What shouldn't I miss?
Wanted to go my entire life and now, I finally am heading there.
You bitches know everything, so tell me something to see or do that's not part of the obvious tourist destinations.
Thanks in advance.
You must see the awful tunnel where beloved Princess Diana died, but I recommend you do it later in your trip or the still palpable grief might ruin your vacation.
I recommend La Sainte Chapelle.
Louis IX built it to house the crown of thorns. It's a gigantic reliquary - and the greatest example of original 13th century stained glass in existence.
During the French Revolution, it was boarded up and the space subdivided into offices...and somehow the glass survived.
Do not miss the Opera House. It's beautiful inside.
Pere Lachaise. Truly stunning. It's a massive, confusing cemetery. Rick Steves has a pretty good map of the highlights in one of his Paris books. Or just get lost wandering, which is also fun!
Visit Oscar Wilde's grave. It's a notorious homo pick-up spot.
Tuilieries! Le Pont Neuf! Notre Dame! St. Suplice (lots of creepy reliquaries downstairs).
The Marais! Le Trap!
Give yourself two days for the Louvres! It's grande!
day trip to Versailles
Say hi to Simone for me!
RE: Pere Lachaise
Jim Morrison's grave is one of the most viewed places in the cemetery. People of all ages, young and old go to pay their respects.
You will never forget going there.
Spend a sober day or two doing the touristy stuff and spend the rest of your time sampling the local fair... so to speak.
Unless you're high, like most who visit his grave.
Go to the roof of the Montparnasse Tower. It's the best view in Paris.
The three major cemeteries: Pere Lachaise, Montmartre and Montparnasse.
Canal St. Martin
Have dinner at Le Gai Moulin in the Marais
The covered Passages of central Paris:
The only problem with Sainte-Chapelle, R2, is that it's being renovated. About a 1/4 of the glass is obscured with scaffolding which kinda ruins the effect.
Others can hit the obvious ones, here are the more unusual things I enjoyed:
Crypte archeologique du Parvis de Notre-Dame. A great little museum about the Roman foundations of the city.
Musee Nissim de Camondo. A small museum near Parc Monceau that preserves upper class life in early 20th C. Paris.
Versailles - Visit the Petit Trianon and the grounds of Le Hameau where Marie Antoinette spent much of her time.
Le Marais district - What Paris was like before Haussmann ripped up the old city and lied down the street grid and enforced facade uniformity. Visit Musee Carnavalet
Av Montaigne - Pretend you can actually afford to shop here
Bateaux Muches - You are a tourist after all. Ride a boat on the Seine at dusk when the lights start coming on.
The sewer tour...really.
The Cluny museum, the Musee National du Moyen Age. See what the Middle Ages were like in Paris.
Rue Cler for nibblies; there are other market streets if you are not lose to this one.
Have fun. Dress well. I'm jealous.
The Musee Jacquemart Andre is also near the Parc Monceau. Nice place for lunch.
If you're a history buff, I highly recommend a side trip to Normandy.
The problem with the large museums -- the Louvre and the Musee d'Orsay -- is the crowds wanting to get in. I would definitely suggest getting the Paris Museum Pass AND arriving at each museum before its scheduled opening time. Otherwise you'll be waiting in a line for hours.
The monument to the dead tourists from Atlanta, killed in a plane crash.
Return to Paris to visit the Picasso Museum. Also, see the Musee D'Orsay no matter how crowded it is.
L'Institut du Monde Arabe dedicated to Islamic art with fantastic astrolabes and a facade that changes with the shift with the position of the sun. Not touristy and fascinating.
I second a day trip to Versailles, preferably on their open market day, which I think it's Sunday. Pick up picnic supplies and eat by the fountains.
Walk around the Ile St. Louis and say hi to Ina Garten and visit Hermes.
I loved Pere Lechaise. Tristan and Isolde are there!
Cluny is a bit touristy but fantastic. One of the best places I've ever visited. Amazing tapestries and Roman baths downstairs. It made a huge impression on me.
David Lebovitz has a fantastic blog about Paris food:
You can get into the Louvre through the little underground mall they have there and get your tickets from a ticket machine. But if you're planning to hit a lot of museums, then the tourist pass (metro+museums) is your best bet.
Seconding R25's recommendation of Lebovitz's food blog. I ate at several of the restaurants he recommended and did not have a single bad meal at any of them.
Thank you. You all never cease to impress. I was just reading about the catacombs. The poster who mentioned the tunnel where Princess Di died crack my ass up.
The monument to the Atlantans who died sounds amusing.
Go see Monet's water lilies -- they're at the Musee de l'Orangerie. It's one of the most memorable things I've ever seen, and I was never much of a fan before I saw them in person.
And definitely go to the Musee d'Orsay. One of the world's greatest art museums.
Parc Buttes Chaumont is a spectacular place to relax in a non-touristy neighborhood. Take in a film at an old movie palace like Le Pagode.
If you're a big Monet fan, you can schlep out to the Musee Marmottan Monet for a great collection of Impressionist and post-Impressionist paintings.
You'll want to see the den of thinking men, like Jean-Paul Sartre!
You must philosophize with all the guys around Montmartre!
Be sure you go to the Place des Vosges--the most beautiful square in Paris. It's like stepping into the seventeenth century, and the Victor Hugo museum (in his former home) is worth visiting.
I also recommend visiting the Carnavelet Museum, which is the museum of the city of Paris and right nearby. There are great exhibits of materials from the French Revolution, and Proust's bedroom/study has been reconstructed with all of his original furniture.
If you like tea go to Maison Freres shop. If you like patisserie you must go to Patisserie des Reves and Pierre Hermes. Lauderee is known for macaroons but they are expensive and the lined are long since they are so trendy. Also try Bertillion ice cream it is intensely flavored..
I recommend taking the bus or walking around especially the 6th arr. and just take it all in. Go into bars and cafes etc that seem cool to you.
I did a bunch of random stuff when I was there. I saw a poster for a gospel concert at St. germain church and went to see it. I hung out in cafes, went to the Swedish institute, some random museums that I never heard of, the Jewish section, the winter market along the Champs Élysées, took a yoga class etc..
Get familiar with places you can use the restroom, mainly bars. I spent a hour looking for one until I just pretended to be a bar customer, used the loo then took off.
Take the TGV to London for a day just cause you can. Take an early train so you can enjoy the breakfast and view at 200mph+
A really good travel guide is the little black book for Paris.
I stayed in an apartment I booked thru airbnb it was great to live in a neighborhood and be close to metro and have lots of space and a kitchen.
Le Depot. Not to be missed. You can see Manets and Monets anywhere. Stay away from mouth breathers wearing fanny packs gawping around. You are better off having a fling with a Frenchman and see the city that way.
I can't believe no one mentioned the movie museum yet-you can see, among other things, costumes from movies like All About Eve, Gone With The Wind and Little Women. No respectable datalounger would go to Paris and miss this one.
OP Ex-pat food writer and now resident of Paris David Lebovitz has lots of links (and they're actually interesting and useful) on his site :
jeeez...sorry OP..I missed R25 had already recommended Lebovitz's site...
Late night cock sucking in the T-Room on Pont (Bridge 9) Neuf, by Notre Dame cathedral.
Is Club Sept still there?
Go to Rodin, if you like sculpture.
Second R30, Monet's water lilies are a thing to be seen. Musée de l'Orangerie (in the Tuileries, between the Louvre and place de la Concorde - the Champs-Elysées are not far off)
Get Dore Greenspan's book on Paris patisseries, and Hit. Every. One. Bring back a financiere for me. Bon Voyage!!!
I prefer the most magnificent chateau in France over Versailles -- Vaux le Vicomte, just a short RER (local rail) ride from Paris.
It has the same arts who created Versailles: Le Notre, LeBurn and LeVau -- and a true tale of Louis XIV's revenge on its builder Fouquet (finance minister) by Louis XIV.
The joke is on Louis XIV, Vaux is more magnificent. All four facades match and it has a dome as the central focus.
As I'm presuming you're American, I shall naturally presume you don't have much time.
On your first morning, I would recommend, as someone else has said, a walk round the Marais.
Le Marais district. Just take in the atmosphere and head to the Musee Carnavalet which is a museum of Paris. You'll probably be impatient, so just have a look at a few items then walk to what you really want to see there -- its ravishing courtyard garden, sit thee down, and drink in the scene. You're in Paris!
Then walk, as another person suggested, to the nearby Place de Vosges. Follow the arcade of high end shops that lines one side of it till at the end you see a small door in a wall. Enter. You'll find yourself in the hidden formal courtyard topiaried garden of the Hotel Sully. There's a gallery there you can visit.
Then make your way to the Ile St Louis, light a taper in Notre Dame and pretend you're an Anne Rice character, then --- an absolute must -- locate the Berthillion ice-cream shop on the island and at least sample something. Your poor tired American tastebuds will explode. Walk to the tip of the island and pay homage at the Hotel Lambert, the home of the late Baron de Rede, whose bum was purchased for one million US dollars in the 1940s -- when a million bucks counted for something.
At the Louvre, be sure to treat yourself to the portrais of the french royal family (the gay ones are fabulous, like they just stepped out of a backroom); also the gallery that displays those jewels that the Friends of the Louvre have managed to buy back ( eg Vanity Fair favourite Princess Gloria von Thurn und Taxis's pearl tiara is there); and take a peek at the Napoleonic rooms to see how gold leaf you can apply to four walls.
One other wonderful thing: the street of plant and pet shops along the Seine -- the name escapes me. It's just an absolute eyepopping treat.
Go visit the town of Chartres and go the its magnificent gothic cathedral, it's only an hour or so drive outside of Paris via bus.
The catacombs, the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dam.
Place de italie is an interesting area.
[quote]Pont (Bridge 9) Neuf
I see someone flunked French.
If you like art, I thought the Musee d'Orsay was better than the Louvre.
I second Sainte Chapelle - stunning.
Then again, I visited in winter, so I didn't have issues with crowds.
Sacre Coeur at Night, Place de Notre Dames at Night, a boat ride on the river Seine at Night, Petit and Grande Palais, a walk through Marais and Iles de La Cite, Jardin du Palais Royal, Marche Aux Puces, Sainte Chapelle, a climb up the Eiffel Tower, Pere Lachaise
Yes, R34, the Place des Vosges is absolutely magical. I lived in a chambre de bonne in the Rue Ferdinand Duval as a student in Paris. My window overlooked the Place. At any given moment, in whatever lighting, I'd look out the window and see what appeared to be a living painting. Un tableau vivant!!
[quote]nd take a peek at the Napoleonic rooms to see how gold leaf you can apply to four walls
I love those rooms. They make me giggle because they're just in such over-the-top bad taste.
Yeah, the Place des Vosges and the Place Vendome are both glorious. I second Chartres, possibly the world's greatest cathedral.
You must enjoy French men. Find a handsome and hot French guy and let him show you Paris and...
Definitely get the Museus and Monuments Pass. Eay to get your money's worth, and for a lot of places it gets you alternate entry points which bypass the long queues (esp the Louvre.
Must sees for me, Sainte Chapelle (even with renovations its stunning), take the climb up Notre Dame (get there early), St Denis where the kings of France were all buried, the Rodin museum, Catacombs.
But mostly just walk around - Left Bank, Montmartre (take the longer walk up to the Butte, Place des Abbesses is a good starting point), the Marais, Chasmps Elysees. That's how you'll find "your" Paris.
As a fat woman, will I be shunned in Paris?
Note how what is dirt in London is character in Paris.
Have a hot chocolate. The french seem to make them better than anyone else.
Visit the florists. They're magical and exhibit the french art of life at its best.
Note the hidden palaces within courtyard and garden. Unlike London which lost most of its private palaces between 1900 and 1930, Paris didn't. And they're deeply hidden. You'll be walking along a narrow blank walled street, and suddenly carriageway doors will swing open, a black mercedes will roar out, and for a brief moment you'll glimpse another world -- across a courtyard lined with tubs of clipped orange trees a white limestone mansion washed in sunlight. And then the doors will automatically close again and you'll be back that same grubby blank street asking yourself 'What did I just see?'
I'm actually on a diet right now, with my goal being thin enough to look decent and fashionable in Paris when I visit in 2014. Wish me luck.
I went to the Louvre in the afternoon AFTER the crowds died down, walked right in no lines and no crowds.
Definitely go see Napolean's apt in the Louvre and have a 'tasetful friends' moment on behalf 0f DL
The Musee D'Orsay is fab, I actually went on a Sunday when all the museums are free and waited in line about 10 minutes, no problem
Look up Paris Greeters. They are volunteer residents who love their city and act as tour guides for free. (Mine refused a tip as well) You have to sign up well in advance, but they are fabulous and know the city like no one else. I had a wonderful old gentlemen who took me around for hours in Montparnesse. My favorite quip was while we were viewing the city from the park he pointed out the Eiffel Tower and told us,"The jury is till out on that one. It is so new."
And finally, if you're into leather bars, STAY AWAY from The Paris Eagle. It's actually a twink appletini dance bar. Go figure.
R53 I prefer to find German and Swedish tourists--they're everywhere! A chacun son gout...
I'm happy for you, Zak!
We have a Paris correspondent who should offer great advice.
Go to one of those fancy patisseries everyone has mentioned and try ordering a cronut.
Have dinner at La Coupole in Montparnasse, then an after-dinner drink at Clos des Lilas.
Funny story about Pere Lachaise. On my first trip to Paris, on the first day, we get into a taxi and tell the driver where to take us. Figuring we are Americans, he insisted on taking us there to see Morrison's grave. Never mind we were a pair of 20 somethings with shaved heads, black leather jackets and Doc Martens. Never mind the fact that obviously Morrison was way before our time. Never mind the fact that we were momentary stumped as to who Jim Morrison was. He would not take no for an answer. So we went and just looked at the grave all the while the driver is standing behind us, grinning like a fool thinking we are making some great pilgrimage. It was so weird. But, I will say, as cemeteries go, it is very pretty.
lots of great suggestions here - great gay minds think alike ;o)
The Musee D'Orsay and Musee Cluny I am seconding and thirding from previous posters -- quite frankly, you can skip the Louvre this trip ---- and do get the Museum pass - it is soooo worth it time wise... also get a metro pass as well -- both will make your visit a lot easier.
And even though its being renovated, Sainte Chappell is really breathtaking -
go up on the Eiffel tower - and I don't know if you still can, but if they still let you walk down, it is soooooo cool to take the stairs down the inside... great photo ops from an unusual perspective.
my quirky suggestion is having Dinner at Le Train Bleu. It is a Baroque confection of a restaurant located in the Gare du Nord train station --- you can take the metro.... you get into the train station and it looks depressing, but go up the stairs and it is this old school continental restaurant - old men with long aprons.... French peasant food --- sausages and potatoes --- when I went, you had to wear a sportcoat, or you were relegated to a side room --- this station was the one parsians used when they went to the south of france -- hence the frescos on the ceiling. its like Gasteaus in Ratatoullie.
You will love Paris -- have enough fun for all of us envious queens...
Is there still a "Pariscope?" Pick one up, and scan it for special "Son et lumiere" shows, as well as walking tours of neighborhoods. Some are in English, you will have a GREAT time, and learn something wonderful.
Paris used to be known as THE film capital of Europe - so take in a classic film some afternoon at a little cinema tucked down an alley.
And SCAFFOLDING, r13? What the hell, it's only 800 years old! (Isn't it funny how much scaffolding you don't notice on every block of Manhattan??)
R65, if I'm not mistaken, Le Train Bleu is in the Gare de Lyon, not the Gare du Nord. (Are there two??)
OP, if you visit the Eiffel Tower, go in the late afternoon and stay to watch the sun set. Watching the lights come on around Paris is one of the most beautiful sights you'll ever see. I think the best views are from the lowest level, but be sure to go to the very top.
I believe Paris is the loveliest big city in the world. I could never live there (too noisy, too dirty, too crowded for me), but I love visiting.
Almost overwhelming how many great recommendations. I have made note about many of your suggestions.
We depart this morning, so I wanted to give a last thanks. I don't come home til the 21st. I will post some photos. In the Datalounge Facebook page.
Seriously, all of you rock.
No matter what you do, just remember to keep really high expectations. You won't be disappointed.
It's just like the movies!
In case you still see this, try L'as du Falafel, a great little falafel place in the Marais. Also Berthillon ice cream.
Oh and if you do want to catch a film, I'd suggest La Cinematheque Francaise, a film museum with interesting little exhibits about the beginning of film and that has showings of both modern and classic films, in French and English. The building was designed by Frank Gehry.
And have a meal at Chartier. The metro is Grandes Boulevardes. One of the more reasonable restaurants in Paris. It's where the waiters write the bill on the paper tablecloths.
I'm so jealous of you Zak! Here's some of my suggestions:
1) Make sure you have comfortable shoes and a bottle of water and just "walk" the city. It's the best way to see it and you won't get lost if you just follow the Seine.
2) You must do La Gai Moulin!
3)If you're an exercise nut be careful about asking where the nearest gym is located. "Gyms" are typically bath houses. This might be a good thing.
If you get to the Louvre and see the Mona Lisa maybe you can come back and explain to me what all the fuss is about over that stamp of a painting.
Eat a crêpe
The Train Bleu is in Gare de Lyon I wouldn't eat there the food is just ok but it's nice to have just have a drink though. Someone mentioned the Depot, beware of pickpockets if you go and it smells like a sewer.
PLEASE listen to r2! Ste. Chapelle is magnificent!
See the city view from both the steps of Sacre-Coeur (Montmarte) and also from the roof of the department store La Samaritaine (buy the foie gras!).
See the Eiffel Tower at night from the Trocadero (take the city tour).
Have lunch at Tour d'Argent, so that you can go to the roof and get your picture taken with Notre Dame in the background.
Eat dinner on the Left Bank at Abelard Restaurant (1, Rue des Grands-Degrés, 5th (Quai Montebello - Notre Dame), 01-43-25-16-46, Mo Maubert-Mutalité, Cité; traditional French; menu 135F, Carte 100-180F).
Walk the Champs-Elysee.
See Napoleon's Tomb and take at least a brief tour of the Louvre!
I've done all the above, OP, so that's why my recommendations.
And if you DO go to Normandy (r17's post) for the D-Day beaches, do not miss Sainte-Mère-Église, with the "parachutist" on the church! (Not to mention Rouen, Bayeux, Deauville, Honfleur, Pont-l'Eveque,....).
Better to take a day-tour to the Loire chateaux, maybe!
Le Club Sept has been closed for 25 years. When were you in Paris last ?
Buy the tiny little red book, "Plan de Paris". It's a very detailed map in pocket book form. You'll thank me later!
I love the hole in the wall restaurant mentioned at the link to "David____?" called Le Troumilou. If you go, please post a picture. It's in/near Le Marais. BTW, that is a fantastic website.
Been to Paris five times. Never been to the Louvre. But I've been to me...
Amuzez-vous bien, Zak!
[quote]As a fat woman, will I be shunned in Paris?
Sadly, they'll say nasty things behind your back, in French. On the bright side, all tourists are shunned in Paris.
So go with friends and have fun regardless. It's gorgeous and you'll have some of the best food in your life.
Jardin du Luxembourg
If you're looking for that spot where Gil went back in time in "Midnight in Paris," it's at the church behind the Pantheon.
Mont St. Michel if you like medevil abbeys that turn into an island when the tide comes in. I spent a couple nights there in a rented room. Quick train trip from Paris.
There's enough to do on one's first trip to Paris--plus more that you want to do but won't be able to do--that a "day trip" to Normandy, Mont St. Michel, Reims, Giverny, Chartres or the Loire is something to save for your next trip to Paris, or the one after that.
An afternoon at Versailles is easy since it's so close, Jackass. Have a great time!
R85 does seem to have a lot of issues.
Although I wouldn't want to see it overrun, consider Pom' Canelle, at 27 Rue des Deux Ponts on the Ile St Louis, as an alternative to Berthillon. It's right around the corner, serves Berthillon ice cream, and is a really terrific spot for lunch.
And don't miss the streets of the left bank --among my rituals in Paris are walks around the Marais and through the left bank. If you feel like window shopping through some of the fanciest shops and galleries in the world, walk along the Faubourg St Honore.
Certainly you should walk everywhere possible. And if you plan your visit with all of the museums at the end, you can always move them up earlier, if it happens to rain. But if you've seen them at the beginning, you'll have fewer alternatives for rainy days at the end of the trip.
What's your problem R86? You must be new. "Jackass" is a traditional DL reply to an OP who uses "bitches." Get over it!
[quote]"Jackass" is a traditional DL reply to an OP who uses "bitches."
No it's not, cunt.
Don't forget the gay bars!
My clumsy four years of high school French came in handy, although most locals smiled condescendingly and chose to flirt in English.
And many gay bars have back rooms. My two weeks in Paris were the most cocksucking-filled uncut cock and assfest in years!
Your over-the-top reaction to some light-hearted banter indicates that if there's ever a call out for bitches, R88, they're looking for you.
Wherever you choose to go OP be very aware that Paris is overrun with Roma gypsies who will pick you clean of everything valuable, including your passport. They are a plague at every tourist location. The police try their best but there are just so many of them. If someone is asking you for directions watch what their friends are doing, they are excellent pickpockets. Also be very careful using ATMs, they are a prime hunting ground. Another haunt is the Metro where there are dense crowds to hide in.
Have a great time, have great food, great wine, great ass, but be careful.
Sadly, I speak with the voice of experience - money, passport & phone stolen on the Metro.
[R79] La Samaritaine has been closed for the last 8 years.
Beware the gypsy that will pretend to find a gold ring near you and offer it to you for a price. It's gold plated metal with an 18k stamp on the inside. I got suckered but only gave her 2 euros and she was pissed and so I offered to give it back to her but she took the money and split. I saw her later on on the other side of the street laughing with some cronies. They stay outside all day looking for marks. This happened outside the Musee d'Orsay. I had actually been looking for a cheap gold band to ward off crazy stalker type dudes since I was traveling solo. So I was only slightly pissed off about it.
r93, really?! Oh, my. Well, the last time I was there was the summer when JFK, Jr., died.
Prepare for MANY Burkas.
Not many French left in Paris
Es Car Gots. Beyotch
I leave to Paris on Tuesday. We should meet up, Zak.
What is the name of that gay restaurant (I believe it has fleur in its name) which is right next to (or two businesses over) from some bear bar? I can never remember its name. I just know how to get there. Oh! It's on rue des Lombards.
Never mind! I found it!!! It's called; "Le Chant des Voyelles" (so much for having "fleur" in its name. I think it's the logo that always throws me) Anyway... very good resto and not expensive.
I live here and I rarely see a Burka unless I go to the 17/18th or the Suburbs.
R96 clearly wound up in Marrakech by mistake.
OP, why would you come here in september hen the weather is turning to absolute crap each year..? Bring your umbrella and winter coat my friend.
102=liar, lives in the Middle West. Tragic.
I love Cafe Marly, next to the Louvre with I.M. Pei's iconic pyramid in the square. Eat at Polidor, it was in Midnight in Paris. I loved it for it's lack of pretense or snobbery, The real deal.
Find Voltaire. 6 arrd. Rue de Seine. Let me know if a black crow is still circling him constantly. Pere La Chaise cemetery is a must see. It's trippy. The great thing about Paris is you don't need a plan. Just learn a dozen words beforehand and try to speck a bit of French there. You'll be treated much better. And don't wear trashy American clothes. Trust me.
Buy Louvre tickets online before you go and SKIP the 3 hour line to get in..
If you ask fro your steak med rare it will come out BLUE.