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Going to Paris is always great but this time the weather was just miserable, only at the end of the day we were able to go out a bit. The sun came up and brightened Notre Dame making for some nice dramatic shots. By the time we got to Notre Dame with the hop on, hop off bus, it was already closed :-(.
The Louvre is at once spectacular and intimidating, and for art novices, the sheer size of its collection may even prove anxiety-inducing. To avoid shuffling through each corridor aimlessly, it's wise to visit armed with an itinerary, 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.
A lazy afternoon picnic quickly became a lazy evening under the Eiffel tower and we were rewarded with this beautiful view. The colours in this photo haven't been manipulated at all - it was really this spectacular. One of my best evenings in Paris.
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.
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.”
There is nearly always a line at Angelina's on Rue de Rivoli, but you don't have to wait to enjoy her luscious pastries, certainly not when the Jardin des Tuileries beckons you from across the street. Step through the crowd, walk about to the glass, pick your fancy and head out to the garden to people watch as you enjoy your patisserie made in heaven!
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
When deciding where to stay on my first two week trip to Paris, I had some very stringent criteria. I wanted the local experience and felt that a flat was more likely to offer that. So I eagerly began my search for something in a very safe and central location. When I spotted such a flat on I'le Saint Loius, I was sold. The island is located in the middle of the Seine and just across the bridge from I'le de la Cite, the very center of Paris. I'le Saint Louis is the perfect location to explore all the wonders of Paris. What I didn't expect was the wonderful small village charm of the island. You can literally find almost everything you need on this tiny piece of real estate. Patisseries, boulangeries and fromageries abound. There are dozens of boutiques, cafes, creperies and bistros. The plethora of ice cream and gelato stores is enough to put one into a diabetic coma. The island even boasts its own exquisite church and the tiny colorful florist shop above. I'le Saint Louis became my home away from home for two glorious weeks, while I lived my Parisian dream. For two weeks I lived among both locals and tourists and came to know the shopkeepers by name. I have no doubt that staying on this little piece of heaven made my trip a more memorable one... It could do the same for you.
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.
These days a lot of the bridges in Paris (and now other cities in Europe) are full of love locks. Some people don't like them. Whether you agree or not they are certainly fun to look at! I prefer studying the ones on Pont des Arts, it is pedestrian bridge without cars and you can take your time. The locks are from all over the world, each one representing someone's love story. It is an absolutely free way to enjoy Paris bridges, the Seine and the celebration of love!
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
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!)
Skiers looking for a pick-me up espresso or a light bite can ski into Le Bar de L’Apogée. Set off the lobby of L’Apogée hotel, the bar has a lunch menu with the requisite burger and club sandwich and side of fries. But it also has more gourmet-minded specials like a prawn salad or lobster club. Post-ski you’ll return to a buzzy atmosphere with a DJ spinning in the middle of the room and barman Akram Rechidov mixing drinks that will instantly thaw any remaining winter chill. Don't miss the signature 1850 cocktail - a mix of scotch whiskey, vermouth, dry amaretto, and banana cream.
We arrived at Mont Saint Michel in the evening after driving half the day with two small kids in the car. I was tired, hungry and yet, when I saw Mont Saint Michel in the gorgeous blue hour light I was in love forever. This is the very first picture I took there and my absolute favorite. I look at it and it always reminds me how seeing it took my stress, tiredness and hunger away. There are a few places in the world that have this power over me. Mont Saint Michel is truly a masterpiece. Walk inside and explore the little shopping street, visit the abbey and see the beautiful Cloister. The few restaurants inside serve very good food and the prices are pretty reasonable. Right now they have some very nice events happening like a night time tour of the abbey and a few concerts. Check out their website and go if you are in the area.
It's certainly pickpocket country around here, but it doesn't make it any less picturesque. The cobbled, hilly backstreets of Montmartre are a great place for a stroll after you visit Sacre Coeur.
Two minutes after I took the obligatory selfie with the Mona Lisa—and ready for lunch—I was focused on sneaking in between people through the halls when a painting of a couple in an embrace stopped me in my hurried tracks. "Come here," I told my boyfriend. "This reminds me of Paolo and Francesca in the fifth canto of Dante's Inferno." As I got closer, I saw two figures staring at the couple. One of them was in red, making it obvious two me that they represented Dante and Virgil, and that the painting was, in fact, a portrayal of the scene from the Divine Comedy. The 77th room of the Denon wing of the first floor of the Louvre made me forget my hunger (not an easy feat) and be newly inspired by the magic of stories in both paintings and books.
A great one hour cruise led by a french tour guide ( tour is in both french and english) takes you to the sights of Paris with the unique perspective from the Seine. This is the third time I've been to Paris and I wish I'd done it sooner!
Located at 37 rue de la Bûcherie, a stone's throw from the Seine, and draped in a long-cast shadow of Notre Dame, is what should be proclaimed one of France's national treasures: the Shakespeare and Company bookstore. This is actually the second site of the original store, which was closed in June of 1940 due to German occupation during the second world war. The location pictured here was opened in 1951 under the name of Le Mistral, but was later changed in honor of the original store that was shuttered years prior. Walk through the green double doors and you will find a world steeped in history and literary greatness. It's sometimes hard to even move around due to the endless stacks of books and shelves teeming with manuscripts that were banged out on ancient typewriters, or possibly carved on clay tablets. The smell of aged parchment wafts through the air, and that fragrance alone makes one reminiscent of a bygone era. My weathered copy of A Moveable Feast was picked up at this very spot, in honor of Hemingway, a frequent visitor of the original shop. Pop in for a minute or stay for hours, Shakespeare welcomes your company.
My check list when traveling to a new city: 1. Taste from the local markets. 2. See the "must see" sights 3. Eat the traditional cuisine. 4. Go to the highest point. Only having four days in Paris, this is the check list I accomplished. 4. Go to the highest point. This is Basilica del Sacro Cuore just above The Dali Museum, Moulin Rouge, and dozen of other attractions. Paying the small price to get to take the journey up small passage ways to the 360-degree view of Paris was nothing. Every shot was gorgeous but nothing as incredible as the Tower Eiffel would have had the impact this photograph does. It inspired me to feel on top of the world.
The Paris café scene has always been compelling, but the actual café (coffee) is often forgettable. That's all changing, thanks to places like Coutume, Kookaboora and Telescope, where obsessive (and often mustachioed) baristas are redefining the French coffee tradition. Using freshly roasted beans and frothy Normandy milk, they're producing delicious fuel for the real raison d'être for any Parisian café—the people watching. Coutume, 47 Rue de Babylone, 33/(0) 1-4551-5047. Kookaboora, 53 Avenue Trudaine, 33/(0) 1-5692-1241. Telescope, 5 rue Villedo. Photo courtesy of Parisbymouth.com.
After you've stopped to enjoy a leisurely lunch at the perfect cafe La Terasse de Pomone (run by the adorable Bernagou Family), be sure to go and watch the colorful spectacle that is sailing in Jardin de Tuileries. Children and adults alike will be smiling as they watch the boats, captured by the wind, head towards the edges of the fountains, in hopes of being within reach of the wooden sticks of their captains. The Tuileries Gardens are a public area located between the Louvre Museum and the Place de la Concorde in the 1st arrondissement of Paris. Dreamed up by Catherine de Medicis in 1564, it finally became a public park after the French Revolution in 1789. You are sure to be walking through the Tuileries on your way to or from the Louvre, Angelina's Cafe, the Orangerie or the Musee d'Orsay. When you see the carts full of the multi-colored boats, make sure you rent one to fully appreciate the beauty of your location.
Of course, no visit to Paris is complete without a visit to the Louvre, Paris' premier art gallery on the Right Bank in the 1st Arrondissement on the Rue de Rivoli. The history of France is displayed before you in every salon or hallway. The museum, a former royal palace, first opened as a museum in 1793 after the French Revolution. The museum opened with about 600 paintings. Today, there are about 30,000 works of art on display. Entrance tickets are about 11 Euros or you enter for free with the Paris Pass. At the desk, pick up the diagram and floor plan to guide you through the Louvre since it is a huge building . When I arrived at the Louvre, where did I go? Naturally, to see Venus de Milo and I waited on line (surprisingly short) to view the famed Mona Lisa (Leonardo da Vinci). She is smaller than you would think but I felt fortunate to see such a valuable and famous piece of art. Both art works were impressive. I was drinking in the history and beauty and I had to see the Louvre. To say I was awed would be an accurate description of my feelings but I had saved the best for last... The Musee d'Orsay was my favorite. The Gare d'Orsay was set to be razed in 1970, when the decision was made to save it for a museum venue. The d'Orsay is the museum of the French Impressionists. Monet, Manet, Renoir, Degas. I walked from one salon to the next spending over two quiet hours surrounded by beauty. Two more sites in Paris you need to visit. Info: www.louvre.fr/en
The most touristy thing I did during two weeks in Paris was queue up at L’As du Fallafel (sic), the Jewish Quarter eatery that’s in all the guidebooks. A Frenchman passing by snorted, “People waiting an hour and a half in line for falafel!” First of all, it’s a half-hour, max. Secondly, the young touts keeping things orderly have a magic ability to put people in a good mood. Now, would I do it more than once per trip? No. To be honest, I think you can find an overstuffed falafel sandwich every bit as good in New York. (Start at Taim, in my old neighborhood of NoLiTa.) But the falafel itself, perfectly moist and with a slightly extra dose of herbs, is hard to beat.
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.
Even though Paris is one of the most visited cities in Europe, it is still possible to feel like you have the place to yourself...that is if you don't mind setting an alarm. Want beautiful tourist free photos of Paris sites like Sacre Coeur - then get up with the sun. I rode the subway to the Montmartre neighborhood as the sun was barely rising. I walked up the hill virtually alone as the sky started to turn golden and suddenly I was at the top all alone, with my beautiful view of Sacre Coeur. I spent the next 3 hours wandering around the Montnartre neighborhood and watched it wake up, yawn, and wipe the sleep out of its eyes. The artists set up their easels, restaurants set out tables, and the streets were deserted. I felt like I saw a very private side of Paris that morning and was able to photograph it in it's solitary moment.
Located in the Notre Dame Cathedral, the South Rose Window is truly a sight to behold. Having survived centuries of damage to its amazing edifice, it stands fully restored today as one of the crowning artistic masterpieces of all time. Sometimes we move too fast in life, so people say to make time to 'stop and smell the roses.' If you happen to be hustling through Paris, I'd suggest you make time to stop and enjoy this particular rose.
My friend, who lives in Paris, told me about this Boulangerie, Du Pain et des Idees, so in my latest visit to Paris in June, I had to go there and try it for myself. We bought cheese in a local outdoor market and then got some bread and cakes and headed for a picnic lunch on one of the benches near Canal St. Martin. If you love boulangeries, don't skip this one. Highly recommended!
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