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A good (half) day in Paris.

My friend is on an epic seven-week honeymoon and will soon arrive in Paris. I've promised to share some recommendations for her visit, and figured I would deposit them here. Easier for adding links and maps and photos. Feel free to tell me your favorite unusual Paris places in the comments. 

There's so much to see in Paris, but like any city with too much to see, it's easy to only go in search of landmarks. It's good to have a day for strolling, pausing, quiet museums, and for just sitting to take in the mood. I think this is a nice itinerary for that.

1. If you are going to follow this itinerary on a weekend, start with an early visit to the Portes de Vanves weekend market (Avenue Marc Sangnier, 75014 Paris, France). Paris has giant, epic permanent flea markets (worth visiting), but this is a small kind of bric-a-brac, outside the pretty-pretty Paris center and closer to real Parisian life. At this market you can usually find something small to take home... silverware, small prints or paintings... that sort of thing. If you are lucky, a jolly bearded man will be there jamming away on his not-quite-tuned piano. If you're not into flea markets/interesting junk/antiques, skip this. If you like looking for buried treasure, this is a favorite stop. Weekends only and usually closes down around 1:30pm or 2:00, I think.

2. Next, Uber to Musee Bourdelle. Bourdelle was a sculptor who trained under Rodin. What makes this an unmissable stop, in my mind, is that this was his actual studio. The building now contains a small museum, but his old workroom with gorgeous herringbone wood floors and plaster displays on the walls is set up as he had it. It's a very romantic, evocative space. There's a small door toward the back of this studio... continue through to see a little video and display of his tools. You can also exit the door to see more sculpture displayed all along the long interior courtyard. Unlike the Louvre or the Musee d'Orsay, this place is less about the art specifically, and more about soaking up the atmosphere of art-making itself. I love this place.

3. Musee Zadkine. Is it too much to visit two artists' studios back-to-back? I don't think so. I really love this museum, too. You don't need much time here. It's really just a wonderful place to stop for 20 minutes of atmosphere. Zadkine's work is displayed inside and in the courtyard. It's very atmospheric. Admission is usually free unless there is a special exhibition on.

3. Now take a walk toward Judy. You're actually on your way to Jardin du Luxembourg, but you're going to stop at Judy for brunch if you're hungry. It's painfully Instagrammable, but I am a sucker for that yellow striped awning.

4. Luxembourg Garden. Here you are, in this fantastic garden. You'll see garden maps posted so that you can get your bearings. From this entrance, you might see men playing boules right away. Keep walking toward the center of the garden, to the pond. Kids will probably be pushing their boats in the water with a stick, hoping the wind will carry their little ships to the other side.

5. Keep walking toward the Medici Fountain. It's pretty. To your left is one of the gates.. this one takes you to the street, and another left will take you down the street to the museum.

6. Luxembourg Museum. Google to see what's on. It's a small museum but sometimes has good exhibitions. It might be worth a stop.

7. Cross the street to Astier de Villatte. These two friends have been making their pottery (with their team of Paris-based Tibetan artisans) for about 20 years. This is an especially pretty shop. Everything is expensive! Well, mostly everything. They usually stock little notebooks and pens and pencils. My favorite are the stubby pencils that look like cigarettes. They bring me inexplicable joy. More tiny treasures at the cash wrap, too. This is an adorable video about Astier de Villatte and I watch it every time I start to miss Paris.

8. Epic mural of a poem. Back up and head to the street you just came from... now go over one block. You're looking for a street called Rue Ferou. "One of France's greatest poets, Arthur Rimbaud, is immortalized on the streets of St. Germain des Pres. His 100-line verse poem, Le Bateau Ivre (The Drunken Boat) has been hand-painted on a wall off of St. Sulpice. Rimbaud was a mere sixteen when he wrote the poem in a letter he sent to poet Paul Verlaine, who later became his lover." It's a great photo op on a quiet little street. 

9. Keep heading down this street and you will arrive at Saint-Suplice church. Inside to the right are frescos by Eugene Delacroix. "It is the second largest church in Paris, behind Notre Dame Cathedral, and features rows of arched windows alongs its nave that help bathe the interior space with light. The main artistic attractions within the church are its frescoes. Painted by Eugène Delacroix, these paintings are not original to the church and were added as part of a restoration effort after Saint Sulpice was damaged in the French Revolution. The two most famous frescoes are both located in the Chapelle des Anges (Chapel of Angels). The first depicts Jacob wrestling with an angel, while the second illustrates Heliodorus being driven from the temple."

10. If you want to enjoy a classic Paris cafe, two of the most iconic are a short walk away, Les Deux Magots and Cafe de Flore. I haven't been to either. I am always drawn to the red awnings of nearby Le Bonaparte. The food is just okay. I usually just sit outside and have coffee.

11. Nearby is the Assouline bookstore. It's good for a 5 minute perusal. It's nice inside.

12. Next, if you want to go to a small but lovely little museum with a pretty courtyard, you can visit Musee Delacroix. This isn't an essential stop, and as I recall, I don't think there are English explanations for any of the displayed items and art. It's really a pit-stop for atmosphere and if you're a fan of Delacroix.

13. Backtrack to Rue Bonaparte, the main street you were just on. Now you're going to keep walking toward the river. You will pass Lauduree, so if you want coffee or tea or the iconic macarons, here's your chance.

14. Continue to Buly, a beautiful shop where you will want to buy All The Things. They sell soap, toothpaste, shampoos, combs, etc etc. I'm in love with the "Mexican Tuberose" flavor of bar soap and always stock up here.

15. Next, visit the mens and women's Dries Van Noten stores. The women's shop is so beautiful I could just die.

1 comment

mamacita said...

Doing the Lord's work, D.

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