers. All the profits of the store go to charity. I highly recommend to dedicate some time and explore every corner of this well designed loft and have a bite of their delicious tart of the day while looking at the greenery outdoors.
Merci, 111 Blvd Beaumarchais.
Directions: Get off Saint Sebastien Froissart station (line .8) and walk on the blvd.
A few steps away from Merci, you can find its kids version at the colorful concept store Bon Ton, which sells kids clothes, shoes and toys. The brand has more stores in the city but this one is a three level high, filled with Kids accessories, decors, clothes and toys with little fitting rooms, playing space and photo booth. Everything is so colorful and every detail is carefully planned. Even the friendly sales women wear colorful clothes that match some of the items. It is definitely friendly store both for kids and their parents.
Bon Ton, 5 Blvd des Filles du Calvarie
Directions: Get off at Filles du Calvarie station (line .8)
Talking about kids, Petit Pan is a wonder of its own. This brand also has a few stores in Paris (in fact, in other locations all over Europe) but the one I’ve visited was at tiny store in the heart of the Latin Quarter at rue du Bac. The brand Petit Pan is known by its colorful fabrics and the little toys and decorations made of paper and bamboo. You can find paper lamps in the shape of fish, flowers, dragons and other animals. Beside the cute and colorful clothes for babies and infants, the store holds lively pillows, little blankets, ribbons and a large variety of rolled fabrics with so many interesting and adorable prints which are hard to choose from. Petit Pan is a great alternative if you are looking for a special gift for a baby or the parents. Everything is so cute and tiny that it will be so easy to carry in your suitcase.
Petit Pan, 95 rue du Bac
Directions: Get off at rue du Bac station (line 12)
One of my favorite streets in Paris is the fashion-chici rue Saint-Honoré. There is a great combination of high-end fashion stores, well dressed and good looking people, well designed cafes and bistros and other unique concept stores, such as Colette (which deserves a post of its own) and Astier de Villatte. Astier de Villatte is well known for its light weight white porcelain plates and dishes, all shown in a big wooden closet at the entrance hall of the store, alongside home perfumes, candles and other colored decorative dishes. It serves as a pilgrimage for porcelain dishes lovers. The store itself is simple and its decoration but the cracking wooden floor gives a sense of an old haunted vintage place.
Astier de Vilatte, 173 rue Saint-Honoré
Directions: Get off Madeleine station (line.8) and walk toward rue Saint-Honoré
Paris is filled with magnificently designed concept stores, and sometimes even in a simple store I visited, I could find something very unique. There is an endless number of boutique hotels, restaurants, bistros, cafes and well designed stores in the City of Light, but the most satisfying thing is to find those you like on your own.
Drinking my morning coffee at the neighborhood cafe, running my morning run in Jardin du Luxembourg, visiting foundation Cartier instead of foundation Henri Cartier Bresson. Rue Vavin, Rue de Bac, Rue de Montparnasse, Cimetiere du Montparnasse, Cimetiere du Pere Lachaise just before sun down. 3 underwear and 1 bra at Oysho in Rue du Rennes. Invalides at dusk. Candles and perfumes at Astier de Villatte, crashing a cocktail party at Parfums Jovoy at Rue de Castigliore and getting tipsy from a merlot. Bubbly champagne with a local friend next to Pantheon, Cheese and baguette for dinner, soupe à l’oignon for dinner, chocolate noir pour le dessert. Quick coffee with Paris Trikkes, Quick walk to St. Sulpice while eating pistachio and chocolate Macarons. Great Pastries at Laduree, Rue de Buci’s food market, Boulevard Raspail’s stands. Walk along the crowded streets of Le Marais. M. Chat, Fred le Chevalier, Space invaders and Jef Aerosol at Place Starvinsky, just behind the Niki de Saint Phalle fountain. Food market at Les Enfants Rouges, Rose wine in the afternoon. Hotel de Ville at night. Guided tour at Mama Shelter hotel. Floral suitcases at the Merci store at Boulevard Beamarchais, color beads at BonTon next door. Pont de Bir Hakeim in a very sunny day. Marc Jacobs and Louis Vitton at Les Arts Decoratifs. Rue st. Honore on an empty Sunday. Barefoot lunch along the Seine river on a very sunny day. Oberkampf on Monday, crepe suzette for lunch, graffiti walk along Canal st. Martin. Seafood lunch outdoors. Gallerie Wallworks at rue Martel, semi private tour with a local French. St. Sebastien Froissart, Sweet Honey bread for breakfast, Colette store at rush hour. The Conran shop, Petit Pan and so many I can’t even pronounce. Glittery tour Eiffel after midnight, foggy Boulevard Montparnasse at sunrise. Laughing a lot with a good friend and making jokes of almost everything we cross by. Catching up with old friends, and finally meeting with new ones. Getting the answer of how many space invaders are in Paris and around the World, without really making an effort….Priceless.
Not that Paris is in shortage of any perfumes stores. On the contrary. There are so many. It seems that every other store, including clothing stores, home decor stores and even patisseries, are having their own line of perfumes.
In Rome act like Romans do and in Paris get perfumed as Parisians. Right?
As much as Paris is packed with perfumes stores, there is always a room for one more; Jovoy Paris, which was opened in Paris at the end of March and focuses on rare, exclusive and limited edition perfumes.
The man who stands behind Jovoy Paris, is the charming perfumer, François Henin, who started his way in Vietnam. His mission was to explore the natural olfactive riches of Vietnam and to set up a pilot distillation factory on the Chinese border. He traveled through Asia for four years, selling flavors, fragrances and raw materials to local businesses. On 2010 he returned to Paris with a project in mind: to acquire a forgotten perfume house in order to present beautiful, rare and limited edition fragrances. That was the first Jovoy perfumery he opened in Paris. The success was immediate and the Parisian women ran to the store. After all, who doesn’t want to smell a bit different than others?
It happened that I visited the new Jovoy’s location in rue de Castiglione the day of its grand opening and lucky me, the charming François Henin himself was walking around, explaining about Jovoy’s concept and told me some stories and anecdotes behind some of the perfumes. ‘Rare perfumes are usually small houses run by a perfumer, who is committed to using raw materials that are noble, natural and sometimes exclusive. They don’t have high sales targets but they resonate with consumers who really know and love perfumes, as well as those who are quite disappointed with the ‘muse’- oriented fragrances, that are the product of a too-wide distribution’
Aside from the wide selection, which is both original and quality-minded, I love the way Jovoy features its perfumes. Whereas in traditional shops the saleswoman is spraying the perfume on a smelling paper (and what you smell is actually the alcohol that ‘burns’ the nose), Jovoy uses glass domes to cover the little brown tester bottles, in order to capture the perfume’s true scent. It is actually allowing the customers to get a better idea of the fragrance’s real scent without the inconveniences of the alcohol.
But beside the little domes, the colorful perfumes bottles and obviously, the heavenly scents, I also love the way the new space is designed; The red walls, the warm colored shelves in the middle of the store, where costumers could pass both sides and the vintage touch of some of the displayed tables, gave Jovoy a very Parisian chic, yet conceptual high-class store.
The French are well known for their delicate baguettes, the rich-with-butter croissants and for the sweet and colorful macaroons. The macaroons or in french ‘le macaron’, are small round meringue like cookies, made of sugar and eggs, stuffed with light cream or crushed almond cream. There are endless bakeries in Paris and so many patisseries that sell and serve macaroons but my favorite one was Ladurée, which became a prestigious brand name for macaroons. The history of the Ladurée brand goes back to 1862, when Louis Ernest Laduree, a miller from the southwest of France opened a bakery at 16 Rue Royale in Paris. At the same time, the area around the Madeleine was gradually becoming a central, cultural and prestigious thanks to the Garnier Opera’s developments. Ernest Ladurée’s wife, Jeanne Souchard, who was the daughter of a well-known hotelier, came up with the idea of combining a Literary salon for women with a Parisian café and pastry shop. The result was the first tea salons in town and “salon de thé” which had a definite advantage over other cafés, as these kinds of salons permitted ladies to gather in freedom. Jeanne Souchard succeeded in combining the turn-of-the-century trend to modernism. The tea room was enlarged in 1930 by a family member of Louis Ernest Ladurée, who gradually made it into a ‘Maison’ and a well known Parisian institution. In 1993 the Ladurée brand was bought by the Holder Group, which extended the business and opened a new prestigious Ladurée (both a restaurant and tea room) on the Champs-Elysées. The mission of the Holder Group was to bring back the great classics, which have contributed to the reputation of this ‘salon de thé’, as well as create an environment for gastronomic creativity in Paris. With time, Ladurée became a tea salon, pastry shop and extended its products to other colorful desserts, home fragrances, candles, stationary products, all are painted in pastel colors as of the macaroons. My most visited Ladurée was the one on 21 Rue Boneparte, a cute cornered patisserie with a colorful magical and tempting gift shop next door.
My first visit to Paris was actually a mad chase after all the touristic attractions and the ‘must-see’, ‘must-go’, ‘must-do’ places: I saw the Tour Eiffel sparkling at night, walked along the Champs-Élysées, all the way to Arc de Triomphe , climbed the steep streets of the Montmartre and sighed when I saw the beauty of the Basilique du Sacré-Cœur. I paid a visit to the old cemetery of Montparnasse and looked for Jean Paul Sartre and Samuel Beckett’s graves. I Photographed the Mona Lisa in the Louvre, along with hundreds of people, searched for the old synagogue in Le Marais and drank coffee in the famous Café de Flore in Boulevard Saint-Germain. I visited Centre Pompidou and for shopping I went to Gallery Lafayette. If this was not enough, I also French kissed while looking over the Notre Dame.
All of this happened twelve years ago, when I visited Paris by myself for the first time and indulged myself in the touristic Parisian days and night. I was a student on summer break. What did I know….
But my second and third visits to Paris were completely different. I was already a ‘well-travelled’ person who is more curious about how the locals live than how the tourists spend their days and I did so many other things. I called these visit ‘Paris for the Advanced Users’. Paris for the Advanced Users is for those who had already been to Paris at least once — and for those who prefer discovering a city while taking the side streets and not following the touristic path.
If you are an advance user, or want to be one, here are few places worth checking.
La Butte aux Cailles: A small Parisian neighborhood, located on the hills of the 13th Arrondissement. The neighborhood was originally a fenced village outside Paris that was annexed to the city in 1860. It is characterized by mostly small, low-rise buildings in an Art Nouveau style, similar to the traditional buildings in northern France and Russia.
Some of the buildings have small courtyards, which are open to the public during daylight hours and locked after dark. The uniqueness of this neighborhood is characterized by its narrow streets and cobblestone roads around small squares, which once served as a central meeting place in the village. In Place Paul Verlaine you can find an active and natural spring water source; you can even drink from it and it also serves as a natural source of water to the other fountains in the neighborhood’s courtyards. The neighborhood that once was inhabited by working-class people, has now become extremely popular among young artists, and it attracts wealthy residents who appreciate the charm and the artistic non-metropolitan atmosphere of the place. If you are not looking for touristic attractions, then this is the place for you.
You should visit the neighborhood in the afternoon, walk around the galleries and the courtyards and end your evening at a local restaurant bustling with Parisians of all ages, and where waiters don’t know a word of English.
Directions: Get off the Metro line 6 at Corvisart and go up the Rue des Cinq Diamants until getting to the heart of the neighborhood at Rue de la Butte aux Cailles.
BNF: Bibliothèque Nationale de France: The National Library of France is located in Tolbiac area in the 13th Arrondissement as well. It is considered the largest and most important library in France. The original location was in Rue de Richelie in the 2nd Arrondissement from 1720 until it was moved to the current site, (also called the Francois Mitterrand site) in 1996. Mitterrand gave the library a legal status of public institution in 1988 and turned it into one of the most important and advanced libraries in the world.
The site consists of four towers; Tower School, Tower Court, Wind Tower and Tower Time, and its architecture resembles a book holder and — when seen from above — it resembles an open book. The quantity of the books is immense; 10 million documents and writings, spread over an area of over 420 miles of bookshelves. Visiting the library is both an architectural and intellectual experience. It is worth paying the fee to get into the reading rooms and see the interior of the building. The site is even more spectacular and impressive in the evening, when the buildings are lit up.
Directions: Get off the Metro line 14 at Bibliotheque Fr . Mitterrand.
Place de la Nation: A square, situated on the border between the 11th and the 12 Arrondissements, has a great monument of Marion, one of the national symbols of the French Republic, as she stands on the globe in a carriage drawn by lions. The monument, which symbolizes the triumph of the Republic, was established to mark the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution. The adjacent streets will lead you to a colorful area with walls covered in frequently changing graffiti.
Directions: Get off the Metro line 6 at Nation.
Ecole Nationale supérieure des Beaux Arts: The National Superior School of Art, also called ‘The Bazar of Paris’, is considered one of the world’s most prestigious schools for art. It is located on rue Bonaparte, in the middle of the Saint-Germain-des-Prés district, which is filled with art galleries, furniture stores and interior design studios. There is no better place for the school to be located; if the students ever need an inspiration, they can always cross the Seine and head straight to the Louvre.
The school was established in 1648 and includes a complex of four buildings around a courtyard patio dotted with sculptures. Although the school entrance is reserved for students and faculty members only, you can get an organized tour with a guide from the school on Mondays. It is a great and fascinating way to absorb art that’s a little bit different than going to a museum.
Directions: Get off the Metro line 12 at Rue du Bac and continue until you get to Rue de L’ Universite. Turn right until you reach the intersection of Rue Bonaparte. Entrance is at number 14.
Canal Saint Martin: Canal Saint Martin is a combination of the old Paris and the new one. There are many little cafe’s along the canal next to small boutiques and local galleries. In sunny days you can find the local Parisians rolling up their sleeves or pants and getting a sun tan on the sidewalks while having lunch outdoors. The canal was carved out between 1822 and 1825 at the request of Napoleon the first, to provide the people of Paris with drinking water. With time, this canal has become one of the most romantic spots in the city, with planted banks and narrow foot bridges that might remind you how Paris used to be. Don’t miss Pâtisserie de l’Eglise Demoncy, an old pâtisserie opened in 1887, which served few Parisians generations with chocolates, Éclairs and tartlets.
Directions: Get off the Metro line 5, 9, 11 at Republique or 4, 5, 7 at Gare de Lest.
More places worth visiting:
Henri Cartier-Bresson Foundation: A must for those who love photography. Apart from Cartier-Bresson’s exhibit, there are three different changing exhibits throughout the year.
Museum Nissim de Komondo: One of the most luxurious private houses of the early 20th century, it belonged to a Parisian banker who was an avid collector of furniture and artifacts from the 19th century.
Cite Internationale Universitaire: Residence of foreign students, who come to study in Paris, from over 140 countries. Sometimes the dorms are more interesting than the class halls.
Visiting Serge Gainsbourg at Montparnasse old cemetery, eating baguette and French cheese on a bench in Jardin du Luxembourg, the Pantheon, Odeon, The Sorbonne. Chocolate Nutella, Picard frozen food, Diptyque perfume at 34 Bulevard Saint Germain. Running along the seine river, waking up to the sound of bells of the Notre Dame, standing in a long line to get into the Notre Dame. White blue stripped shirt, Taking the Metro instead of the Subway, Climbing to the Montmartre in a late afternoon and watching the sun goes down. Chocolate bliss at Un Dimanche a Paris, Chocolats rive gauche and at Maison Larnicol. Manet exhibit at Musees d’Orsay, Claude Monet village at Giverny, cafe de Flore at St Germain des Pres, getting lost in the little streets of St. Germain des Pres. Eiffel Tower after midnight. Patisserie, Brasserie, standing in line on a Sunday morning outside the local Boulangerie. The mythological store Laduree. Rue de Rivoli, Jardin des Tuileries, designing stores such as Colette and Merci. La Defense. Beautiful boutiques at Rue St. Honore, Lunch at Printemps rooftop, Macarons at Hugo and Victor, Maison de Victor Hugo, Gallery Lafayette shoe searching. Walking around Musee de Louvre, Jewish restaurant at Le Marais. Pink doors at Fauchon, Butter cake in Poilane bakery. Getting the last pair of Pretty Ballerina shoes, getting chocolate ice cream at Ile de la Cite, buying so many soaps of Le Petit Marseillais, Watching the new Woody Allen, “Midnight in Paris” while being in Paris and doing all the above with a charming French Photographer….Priceless!
I think the trigger was the new Woody Allen’s movie I just saw ‘Midnight in Paris’, recognizing some of the places and locations I have just visited on this trip. I love watching movies and recognize the locations, knowing I was actually walking on those streets, eating in that and that restaurant or saw the same views the hero of the movie was looking at. It happens to me a lot when I watch a movie about New York. I remember the first movie I watched on the first Summer I lived in New York, a movie that showed some iconic places and locations on the Upper West side and it made me feel like a REAL New Yorker. I had the same feeling watching ‘Midnight in Paris’ right from the start when Gil (Owen Wilson) and Inez (Rachel McAdams) were standing on a bridge, looking at the water lilies in Claude Monet’s garden in Giverny, a place I have just visited few hours earlier.
I left my heart in Paris… or was it because what the movie said: ‘Paris in the morning is beautiful, Paris in the afternoon is charming, Paris in the evening is enchanting, but Paris after midnight is Magic’
If you happen to be in Portugal during the month of July, I highly recommend not to miss the beautiful city of Tomar and the Feast of the Trays celebrations.
However, there is a catch. The Feast of the Trays, or Festa dos Tabuleiros, is taking place only every four years, and the next time will be in 2019.
I was lucky to experience this beautiful festival this year and learn more about the city’s traditions.
The Tray Festival or the Divine Holy Spirit Festival is one of the most ancient cultural and religious events in Portugal. If you want, you can compare it to Thanksgiving, as both holidays’ origin is in the Harvest. It is a very colourful festival, thanks to the beautiful paper-flowers decorations in the streets of Tomar and the flowers tabuleiro (tray) the girls carry on their heads.
The citizens of Tomar are getting ready for the big celebrations a few months in advance. They spend hundreds of hours making endless number of paper flowers to decorate their streets. The residents of each street are coming up with an idea or a theme or colour, and they work together on creating the decorations for the festival. It was great watching them uniting around these decorations; from young kids to the elderly; They were all motivated to have their street the best it can be. (One of my colleagues was joking and said that this is the time there are no arguments between neighbours… )
But beside the paper decorations, the citizens of Tomar are decorating their terraces with their best colourful blankets. I’ve learned it is a Portuguese tradition (not only in Tomar) to put the best blankets outside the windows, when there is a religious festival or a procession. Most of the time, these blankets are hand made and pass from one generation to another, mostly for these religious holidays.
There are several ceremonies of Festa dos Tabuleiros that are still maintained and kept in Tomar and some, that are slightly changed and adjusted to current days. For example, the Butler procession. Originally, the butler procession was a symbol of wealth and abundance, represented by bulls, or ‘The Holy Spirit Cows’. These bulls were paraded in front of the locals and afterwards were slaughtered and their meat was shared among the crowds. Whether rich or poor. This act was a symbol of brotherhood among the locals. However, since 1966 the act of slaughtering these bulls has been stopped and the meat is obtained from the owners of the Butcher shops to the families who need the most.
The parade is followed and accompanied by the local orchestra players. A great honour is given to the Butler of the parade, the City Mayor and the communities members who are dressed black and white, with a red ribbon around their neck.
The most colourful and beautiful part of the parade is the Partial Parade, followed by the Tray Parade. It is when the girls from the different chosen parishes are carrying flower baskets on their heads and march from a location outside of the city centre and pass by the Nobel Court and City hall, where the Butler of the parade, the City Mayor and the Town Council are sitting and observing the parade.
The girls are the ones who carry the heavy flower baskets, decorated not only with flowers but also with bread loaves, which are later on given to the public.
Every girl is accompanied by a guy, who is not allowed to carry the basket but only there for help and support in case the girl is losing her balance or the basket is falling.
The parade passes through Tomar old town, through the City Hall and ends at the park, where the baskets are nicely put and held before the last parade, taking place on the same evening.
If you have the chance to plan your next trip to Portugal, don’t miss Tomar with its beautiful streets and welcoming people.