Tag Archives: Paris

What to do in Paris and the best places to visit in Paris.

Paris Attraction – Shakespeare & Company

My travel tip of the week is one of Europe’s most visited stops in one of Europe’s most visited cities – The Shakespeare & Company bookstore in Paris.

This one was on the very top of my must-visit Paris attractions. I’d seen photos and read about it, now I wanted to get my own “Shakespeare & Company – Kilometre Zero Paris” stamped paperback.

This landmark English bookstore in Paris is situated close to the Latin Quarter and Notre Dame Cathedral. It’s one of those old school corner bookshops; with character to it, and more importantly it that distinct ‘book’ smell to it. There are books everywhere – in boxes and crates in front of the store, in lopsided shelves, and in wobbling piles all along the shop’s two floors.

The two levels each offer a different experience – downstairs you’ll find a range of books in new prints and upstairs along with couches and a bed, is a collection of second hand copies, and it is here that you’ll find some fantastic rare reads.

In addition, if you find yourself in the city be sure to check the shop’s events calendar for workshops, literary events and festivals; these include free readings and weekend writing workshops.

More Paris Tips

Paris is in Europe a la Carte’s top ten European cities to visit. Read our “Best of Paris Tips” to help you plan your visit to this lovely city. Find out about must-see Paris museums.

Click here for the lowest prices on Paris hotels

Paris Guide: The Best Things to Do in Paris

Paris is a truly amazing European city. I’ve collated tips of the best things to do in Paris, written by members of the blogging team to compile the Europe a la Carte Paris guide. If you think that you’ll visit several Paris sightseeing attractions, you should look into buying a Paris Pass which includes admission to over 50 museums and monuments, a public transport travelcard, a Paris city tour and River Seine cruise. You may wish to book a Paris airport transfer, as the journey can the city centre can be rather slow on the train.

Best Paris Views

Neha asserts that the view from Tower Montparnasse at dusk is one of the best Paris views.

Paris Guide: The Best Things to Do in Paris

View from Montparnasse tower over Paris by Neha Puntambeka

Kimberly thinks that the view from the Notre Dame towers over Paris, framed by the gargoyles which line the towers, is unrivalled.

Paris Guide: The Best Things to Do in Paris

View from Notre Dame over Paris by chuck624

Best Paris Walks

Thomas tells how he chanced upon a mile long nature trail walkway, along a section of the Petite Ceinture, a disused railway line near central Paris.

Paris Guide: The Best Things to Do in Paris

Petite Ceinture, Paris by boklm

I reviewed the Paris Movie Walks guidebook which details various routes along which you can visit locations used for film shoots in Paris.  If you’re a movie buff, you’ll love doing these walks.

Paris Guide: The Best Things to Do in Pariss

Canal St-Martin, location from “Amelie” by hydraulix16aa

Best Paris Attractions

Neha enjoyed her walk around the cobblestoned paths of the Pere Lachaise Cemetery, a free Paris sightseeing attraction. It’s the burial place of several well known figures such as Jim Morrison, Oscar Wilde and the French singer, Edith Piaf.

Paris Guide: The Best Things to Do in Paris

The grave of Edith Piaf, Lachaise Cemetery, Paris by Donna Rutherford

Best Paris Museums

Jeremy recommends visiting the Musee Rodin, where you can admire Rodin’s sculptures both inside and in the lovely garden.

Paris Guide: The Best Things to Do in Paris

Crouching Woman by Auguste Rodin in Rodin Museum garden, Paris by H Barrison

Amanda is a fan of the Musee d’Orsay, she thinks if you only have time to visit one Paris museum, the Musee d’Orsay may be a better bet than the Louvre.

Paris Guide: The Best Things to Do in Paris

Musee d’Orsay by dalbera

You can read about more Paris Museums in Pinar’s post.

Best Paris Cafes

Sian rates Cafe Marly, which lies at the edge of the Louvre courtyard, as her top Paris cafe.

Paris Guide: The Best Things to Do in Paris

Cafe Marly at the Louvre by wolfiewolf

Best Paris Pastries and Confectionery

Andy names his three favourite Parisian pastries shops. Talk about sweet temptation.

Paris Guide: The Best Things to Do in Paris

Parisian pastries by Let Ideas Compete

Sian was enchanted by both the interior and the contents of the A la Mere de Famille confectionery shop, established in 1761.

Paris Guide: The Best Things to Do in Paris

A la Mere de Famille, Paris by Sian Meades

Best of Paris for Kids

Thomas has plenty of ideas for things to do with kids in Paris including Parc Asterix, Cirque de Paris and Parc de Buttes Chaumont.

Paris Guide: The Best Things to Do in Paris

Parc Asterix by blondetpatrice

The Tuileries and the Jardin du Luxembourg are also great if you want to get away from the busy streets of Paris and just enjoy a relaxing walk.

Where to Stay in Paris

Click here for the lowest prices on Paris hotels

What’s New at the Louvre in 2010

The Louvre Museum is almost certainly the most well-known of all the World’s museums, it is the most visited museum in the world and definitely one of the largest. The Museum ‘owns’ over 35 000 objects that range from prehistory to the nineteenth century. The Louvre started out as a fort in the twelfth century – remains of which can still be seen today. It then became a Royal Palace, but in 1682 when Louis XIV chose the Palace of Versailles as his residence the Louvre was used to display the royal collections, which included a collection of antique sculptures.

Some of these early sculptures today make up the Classical Greek collection. And it is the Greek displays in the Louvre that at the beginning of July were re-opened to the public after extensive renovation and redesign.

With the opening in 1989 of the Pyramid, and the use of the Pyramid as the new entrance, the flow of visitors into and around the museum changed quite dramatically. In particular it was the displays of Greek objects that were effected the most. For the last few years then, this impressive collection of vases, jewellery, sculpture and various architectural features such as the Caryatids from the Parthenon, has been reorganised into new displays that lead the visitor through a more ordered collection that ends with one of the most famous of all sculptures in the Museum’s collection of Greek art, and that is the Venus de Milo.

For anyone with an interest in the art of the Ancient Greek and Hellenic cultures, the Louvre with its new displays of Greek art is one of the best places to visit in Europe, outside of Greece itself. You could also take Sian’s Europe travel tip and visit Cafe Marly at the edge of the Louvre courtyard.

If you’re planning a trip to Paris, here are four hotels close to the Louvre which receive high guest ratings:

1 Best Western Louvre Piedmont

2 Hotel du Louvre

3 Grand Hotel du Palais Royal

4 Citadenes ApartHotel Paris Louvre

If you enjoy Paris museums then the Musee Rodin and Musee d’Orsay should be on your Paris sightseeing itinerary.

More Paris Tips

Paris is in Europe a la Carte’s top ten European cities to visit. Read our “Best of Paris Tips” to help you plan your visit to this lovely city.

Click here for the lowest prices on Paris hotels

P̬re-Lachaise Cemetery РA free Paris Attraction

Paris is known for her beautiful, serene cemeteries. They usually double up as open museums, where some of the world’s most famous are resting. Therefore I recommend visiting the  Père-Lachaise Cemetery; it’s a free Paris attraction with lots of history.

Located on a gentle hill, the walk around this Paris attractions can be fairly exhausting. But the thick, leafy trees and winding cobblestone lanes make it a beautiful one.

The cemetery is named after Père de la Chaise, confessor to King Louis XIV. The present day cemetery used to house a Jesuit order, and this is where the priest lived.

The cemetery was opened in 1804, but because of its location (a fair distance from the heart of Paris) it wasn’t used much. It took much campaigning by Napoleon, who was worried about the unsanitary condition caused by Paris’s over crowded cemeteries, to encourage its use. This included relocating a number of graves of famous Parisians from other cemeteries to this one.

Some tombstones are elaborate and works of art. Others have a simple sophistication to them. Some though have been forgotten and are in conditions of disrepair, and yet that doesn’t translate into an eyesore. They still retain their elegance.

With thousands of graves and tombstones here, things can get jumbled. The chaos of multiple gravestones though is offset by neat street names and direction boards.

Père-Lachaise is the resting place for a number of celebrities. The most popular resident (or at least the most visited by tourists) is Jim Morrison. Other big names include Chopin, Proust, Colette, and Oscar Wilde.

While entry to the cemetery is free, I’d recommend arming yourself with a cemetery map. It is easy to get lost inside and a map makes it a little easier to find the tombstones you want to see without spending hours and hours wandering around, unless that’s the whole idea of the visit of course.

More Paris Tips

Paris is in Europe a la Carte’s top ten European cities to visit. Read our “Best of Paris Tips” to help you plan your visit to this lovely city. Find out about must-see Paris museums.

Click here for the lowest prices on Paris hotels

The Tower Montparnasse – The Best View of Paris

Most people climb the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe and the Notre Dame Tower for the best Paris views but if what you want is a 360 degree view of the city, head to the Tower Montparnasse (Tour Montparnasse).

Situated in the bohemian chic Montparnasse area of Paris, this tower is a non-descript glass and steel skyscraper. It looks and feels out of place between the beautiful Parisian architecture; a major eye sore, much like another famous local landmark. But what it lacks in appearance, it makes up by offering spectacular Paris views.

The tower, the tallest in the city, takes you up almost 200 meters in a quick 38seconds – they’ve even installed a timer in the elevator that counts down the seconds to almost a dot. The tower operates everyday through the summer from 9:30 am to 11:30 pm.

My suggestion is to visit the tower post 10:00-10:30pm when the city gets dark.  From this vantage point, you can most of Paris’ landmarks – from the illuminated Eiffel Tower and the Arc to the Louvre and the Paris gardens, and beyond.

More Paris Tips

Paris is in Europe a la Carte’s top ten European cities to visit. Read our “Best of Paris Tips” to help you plan your visit to this lovely city. Find out about must-see Paris museums.

Click here for the lowest prices on Paris hotels

Turning thinking into art – Musée Rodin in Paris

With all the Paris attractions on offer, one of my favourite Paris museums is the Rodin Museum which displays the sculptures and art of Auguste Rodin.  Opened in 1919, the Rodin Museum features a number of Rodin’s greatest works.  Known as a sculptor, Rodin discovered a love for sculpture at an early age and spent most of his life perfecting this art for which he has become so well known.

The Rodin Museum features a beautiful garden filled with his sculptures as well as a building which houses more sculptures, sketches, paintings, Rodin’s collections (Van Gogh, Renoir, Monet), and other memorabilia on the life of Rodin.  The building which houses the collections was once a residence of Rodin, the Hôtel Biron.  While the museum contains some sculptures, information on Rodin’s life, and paintings from his collections, many people focus on the garden and the statues on display.

His most famous statue, The Thinker, is displayed in the garden.  There are actually two sculptures of The Thinker – one in the gardens of the museum and one on his tomb.  However, many come to Paris to see his most famous piece of art.  While The Thinker is his most famous piece, other well known sculptures by Rodin include The Kiss and The Gates of Hell.

The Rodin Museum is a peaceful, inspirational journey through the life and art of Rodin.  The building and the garden are worth the visit.  For those that don’t like painting and traditional art, Rodin’s sculptures are pieces to amaze and inspire while enjoying a beautiful stroll through this fabulous museum, garden, and lake.  Even if you are not a fan of art, checking out Rodin’s works throughout the garden will inspire and awe those who don’t love art at all.

Getting to the museum is easy as it is a short walk from the Varenne Metro stop in Paris.  Even if art isn’t your thing, enjoy the outdoors with Rodin’s sculptures and admire art which seems to come to life.  Maybe seeing The Thinker will inspire creativity in us all. Rodin made “thinking” a beautiful work of art.

More Paris Tips

Paris is in Europe a la Carte’s top ten European cities to visit. Read our “Best of Paris Tips” and “Ten Wonderful Paris Museums” to help you plan your visit to this lovely city.

Click here for the lowest prices on Paris hotels

More on European Museums

Find out about more museums in Europe on Europe a la Carte.

Enjoying art at the Musee d’Orsay in Paris

Paris – one of the best places to visit in Europe – is certainly a fantastic city for art lovers, but for a traveller with just an average level of interest in art, it can be a bit overwhelming, and most people probably end up just heading to the super-famous Louvre. Of course, the Louvre is a pretty impressive affair, but if you only have time for one gallery visit while you’re in Paris, my Europe travel tip for this week is to skip the queues for the Mona Lisa and instead head down to the Musee d’Orsay.

For a start, the Musee d’Orsay is housed in an interesting building – it is a former railway station of impressive proportions, and adds an extra level of interest to your gallery experience. And like the Louvre, it also houses a diverse array of accessible artwork – enough Monet, Renoir and Van Gogh to suit the average art-lover as well as collections of sculptures, photography and so on. Of course it’s a popular Paris attraction, but I found it wasn’t quite as crowded as the Louvre, and the building itself – as you can see in the picture – is very open and airy. All in all, I had a much more pleasant afternoon at the d’Orsay, so it comes as a highly recommended.

When planning your visit, be aware that the Musee d’Orsay is closed on Mondays, like many museums and galleries. At the moment there are some renovations in progress, due to be finished in March 2011. Current admission price is €8 and you can buy your tickets online in advance if you want.

More Paris Tips

Paris is in Europe a la Carte’s top ten European cities to visit. Read our best of Paris tips” to help you plan your visit to this lovely city. Find out about must-see Paris museums.

Click here for the lowest prices on Paris hotels

More on European Museums

Find out about more museums in Europe on Europe a la Carte.

Tempting Parisian confectionery at A la Mere de Famille

35 rue du Faubourg Monmartre. A street that’s a little off centre, more than a little off the beaten track, and stumbled upon only by accident. And home to A le mere de Famille, Paris’ oldest and most famous confectioners.

The shop is gorgeous. Filled to the bursting with sweet treats like the candied fruits above. They have a huge amount of (very creamy) chocolate, but the rest of their wares are just as tasty.

The packing might be simple, but it’s elegant and perfect. Detail is important in this shop. And so is interior design for that matter.

Such pretty fixtures. Think classic French and old curiousity shop elegance (as only the French could do so well).

It’s like Willy Wonka chocolate factory! Only real, and a bit more expensive.

Isn’t it pretty? Everything just so. Unfortunately there are no samples – probably to stop pesky people like me buzzing around the counter like an annoying tourist.

Not a huge sweetie fan? There’s lots of jams and jellies to choose from as well.

A bar of chocolate will set you back around €4, and there are some great bargains if you’re willing to look around. The shop is geared up for tourists (although I’m sure that wasn’t the case back in 1761) but everything you buy here will be tasty. A la mere de Famille is an institution and just strolling through back streets from the Pompidou will lead you here. It’s a beautiful shop and you should definitely pop your head through the door. Bet you don’t come out empty handed.

There’s also the temptation of delicious Parisian pastries as described by Andy, can it really be true that French women don’t get fat with all these goodies on offer?

More Paris Tips

Paris is in Europe a la Carte’s top ten European cities to visit. Read our “Best of Paris Tips” to help you plan your visit to this lovely city. Find out about must-see Paris museums.

Click here for the lowest prices on Paris hotels

Paris from Quasimodo’s perspective at Notre Dame

Admittedly, it’s an obsession when I travel: I always want to see a city from up high. I love to get the feel for a place, understand the layout and geography. When I understand the blueprint of a city from high above, I start to feel more like a local than a tourist glued to her map to reach every destination. Paris has so many great places from which visitors can observe wonderful Paris views that I have made it my personal quest to see most of them.

But the place I first visited as a child and which draws me back time and again is Paris’ spectacular Notre Dame cathedral. I was recently back in Paris with my young children.  Since it was their first visit to Paris, I immediately made a beeline to one of the most popular Paris attractions, Notre Dame to share this special spot with them. We visited the cathedral and then exited to get in the line to climb up the towers. They groaned when they saw the size of the line (inwardly, so did I), but I told them the story of Quasimodo the hunch-backed bell-ringer of Notre Dame as we waited.

Finally we reached the front of the line and made our way up the circular stone staircase.  As we emerged out into the daylight, it made the wait more than worth it. The view over Paris is unrivalled from this vantage point  and it is wonderful to be able to observe this lovely city among the whimsical gargoyles who have silently stood guard for centuries.

I’ll certainly be coming back to stand watch with my gargoyle friends as long as my legs will continue to carry me up there – who could ever grow bored gazing down lovingly on belle Paris?

More Paris Tips

Paris is in Europe a la Carte’s top ten European cities to visit. Read our “Best of Paris Tips” to help you plan your visit to this lovely city. Find out about must-see Paris museums.

Click here for the lowest prices on Paris hotels

Cafe Marly at The Louvre, Paris

On a recent short break in Paris, I asked some friends across the water for some tips for must-visit places in Parsi. And Cafe Marly was one of them. Of course, The Louvre is on any Paris to-do list, but nothing can beat the little cafe at the edge of the courtyard. Especially not at dusk. The Louvre is really rather special at dusk (I imagine it’s even more special when it’s not freezing).

What’s so special about Cafe Marly? The view is just perfect. Sitting with a glass of (expensive, but rather tasty) Sancerre, staring out at the Louvre, with the Arc De Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower in the distance. I’m sure there isn’t a more perfect Paris view (although I’m more than willing to haul my ass over there again to find out). And of course, you’ve got the wonderful Louvre de Pyramid to look at as well. Some people don’t like it, thinking it’s too modern, but I like the juxtaposition between old and new. It’s 70 foot high, so it’s pretty imposing.

Cafe Marly soaks in all of this. There’s seats facing the courtyard (the only place I’d choose to sit) and the waiters can be surly. But once they’ve got you some drinks, then it’s just you, conversation, and that cityscape. A glass of wine (and a small one at that) will set you back €7 so it’s probably worth shelling out €32 for a bottle. But it’s a price worth paying. The more you drink, the longer you can stay. The longer you stay, the happier you’ll be, I’m certain of it. It’s a nifty marketing trick.

Next time I go to Paris, I might even get to take a trip inside The Louvre, but I’ll definitely be back to Cafe Marly, it’s certainly my pick of Paris cafes. Cafe Marly – 93 Rue de Rivoli 75001 Paris.

More Paris Tips

Paris is in Europe a la Carte’s top ten European cities to visit. Read our “Best of Paris Tips” to help you plan your visit to this lovely city. Find out about must-see Paris museums.

Click here for the lowest prices on Paris hotels