It would be easy to spend your time in Paris lost in the late-18th and 19th centuries, following in the footsteps of Louis XVII and Marie-Antoinette and the revolutionaries who overthrew them or wandering the boulevards designed by Baron Hausmann. But contemporary Paris has its own charms—and will be today’s focus.
The Frank Gehry-designed Louis Vuitton Foundation
opened at the end of 2014 with a collection that includes works by Michel Basquiat and Jeff Koons as well as site-specific installations by Ellsworth Kelly and Olafur Eliasson.
In the heart of the city, the Institut de Monde Arabe
was conceived by one of France’s most famous architects, Jean Nouvel, with a façade that resembles a screen commonly found in North African and Middle Eastern architecture. The foundation has temporary exhibitions focused on various facets of Islam and Arab life.
Have lunch not far from the Institut at Les Papilles
. This is a true family-style restaurant and just like eating at someone’s home, there’s no menu to choose from and you will be served the same four courses that everyone else gets. Whatever chef Bertrand Bluy chooses to cook each day, however, you can expect dishes that are Michelin-star worthy.
In the afternoon, head to the Cité de la mode et du design
, which opened in 2010 alongside the Seine. The development includes two museums—the Institut Français de la Mode (a fashion museum) and Art Ludique, which focuses on comic books, magna, and animation. It’s your last night in Paris, so celebrate it in style. Perhaps by dining at Jules Verne
, a restaurant located in the Eiffel Tower; enjoying a night at the opera, either at the Palais Garnier
, the famous 19th-century opera house or at the newer Opéra Bastille
; or boarding a bateaux-moche for a cruise along the Seine. The last one may sound like a tourist cliché, but once you see the city’s monuments illuminated at night from the water, you’ll understand the appeal.