View Full Version : First Trip to Paris - Please Advise!
05-23-2012, 10:16 AM
Take an umbrella. It's ... not sunny to say the least at the moment here. Crappy weather. And the parisian mood is of course not too good at the moment.
05-23-2012, 03:32 PM
Just returned from Paris. Marais is awesome: lots of of architectural gems (pre Hausmann), nice clothing boutiques (not egregiously priced) and tasty small restaurants. I loved Musee Cognac-Jay, predominantly 18th Century collection housed in one of the mansions (hotels particuliers) in the Marais. If you can find a mansion guide to the Marais, they tend to have fantastic histories, i.e. there are places where Queen Margot and also all sorts of kings' mistressed lived etc (ownership succesions are fascinating). Place de Vosges in the Marais is a must, and there is an amazing "secret" passage through Hotel Sully (?), starting right in the corner of the square (I believe SW corner leading to Rue de St. Antoine), try to find it, it's extremely (Three Musketeers kind) quaint. Also, a classical concert in Sainte Chapelle was much better than I anticipated--of course, the setting is gorgeous, but the musicians were also quite decent (not your typical tourist trap kind). Finally, I liked the Parisians much more now than during our last trip 6 years ago--I mean everyone was civil last time, but now everyone was genuinely nice. Enjoy!!!!
05-23-2012, 03:57 PM
I said it was crappy weather ? Forget it, now it's summer :P At least for a few days :) Whoohoo !
05-23-2012, 04:46 PM
I'm going to Paris for the first time and would like some advice on lesser-known attractions not to be missed.
(I am copying some of the items i listed few years back, because they have not changed).
Not exactly "hidden and secret"..... but you won't see a huge crowd.....
Church of St. Sulpice
Organ Concerts at the church of St. Sulpice (across from Notre Dame)
Jardin De Bagatelle
Charming gated villa park in Rococo style, located in Bois de Boulogne. This park is good for a wonderful walk and/or a place for a picnic or any carry-on meal with a bottle of wine + company of swans and peacocks demanding their share of your baguette.
The only place in Paris where you can still imagine Vicomte de Valmont or Marquise de Merteuil to stroll by with a parasol.
Walker-Through-The-Wall Sculpture (La Passe Muraille)
Located on a small plaza Marcel Ayme, on top of the Montmartre, there is an unusual sculpture which I think is a must-see, if you read or did not read the short stories by Marcel Ayme. La Passe Muraille is a character from one his stories. The plaza is at an intersection of Rue Norvins and Allee des Brouillards. One can have A LOT OF FUN with the fotos….
(a lesser know Dali Museum with original works, which is hidden on a side street right underneath the main square of Montmartre Plaza.)
Paris Opera Granier - not exactly "hidden" but some of the private tours can be very special if planned in advance.
If you are a Phantom of the Opera Fan – expanded private tour (must reserve in advance at the main ticket booth) of the Paris Opera Garnier. Request to see the old catacomb-level dressing rooms, and BEG TO TAKE YOU TO THE HIDDEN DOOR that leads to an actual subterranean pond/water canal……. And then beg and beg and bribe and bribe to open this door, even if they say “there is nothing there”….. There is! (And if your tour guide is not originally a “western European”, but an immigrant from some other, “more flexible” parts of the world, if he/she feels comfortable with you, and the reward is good… you may see this…
and here is the story of “the truth behind the Phantom’s underground lake”…
!!!! DANS-LE-NOIR RESTAURANT - Total Darkness Dining Restaurant where everyone (except cook) is in the dark and blinded. Food tastes different, sensory depravation.... to say the least, if you find the mouth....
Serge Gainsbourg’s House Museum – Graffiti House –
To “walk by” only if you’re a fan of the guy is worth it. His grave is at the M-tre Cemetery.
He is a famous musician/actor/poet/director of the 60’s and a short term lover of Brigitte Bardot, and his house now a museum that’s worth a visit. Weird stuff….. Address Rue De Verneuil # 3 (or #5…. ) You can’t miss it. There are no organized visits. But if you ring the bell, and/or lucky to see a care-taker, which is a rare site indeed and may require few walk-buys, and will convince him you are A BIG FAN, you might get lucky.
Paris Sewer Museum
– the tour of real underground Paris, the sewers which are part of Les Miserables chase of Jean Valjean by Joubert. It’s real a underground tour, just like better known Catacombs.
Web-site with info
Edith Piaf Museum – Rue Crespin Du Gast #5 in 11th sector
Last Tango in Paris – Tango Dance Halls
While the film location is Salle Wagram on Avenue De Wagram # 39, and is no longer a dance hall, there are several Tango Dance locations in Paris where one can get the flavor, but they vary by days and seasons, and held at different locations.
Casa Del Tango – School and Night Dancing
Check dates and events on the web-site. You can dance for sure starting in the afternoon from 4 pm to 7 pm, Tue to Sat.
There is outdoor Tango dancing at night, like Tango on Siene. It is a free event.
The most popular one is Tango on Quais De Seine.
Here is info in English about Tango events in Paris
and one in French: http://tangoargentin-eric.site.voila.fr/
And buy yourself a nice bottle of wine and cold-cuts and have lunch at Parc Monceau in the 8th Arr. Right in the centre of Paris. It is a lovely, lovely place, which resembles a micro Hadrian’s Villa.
Here is a hand-drawn map.
Here are some fotos.
Here is the website with description from Wiki
05-23-2012, 05:14 PM
Thank you to everyone. Two weeks will not be nearly enough for the suggestions you've all made, but I really appreciate it.
05-23-2012, 08:09 PM
Laduree (their macarons! the raspberry passionfruit tartelettes!): http://laduree.fr/
Though there are so many amazing patisseries in Paris, prepare for gastro heaven.
You should definitely check-out one of Laduree's shops. The macarons are so beautiful! They are also yummy, though a bit pricey since you can't try them all and share! 16 minis for 29Euros, if I remember correctly, back in Jan. so it was a very hard decision to choose among the pretty choices. My favorites were pistachio and caramel-sea salt, and I'm not even a caramel person. :)
05-23-2012, 09:27 PM
The first thing that popped in my mind when I saw the title of this thread is that you have to have the crepes from the street vendors. I can't believe so many others have already written this! My favorite was the ham with feta. Had it for a week straight. The nutella is also great, but for a dessert.
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