Visiting Paris, you can quickly get caught up in all the things you’ve always wanted to see and do. Famous buildings and monuments, charming cafes and legendary shopping areas are often among the main draws. But it’s a big city that seems to get more entertaining by the year—probably because it’s always catering to fresh waves of tourists. For that reason, there are a lot of attractions in town that you might not necessarily expect to come across or enjoy. These can be fun to put on your list, though, as they make the trip feel a little less like you’re simply meandering through the front pages of a Parisian guidebook. Here are a few things to think about doing. Continue Reading →
There is no city in the world that offers better shopping than Paris. From charming little boutiques to immaculate florist shops to the most well-stocked pharmacies to the grandest department stores, Paris is nirvana for those whose motto is “I came, I saw, I did a little shopping.” Visitors to the City of Light tend to make a beeline for one of the city’s celebrated department stores, typically either Galeries Lafayette on the Right Bank or Le Bon Marche on the Left. But many Parisians prefer BHV Marais for it’s affordable prices, wide selection of merchandise and that fact that it is—and always has been—open on Sundays. Continue Reading →
Everyone who’s even a little bit familiar with French history knows that Marie Antoinette and her husband, King Louis XVI, were made about a foot shorter on top during the French Revolution. And you’re probably also familiar with Marie’s alleged–and oft-disputed–statement “Let them eat cake!” when told the poor didn’t have bread to eat. But what happened to her between the time of her arrest and her execution? Most of that period was spent imprisoned in the Conciergerie, a sprawling, medieval fortress-like facility on the western tip of the Ile de la Cite. And you can pay a visit to the facility—and tour the very rooms where Marie Antoinette spent her final days. Continue Reading →
Many American visitors to Paris arrive at the crack of dawn, with their hotels still unavailable and horrific jet lag setting in. Lately, though, I’ve managed to get flights from the West Coast that arrive in Paris in the evening — typically a Friday evening — letting me grab a quick dinner and crash before launching into my first full day. What is it that I do on my first morning in the City of Light? Coffee and croissants in the Marais! Continue Reading →
If you’re like me, you’ve added watching the Bastille Day fireworks at the Eiffel Tower to your bucket list. And if you’re also like me, you unfortunately won’t be crossing off that travel goal this year. Not to worry, OuiAlwaysHaveParis has you covered! Continue Reading →
Parisians and tourists alike have their favorite cheese shops, and commit to them with a fierce loyalty. But a consensus for one of the city’s best — and possibly the best — is Quatrehomme, a mini-chain of fromageries founded in 1953 with its headquarters at the incomparable Quatrehomme: La Maison du Fromage on the Rue de Sevres in the 7th Arrondissement. Continue Reading →
One of the most interesting parts of the sprawling Versailles compound outside of Paris is the Hameau de la Reine (The Queen’s Hamlet), a fake rural farming town built solely so Marie Antoinette could escape the “pressures” of being queen of France and pretend to be a simple milkmaid. Seriously.
The town (which actually does function as a farming community) includes a farmhouse, dairy, dovecote/pigeon coup, mill, tower and the “queen’s house and billiard room,” set in the very center of the village. Continue Reading →
One of the things I love about Paris are the scores of fountains scattered throughout the city. Many are quite famous as tourist sights: the Fontaine Saint-Michel on the Left Bank, the Fontaine des Innocents near Les Halles, the Medici Fountain in the Jardin du Luxembourg, and the fountains at Place de la Concorde, Place des Vosges and the Louvre pryamid, to name just a few.
But one of my favorites–and one I came across completely by happenstance–is the Fontaine Louvais … Continue Reading →
My fellow bloggers at Paris Attitude have put together a helpful list of tips for travelers to Paris. But there are a few other sage pieces of advice that Americans should keep in mind so that we don’t perpetuate the stereotype of arrogant tourists and so we will smooth our interactions with waiters, shop clerks and fellow pedestrians so that we will never experience that cliche of the rude Parisian. Continue Reading →
Did you know that Paris was home to what are considered the first shopping malls? Called “passages,” these covered streets and courtyards (usually just one long thoroughfare, but sometimes consisting of several intersecting passages) first cropped up in Paris in the late 1700s and spread like wildfire in the early to mid-1800s. Continue Reading →