Don’t Miss Saint-Eustache, a Gothic Masterpiece

Saint Eustache 4

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”

Louvre gallery

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 →

Quirky Musee de la Poupee Focuses Solely On Dolls

Musee de la Poupee 6

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

Musee Carnavalet

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 →

Marais Museum Chronicles History of French Jews

Musee du Judaisme 9

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

Page 35 10

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 →

Quirky, Kinetic Fountain Honors Composer Stravinksy

Fontaine Stravinsky 12

In addition to visiting Paris’s futuristic Pompidou Center, many tourists also enjoy the next-door Fontaine Stravinsky (Stravinsky Fountain), a quirky, kinetic public fountain designed to honor composer Igor Stravinsky, a Russian composer—later a naturalized French citizen—considered one of the most important composers of the 20th century. The Paris fountain that honors the composer was created in 1983 by Swiss artist Jean Tinguely, known for his kinetic-art pieces, and his wife, French sculptor, painter and filmmaker Niki de Saint Phalle. The 580-square-meter basin is ornamented with 16 pieces of sculpture and water-movement installations that represent 16 of Stravinsky’s works, including those from his best-known ballet “The Rite of Spring.” Continue Reading →

Free Exhibit Chronicles Paris’s 20th Century History

Paris, 1953. By Marc Riboud © Marc Riboud/Magnum Photos

A free exhibit of 150 photographs chronicling the sometimes turbulent history of Paris, its residents, and its challenges and triumphs throughout the 20th century has just been extended by a month so that Parisians and visitors to the City of Light can experience the region’s rich history as seen through the lenses of some of the world’s best photojournalists. Titled “Paris Magnum,” the exhibition includes images taken by 30 photographers from the renowned Magnum photo agency. The photo display, which opened just before last Christmas, was originally scheduled to conclude on March 27, but recently was extended an additional month through April 25. Continue Reading →

Marvelous Modern Art at the Pompidou Center

Modern Art Museum 19

Modern art is not everyone’s cup of tea. Personally, I prefer avant-garde paintings, sculpture and other futuristic installations over gallery upon gallery of Christian imagery, and I adore the work of Picasso, Matisse and Chagall. To each his or her own, right? But even I sometimes find some modern art pieces to be, shall we say, wanting. There is a museum in Paris, however, that I highly recommend to everyone, even those who normally are turned off by modern art—the Musee National d’Art Moderne, housed in the city’s equally futuristic—and fascinating—Pompidou Center. Continue Reading →

Paris Rooftop Photos Shown at Marais Gallery

Michael Wolfe photo on display

As anyone who has ever rented a Parisian apartment—even for just a short stay in the City of Light—knows, one of the true pleasures of non-hotel living in Paris is the views over the city’s iconic rooftops. The hundreds of tiny clay chimneys. The ornate sloping roofs adorning ancient stone buildings. The skylights and wrought-iron balconies peering out over the entire scene. It’s magical. And now, a photo exhibit staged at Paris’s La Galerie Particuliere, located in the artsy Marais, celebrates those picturesque canopies through the images of renowned photographer Michael Wolf.
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