Parking Lot Project Unearths Ancient Artifacts

Notre Dame archaeological crypt 8

In far too many cities, the classic song lyric “They paved paradise and put up a parking lot” is sadly accurate. But in Paris, ironically, it was the building of a parking lot that unearthed a wealth of archaeological treasures, including some that date back to the Gallo-Roman era that began in the year 52 B.C. And even more surprising is that this historical treasure trove literally lies at the feet of every tourist who visits one of Paris’s iconic sites. Continue Reading →

A Visit to the Delightful Rue Montorgueil Market Street

Montorguril

An extremely popular 2nd Arrondissement destination for both tourists and locals is the Rue Montorgueil market street, a five-block long lane between Rue Etienne Marcel and Rue Reaumur. Home to more than two dozen specialty food shops, cafes and bistros, including a patisserie founded nearly 280 years ago by the head pastry chef to king Louis XV, Rue Montorgueil is a real treat even if you’re just window shopping (called faire du leche-vitrines in French, which oddly translates to “window licking). Continue Reading →

Up Close with Le Penseur at the Musee Rodin

Rodin 5

One of my favorite Paris Museums is the Musee Rodin, adjacent to the Invalides complex on the Right Bank. Opened in 1919, the museum is dedicated to French sculptor Auguste Rodin. The museum is housed in the 17th century Hotel Biron—a glorious mansion in which Rodin rented four rooms for his workshop from 1908 until his death in 1917—and the manor’s enormous gardens. Among the many pieces displayed at the museum are three of Rodin’s most famous works, including Le Penseur (The Thinker), Le Baiser (The Kiss) and La Porte de l’Enfer (The Gates of Hell). Continue Reading →

Warm Up with a Hot Drink at Charming Royal Bar

Untitled-2

It’s been a cold few days in the City of Light, with nighttime temperatures dropping to near freezing and the days blustery and damp. But one of the pleasures of chilly Parisian winters is popping into a toasty cafe or tea room for a warm drink and a tasty dessert. (Or perhaps a cognac or two!) One of my best-loved warm-up spots is a fantastic little bar-cafe-tea room I stumbled upon quite by accident while roaming the tiny, winding Marais streets not far from the Picasso and Carnavalet museums—Royal Bar. You’ll love it, too. Continue Reading →

Puits d’Amour at World-Famous Stohrer

Stohrer 14

Nestled among the many wonderful fish, butcher, cheese, produce and other fine-food shops on the market street Rue Montorgueil in Paris’s 2nd Arrondissement is one of my favorite pastry shops in the entire world – Stohrer. Technically called a patissier-traiteur because the shop offers a range of delicious meal and snack items in addition to desserts, Stohrer is best known for its fantastic pastries and its unbelievable history that stretches back to before the French Revolution. The shop’s two most-famous confections are the baba au rhum (a rum-soaked brioche) and the to-die-for Puits d’Amour (wells of love). Continue Reading →

The No. 1 Sandwich in France Is …

Feria 1

Last year, a sandwich most of the world’s citizens associate with America was the most-consumed sandwich in France. Yes, hamburgers–or, as they call them in France, les burgers–topped the list of most-eaten sandwiches in the nation. For the first time ever, burgers edged what many consider to be the classic French on-the-run food–the iconic jambon beurre sandwich (ham and butter on a baguette). Continue Reading →

Viewing the Crown of Thorns at Notre Dame

The Crown of Thorns, inside its protective case

Gargoyles. The rose window. Victor Hugo’s hunchback. Flying buttresses. These are just a few of the countless reasons why Parisians and visitors to the City of Light visit and fall in love with Notre Dame de Paris, the stunning gothic cathedral that often is included with the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe as iconic symbols of Paris. But for Catholics, indeed for all Christians, the church also is host to one of the most important relics in all of Christendom—the Crown of Thorns, allegedly worn by Jesus during his crucifixion. And visitors to the cathedral can see this most holy of artifacts all day on Good Friday. Continue Reading →

A (Mostly) Forgotten Louvre-Area Church

St Germain L'Auxerrois 3

Visitors to Paris are, of course, familiar with most of the vicinity around the Louvre—the gorgeous, massive museum itself, the pristine Tuileries park to the west, the picturesque Seine to the south and the trendy Rue de Rivoli to the north. Note, the use of the word “most,” because even the savviest tourist typically misses the buildings just “behind” (to the east of) the renowned museum, and that’s a shame, because it’s home to one of the most beautiful and historic churches in all of Paris—Saint-Germain-l’Auxerrois. Continue Reading →

Sole Meuniere, a Julia Child Favorite

Sole Meuniere 4

For many of us unfortunate to not have been born and bred in France, our first introduction to French cuisine was likely through quirky chef and cookbook author Julia Child, whose life in Paris is thoroughly chronicled in the wonderful book My Life in France. And what was Child’s first meal in Paris, one which would become one of her favorite French dishes? Sole meuniere. Continue Reading →

For Extreme Opulence, Visit the Opera Garnier

Opera Garnier 23

If you want a glimpse of how Louis XVI may have lived, it’s not necessary to trek all the way to Versailles, the massive royal palace on the outskirts of Paris, a trip to which will take up an entire day of your visit to the City of Light. If you’re hoping to save some time and yet also experience over-the-top opulence and more gold leaf than Donald Trump’s infamous golden bathroom, head to Paris’s Palais Garnier. Typically called just the Opera Garnier, this gorgeous Beaux-Arts and Neo-Baroque palace was built on the border of the 2nd and 9th arrondissements in the late 19th century to host the renowned Paris Opera. And it’s perhaps even more spectacular than anything one might see at Louis’s former palace, even the oft-photographed Hall of Mirrors. Continue Reading →