Paris: The Ultimate List

Whenever someone hears that I’ve been staying in Paris for a few months, they usually ask if I have any suggestions on things to do or see off the beaten path. Of course I do!

1. The Patisserie on Vieile du Temple, between Rue du Tresor and Rue des Roisiers. They have the best breakfast pastries, amazing macarons, and a hearty bread called “Pain du Marais” which, I’m told by my family, is delicious.

2. Creperie des Arts has the best salted caramel and butter crepes ever. Bug and I come here every time we’re in Paris. I’ve tried many other crepes but none compare, IMO. Just ignore the weird heads sticking out of the walls:

Are you looking at me?

3. The Terrrace Restaurant at Printemps if only for the 360-degree views of Paris.

4. Statue of Liberty treasure hunt. They are hidden all over Paris. See how many you can find.

5. Musée des Arts and Métiers. Lovely museum full of stuff. Like old computers, technology (like weaving looms), printing presses? This is your place. But what you really must see is the part of the museum that was once an old church. It’s breathtaking. And added points, two Statues of Liberty are located here.

6. A Tour of the Paris Opéra. Even if you’re not a Phantom of the Opera fan, the tour is cool. I especially loved the display of ballet costumes at the end.

7. If you’re here in the Summer, Hotel de Ville has fun, free concerts. Grab a bottle of wine or beer from a street vendor and enjoy!

8. The Jardin des Plantes and the adorable zoo that’s attached. This place is a wonderland.

9. The Paris Sewer Museum. Not what you’d normally think to do, but it’s fascinating.

10. If I had to choose one museum, it would be the Musée d’Orsay. It’s smaller than the Louvre and less overwhelming. Plus, it focuses on Impressionism.

11. Don’t want to stay in a hotel? My rental agency, A Part of Paris, has great homes for rent by the night, week, and month. I’ve been very happy with them.

12. Sunday Brunch at the Jardin Acclimatation’s Pavillion des Oisseaux. One of the best I’ve ever had.

13. Running through the Tuilleries in the early morning before it becomes too crowded. The way the sun hits the Louvre is beautiful – pinks, purples, golds.

14. Climb to the top of the Arch de Triomphe. Some people say the view is better than from the Eiffel tower.

15. The street musicians who play on the bridge linking Ile Saint-Louis with Ile de la Cité (where Notre Dame is). Just walk to the back of Notre Dame and follow the bridge on your left, not the “love lock” bridge on your right.

16. The street performers in front of Notre Dame at night. Crazy fire dancers, insane rollerbladers, clowns, musicians – it’s all here. Make sure to drop a euro in the hat at the end.

17: A tip – all street signs tell you what arrondissement you are in. Also, the last two digits of a zip code, for example 75003, also tells you the arrondissement (in this example, it’s the 3rd). This makes getting around much easier.

18. Another tip – Get the RATP app. It’s has maps of all the metro, RER, and Trams. Plus, you can put in your location and destination and it will give you the route.
And this is what I wore yesterday while pretending to be calm that my book comes out next week and I still have things that must be done. Things I should be doing right now instead of blogging…sigh….

Hanging out on Pont Louis-Phillipe

The Outfit:

Shirt: Navy and white, super thin, long-sleeve tee from Banana Republic

Skirt: Gray cord A-line from JCrew

Jacket: Fitted brown leather from Banana Republic

Stockings: Wolford, Velvet de Luxe 50 in Admiral.



Paris Day 3: Soloist

I didn’t go to bed until 5am last night. Not because I was out doing anything exciting, but because I’m still jet lagged. However, I woke up at 10:30am and made myself get going. Today was the first day since arriving that I haven’t had any plans with anyone. Just me, myself, and I alone in Paris.

By the time I left, it was a little after noon. I walked two blocks to the Metro for the short ride over to the Printemps stop. The area around Paris’s grandest department store reminds me a little of the area around San Francisco Center – wide street, lots of people, and frankly, many of the same shops. But oh do I love Printemps. It has EVERYTHING. Including amazing food. I hurried down one floor of the “Mode” building and secured a salad and a Coke (typically a no-no for me, but I needed caffeine). After, I walked across the floor to the lingerie section. Here’s a not so-secret-secret (as in, I often talk about my love of frilly, lacy things): I love pretty undies. The last time I was in Paris, I’d just had breast reduction surgery and wasn’t able to shop. So I made up for that today 😀 The poor salesgirl must have thought I was insane, but she kept bringing me more, like a good little drug dealer.

I sat in this little park and read a book for a bit. In Paris, no one reads on an ereader. It’s paperback or nothing.

With my beautifully wrapped package in hand, I decided to walk back to my apartment so I could see more of Paris. Since I have an iPhone, it’s nearly impossible to get lost. Just drop my home pin and go. I decide to go off path though, toward the Tuilleries and Louvre. I kept disobeying my GPS and ended up at the Tuilleries. No matter how many times I see it, I always feel sad. The whole place is very touristy, which is fine, but sometimes I wonder about all the horror and misery that happened there. The imprisonment of the Royal family. The suppression of the Paris Commune and subsequent gutting fire of the palace.

Across the street, I came upon a small orchestra. Unfortunately, I’m short, which means I don’t get the best pictures or videos, but you can still hear it.

After I got home, I collapsed on the couch until my friend, Julia, rang and asked me to dinner. Since my plan consisted of eating dried apricots and nuts, I agreed to meet up in the 4th arr at a cafe not far from my place. When I arrived, a strange, handsome guy stood and kissed me on both cheeks and told me Julia would be along shortly. Turns out he’s her brother…which, one, I didn’t know she had; and two, I had actually met years before. He seemed to know all about me. It was a bit disarming to speak to a stranger who knew more about me than I did him. Thankfully, Julia came along quickly because I was beginning to think she set me up on a date with her brother (despite the fact I’m married). After dinner, we walked down toward the Seine, but I had to run – my boys wanted to Skype with me. So, I said good-bye and made my way home.

Things I learned today: There are lights in the never-ending staircase that stretches up to my floor. The past two days, I’ve stumbled up the uneven, rough wood runners in near darkness. There are also garbage cans on the first floor where I’m supposed to dispose of my rubbish. And lastly, Parisian men LOVE colored pants. It’s like 1982 over here – green, pink, orange. All worn with fitted sweaters or graphic tees. Even guys in their 30’s and 40’s are wearing them. I’m getting pictures tomorrow.