Visiting One of Paris’s Most Unusual Churches

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Eglise Saint-Merri is arguably the most unusual church in the City of Light. As much a cultural center, gallery and concert hall as it is a Catholic house of worship, Saint-Merri is unique in all of Paris in that visitors are as likely to visit for a myriad of other reasons as they are to attend Mass. Possibly even more so. Continue Reading →

Up Close and Personal with Monet at the l’Orangerie

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Today’s Paris memory is of the exquisite Musee de l’Orangerie, in which 8 of Monet’s huge water lily paintings (called the Nympheas) are displayed in two large ovals rooms designed in part by Monet himself so as to achieve the perfect lighting and ambiance. The effect is magical. Continue Reading →

Don’t Miss Saint-Eustache, a Gothic Masterpiece

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Paris is littered with dozens of gorgeous churches, and many end up on tourists’ must-see lists: Notre Dame, Sainte-Chapelle, Sacre Coeur, Saint-Sulpice. But one of the City of Light’s most impressive houses of worship that stands guard over the Les Halles neighborhood is not visited nearly as often as it should be—L’Eglise Saint-Eustache. And that’s a shame, because many visitors to Paris rate this church as one of the city’s finest, both inside and out. Continue Reading →

My Louvre — Beyond the “Big Three”

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Today’s Paris memories are all about the fantastic art at the Louvre. Yes, most people maybe a beeline to see the Big Three (Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo, Winged Victory of Samothrace), but you can spend literally days in the huge museum and never see all of the pieces on display. Here are some of my favorites, Continue Reading →

Statues, Statues Everywhere

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One of the things I — and most visitors to Paris — admire most about the City of Light is the abundance of art that greets Parisians each and every day. From glorious architecture to historic fountains to large outdoor murals to anonymously scrawled street art, Paris offers something beautiful to gaze upon no matter where one looks. There’s so much public art that many have dubbed the city a massive “open-air museum.” And that “museum” includes statues and sculptures. Lots of statues and sculptures. In fact, Paris has more than 1,000 statues created by more than 400 artists on public display throughout the city. Continue Reading →

Quirky Musee de la Poupee Focuses Solely On Dolls

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Paris is the global leader in the number and quality of museums that are open to the public (many for free). There are almost 250 musees and galeries in the City of Light, including some of the best-known museums in the world. But there also are many small, unusual halls and salons in Paris that appeal to very specific demographic groups or focus on what can charitably called obscure objets d’art. Any of these unconventional museums make for enormously interesting visits. But one of my favorite off-beat institutions provokes an interesting array of emotions among attendees, from puzzlement to absolute delight—the Musee de la Poupee, a museum devoted entirely to dolls. Yes, dolls. Continue Reading →

Musee Carnavalet to Close for 3 Years for Renovations

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The Musee Carnavalet, which chronicles the unique and rich history of Paris from it’s founding in 250 B.C., is set to close in October for a three-year, 43 million euro renovation project aimed at restoring portions of the 17th century mansions that house the museum, improve the presentation of the museum’s collections, add new exhibits, and make the facility handicap accessible. The renovation is part of a larger 100 million euro plan to revitalize 14 city-owned museums between now and Continue Reading →

Le Grand Palais: A Lot More Than Just a Pretty Photo

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Here’s a paradox that is very specific to the City of Light: One of Paris’s buildings that is among the most photographed by sight-seers is also one of the city’s facilities that is least visited by tourists. If you’ve been to Paris, chances are you’ve had a glimpse (and taken multiple photos) from Les Invalides, the Orsay Museum, the Champs Elysees or especially from the ornate Pont Alexandre III. Any guesses what it might be? Continue Reading →

Marais Museum Chronicles History of French Jews

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There are more than 150 museums in the City of Light, ranging from tiny exhibitions to huge world-renowned institutions like the Louvre and the Musee d’Orsay. But many Parisian museums fall between the obscure and the famous, and one of the most interesting of these is the Musee d’Art et d’Histoire du Judaisme/MAHJ (Museum of Jewish Art and History). The museum, housed in an historic 17th century Marais mansion, chronicles the rich and sometimes very complex history of Jews throughout Europe and North Africa—with a specific focus on French Jews—from the Middle Ages to present day through its world-class collection of paintings, sculpture, religious objects, manuscripts, textiles and historic documents. Some of the most fascinating artifacts are nearly 800 years old. Continue Reading →

Breton Cuisine, Funky Art at Page 35 Restaurant

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In the heart of the Marais lies a wonderful Breton restaurant that’s as popular for its food as it is for the rotating exhibitions of artwork by a cadre of international graphic artists that line its colorful walls. Page 35, located just opposite the quaint Square Louis Achille, is a hugely popular neighborhood destination for locals, including many families with children in tow. It’s also a hit with Paris’s LGBT community, often drawing a large crowd of trendy gays and lesbians attracted to Page 35’s funky, contemporary vibe and artistic atmosphere. And despite its prime location near several prominentsight-seeing destinations (the Picasso museum, Place des Vosges, the Musee Carnavalet and the many trendy boutiques on the Rue des Francs-Bourgeois, to name a few), the restaurant is rarely visited by tourists. So if you’re hoping to experience Paris as a local, you’ve definitely come to the right place at Page 35. You’re also in luck if you’re a history buff, as the gorgeous 17th century building that houses the restaurant is steeped in French history. Continue Reading →