Sagittarius 15° (December 7)
First things first I need to put some Paris notes together for the next half hour. (Only it took a couple of days!) Gardens, Parks and Places.
Promenade Plantée.As part of a 12e outing. A sort of Paris Highline, following a defunkt rail line. Begins at the Bastille Opera. Nice views and benches to rest and follows above streets filled with arty shops.
Parc Montsouris.On the edge of the 14e, created by Emporer Napoleon III. English garden, small lake and waterfall with puppet theater.
Jardin des Plantesin the 5e. Endlessly fascinating botanical garden with Natural History museum filled with endless assembled skeletons. Other smaller museums and greenhouses. And there’s a zoo which we don’t go to because we don’t like zoos. The jardin is near to the end bit of boulevard St-Germaine and Diptyque, Chez René, Iode (see below).
Parc de la Villette. Dries used this place for a fashion show back in the day. Huge park with a science museum and music halls and outdoor art. It’s on the edge of Paris in the 19e.
Jardin Albert Kahn. Just outside Paris in Boulogne-Billancourt. Part of the Albert Kahn museum of historic photographs. The garden is a mix of Japanese, English, French with a mini Vosges forest reconstuction.
Jardin du Luxembourg.for those who have never been there is also a must. We like to visit all the statues of les Reines de France that punctuate the park.
Churches and Palaces
Sacre Coeur. If you have to go (and if you haven’t been you really do need to) then try to go toward evening when the crowds are leaving and attend Vespers which is typically 6PM. One of the better strolls up the hill would begin at the Moulin Rouge. You can keep the Café de 2 Moulins as a landmark in mind (it was where Amélieworked in that film). You might want to breeze through the Cemetery. There is also the I Love You Walland the Place du Tertre. There is still a windmill—the Moulin de la Galette and another famous cafe, La Maison Rose. If you use all these as landmarks it will make a nice jaunt!
Eglise Saint-Gervais. As I’m writing this in unlinear fashion I’ve already said it’s our favorite church. It is south of rue du Rivoli in the 4e (not technically still Marais but close enough) and the area is all beautiful shops and cafés-resto. We end up here a lot just to sit. And we try to time it with the singing masses which are beautiful. Don’t be put off by the homeless people camping around. The church is incredibly charitable and they disenfranchised do flock there.
Sainte-Chapelle. boulevard du Palis in the 1e. It is in the Palais de la Cité on the Île de la Cité. Gothic royal chapel dating to the 13th century, chapel of the French kings.
Palais Royale. Opposite the Louvre in the 1e. The galleries are filled with designer shops. Make sure to walk around the entire thing. Gaultier, Ric Owens, Jerome Dreyfuss,Pierre Hardy and Didier Ludot’s famed vintage store. A must do. As is strolling through the Gallerie Vivienne to the north. Colette’s residence is in this quartier too as is the Grand Colbert restaurant. You don’t have to eat there unless you’re Keanu Reeves and Diane Keaton in that sappy film. Go west to Place Vendome, go east to Place des Victoires.
Louvre through Tuilleries to Grand Palais and Petit Palais.
Marais north into the 3e around Arts et Metier then east to Republic and back down near Merci and Place des Vosges.
Hotel de Ville to Left Bank to Pantheon (near Cafe de la Nouvelle Marais) through the rue Mouffetard and Place Monge to Jardin des Plantes and to the eastern start of boulevard Saint Germain.
Pont Neuf to Left Bank up rue Dauphine, passage Dauphine, rue de Buci, rue de Seine, rue Jacob toward the 7e becomes rue de l’Université “rue de l’U” through the Place du Palais Bourbon all the way to the Tour Eiffel.
Of course along the Seine and the quais on the Left Bank. The Dries store is on the quai Malaquais and Shakepeare & Company bookstore is quai Saint-Michel. Just keep dipping up and down the “side streets” leading up from the river. Many art galleries.
Lesser Trodden Museums: (Buy a Paris Museum Pass in advance which will allow you to skip the entry lines. Go to parisinfo.com Check individual museum hours. With the strike on many museums will be closed.) *means prioritize!
Musée de l’Orangerie. If only for the rooms containing Monet’s giant Water Lillies. (With the strike on now it seems that these are the only rooms of the museum open)
*Musée Nissm de Camondo. A beautiful intact home cum museum of decorative arts. The family were like Rothchilds of the Ottoman Empire and their story is fascinating and tragic. Built in early 20th century to house Moise de Camando’s obsessive collection of 18th century furnishings, art and collectibles. Right off the Parc Monceau.
Musée Jacquemart-André: Also near Parc Monceau. A private collection of Italian Renaissance masterpieces. Thinking Jacquemart and André are a couple.
Musée Eugène Delacroix. rue de Furstenberg, 6e. Tiny museum in house where he lived in a pretty square with a garden and his atelier.
*Musée Mormotton Monet. Once a private (Empire) home of Mormotton the permanent collection (the room of tiny portraits is a fave) features Monet and Berthe Morisot. Right now there is a showing of figurative Mondrians which rarely get featured anywhere. It’s on the edge of the 16e and you can walk down a path right into the Bois de Bologneon a mild day.
Musée Maillol. rue de Grenelle in the 7e. Work by the sculptor plus pieces by Kandinsky, Matisse, Cezanne, from the private collection of Dina Vierny.
Musée de l’Hommeand the Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoineare in the Palais Chaillot, across the river from the Eiffel Tower. The first is a museum of the evolution of man (Cro-Magnon jewelry!, carved mammoth tusks!) and the second feature plaster casts of the countries greatest monuments.
Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, avenue du President Wilson in the 16e. Bonnard, Modigliani, Braque et al.
Musée de Cluny(Musée Nationale du Moyen Âge). 28 rue Sommerar in the 5e. It is dusty and damp and dank and delicious (“for those who like that sort of thing that is the sort of thing they like”—Miss Jean Brodie). If only for the Unicorn tapestries.
And the obvious:
Musée Picasso-Paris. rue de Thorigny, in the 3e just north of Marais
Musée Rodin, rue de Varenne 7e. (Eat at Josephine Chez Dumonezon rue du Cherche-Midi)
Le Bon Marché. rue de Sèvres, 7e. Quite possibly our favorite store in the world. And maybe the first ever department store on the planet (don’t quote me). Now owned by the LVMH group it remains a wonder. Beware: you can lose track of time in here.
Flea Market. There are many marchés des pucebut with limited time you should go to the Marché Paul Bert Serpette which is at Saint-Ouen, “world’s largest antique and decor market”. Closed Tuesday-Thursday. It is within the larger flea market but you want to go directly there. Have lunch at Le Biron, 85 rue des Rosiers, or (where the market owners go): Le Paul Bertrestuarant.
Merci. On the Boulevard Beaumarchais. Just northeast of Places des Vosges: Concept store with designer and other fashions and beautiful home items. A delicious plant-driven restaurant (La Cantine) downstairs. Their (Le Used Book) café library, where you can also eat—great for a late breakfast.
Ailleurs. On rue Saint-Nicolas, a stroll east of Bastille along rue du Faubourg Saint Antoine in the 12e. Lighting, furniture, glassware, textiles, ceramics et al.
Azzedine Alaia. Women’s obviously but is like visiting a temple. rue de Moussy, Marais.
Art-Depot(great vintage shop—I bought 60s Persol sunglasses) and Lambert Lambert(antique furniture).They are both on the rue des Barres (also rue Pont Louis-Phillipe, just opposite our favorite church Église Saint-Gervais) in the 4e near the river. There is also a Papier Plusshop and the Abbey store(at least that’s what we call it) associated with the church which sells things made by monks and cloistered nuns. The Eau d’Emeraude is something we always buy—it’s made by the same monks that make Chartreuse—and it is a healing miracle.
Diptyque. When you’re back in the hood near Chez René and Iode and Jardin des Plantes you can dip into (get it?) this original flagship store. It’s pretty beautiful.
Chez René. In a Paris world where most of our favorite traditional restaurants have faded into memory, this place has come to represent one of the last great hopes. It serves things only French people will eat (kidneys and brains and other organs) but you are safe with the coq au vin or boeuf Bourgignon. Funny, charming waiters in the full kit and apron. Shiny dark red banquettes and a small zinc bar and exhibition posters fill the walls. At the very end of boulevard Saint-Germaine in the 5e near La Tour D’Argent. Reserve for sure: 43 54 30 23.
Bar à Iode. Also near the end of boulevard Saint-Germaine in the 5e (in case you haven’t noticed it’s one of our favorite areas). Delicious oysters and other raw shellfish and perfectly cooked fish dishes. A youngish couple opened this about five years ago and made a great success of it. Service can be slightly slow but definitely worth the wait. The decor is bright and simple—long blonde wood tables with colored metal chairs. Very Loic and Rob (Canteen) looking.
Café de la Nouvelle Mairie. rue des Fossés Saint-Jacques. This is our happy place. We go for tartines and bowls of coffee in the morning. We go for plat du jour or soup and mackerel rillette for lunch. And we definitely go for dinner at least twice a week when “living” in Paris. The food is simple and fantastic. The wine list (many organic reds) is superb—in fact it is mostly billed as a wine bar. It’s small and slightly cramped but always in a congenial way. The servers might seem aloof when in fact they’re super chill. Attracts many Sorbonne professors, philosophers, writers. Feels like the modern equivalent of an authentic 19th century cafe experience. Even some of the wait staff look like they’ve stepped out of Lautrec paintings. We tried to keep this place secret but word has definitely gotten out.
Vivant. This place is super special too. The chef/owner is the son of the owner of the clothing line A.P.C. but he is the real deal and totally committed to this “experience.” It is a tiny place. Most seats are actually at the bar (which we prefer). You have to reserve well in advance as there are few seats. The number they give doesn’t look like a landline +33(0)967499626.The bar is best, too, because you can see them making everything. The bar is basically also the kitchen. The walls are lined with cases of wine. The somelier is top notch. Everyone looks young enough to be your grandchild. It is beyond delish.
Josephine Chez Dumonet. rue de Cherche-Midi 6e. Surely as good if not better than Chez René however the Goop crowd has found it (thanks a lot Gwyneth) so it can be filled with people who are quite full of themselves. But it is a wonderful bistro. Prolly more relaxing for lunch (if you just have a soup for dinner). You would need to book. 45 48 52 40. I would definitely eat things like a terrine (made in house) and steak tartare and pidgeon and other authentic things here. The chef is Jean-Christian Dumonet and he knows a lot of New Yorkers.
Pizza Chic. When you just want a pizza and a salad but you still want to people watch and maybe spot a French film star or two this is the place. Probably among the best pizza restaurants anywhere. 13 rue de Mézierères 6e.
Le Voltaire. 27 quai Voltaire. when you’re also feeling very flush and French. Try to get seated in the back room with all the vraie Parisien.
Cafés/Wine Bar (other than Nouvelle Mairee)
Le Petit Fer Au Cheval. rue Vielle du Temple in the Marais. It looks like nothing. I always have lunch solo in the back. Great Plat du Jour. Or sit at the tiny bar and order the cheese and charcuterie plate which is enough for four (but I’ve also polished off myself). It’s a bit unkempt with a horrid toilet. But the real deal.
Le Pick Clops. Maris also on rue Vielle du Temple. It’s a holdover from the eighties (kind of kitsch Americana in style). Still I find it very neighborhoody and authentic since it’s been here foreover. Open till 2am.
Le Rubis.It can be intimidating both in terms of the space and the food but it is worth pushing through anxiety and claustrophobia as this place hasn’t changed in an age. Great for a rustic lunch not for the faint of heart. If the downstairs is full, the barman will expose a sort of secret door and stairway up to “à l’étage” to a small room of tables. It is very meaty (lots of sausage, pig trotters and such served on lentils for instance) but really so delicious. Stuffed cabbage, herring salad. Amazing wine (despite its ancient look it is noted as a genuinely lauded contemporary wine bar!). You can also hang outside for drinks and use the barrels on the street as tables. rue du Marché St-Honore in the 1e. (After a stroll in the Tuilleries!).
If choosing between Les Deux Magotsand Café Floreyou should do the latter. But both have become kind of tourist traps where the servers put French people in one area and the rest of us in another. I go here on “French Day” when I pretend to decided frogginess!
Have Fun! XX
To view the original Sabian Symbol themed 2015 Cosmic Blague corresponding to this day: Flashback! The degree pointof the Sabian Symbol will be one degree higher than the one listed for today. The Blague portrays the starting degree of for this day ( 0°, for instance), as I typically post in the morning, while the Sabian number corresponds to the end point (1°) of that same 0°-1° period. There are 360 degrees spread over 365 or 6 days per year—so they near but not exactly correlate.
Typos happen. I don’t have a proofreader. And I like to just write, post and go!
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