It would be easy to exhaust yourself in Paris with day time activities but save yourself at least one night for a night stroll around the most beautfiul of cities - the City of Light. Of course the Eiffel Tower is a must but don't miss the Louvre with the incredible jewel of Pei's pyramid lit from below. It is magical- but so are the nightime lights along the river near La Monnaie whose dome dominates the left bank at that point. Stroll a bit further and you get to see Notre Dame - go all the way past the cathedral to the back. At night the flying buttresses that support the cathedral are a dramatic photo opportunity. You can sleep when you get home. Make a memory for life with a nightime walk on an evening in Paris.
Visit Paris, France
There are those who dream about Paris and those who devote their lives to making it a part of their lives. Six years as a local and I can say that my identity is inextricably linked to this place, one of the world's most unequivocally beautiful cities and one of its most storied. It's a hub for hedonists, a wellspring of inspiration for creatives and a haven for history buffs. Get lost, go exploring, eat until your belly hurts and do it all over again.
The Louvre is at once spectacular and intimidating and for art novices, its sheer size and collection may even prove anxiety-inducing. To avoid shuffling through each corridor aimelessly, it's wise to visit armed with an intinerary or even a guide to create a tour according to what you'd most like to see. Thanks to one New York expat, there's now a third option. Daisy de Plume (yes, a pseudonym!), art fanatic and entrepreneur, launched ThatLou (Treasure Hunt at the Louvre) as a way to give purpose to touring the museum (and make it fun!). She runs a hunt open to the general public on the first Sunday of each month and several thematic hunts throughout the month. Beyond its value as a unique way to explore pieces of history, ThatLou is a great way to meet new people. Note: some tours are bilingual, others are all in French. Consult the "Menu of Hunts" for more information!
So, you think you know Paris? There are hundreds of memorable streets and boulevards in the City of Light. But, for my money, Rue Montorgueil is the best. It is compact, only 3 blocks long, with a Metro stop on each end. In between you have dozens of the kinds of places that symbolize Parisian culture: cafes, high end restaurants, cheese shops, chocolate shops, wine stores, patisseries, a couple of neighborhood type groceries, all topped with classic Parisian apartment buildings. And, what makes it even more unique, it is a pedestrian-only street. For my wife and I, who have always stayed in smaller hotels in years past, it was a throwback to the Paris we first saw 40 years ago. In fact, this street is just off Les Halles, where the heartbeat of Paris was once found in the colorful and vibrant market district. The old Les Halles is now gone, moved to the suburbs. But, there are a few places where the old self-contained neighborhoods still exist, and Rue Montorgueil is the finest example. You won't see many tourists with cameras here. Most are a few blocks away at the Pompidou Center or a short metro ride away at the Louvre or Notre Dame. What you will find is Stohers, the oldest Patisserie in France, where baba au rhum was first made, and eclairs that are world famous. And, this is just one of many gourmet surprises. We just spent a week in an apartment on this street, and fell in love with Paris all over again.
Paris is rife with some of the most magnificent spots to watch the sun dip behind the horizon and recently, I discovered that one of the most awe-inspiring among them was at the world's most visited museum. Watch as the Louvre, inside and out, is suffused with golden light and illuminates I.M Pei's glass pyramid.
by Samuel Fromartz “People can either be over-the-top romantic about Paris, or they think life is ridiculous here,” says David Lebovitz. “I try to strike a middle ground.” Lebovitz, an American, worked for 13 years in the pastry department at Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California, then moved to Paris to launch a second career as a writer, blogger, and occasional culinary tour guide. The author of six self-referential cookbooks, Lebovitz most recently published The Sweet Life in Paris, a collection of recipes and stories about life in his adopted city. During a day off from my tour of duty with Arnaud Delmontel (read “Time to Rise“), I wandered through Paris with Lebovitz to pick up some foodie tips. We met at Du Pain et des Idées (34 Rue Yves Toudic, 10th arrondissement, 33/(0) 1-42- 40-44-52), an artisan boulangerie founded by Christophe Vasseur, a fashion executive turned baker. For bread, Lebovitz’s other favorite boulangeries include Eric Kayser (85 Boulevard Malesherbes, 8th arrondissement, 33/(0) 1-45-22-70-30; plus other locations around Paris) and La Boulangerie par Véronique Mauclerc (83 Rue de Crimée, 19th arrondissement, 33/(0) 1-42-40-64-55). As we walked and talked, Lebovitz insisted we stop for an afternoon snack of chouquettes, palm-size cream puffs covered with sugar and baked until brown. We picked up 10 of them, studded with chocolate chips, at the pâtisserie Aux Péchés Normands (9 Rue du Faubourg du Temple, 10th arrondissement, 33/(0) 1-42-08-47-73). When I asked Lebovitz about the most pleasing pastry he’s had lately, he mentioned Alsatian kugelhopf, a semisweet confection somewhere between a cake and a bread, spiked with rum and almonds. It’s available at Vandermeersch (278 Avenue Daumesnil, 12th arrondissement, 33/(0) 1-43-47-21-66). “The only problem is that they just make them on weekends, so I have to wait all week to get one,” he said. And his favorite morning pastry? The bostock, a disk of light almond cake topped with crackly almonds, which Lebovitz picks up at Ladurée (75 Avenue des Champs-Elysées, 8th arrondissement, 33/(0) 1-40-75-08-75). Photographs by Brian Doben. This appeared in the premiere issue, 2009. Read “13 Tips for Visiting a Paris Boulangerie.”
Hold forth with the French about coffee and you'll quickly understand its purpose. It's not meant to be consumed leisurely but rather serves to clean the palate after a hearty meal. They think of it as a digestif which they tend to down in one slurp. It's wincingly acrid and unpleasant, only worth ordering for the accompanying speculoos cookie or chocolate covered almond. For someone as fanatic about quality coffee as me, the java scene was dismal when I arrived 6 years ago. Things improved drastically a few years ago with a couple of roasters diving in to shake things up but it's Télescope, which opened in the spring by Nicolas Clerc and American barista David Flynn a few blocks from the Palais Royal gardens, that peddles what I think are the most expertly prepared artisanal coffee drinks in town. Their claim to fame: filtered coffee. It may look innocuous, even weak, but the strong, rich notes in each cup put the average French brew to shame. It quickly became my weekly hangout. Though the space is small, its affable owners give it heart. They know my drink - a noisette with an occasional iced coffee (filtered!) - and my vacation plans. It's the neighborhood place I always dreamed of frequenting and whether or not it's actually around the corner from you, it merits your time.
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 dish lovers. The store itself is simple in its decoration, but the cracking wooden floor gives a sense of an old haunted vintage place. 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 Astier de Villatte. It's easiest to get here by metro—get off Madeleine station (line.8) and walk toward rue Saint-Honoré.
You'd think that having a Meilleur Ouvrier de France (a prestigious crafstman title) at the helm of a restaurant would imply steep prices but at Semilla, you're in for one of the best meals and best deals. The international influence is strong here, where Ferrandi-trained chefs serve up modern interpretations of classic French dishes in a stunning open kitchen. The crowd is mixed, the service is smooth and attentive and the bread, an important element to any meal in France, is rustic and hearty - baked fresh in the adjacent sandwich shop run by the same owners. But the most unique aspect to the menu at Semilla is the option of half-portions on a selection of dishes. It's tapas with a twist and suitable for all tastes - meat, fish or veggie. The left bank is far more interesting (and delicious) thanks to Semilla. Open 7 days a week. (Be sure to call ahead and don't miss out on the shiitake mushrooms!)
Paris is without question one of the best picnic cities. The only challenge is finding a park or garden that allows you to sit on the grass. To keep the land looking lush and pristine, guards mill about to police picnickers sprawled on off-limits sections (though spaces aren't always well marked). Surprisingly, most of the green space in back of the Louvre/the Musée d'Arts Décoratifs - called the Jardin du Carrousel - is open to all and is one of the most sun-dappled spots in the city during the warmer months.
If you've ever walked along the banks of the river Seine, you've probably seen long green boxes and their vendors plying souvenirs, postcards and a variety of other knick-knacks. But did you know that these Bouquinistes - all 240+ of them - are considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site? Take the time to peruse what they're offering. More than just frivolous trinkets, many of them house collector's items from vintage magazines and stamps to used books, trading cards and old photos (which make for a far more interesting postcard). Stroll the Seine and talk to the vendors - you might just find yourself walking away with a Parisian treasure you'll actually want to hang onto. (Bouquinistes are set up on the right bank from Pont Marie to Quai du Louvre and on the left bank from Quai de la Tournelle to Quai Voltaire)
Booking a room at Le Relais Saint-Germain, managed by the beloved chef Yves Camdeborde, is the only surefire way to score a table at his bistro next door, Le Comptoir. Each hotel room is dedicated to a prominent author who was inspired by Paris, and guests enjoy a satisfying Basque breakfast. You’re also just steps away from L’Avant Comptoir wine bar, Patrick Roger chocolates, and other Saint-Germain food pilgrimage sites. From $344. 9 Carrefour de L’Odéon, 33/(0) 1-4427-0797.
Now you can sample the cuisine of celebrated local chefs by visiting their walk-in wine bars. Braden Perkins eases his elegant culinary style at Verjus’s downstairs bar (47 Rue de Montpensier), where groups share small plates of succulent pork belly and veggie dumplings. This fall, chef Pierre Jancou, shown, reopens Vivant (43 Rue des Petites Écuries). Next door, Vivant Cave will serve charcuterie, daily specials such as rabbit and andouillette, and natural wines. Photo by Marie Hennechart. This appeared in the October 2012 issue.
I arrived in Paris at 6:00 a.m. after a restless, overnight flight from Washington DC with the knowledge that it was still too early to check-in to my hotel room. Weary and fatigued, I left my baggage with the concierge and headed to the l'Orangerie to peacefully ease my way into the day among Monet's giant water lilies. The small museum is an urban oasis located in the Tuileries Gardens across from the Louvre. Its two oval-shaped rooms offer panoramic views of Monet's serene Nymphéas series.The paintings are a part of the structure since the artist had the panels built into the walls. The best time to visit is at opening on weekday mornings. Not only will you avoid noisy school groups, but it's a great time of day to admire the nuances of the abstract paintings changing under natural light.
My friend, who lives in Paris, told me about this Boulangerie, Du Pain et des Idees, so in my latest visit to Paris on June, I had to go there and try out by myself. We bought cheese in a local outdoor market and then got some bread and cakes and headed for a picnic linch on one of the benches near Canal St. Martin. As I love boulangeries, don't skip this one. Highly recommended!
There's the picture-perfect Luxembourg Gardens, the vast Tuileries, the intimate Place des Vosges and the Buttes Chaumont, a local hangout. But for a majestic stroll through history, head to the Palais Royal gardens, a quick walk from the Louvre and the Comédie Française theater. Opened in 1633 following the request of Cardinal de Richelieu, the small park/garden remains open all year round and maintains its royal charm even when its lush sheen lays dormant during the winter. During the warmer months, take a book and relax near the fountain situated in the middle of the gardens. For especially well-heeled travelers, browse the illustrious arcades (with art galleries, antique shops, clothing stores and cafés) surrounding the park.
Lovers from around the world symbolise their everlasting love on Paris's Pont des Arts, located just beside Notre Dame. Padlocks with the names of the lovebirds written on them are affixed to the bridge, and is a cute sight to see while in Ile de Cite, or as I did, from a cruise on the Seine
My wife and two friends were tired of "museums" so they mistakenly decided to go shopping while I went to the Rodin Museum alone. It was breathtaking, the flowers were all in full bloom, the art on displayed inside was rare and beautiful but the sculptures outside were displayed the way art should be seen. Here in three planes is the original design by Eiffel for the Tower, Rodin's Thinker and mid ground with the Eiffel Tower in the back round. The gardens were just perfect and I was sorry for my friends show decided to go into a department store to shop instead.
Prepare yourself o' kitchen warriors, for this restaurant supplier is not for the faint-hearted. Know what you want, wander the towering aisles for hours or flip the massive catalog system found throughout the store. You will be in awe— every variety of pot, pan, spoon, ladle, knife, whisk, terrine, pastry mold, or casserole can be found. The selection of copper ware is stunning... paella pans the size of Texas. Its a fun stop, you're sure to come away with something useful, a wonderful souvenir of France's culinary tradition. 1sr. arrondissement.
Frenchie is nearly impossible to get into, but the wine bar across the street provides a taste of chef Gregory Marchand’s housemade charcuterie and pasta, and small plates such as blackened mackerel and burrata cheese with peaches. 6 Rue du Nil, 33/(0) 1-4039-9619. Photo courtesy of Parisbymouth.com
The great macaron debate may forever wage on but from the first time I tucked into a small box of Pierre Hermé's dimunitive cookies, perfectly crisp on the outside and melt-in-your-mouth soft on the inside, I knew I'd remain loyal to his interpretation. Perhaps best known for his unique flavors - foie gras and chocolate, lemon and fennel, vanilla and basil among many others - it's his Ispahan croissant - with rose almond paste and crushed raspberry flakes - that really keeps me going back.
Yes, Angelina on the Rue de Rivoli (around the Tuileries Garden and the Louvre) is a tourist spot, but it is still one of the BEST places for hot chocolate in Paris. Their menu of pastries and other small dishes are good, but don't miss out on the hot chocolate. It is a fun place to people watch as there is a mixture of tourists, diplomats and government workers as well as grandes dames get their sweet tooth fixes. Sit as table 11 (3rd from the back against the mirror) and you'll sit where Coco Chanel took her hot chocolate nearly every day.
The historic Androuet fromagerie has been sourcing and maturing exceptional cheeses since 1909. Their shop on rue Mouffetard is staffed by friendly English-speakers who will be happy to explain and vacuum-seal your selections, including the utterly charming manager Patrick who grew up on a goat farm. He wrote a book called "Allo les Chèvres!" (Good Morning Goats!) and makes his own fromage fort (strong cheese paste) on site. 134 rue Mouffetard, 33/(0)1-4587-8505. Photo courtesy of Parisbymouth.com
Pont Neuf is the oldest bridge in Paris, contrary to it's name. (Literally, it translates to New Bridge. Neuf in modern French means nine, but in older French it also means new. Nouveau is the translation for new today). During the day, my favourite bridges in Paris are the Pont Des Arts (Lock Bridge) or the Pont Alexandre III, but at night Pont Neuf really comes into it's own. This was taken one evening in my first week in Paris this past Summer. We'd come off a cruise of the Seine and settled on a bank for a few hours, with wine that was cheaper than most water back home and still tasted amazing. Considering this experience cost me all of 49 cents (the wine), I think you'd be mad not to do it at LEAST once while you're in Paris.
It had been years since I last stumbled upon the Passage du Grand Cerf in the 2nd, a long and narrow gallery of creative shops. Though I wasn't the only shopper, part of me felt like I had happened upon an untouched jewel. If I share this spot today it's because I know it will charm those seeking an original memento that lives outside the well-worn Paris souvenir vacuum. Like a much younger version of myself in a candy store, I spun from wall to wall admiring the original posters, prints and greeting cards, wishing I had more free space on my walls to hang something new. Considering my Francophile friend in Brooklyn, I opted instead for a spacious canvas tote painted with an illustration of Paris's 20 arrondissements - the last one in stock. On this particular day, the space glowed for the holiday season, bedecked in warm, yellow twinkle lights, wreaths and garlands. Though filled with last minute shoppers, the only sound to be heard was the clanging of tiny bells hanging from shop doors and the ensuing chorus of "bonnes fêtes" (happy holidays). Outside an antiques shop, vintage ornaments spilled over the edge of old baskets just waiting to be snatched up. I ambled along past card stores and independent clothing boutiques, stopping in my tracks as I arrived in front of L'Illustre Boutique, a charming little shop specialized in limited edition illustrations by French artists.
Shops and bakeries are introducing spruced-up versions of classic Parisian foods. Here are the best addresses to try traditional and eclectic takes on three iconic French treats. 1. CROISSANT The Classic: The flaky pastries from Poilâne are made with rich French butter and fired in a wood-burning oven. 8 Rue du Cherche-Midi, 33/(0) 14-548-4259, poilane.com The Twist: Sadaharu Aoki sweetens his pastry layers with green tea powder. The black sesame éclair is also delicious. 35 Rue de Vaugirard, 33/(0) 14-544-4890, sadaharuaoki.com 2. BAGUETTE The Classic: Sébastien Mauvieux, who supplies President François Hollande with his daily bread, won the honors for best baguette in Paris at this year’s Grand Prix. 159 Rue Ordener, 33/(0) 14-262-7670 The Twist: Baker Gontran Cherrier uses squid ink to turn his baguette black before rolling it in sesame seeds. 22 Rue Caulaincourt, 33/(0) 14-606- 8266, gontrancherrierboulanger.com 3. MACARON The Classic: Ladurée has lured cookie enthusiasts since 1862 with traditional flavors such as chocolate and salted butter caramel. 16 Rue Royale, 33/(0) 14-260-2179, laduree.fr The Twist: Pierre Hermé surprises customers by sneaking asparagus and foie gras flavors into his creations. 72 Rue Bonaparte, 33/(0) 14-354-4777, pierreherme.comIllustration by Michael Hoeweler. This appeared in the October 2012 issue.
Kong restaurant is one of the stylish and trendies places in Paris. Its glass rooftop on the second floor allow the diners to overlook Paris’ lights at night. Very hip and trendy location, which makes the night in Paris very magical. Some of you might recognize the place from one of ‘Sex and the City’ final episodes. Make sure to make reservations for your special night.
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