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Dreaming of France: 29 Avenue Rapp

Scrolling through my Instagram& finding this image, I’m surprised I haven’t shared this particular French door for Dreaming of France before. 29 Avenue Rapp boasts what might be the most famous door in Paris. It’s definitely one of the most beautiful.

Designed by Jules Lavirotte in 1901 it’s a striking example of Art Nouveau architecture and features the very risque sculpted Adam and Eve above the door. I first saw the building in the movie Gigi as the building where Gigi's Aunt Alicia lives and where Gigi goes for her lessons in how to catch the right man. Preferably someone rich like Gaston.

Naturally when Mark and I visited Paris, we had to pay the building a visit. What struck us about 29 Avenue Rapp was how many people just walk on by, as if were nothing special, just another old stone edifice, the door, just another entry. I think even if I lived on the block, even if I saw the building and its door every single day, I would still have to pause and take it in. Not a whole …

Dreaming of France: The Paris Metro: It's a work out

One thing we noticed while we were in France last month; there are an awful lot of fit people in Paris. An awful lot of fit and trim, sexy and slim, attractive people. 

Casting Call: Slim, attractive French types please line up

I blame it on the Metro. My theory is that all the walking to and from the metro, and especially going up and down the stairs of the Paris Metro system has something to do with it. You see, there are very few elevators and escalators. 

The first metro line was opened in 1900 during the Paris World's Fair at a time when no one really thought about elevators. While the system is not so good in terms of its accessibility to the disabled, it's a built-in exercise regime for everyone else. 

By everyone else, I mean the 4 million plus people who use the Paris metro every day! Parisians walk from work or home to and from the metro, rush up and down those stairs, hurry along the sometimes long and winding passages. I say it must be part of what keeps them all looking so trim and slim. Like the trio of modelicious guys I snapped a furtive photo of below. They just happened to be sitting next to each other at the station, waiting for their train, strangers to each other, oblivious to what an excellent advertisement for the health benefits of using the Paris Metro system they were. Ironic isn't it, that they happen to be sitting in front of a billboard for Heineken? My hunch; the only Heineken beer carbs being consumed would be by the guy standing on the platform to the far right. That, my friends, is the very definition of a beer belly. A votre santé!

A question for Monsieur Millennial, Le Professional and Sportif.
Does taking the stairs chase the pounds away?

My husband and I have a lot of marvelous memories of our trip to France. 
This one? It's all mine.

Connect with Paulita at Dreaming of France where Paulita and her husband are mulling over where to live in France.


  1. Any city where people walk seem to have much fitter people. All those stairs cannot hurt.

    1. Yes, and those of us who live in cities where people don't walk, (like Los Angeles, where I live) have to find a reason to. My husband just asked me where I wanted to walk today! We find lots of errands can be combined with a walk of a few thousand steps towards our 10,000 steps a day goal.

  2. Sim, I agree, but I bet all three of those guys drink beer, or wine at least. While we were in France, I ate more in quantity than I eat at home. I actually walked fewer steps than I usually do at home on many days, yet I managed not to gain any weight. Of course, in Paris, I was exceeding my step count, but I walk a lot at home too. Exercising, especially walking, is great for keeping people slim, but I do think the food in France is healthier. Even the eclair cafe, which I sometimes ate two of each day, didn't add pounds. Now that I'm home, the pounds are creeping back up. I start a diet again today.
    Thanks for playing along with Dreaming of France! Love hearing about your latest trip and seeing the pics. Here’s my Dreaming of France meme

    1. I ate so much delicious and pound packing goodies in Europe but we probably walked twice as much as we do here at home, which at 10,000 steps day is more than most Angelenos do. We probably averaged about 18 to 20,000 steps a day —on our first night in Paris we walked all the way from Blvd Saint Germaine to the Eiffel Tower along the Seine and all that tromping around Pompeii and the Forum added up as well. I'm still slightly puffier than I was when we left! I blame my ancient metabolism not the pain au chocolate and sfogliatella!


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