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Intro | Arriving/Getting Around | Lodging | Eating| Shopping | Museums | Entertainment | Tea| Travel Store

Introduction

Once again I would like to extend a warm welcome to GoingEuro.com. I have included a list of guidebooks; in addition to, restaurants, accommodations and shops that I am partial to along with other web sites I found useful or just interesting.


One of the many things I love about Paris is no matter what time of the year you go there is always something to see or do. In the Spring, there is the Musee Rodin with its beautiful gardens sprinkled with sculptures by the master sculptor Rodin.  In the summer, to cool off you can take a dip in a swimming pool that literally floats on the Seine. In the fall, the Luxembourg Gardens is an ideal place to go on a sunny afternoon with a cool breeze ruffling the leaves on the trees is paradise. During the winter, there are indoor activities such as exploring the  Louvre or the d’Orsay. And of course, no trip to this magical city would be complete without a walk along the Seine with the Louvre behind you walking towards the gothic towers of  Notre Dame. Just be sure to button up if you are taking a stroll along the river in January because it can be quite nippy. However, August can be a bad month because a lot of shops and restaurants close and the heat and humidity. Another bad time (at least for restaurants) is a week or two right after Christmas. People leave the city and go home for the holidays, so some restaurants are closed and do not reopen until around January 7th.

I find having a cell phone is wonderful. I have got to the point where I am not sure what I would do without one. One option especially if you plan to travel to Europe on a fairly regular basis is to purchase an unlocked GSM cell phone. Once you arrive at your destination, you stop in a shop and purchase a  SIM card, pop it into the phone and you are good to go. You will get a different cell phone number, which isn’t really a big deal.  Do a google search for “unlocked GSM cell phones” and you will pull up a number of different companies who sell unlocked GSM phones. Another option is to rent an International cell phone from companies like Cellhire. You will find pricing on their web site. You can shop around to see which option works best for you.

I have a Motorola Atrix Worldphone and my service provider is AT&T. If you have a GSM cell phone, ask your service provider if they are offer International service and if your cell phone is locked or unlocked. If it is locked you cannot switch out the SIM card. If it is unlocked you can go with switching out the SIM card option. One of the reasons I went with  AT&T is they offer International service. Before I go on vacation I call them up or log onto my account and add International service to my phone. I get a plan for texting and data. There isn't a big difference in pricing for voice which is still terribly expensive even with the slight discount if you pick a Global Voice plan. I find texting is much cheaper when I need to contact people who I am traveling with as opposed to calling them. I communicate with people back home via e-mail. One thing to keep in mind, at least with AT&T Wireless the fees for data are pro-rated and based on a month. So if you pick a data plan with 120MB, this is spread over a month and not the time you are on vacation. For example if you were on vacation for 14 days you will not have 120MB if you picked a 120MB plan. You will have whatever the number works out to be over a period of a month. It is based to calculate you data needs on a daily basis to see how much you will need. I find the 300MB plan works well for me. And these days you can usually find either an Internet Caffé or some shop where you can check your e-mail (for a small   fee). Also if you bring your laptop or tablet your hotel might offer wireless Internet or have PC in the lobby guests can use. I try to use free Wifi whenever I can.

Arriving and Getting Around Paris

Probably the quickest and definitely the cheapest way to get from Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airport into Paris is the RER (Regional Express Network) line B. The trip to Gare de Nord takes approximately 40 minutes and to Chatelet-Les Halles about 45 minutes. Paris Airport Shuttle is an alternative to public transportation. They can arrange transport into the city either by shuttle bus or a private car. One of the advantages of using this service over public transportation is you get door-to-door service, but of course the trade off is its more expensive.

Getting around the city is not a problem, Paris has one of the best subway systems in the world in terms of service and cost. The Paris Visite card is a good idea for those who will be using public transportation frequently. Available in 1, 2, 3 or 5 day passes, for use on buses and Metro. Another option is the Carte Orange (weekly or monthly passes are available), valid from Monday-Sunday. The public transportation system is operated by RATP. The web site has an English version for the itinerary planner. If you are leaving from JFK in New York City you can purchase the Paris Visite Pass at the Metropole Facile in Terminal 1. Once you arrive at CDG you can use the pass on the RER. For additional information on the Paris Viste Pass or to purchase online go to

Paris Visite Pass- Metro travel and more  

If you are purchasing individual tickets or a buying a ten pack (Carnet), which is slightly cheaper (a better deal) at one of the automated machines you will need to look for one that accepts cash or go to a window to use an American style credit card. France has switched over to a “chip and pin” type of credit card, so you cannot use your American credit cards in automated machines either on the RATP or the SNCF (suburban and long distance rail systems). The credit card terminals in places such as shops, restaurants and hotels are setup to accept either smart credit cards with a smart chip or magnetic strip. I have never had a problem paying with my credit card in shops or restaurants; however, I always carry enough cash to pay for my purchases just in case there is a problem with my credit card. It is always a good idea to have enough cash on hand just in case. Or inquire beforehand if they accept American style credit cards. From what I have read most banks in the US have no interest at least in the foreseeable future to switch over to the pin and chip type of credit card, even though the rest world is switching over including Mexico and Canada. However, there are a few US banks including JP Morgan Chase offers several credit cards that use smart chip technology and do not charge foreign transaction fees.

Paris Vélib' is a bike sharing program. There is an extensive network of bike pickup and drop off points located throughout the city making this a viable option for getting around the city. Unfortunately the machines require a smart card (pin and chip) credit card. US credits cards generally are the old-fashiond ones with a magnetic strip on the back. However, US travelers can get around this by going online and purchasing a subscription in advance. There are several types including 1 and 7 day ticket and even a yearly subscription. Instead of swiping your credit card when renting a bike you swipe the subscription card. For more information click on the link.

The Pariscope (a weekly guide) is useful for finding out current films, theater, concerts, art exhibitions and so fourth. There is a  section on what’s happening in English. This publication is available at some hotels and newsstands.

Another  source for information and published in English is The Paris Free Voice (published monthly). There is a list of cultural activities for the month. You can purchase the newspaper at bookstores who cater to the ex-pat community such as The Shakespeare and Co in the Latin Quarter or the Village Voice Bookstore in St. Germain-des-Pres. You may also find this publication in cafes and restaurants that are frequented by Americans or Brits.

Time Out has an online city guide for Paris at www.timeout.com/paris/. Under the section called "This Week" there are current listing for events and exhibitions.

If you are planning on going up into the towers of the Cathedrale Notre-Dame be sure to arrive early, the line for this popular attraction can get quite long especially during high season. Entry to the cathedral itself is free, but there is an admission charged for the towers. Well worth the price of admission for the view of Paris and to see the famous gargoyles.

Parisinfo.com is the “official web site of the Paris

Convention and Visitors Bureau” and a good online source to find out what’s going on in Paris

Discover France - Cycling tours and guided walking tours throughout France.

The Original Paris Walks - Offers many walks with a different focus/theme. Their web site lists the walks along descriptions.

Succulent Tours - Two hour guided tours that focus on the culinary aspect of the city. I haven’t gone on a tour myself, but from what I have read on their web site the tours sound pretty interesting. Perhaps on my next trip especially since one of the reasons I go to Paris is for the food. It would be wonderful to have an expert who lives in the city show me around.

Once, after visiting the Carnavalet Museum I stopped in their gift shop and found a book (in English) on the Marais aptly called The Marais - A Historical and Architectural Guide (ISBN: 2-84742-054-1) by Alexandre Gady. Mr. Gady is an instructor at the Sorbonne and holds a doctorate in art history. The book is divided up into 9 different walks that explore the Marais. I found the walks fun and really enjoyed learning a little more about the history and architecture of the area that you normally don’t find in a general guide book. I haven’t come across another book in English that goes into such detail about the history and architecture of the Marais.

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Lodging

The Marais is a fun, vibrant, diverse area. The  narrow streets are filled with  neighborhood bistros, cafes, chic boutiques and museums such as the Musee National Picasso and Musee Carnavalet both of which are housed in beautiful restored palatial townhouses. There are  art galleries and antique shops around the Place des Vosges (the oldest and one of the loveliest squares in Paris). Henri IV developed the area in 17th century and it quickly became popular with the aristocracy who built grand hotels  (townhouses). Many of them survive today as museums, offices and apartments. In the summer the Hôtel d'Albret hosts jazz concerts during the Paris Quartier d’ete Festival. The Place des Vosges is a pleasant place to hang out on a fine afternoon to either relax or read a book. Overall it is a great neighborhood, although there is always a trade off. Due to the area's revitalization over the past 20 years and its popularity some days the throngs of people walking about can be tedious, but what can you do - it's something you except in any large city. By the far the charms of the Marais far out weight any disadvantages.

Hotel de la Bretonnerie is a moderately priced hotel located perfectly pretty much in the center of the Marais making it convenient to get to all the major sights and attractions.. The building dates back to the 17th century and oozes with charm. The rooms (slightly on the small side, but it is Paris and in this price range it is difficult to find large rooms in a central location) are beautifully decorated and  quite comfortable and I had no complaints about the service. They offer breakfast (not included in the price of the room) in the morning in a quaint and cheerful breakfast room. The hotel is located off of Rue des Archives on Rue Ste-Croix de la Bretonnerie. The Louvre is a 10 to 15 minute walk away, Notre Dame and  the Latin Quarter are a 5 to 10 minute walk and the Pompidou about a 5 minute walk away. There are also several metro stops nearby. I chose a charming duplex on the second floor overlooking the Rue Ste-Croix de la Bretonnerie. Usually in the evening before going out to dinner I would open the window and just stand there watching the people walk by. The neighborhood has such a fun and vibrant feel to it. The windows are double glazed to keep out noise. The Rue Ste-Croix de la Bretonnerie is not a major thoroughfare and caters mostly to pedestrian traffic. 

Hotel Saint Paul le Marais near the Place des Vosges is a 3 star hotel. My room was comfortable and decorated nicely (somewhat on the small size), but like I have said before in this price range you probably will not be able to get a bigger room elsewhere in a central location.  The main thing for me is the room is clean and comfortable with a nice bathroom. The hotel staff were friendly and knowledgeable. In the lobby their is a PC to access the Internet and in the rooms you have wireless Internet connection. I had a nice stay and would definitely go back. 

Instead of staying in a hotel on several occasions I have rented apartments. One apartment was located in the northern part of the Marais. It was nice having the extra room. Definitely worth considering if you are staying for a week or more and would like more room and access to a kitchen. Cooking in can save money and shopping at the local fresh markets can be fun. If you are planning on preparing full meals be sure to inquire whether or not the kitchen has a stovetop with oven and set of pots and pans along with utensils.  I booked my first apartment through a company called Paris Marais. I was satisfied with the apartment and the booking company. Vacation In Paris - Holiday Apartment Rentals in based in New Jersey offers a great selection (price range and locations) of apartments in Paris. I rented an apartment through them in the 6th arrondissement near St. Sulpice.

I had afternoon tea at Chez Charlotte in the lovely Hotel des Academies et des Arts Paris near the Jardin du Luxembourg. Modern and chic decor with macaroons to die for. I thought perhaps on my next trip I would stay here so I asked if I could see one of the rooms. I was impressed with the decor and amenities. Be sure to check out their web site under “Special Offers”, they do offer special deals on room rates from time to time. At the very least stop in for afternoon tea. Perhaps after a visit to the Musee Bourdelle or after a stroll in the Jardin du Luxembourg.

When I find a hotel I like, I check on PricelineEurope just to make sure I am getting the best price.

PricelineEurope.com - Discount Hotels in 53 Countries Worldwide

A side note, one of the best and largest open air markets (wonderful selection of produce, cheeses and so fourth) is off the Place de la Bastille on the Boulevard Richard Lenoir. Takes place on Thursdays and Sundays. On Saturday there is an Arts and Crafts Market.

Restaurants

A lot of restaurants are closed either on Sunday or Monday. In some cases on both days. There are some that are open 7 days a week, but many restaurants are small mom and pop operations, which is why they are closed either one or two days a week to give the owners some much needed rest. Lunch is usually served from around 12:00/12:30 to around 2:00/2:30. Restaurants re-open for dinner around 7:30/8:00. Most Parisians seem to eat around 9:00 so if you want to eat with the locales so speak book your table for 8:30 or 9:00. If you would like a lighter meal there are many wonderful little bistros and brasseries where you can have a light, simple and delicious meal. Bistros and brasseries tend to be open on Sundays and Mondays. I like to speak French (I don’t speak very well, but I do my best) when ordering in a restaurant. Even if your French isn't’t perfect, it  goes along way to show respect and the restaurant staff do  appreciate your efforts to speak their language. Always be polite and say “merci beaucoup”. You will need to ask for the check “l'addition, s'il vous plaî”, they will not automatically bring you the check. The French believe you should enjoy the meal. They generally don't rush you. If you have a question or need something a nice little hand gesture and smile will get your waiters attention. And if you do have a problem be patient. It’s difficult sometimes when everyone speaks the same language so it makes it muxh more difficult when you are in a foreign country and not everyone speaks the same language. As the old saying goes “you can attract more bees with honey then you do with vinegar”. Restaurants want you to have good time and do their very best to be accommodating. Of course we do not live in a perfect world so sometimes things do happen. Work with the waiter to solve the problem. I have found negativity only makes the situation worse. A positive and pleasant attitude makes a big difference in a difficult situation.  

A selection of restaurants in Paris. I hope you will enjoy eating at these places as much as I have and that my “dining out” tips are helpful. Bon Appétit!

Louvre and Palais Royal - 1st Arrondissement

La Taverne de l'Arbre Sec,109 Rue Saint-Honoré Tele: 01 40 41 10 36. Nearest metro station: Louvre-Rivoli. Good place to go for something simple like a burger, sandwich or salad. The outdoor terrace is lovely and the inside is your typical Parisian bistro. I stopped in for lunch on a Saturday after seeing a special exhibition at the Louvre. It was wonderful - the streets were free of traffic and it was a bright sunny afternoon.

Le Nemours, 2 Place Colette (Palais Royal) Tele: 01 42 61 34 14. Nearest metro station: Palais Royal - Musee du Louvre. Just off the rue Saint-Honoré near the Louvre this bistro is one the areas best places to go for a sandwich, salad or drinks at one of the tables under the arcade. After visiting the Louvre this is where I usually for for a light lunch. And sometimes in the afternoon if I'm in the area I will stop in for a beer. Inside it's rather tight, so if the weather is good definitely go for one of the tables outside.

The Marias (north Place des Vosges) - 3rd Arrondissement

Le Bar’a Huitres, 33 Boulevard Beaumarchais, 3rd Arris Tele: 01 48 87 98 92. Nearest metro station: Bastille. Seafood restaurant - specialty fresh shellfish. The prices are quite reasonable for fresh seafood. Friendly staff. Reservations advisable.

L’Ambassade d’Auvergne, 22 rue du Grenier-St-Lazare (north of the Pompidou right off of the Rue  Beaubourg), 3rd Tele: 01 42 72 31 22. Nearest metro: Arts et Metiers. Regional Cuisine: Auvergnat. Hearty food and rustic decor. Food is moderately priced with a reasonably priced wine list. Reservations  advisable.

Le Petit Marché, 9 Rue du Béarn Tele: 01 42 72 06 67. Nearest metro station: Chemin Vert. Open late till midnight. A hop, skip and a jump from the Place des Vosges. Contemporary French with Asian influences. Small and cozy. Short menu, but diverse enough to offer something for everyone. One of my favorite restaurants in Paris. Wonderful atmosphere and delicious food.

The Marias (from l'Hotel de Ville to Place des Vosges) and Beaubourg (area around the Pompidou) - 4th Arrondissement

Le Petit Fer à Cheval, 30,rue Vieille-du-Temple Tele: 01 42 72 47 47. Nearest metro station: l'Hotel de Ville or St Paul. When I 've stayed down the street at the Hotel de la Bretonnerie I would come in the mornings for a cappuccino and croissant. Or if I was in the neighborhood in the after I would pop by for a coffee and something light. One of the best places in the Marias for people watching.

Au Bourguignon du Marais 52, rue Francois Miron, 4th Arris Tele: 01 48 87 15 40. Nearest metro station: St. Paul. Moderately priced classic bistro cuisine.

Bistrot de l'Oulette 38, rue des Tournelles, 4th Arris Tele: 01 42 71 43 33. Nearest metro station: Chemin Vert. Small friendly  restaurant specializing in French-Southwestern cuisine. Moderately priced. Reservations advisable. Not far from the Place des Vosges. One of my personal favorites. I've had dinner here quite a few times now including a really special New Year’s Eve in Paris. I've never been disappointed in the food or service.

Le Dome du Marais, 53bis rue des Francs-Bourgeois, 4th Arris. Tele: 01 42 74 54 17. Nearest metro station: Rambuteau. Modern French cuisine using only the freshest (seasonal) ingredients to create imaginative dishes. Pleasant decor (the main dining room has a spectacular octagonal dome). The building was at one time one of the city’s “Official” Pawn Brokers, which explains the large airy banking hall type of dining room. Popular so reservations are a must.

L'Étoile Manquante, 34 rue Vieille du temple Tele: 01 42 72 48 34. Nearest metro station: l'Hotel de Ville or St Paul. Bistro next door to Le Petit Fer à Cheval a good place to go for simple food such as salads, sandwiches and such.

Latin Quater - 5th Arrondissement

Le Reminet 3, rue des Grands Degres, 5th Arris Tele: 01 44 07 04 24. Nearest metro station: Maubert-Mutualite. Charming restaurant not far from Notre Dame. Exceptional service. Great food. Reservations advisable. Moderate - Expensive. Contemporary French cuisine.

St-Germain-de-Pres - 6th Arrondissement

A La Petite Chaise, 36, rue de Grenelle Tele: 01 42 22 13 35, Nearest metro station: Sèvres-Babylone. Serves French classic dishes such as for you main course Mignon de porc grillé à la crème de chèvre (pork), Magret de canard rôti et sa sauce aigre-douce au pain d’épices (duck). Usually there are a grilled fish or two. And of course for starters (just to name two dishes) Poêlon de six escargots de Bourgogne au beurre d’ail anisé (snails) and Foie gras de canard et son chutney de pommes (duck liver). Located on two levels, I sat on the second level in a traditional setting. The restaurants bills itself as one the oldest restaurants in Paris, so the decor is well - old fashioned. Still this doesn't take away from the food or service. Moderate - expensive, but not overly expensive. You are eating in a nice restaurant that serves tasty food made with quality ingredients, so you can't expect rock bottom prices.

Le Comptoir du Relais 9 carrefour de l’Odeon, 6th Arris Tele: 33 1 44 27 07 97. Nearest Metro station: Odeon. Excellent little bistro in the St Germain. Moderately priced given the exceptional food. During the week they offer a changing pre-fix six course tasting menu for dinner that is gastronomical delight. Advanced booking is essential due to the popularity of the restaurant and they only offer one seating for dinner. Plus the fact it's not a large restaurant. For lunch weekday lunch (seating begins at noon) they do not accept reservations so it's first come, first serve. I like to arrive no late than 11:40am or 11:45am. The closer to noon it gets the longer the line gets. If you decide to eat outside the tables are pretty close together (be careful not to eat your neighbors food - it’s very tempting). I like to sit at one of the two end tables they are beside the door into the restaurant. You've more room. I must admit this has become one of my favorite restaurants is Paris. Anytime I visit I at least come for lunch. 

Le Comptoir des Saints Pères, 29 rue des Saints-Pères (corner of rue Joacob, just below Blvd. Saint Germain walking towards the river) Tele: 01 40 20 08 36. Nearest metro station: Rue du Bac. When I rented an apartment not from here on the rue des Saints-Pères I stopped in a few times for coffee and a pastry in the morning before heading off to the d'Orsay or the Louvre.

Huîtrerie Régis, 3 rue de Montfaucon (off of Blvd Saint Germain), 6th Arris Tele: 01 44 41 10 07. Nearest metro station: Mabillon. A reasonable priced oyster bar with an excellent service. Not a lot of tables. Simple decor. Great place to go if you are in the mood for oysters. Popular with both locals and tourists.

L'Epigramme, 9 rue de l'Epheron Tele: 01 44 41 00 09. Nearest metro station: Odeon. I liked the food a lot, but what I didn't like was the cost of an aperitif and bottled water, both of which cost twice as much as it did at a comparable restaurant. And the wine was pricey. I would go back except I would not order an aperitif or bottled water. The food was good and reasonable priced. Terracotta tiles and wood beams made for a warm, inviting and casual setting.

Eiffel Tower to Musee d'Orday - 7th Arrondissement

Le P’tit Troquet 29, rue de l’Exposition, 7th Arris Tele: 01 47 05 80 39. Nearest metro station: Ecole Militairie. Cozy traditional bistro is not far from the Eiffel Tower. Moderately priced.

Restaurant du Musee d'Orsay, 1, rue de Legion d'Honneur (Musee d'Orsay) Tele: 01 45 49 47 03. Nearest metro station: Solférino. Before becoming a museum this part of the building was a hotel. Original the hotel restaurant this opulent and luxurious Beaux-Arts space has been beautifully restored. There is a limited menu with a pre-fix option. You get a glass of wine, main course and dessert for a set-price. Quite reasonable and the food is good. Or you can order a la carte. Just be sure to get there early because it fills up quickly for lunch. One of the best museum restaurants I've been too.

Arc de Triomphe to Palais Garnier (Opera) - 8th Arrondissement

Café Jacquemart André, 158, Blvd. Haussmann Tele: 01 45 62 11 59. Opening times: Monday - Friday from 11.45am to 5.30pm (lunch served from 11.45pm to 3pm and snacks from 3pm to 5.30pm). On Saturday and Sunday a brunch is offered from 11:00am to 3.00pm. During exhibitions the cafe is open until 7:00pm on Mondays. Nearest metro station: Miromesnail. The museum's cafe is the original dinning room when this was a private house. On the walls are five 18th century tapestries woven in Brussels narrating the story of Achilles' adventures during the Trojan wars. And the ceiling painting is by the famous Venetian painter Giambattista Tiepolo. One of the most museum cafes I have ever eaten in. Service and food are wonderful. Limited menu. Prices are reasonable.

Cafe Lenotre, 10 avenue des Champs Elysees (right across from the Grand Palais) Tele: 33 1 42 65 85 10. Nearest metro station: Champs-Élysées – Clemenceau. I've never been for lunch or dinner, but I've stopped by several times for coffee and dessert. On one occasion after a particular long stroll in the afternoon I was in need of a pick me up. I had these marvelous ice cream filled macaroons that were out of this world. One of the best places in Paris to go for pastries. The building was built for the 1900 Universal Exhibition in a rather grand style and setback from the Champs-Elysées in the garden that boarders this stretch of the avenue. There is an outside dining area which I opted for since it was a beautiful Spring day. The sun was out and there was a cool breeze. The perfect day to sit and enjoy a delicious desert and sip a cappuccino. Hopefully on my next trip I can stop by for lunch.

Chez Francis, 7 Place de l'Alma Tele: 1 47 20 86 83. Nearest metro station: Alma - Marceau. I was attending a 8 o'clock concert one evening at the Théâtre des Champs Elysées which is nearby and wanted a place to go for something light near the theater. I have to the say the view from the terrace of the Eiffel Tower is incredible, however, I thought the prices were on the high side. I probably would go back for coffee or drinks, but I'm not sure if I would eat here again. Granted it's an expensive neighborhood to begin with and I don't mind paying more then average for good if the food is more than average, but the food was basic food you find in bistros.

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Museums and Art Exhibitions

I’ve found purchasing tickets for temporary art exhibitions in advance is a good idea. One I went to see the Turner, Whistler, Monet exhibit at the Grand Palais without purchasing a ticket in advance. When I arrived in the morning, I could not get in because the morning was reserved for advanced tickets holders only. The exhibition did not open to the general public until 1:00 pm. It wasn't too bad because it was a bright sunny day, so I decided to go for a walk along the Seine to the Eiffel Tower and walk back through the sides streets between the Palais de Chaillot and the Grand Palais exploring the area.  However when I returned I had to stand in line for about 35 minutes before I actually entered the building. I am sure the exhibition would have been less crowded in the morning because the advanced tickets had a time entry.


For a lot of sightseeing The Paris Museum Pass might be worth considering. Available in 2, 4 or 6 day cards. Some 60 museums and monuments participate including the Arc de Triomphe, Centre Pompidou, Musee d’Orsay, The Louvre, Musee Gustave Moreau and Musee National Moyen Age, just to name a few. Basically for one set price you have access to all these places. Its a good value for those planning on seeing a lot during their stay. The cost to get into museums and other attractions can add up by the end of your vacation. You can purchase the card in a number of places including at the individual museum/monument,  major metro stations and the Ile-de-France Tourist Information Center information desk at the Carousel du Louvre. For more information go to www.intermusees.com (in French and English).


A few museums in Paris that I am particularly fond of:

Centre Georges-Pompidou, Rue St-Martin (4th arrondissement). For opening times click on the link . You will find this information under Practical Information. One of a few museums that stay open late. Nearest metro stations: Hôtel de Ville (lines 1 and 11) and Rambuteau (line 11). Is is a “must see” just for the building itself. The premier venue for contemporary/modern art in Paris. There is also a rooftop restaurant. The view from the terrace towards Basilique du Sacré-Coeur in Montmartre at sunset is especially beautiful.

The Stravinsky Fountain between the Pompidou and St.-Merri church is quite fascinating and highly original. The modern sculptors in the fountain illustrate the works of great composers.

Fondation Le Corbusier - Villa La Roche, 8-10 square du Dr-Blanche, 16th arrondissement. Opening times: Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00am to 6:00pm; Monday from 1:30pm to 6:00pm. and closed on Sunday. Nearest metro station: Jasmin (line 9). The house was built between 1923 - 1925 and was a collaboration between Le Courbusier (Charles Edouard Jeanneret) and his cousin Pierre Jeanneret. A fine architectural example of the modernist movement of the early 20th century.

The Louvre, Rue di Rivoli (1st arrondissement). Nearest metro stations: Palais Royal Musée du Louvre (lines 1 and 7). This is one of the world largest museums with a priceless and diverse collection - from paintings to sculpture to decorative arts. It could literally take days, weeks or even months to really see everything. I like to purchase my ticket (if I don’t go with the Musees et Monuments Card) in advance. You pay a surcharge, but I find its worth it to be able to use the Passage Richelieu entrance. Visitors who do not have advance tickets or membership card must used the Pyramid, Porte des Lions or Galerie du Carrousel entrances. Usually the main entrance (The Pyramid) is long, especially during busy times of the year. Only people with advanced tickets or group tours can use Passage Richelieu entrance. Getting to the museum first thing the morning helps a little to avoid the long lines later in the monring. Some of the rooms are closed on a rotating basis. On my last trip in the Spring I forget to check to see what rooms were closed on the day I was planning on visiting. One of the rooms I especially wanted to visit with paintings of Venice was closed that day, so it’s a good idea to check to see what rooms are closed before your visit if you have your heart set on seeing something particular. The Rough Guide to Paris recommends visiting the popular Denon Wing (this is where the Mona Lisa is located) either Monday or Wednesday in the evening. The museum is open late on these two days. One other thing I would like to mention, you can leave the museum and come back later on that same day. I like spend at least two days visiting the museum and prefer going in the morning. The disadvantage of during this way is the cost of an extra admission ticket, but I tend to get overwhelmed given the size of the museum if I spend too much time there in a single day.

Musée Carnavalet, 23 rue de Sévigné (3rd arrondissement). Opening times: Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00am - 6:00pm. Nearest metro station: St-Paul (line 1). Chronicles the history of Paris from  pre-Roman times to the 20th century. Located in palatial hotel (mansion) in the historic Marais district. The museum hosts temporary exhibitions. There is also a beautiful small garden in the courtyard. Well worth a visit. They have an original  interior of a boutique designed in the Art Nouveau style along with a Art Deco ballroom and a reconstruction of Marcel Proust’s bedroom. Entrance to the museum and core collection is free, but to get into a special exhibition there is a fee.

Musée de la Magie, 11 Rue Saint-Paul (4th arrondissement). Nearest metro station: St-Paul (line 1). A museum dedicated to magic in the Marais is fun and fascinating place to visit for those who are interested in the world of magic and illusions. You can purchase a booklet in English that gives an overview of the collection. The web site is in French.

Musée des Arts et Métiers, 60 rue Réaumur (3rd arrondissement). Opening times: Tuesday and Wednesday from 10:00am - 6:00pm and Friday through Sunday from 10:00am to 9:30pm. Nearest metro station: Arts et Métiers (lines 3 and 11). Created in 1794 by the Abbé Grégoire. The museum houses an impressive collection of technological innovations. Over 3,000 inventions form 7 collections, each divided into 4 times periods. Housed in a former French gothic church and modern building connected to the church. What drew me here is their collection of automata (mechanical self operating machines and toys) from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. These remarkable machines are in perfect working order. Several times a month a restorer demonstrates them, so you can see first hand how these clever little gadgets work. Inquire at the admission desk when you visit or click here for more information on the Automatons' theatre.

Musée Grevin, 10 Boulevard Montmartre (2nd arrondissement). Opening times Mon-Fri 10am–6:30pm Sat-Sun 10am–7pm. Nearest metro stations: Grands Blvd (lines 8 and 9) or Richelieu-Drout (lines 8 and 9). A wax museum. One of the star attractions is the Palais des Mirages (Hall of Mirrors). Created for the Created for the 1900 Universal Exhibition. In 1906 it was and museum and in 2006 it was reopened after extensive restoration with added special effects. Quite a spectacular light and sound show.

Musée Gustave-Moreau, 14 Rue de la Rochefoucauld ( 9th arrondissement). Opening times: Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 10:00am to 12:45pm and from 2:00pm to 5:15pm, Friday through Sunday from 10:00am to 5:15pm and closed on Tuesday. Nearest metro station: Trinité (line 12). Former home and studio of the Symbolist artist  Gustave Moreau. When the artist died in 1898 he left the house and its contents to the nation with instructions that nothing was to be altered. What you see today is pretty much the way he left it (including unfinished works of art) when he died over 100 years ago. I find museums like this especially interesting because you get to see how the artist lived, works and perhaps what inspired them.

Musée Jacquemart-Andre, 158 Boulevard Haussmann (8th arrondissement). Opening times: Monday through Sunday from 10:00am to 6:00pm. Nearest metro stations: Miromesnil (lines 9 and 13) or St-Philippe du-Roule (line 9). Is a small delightful museum just south of the beautiful Parc Monceau, especially pleasant in late Spring and not from the Arc de Triomphe. Proust lived nearby. Originally this opulent townhouse off of the Boulevard Haussmann was the home of husband and wife art collectors Edouard Andre and Nelie Jacquemart. They spent a good deal of time traveling and purchasing art work for their Parisian home. Today you see the impressive collection they assembled over their respective lifetimes. There are Italian paintings, sculptures and architectural fragments from the Renaissance along Flemish and Dutch paintings. Not too mention an incredible assortment of French paintings, furniture and objet d’art from the 18th century. Definitely worth a visit. The museum’s cafe is the original dining room. You can enjoy a superb lunch (the food really is quite good) under a beautiful  trompe l’oeil ceiling by Giambattista Tiepolo and surrounded by five exquisite tapestries woven in Brussels in the 18th century that narrate Achilles’ deeds during the Trojan war. Included in admission is an audio guide. The collection was impressive along with house especially the Winter Garden and the Grand Staircase, which took my breath away. It took me a couple hours to see everything.

Musée National du Moyen Age, pl Paul-Painlevé (5th arrondissement). Opening times: Monday, Wednesday through Sunday from 9:15am to 5:45pm and closed on Tuesday. Nearest metro station: Cluny La Sorbonne (line 10). Houses a collection of medieval artifacts and the beautiful “Lady and the Unicorn” tapestry  cycle. They are 15th century Flemish mille-fluers tapestries and are exquisite. Rich with color and flower and animal imagery. The building itself is perfect for housing the collection because it was originally the home of the medieval abbots of Cluny. The remains of an ancient Roman Bath have been incorporated into the museum.

Musée de l’Orangerie, in the Jardin des Tuileries (1st arrondissement). Opening times: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday from 12:30pm to 7:00pm and on Friday from 12:30pm to 9:00pm. Nearest metro station: Concorde (lines 1, 8 and 12). Is home to Monet’s Water Lilies. In addition to the water lilies there is an permanent collection on the lower level from the private collections of Paul Guillaume and Jean Walter. The collections includes works by Picasso, Modigliani, Matisse and other great painters of the 20th century. Definitely worth a visit and quite popular so try and arrive early.

Musée d’Orsav, 5 Quai Anatole France (7th arrondissement). Opening times: Tuesday through Wednesday, Friday through Sunday from 9:30am to 6:00pm; on Thursday from 9:30am–9:45pm and closed on Monday. Nearest metro station: Solférino (line 12). Is one of the most the loveliest  museums in the world and definitely warrants a visit. The collection covers works of art (painting, sculpture, furniture etc.) created between 1848 to 1914 including an impressive collection of Art Nouveau furniture and objet d’ art. The building is a former railway station; the vast train shed is ideal for displaying works of art especially sculpture. As with the Louvre, the d’Orsay is popular, so its best to arrive early. On the 2nd floor there is an elegant restaurant. The food is quite good and the cost for my lunch was 16.50 Euros for a main course and desert, which I thought was reasonable given the food and service. Even with a glass of wine and coffee lunch was still within reason. For more information on restaurant click on “Services” on the web site. After spending a couple of hours walking around the museum it’s nice to be able to sit down in a elegant setting and really enjoy a nice lunch and not have to rush about looking for a restaurant. I arrive around and got a table right away, but I did notice after a while there was line with people waiting for a table. I believe the restaurant 2:00 or 3:00 so it is best to arrive early. The web site has photos of the restaurant along with  pricing and hours. If you are in the mood for a light lunch (a few minutes walk away) is Maison Kayser at 18 rue du Bac, a bakery/bar that serves delicious tartines (open sandwiches). They offer something like 15 or 20 different kinds of tartines using a variety of different types of bread. Believe me the sandwiches are heavenly. When you exit the museum turn left and walk to rue de Lille (it runs behind the museum), make another left, walk until you come to rue du Bac and make a right. A good deal if you are planning on visiting both the d’Orsay and the Rodin Museum is to purchase a combination ticket. You save a few Euros.  The only thing is you have to visit both museums on the same day, which is doable. They also offer a combination ticket for the d’Orsay and the Musee de l’Orangerie. Once again you do save a couple of Euros. You might as well take advantage of as many deals as you can. As they say, a penny saved is a penny earned.

Musée Picasso, 5 rue de Thorigny (3rd arrondissement). Opening times: currently closed for renovation until summer of 2013. Nearest metro stations: St. Paul (line 1) or Chemin Vert (line 8). Housed in the Hôtel Salé in rue de Thorigny and along with the Musee Carnavalet are housed in palatial hotels (townhouses) in the Marais. These grand homes were built by the rich merchants and the aristocracy back in the 17th century. However,  in no time at all the area became unfashionable and everyone fled to more fashionable accommodations elsewhere in the city. Today many of the grand residences have been restored and converted into museums, offices and apartments. The Musee Picasso is one of these townhouses. The collection includes paintings, sculptures and drawings.

Musée Nissim de Camondo, 63 Rue de Monceau (8th arrondissement). Opening times: Wednesday to Sun from 10:00am to 5:00pm and closed Monday and Tuesday. Nearest metro stations: Villiers (line 2 and 3) or Monceau (line 2). The luxurious townhouse that the museums occupies was built in the early 20th century by Moise de Camondo for his collection of mostly 18th century art, tapestries, furniture and objets d’art. The perfect setting to display this well represented collection of art. No expense was spared to build this grand and palatial residence. The garden backs onto the Parc de Monceau. Museums like this fascinate me because usually they are left as if the owner had just stepped out for a moment. Even if 18th century decorative arts are not your cup of tea, you may still find this museum interesting in that it displays how a wealthy Parisian family lived at the turn of the century. If the weather a stroll through the Parc de Monceau is always pleasant and quite enjoyable.

Musée Rodin, 79 Rue de Varenne (7th arrondissement). Opening times: Tuesday, Thursday to Sunday from 10:00am to 5:15pm; Wednesday from 10:00am to 8:45pm and closed on Monday. Nearest metro station: Varenne (line 12). Even if you are not a fan of sculptor this is still a great place to visit especially in Spring or early Summer when the garden is in bloom. It's the perfect setting for some of Rodin’s most famous sculptors including The Kiss, The Thinker and The Burghers. Perhaps after your visit you will come away with a new appreciation of Rodin’s work. Of course the best time to visit is in Spring and Summer when the flower beds are filled with flowers. I could spend hours just wondering around the garden. It’s also nice to just sit down for awhile and take out a book and read. Below is a photo of part of the garden taken from the window on the 2nd floor of the house. The gardens extend all around the house.

Musée Bourdelle, 18 Rue Antoine Bourdelle (15th arrondissement). Opening times: Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00am to 6:00pm and closed on Monday. Nearest metro station: Montparnasse — Bienvenüe (transfer hub for lines 4, 6, 12 and 13) or Falguière (line 12). Former home and studio of the sculptor Antoine Bourdelle’s. He was a pupil of Rodin who later went on to become a famous artist in his own right. He was the one who sculpted the beautiful frieze for the Theatre des Champ Elysees. One of the loveliest Art Nouveau theaters in the world. If you have a chance you should see a performance, but be sure to book well in advance because performances sell out quickly. However, getting back to the Musee Bourdelle. I am one of those people who really enjoy seeing were an artist worked or lived. I find it fascinating. On display are some of Bourdelle’s creations including a rather large man on a horse in the back garden. The sculptor is massive. The museum is a little out of the way, but well worth the trek. Below is one of Bourdelle’s sculptors called “The Archer”. There is another copy of this particular sculpture in Rome at the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna. One last thing admission to the museum is free except for special exhibitions.

There are a number of venues that host temporary art exhibitions including the The Grand Palais or to use its full name, The Grand Palais des Champs-Elysées (8th arrondissement), nearest metro station: .Champs-Élysées – Clemenceau (lines 1 and 13). Entrance to the galeries nationales is located on Avenue du Général Eisenhower. The Musée National du Luxembourg, 19 Rue de Vaugirard (5th arrondissement), nearest metro station: St. Sulpice (line 4), is another venue for temporary exhibitions.. Check out their respective web sites for a schedule of current and upcoming exhibitions or to purchase tickets.

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Gardens

Le Jardin des Serres d'Auteuil, 3 avenue de la Porte d'Auteil (16th Arrondissement ) . Nearst metro station: Porte d'Auteuil. Opening times: In Summer from 10:00am - 6:00pm and in Winter from 10:00am - 5:00pm. The 19th century Palm House and hothouses can be visited year round and contain a fine collection of plants. Floral exhibitions are held in Spring when azaleas are in bloom and in the Fall when chrysanthemums are in bloom.

The Jardin du Luxembourg, located in the 6th arrondissement behind the French Senate. There is a large artificial basin where you can play with your boat, if you happen to have one. There are over a hundred statues, monuments, and fountains, dotted around the park. Including a series of historical French queens and female saints that surround the central green space where chairs are placed for people to sit, relax, read or even have lunch. This series of statues were commissioned by Louis-Philippe in 1848 to commemorate past queens of France and include Jeanne III of Navarre, Blanche of Castile, Anne of Austria, and Anne of France. Nearby is the Medici fountain. Built around 1630 by Marie de' Medici, the widow of King Henry IV of France and regent of King Louis XIII of France. The Palais du Luxembourg would have been her home, but her son exiled her from France before it was finished. Several times Marie tried to overthrow her own son. Finally he kicked her out of France. There was no loss between mother and son in this relationship, but there play for power and for the throne of France does make for some fascinating reading. There are courts for playing boules and tennis. You can rent a toy sail boat and push it about the octagonal Grand basin.

Jardin du Luxemburgh

Parc du Bagatelle is one of the lovliest gardens in Paris. I discovered it by chance after having a picnic near the lake in the Boise de Bologne. I decided to take a stroll after I finished eating. I'm not sure one should call it a stroll though- more like a hike. If you look on a map and see the position of the lake relative to the garden you will see what I mean. However, eventually I found the gardens where I preceded to the nearest bench. It was beginning of May, many of the flowers were in full bloom except sadly the roses, however, eventually I saw those as well when I came back to Paris beginning of June. There are actually four gardens including the rose garden. The other three are an iris garden, flowered kitchen garden and a garden of perennials. There is also an Orangerie near the rose garden where concerts are held in the summer. Click on the link for more information. I am not sure when they will put up the concert information for summer 2013. I have included a few of photos that I took to give you an idea of the beauty of the gardens. Now getting there is not too difficult, but you do have to take public transportation and well worth the effort. The Bois de Boulogne is a large park and the gardens are located on the far side away from central Paris. Take the Metro (Line 1) in the direction of La Défense. Get off at Pont de Neuilly stop, walk to south side of circle and turn down the ave. de Madrid. You will see the bus stop on the west side of the street or on your right if you are walking towards the ave. Take bus #43. The other option is to take Metro (line 1) to Porte Maillot (two stops before Pnt de Neuilly) and take bus #244, but I think it's easier to go Pont de Neuilly and take the bus from there. Porte Maillot is a massive tangle of intersecting roads. Totally insane. You take your life in your hands trying to navigate through this area. Much easier to go to the Pont de Neuilly stop. If have questions about Paris bus routes, click on the link below.

Interactive Paris Bus Map

Parc du Bagatelle Paris Rose Garden

Paris Rose Garden 2Paris Orangerie

 

Entertainment

Paris does not lack in the area of performing arts, from theater to opera to dance to concerts to jazz clubs. There is something for everyone. Most of the theater performances are in French, but there are a few theater companies that perform in English. However, if you don’t feel your French is up to it you can always attend a concert.  Two well regarded orchestras are the Orchestre National de France conducted by world renowned conductor Kurt Mauser and the Ensemble Orchestral de Paris. One of the most beautiful concert halls in Paris is the Chatelet - Theatre Musical de Paris. The performance schedule is posted on their web site (in French only). The Orchestre de Paris perform at the historic and recently restored Salle Pleyel. The web site has an English version. Opera and dance performances  are held at the Opera-Bastille and the Palais Garnier respectively.  You can purchase tickets online and the web site has an English version. Most operas are now performed at the modern Opera-Bastille, while the Palais Garnier is used for dance performances. Instead of going on a guided tour of the Palais Garnier, I feel it’s more fun to attend a performance in the evening. A guided tour in the daytime doesn't have the same ambiance as attending a performance in the evening. Yes, you get to see the interior of the  building, but the tour lacks the fun and excitement of a night out and  the opportunity to stroll around the Grand  Foyer and the beautiful reception rooms with a glass of champagne in your hand during intermission. You might say one of those once in a lifetime experiences. A fun thing to do after dinner is to go  to one of the many jazz clubs.  Two of my favorite clubs are Le New Morning,  7-9 rue des Petites-Ecuries, Tele: 01 45 23 51 41 and Les 7 Lezards 10 rue des Rosiers 01 48 87 08 97. If you understand French reasonably well and are in the mood a night of eating , drinking and laughter there is the Le Lapin Agile in Montmartre.  Or you can see a film at one of the many cinemas. The French love film, so there is no paucity of cinemas. Some of which are grand Art Deco palaces.

Eglise St-Sulpice has one of the largest organs in Paris and one of the best sounding. You can attend free organ recitals.  For a schedule of the recitals click on the link. If you have the time definitely worth going to see the organ and attend a recital. While you are there be sure to stop for a look at Delacroix’s Heliodorus Chased from the Temple, St. Michael Killing the Dragon and Jacob’s Fight with the Angle. Delacroix in his final years and in poor health moved to his final apartment/studio (now a museum) off the Rue de l’Abbaye to be near St-Sulpice in order to complete these paintings.

This was just a small sampling of things to do in Paris. Pariscope (there is a section in English) has a more complete listing of what’s happening (concerts, film, theater etc.). You will find this publication at most hotels. If the hotel does not have a copy try the local  newsstand. The Time Out Paris’ Arts & Entertainment section as extensive listing of venues for Classical music (concerts, opera) and for Popular music (Rock, Blues, and Jazz).  

Virgin Megastore, 52/60 Champs-Elysées (8th arrondissement) - tickets for concerts that take places in churches l St. Sulpice Church can be bought at the ticket counter located inside this store. You can also just pop in to inquire about what's going on concert wise while you are in Paris. I attended a concert of Dvořák's Requiem at Sr. Sulpice. I found out about the concert after spotting a poster. I picked up the tickets at the Virgin Megastore.

Saunas and Spas

I find relaxing in a steam room and getting a good massage at least once during the trip really helps to re-energize especially after doing a lot of sightseeing. Sometimes you tense up due to all the excitement or you just do too much and need to unwind a bit. There are two places in Paris that I find do the trick.

Les Bains du Marias, 31-33 rue des Blancs-Monteaux, 4th arrondissment Tele: 01 44 61 02 02. Nearest metro station: St. Paul. Full service spa in the heart of the Marais. You can lounge about sipping mint and reading a newspaper. Relax in the steam room or get a message. For atmosphere I prefer the hammam at the mosquée, however, I have no complaints with this one. Check the website for the latest information on opening times. There are certain days/ times for men and certain days/times for women. There are also mixed days/times. Men only on Thursday and Friday. Mixed (men and women) .

Hammam de la Grande Mosquée, 1 pl du Puits-de-l'Ermite. 5th arrondissement. Nearest metro station: Censier Daubenton. Men and women have separate days. And no there are no mixed days. Click on the link for days and opening times. For atmosphere this wins hands down. It's a beautiful hammam. You have tea in the courtyard. And the massages are pretty good.

Shopping

BHV Homme (Men's) is located at 36 rue de la Verrerie behind the main building on rue de Rivolo across from the Hôtel de Ville (city hall). One of my favorite places to go for clothes. Excellent selection and the prices aren't too bad. You can find some great bargains.

Le Petit Marche, 2 rue Chomel, (6th arrondissment) is a small grocery store where you can pick up basic food items such as milk, yogurt, juice, coffee and so on. I discovered it while renting an apartment nearby on the rue des Saints Pères. The small street is between rue de Babylone and Blvd. Raspail. Convenient if you are staying in the area and need a place to purchase your basics.

La Grande Epicerie de Paris, 38 Rue de Sèvres (). Nearest metro station: Sèvres - Babylone (Lines 10 & 12). Once I decided to go on a picnic in the Boise de Boulogne. Being May 1st (a national holiday in France) many of the museums and other attractions were closed so I thought why not go on a picnic. I had never been to the Boise de Boulogne before. The day before I stopped by La Grande Epicerie Paris, part of the Le Bon Marche department store in the 6th arrondissement for most of what I needed including wine, cheese, sausage, and fruit. For fresh baked bread I decided to stop at a small local bakery near my hotel in the Marais. If I would have been staying in the area I probably would have got my bread from Boulangerie Poilâne at 8 Rue du Cherche-Midi which is only a few blocks west of Le Bon Marche. They have incredible bread. However, getting back to my story. For eating utensils and perhaps most importantly wine glasses and a corkscrew I stopped by the BHV department store on the rue de Rivoli. Once I gathered together all my picnic supplies I headed off for the park around 11:00. After exploring the Boise de Boulogne looking for a good spot to settle down, I eventually decided on a lovely spot near the lake. A few other people had the same idea as mine. I couldn't ask for finer weather - warm and sunny.

Mephisto Shoes, 78 Rue des Saints-Pères (near intersection with rue de Sevres) in St Germain des Pres (6th arrondissement). I have been buying and wearing these shoes for years. They are by the far the best and most comfortable for walking. True they aren't cheap, but worth every penny. You can't put a price on good shoes for your feet. In the long run (health wise) you are better off wearing good shoes. I find it's cheaper to buy them in France instead of in the US.

During the Christmas holiday season the large department stores Galeries Lafayette and Printemps put on quite a show with holiday lights and window displays. Near the Palais Garnier (the old opera house) a visit to Paris during the festive season would not be complete with an evening visit to one of both of the department stores. Below is a photo I took of the beautiful stained glass dome in the Galeries Lafayette. Other times of the year it is fun to visit as well especially the Galeries Lafayette's gourmet food department. A perfect place to find a gift for a foodie friend or relative or even better - a special gift for yourself.

If you are like me and drink tea, one of my best shops to go for an excellent selection of teas is Mariage Freres on the rue du Bourg-Tibourg in the Marais. One of the oldest tea shops in Paris and by far offers one the largest selection of teas in Paris. Upstairs there is a quaint little museum devoted to tea. And in the back on the ground floor there is a wonderfully tea saloon decorated in the Neoclassical style. With the exchange rate these days it can be a little on the pricey side, but you are on vacation so you might has well indulge in some scrumptious pastries along with their delicious tea after a day of sightseeing. For exquisite chocolate head to De Neuville Chocolates. They have several locations around Paris including one in the Marais (36 rue Vieile-du-Temple) and another location on St. Louis at 63 rue St-Luis-en-l’lle.

Ladurée Paris has the most scrumptious macaroons at their takeaway counter and quite reasonable I might add. You can either enjoy them in their opulent and gorgeous restaurant on the Avenue Champs Elysées or purchase them along with other delicious pastries and other goodies in their shop. Everyone has heard of Berthillon’s, 31 Rue Saint-Louis en l'Île on the Ile St-Louis is famous gelato. In the summer the line get be quite long, but the good news is their gelatos are available at cafes around Paris. I enjoy their gelato; however, there are a couple of other places in the Marais that serve excellent gelato. One in particular, Amorino at 31 rue Vieille du Temple (right across the street is one my favorite places to stop in for coffee and a croissant in the morning, Le Petit Fer à Cheval) and the other place in the Marais that has fabulous gelato is right around the corner at 39 Rue du Roi de Sicile called Pozzetto. Nothing beats gelato on a beautiful Spring day or in the summer after wondering around Paris on a hot day.

For the best foie gras head to La Petite Scierie, 60 Rue Saint Louis Ile St. Louis. Owned by a couple who own a small farm in Burgundy. Catherine minds the shop in Paris while her husband, Paul runs the farm. You can sample the foie gras before buying. They also sell an excellent wine, Coteaux du Layon that goes quite well with the foie gras. Across the street at #51 is L'epicerie where you will find artisanal mustards and jams.

Marché aux Puces St-Ouen de Clignancourt - Ave de la Porte de Clignancourt, 18th arrondissement. Nearest metro station: : Porte de Clignancourt (line 4). The largest of the Parisian flea markets with over 2,500 vendors. You can find practically anything imaginable for sale. If you don’t have a lot of time to visit all the markets scattered around Paris, this is probably the best market to visit due to the variety of goods for sale. Open Saturday - Monday from (official hours) 7:00am to 7:30 pm. Not all stalls open early or stay open late so there really is no need to wake up at the crack of dawn. People advise arriving early to get the best deals and I partly agree with this statement, but at the same time it’s difficult to find really great deals because dealers with their extensive knowledge tend to snap things up before the causal shopper has an opportunity to do so. If you are on holiday and only interested in picking up a little souvenir, I don’t see a reason to get up too early. You are on vacation and basically just want to experience a French market that is unique. If you happen to find something interesting even better. That being said you might find the best bargains on Monday, since the sellers want to unload as much stuff as they can before the next market. The downside is of course Saturday and Sunday are the busiest days, so people have had the weekend to pick over the goods. My general feeling is you can always haggle over price even if your French isn't fluent. And generally people will accept a reasonable offer. So go on the weekend for the best selection.

 

Sainte Chapelle
View from Louvre