Paris

There is never never never enough time to do everything you want to in Paris!  Here are notes from two brief trips with our teens this Spring.

SEE:

  • L’Orangerie – I make a pilgrimage to see the Monets every time I am in Paris
  • Fondacion Louis Vuitton – Frank Gehry building in the Bois de Boulogne. Take a nice stroll on a sunny day through the park – even better if you have a bike!
  • The Catacombs of Paris – Fascinating and absolutely worth a visit, but you need to be able to climb up/down quite a few stairs and walk a bit, and have no fear of bones, or enclosed space, or of being underground.  Definitely definitely book timed skip-the-line tickets – the entrance line is insanely long.  There are greatly reduced rates for kids under 18, but they do not include the audio guide for kids for some reason…DO get the audio guide – is très intéressant!
  • Maison à l’enseigne du faucheur – oldest standing house in Paris. Interesting to walk by – I don’t think you can go inside.
  • Musee Picasso – do not miss this beautiful building and wonderful collection!
  • Carnavalet – Museum featuring 2500 years of Parisian history in beautiful French mansion in the Marais
  • Wall of Love – sweet little park in Montmartre – a great photo op if you’re in the neighborhood
  • Sacré-Cœur – great views of Paris! Cool neighborhood but also very touristy…
  • Yes is touristy but do get on a riverboat at some point – there is the hop on hop off Batobus, some have dinner cruises at night, or grab a 1-hour tour with the Vedettes du Pont Neuf.  All fun…

ON MY TO DO LIST:

  • Check out the Canal St. Martin area with lots of shops and restaurants – hip and fun part of town I have never explored.
  • Take a canal cruise, or rent your own boat (marindeaudouce.fr) on the Canal St. Martin and motor up to the Parc de la Villette which is a giant urban parc with an Imax theater, science museum, concert hall, sculptures, etc.
  • Atelier les Lumiers – immersive art/light show exhibit – you definitely need tickets in advance for this – it sells out.
  • Explore everything at the Jardin des Plantes near the Sorbonne – zoo, botanic gardens, labyrinth, natural history museum, etc.
  • Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain
  • Giacometti Institute – recreation of the artist’s atelier
  • La Grande Epicerie – gourmet heaven
  • Fromagerie Quatrehomme – famous cheese HQ of Paris’ “mistress of cheese” Marie Quatrehomme

EAT:

  • Relais de l’Entrecote – for best steak frites, with several locations around town. No reservations but worth the wait.
  • La Coupole – classic brasserie for oysters, pâté, escargots, etc
  • Le Hangar – tucked into an alley behind the Pompidou Center, you feel you’ve discovered a best-kept secret – delicious French fare (boeuf stroganoff, lentil soup with fois gras) at a great price.
  • 404 – our favorite North African couscous spot, great ambiance!
  • Le Derrière – tucked into a courtyard in the Marais, like a little house behind a private door with outstanding food, and lots of cozy rooms to choose from. David and Siena fell in love with this place – it’s on my go-to list for next time…
  • Bofinger or its sister restaurant Brasserie Jadis – for choucroute garnie
  • L’Affineur Affine – tiny place between Sacre Coeur and the Opera area for awesome cheese plates
  • Les Perches du Chai – lovely breakfast just behind Sacre Coeur – sit in the window for excellent views of the domes.
  • Angelina – classic hot chocolate destination near the Louvre, with branches around Paris including at the Musee du Luxembourg
  • L’éclair de Genie – éclair heaven in the Marais
  • Robert et Louis – Traditional wood-fired steaks in an old Paris tavern atmosphere – one of our favorite spots in Paris
  • Berthillon Glacier – famous ice cream on the Ile Saint-Louis. Fargo says it’s a go for breakfast…  This might be closed because of Notre Dame…
  • Amorino – great little gelato shops all over Paris including in the Tuileries gardens
  • Also recommended: Hardware Society for breakfast near Sacre Coeur

SHOP:

  • Rue Montorgueil – this could also go under the “eat” section.  I really want to just live on this street jammed with amazing cafes, and shops selling cheese, fish, bread, flowers and more.  I have yet to try “L’Escargot” but it’s on my short list…
  • Marais – Just stroll all over – there are so many awesome shops and boutiques throughout the area, but good shopping streets include Rue des Rosiers and Rue Vielle due Temple
  • Kusmi Tea – lovely assortment of herbal and strong Russian teas
  • Annick Goutal – for lovely perfumes and soaps
  • Dehillerin – oldest coolest kitchen shop – awesomeness
  • Galeries Lafayette – terrace has lovely views of Paris and a crazy indoor trampoline under the stained glass dome
  • Marche Aux Fleurs et Aux Oiseaus – on the Île de la Cité
  • Bastille Farmers Market on Sunday and Thursday mornings

READ:  

  • Paris – by Edward Rutherford: Brush up on Parisian history from pre-history through the 20thcentury through super entertaining historical fiction
  • A Moveable Feast, Ernest Hemingway – Memoir of the author’s early days bumming around the city, positively peppered with literary and art world notables of the day.
  • The Sweet Life in Paris, David Liebovitz – Delicious (mis)adventures of an expat pastry chef, and a great guide to yumminess around town.
  • The New Paris: The People, Places & Ideas Fueling a Movement, by Lindsey Tramuta – profiles of a new generation of makers, chefs and young entrepreneurs in Paris
  • Paris by the Book: A Novel,  by Liam Callanan – A possible widow moves to Paris with her daughters, accidentally becomes the proprietor of a bookstore, and discovers the city through her passion for Bemelmans and the Red Balloon. Just read it…
  • Cara Black series of gripping mystery novels featuring inspector Aimée Leduc each set in a different Paris neighborhood.  Start with Murder in the Marais.

WATCH:

  • Some of my favorites: Midnight in Paris, Amelie, Charade, American in Paris, Hugo, Ratatouille, Gigi, The Red Balloon

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Amusez-vous bien!!


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