A Salute to Louis XIV at Place des Victoires

Place des Victoires 5

A little-visited but still quite scenic—and historic—site in Paris’s 1st Arrondissement is the Place des Victoires, a circular “square” that was created to honor King Loius XIV. Place des Victoires is a short walk from the more popular Palais Royal, but few tourists make their way to this locale. And that’s mostly because aside from a large statue of Louis in the center of the circle, there’s no real “sight” to see. That’s a shame, because the circle has delightful 17th century architecture and, for history buffs, roots stretching back to the French royal House of Bourbon, and links to the French Revolution and Napoleon Bonaparte. Continue Reading →

Quintessentially French Dining On the Ile Saint-Louis

Auberge de la Reine Blanche 8

Parisians and tourists alike have a love affair with the Ile Saint-Louis, the tiny sister island and next-door neighbor to the larger Ile de la Cite that marks the geographic center of Paris. To add to your quintessentially Parisian experience while strolling the island, be sure to stop in for lunch or dinner at the charming bistro L’Auberge de la Reine Blanche. This quaint eatery looks every bit as a Parisian bistro should—timeworn tables packed tightly together, oil paintings and copper cookware hanging on the walls, romantic lighting overhead and a gorgeous antique oak bar overlooking the entire scene. Best of all, the food is superb. Continue Reading →

‘Midnight in Paris’ Truly Captures the City’s Beauty

MidnightinParis

There is simply no denying that Midnight in Paris, particularly the introduction scene, truly captures the City of Light in all its glory. Every time I watch the first few minutes of the movie, I start to mentally plan my next visit to Paris. Even in the rain! Read more to check out a YouTube video of the movie’s gorgeous introduction to the beauty of Paris. Continue Reading →

Golden Statue Near the Louvre Honors Joan of Arc

Joan of Arc 1

Visitors to the Louvre and the Tuileries Gardens are often surprised to stumble across a glittering gold statue of a soldier on horseback, seemingly guarding the posh Hotel Regina that overlooks the area. And many snap pics of the equestrian sculpture without ever really knowing that they’ve captured the likeness of Jeanne d’Arc (Joan of Arc), a peasant from northeast France who became a commander in the French military and led several victories over the invading English forces during the Hundred Years’ War. Today, Jeanne d’Arc is a martyr of the Catholic Church and one of the nine patron saints of France. Continue Reading →

Popular Paris Square Has a Dark Revolutionary Past

Concorde 8

Place de la Concorde, one of the most popular squares—and the largest in terms of sheer size—in the City of Light, may be beautiful and picturesque today, but at one time it witnessed dozens of bloody executions during the French Revolution. In fact, it’s the exact site where King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were made a foot shorter on top via the guillotine. Visitors today, enamored of the square’s gilded fountains, soaring Egyptian obelisk and unfettered views of some of Paris’s most iconic sites, are probably unaware of the area’s decidedly grotesque past. Even the square’s name today—essentially The Place of Harmony—belies its dark history. Continue Reading →

Louvre Breaks All-Time Attendance Record in 2018

Louvre pryamid 2 - Copy

As anyone who’s visited the City of Light can attest–particularly tourists who inundate Paris during the peak summer travel months–the crowds for some of the iconic attractions can range from frustratingly busy to downright overwhelming. And 2018 was no stranger to massive throngs of sight-seers, particularly to the city’s world-famous Louvre museum, which set an all-time record for number of visitors. 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 →

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 →

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 →

Angelina: Coco Chanel’s Favorite Hot Chocolate

232323232-fp53837-nu=326--447-69--WSNRCG=3474;552-932-nu0mrj

Have you ever daydreamed of sipping hot chocolate and sampling pastries in Paris with the legendary fashion designer and glitterati mainstay Coco Chanel? While that’s a lovely but unattainable fantasy, we’ve got the next-best, real-world option: paying a visit to Angelina, a world-famous patisserie-tea room on the Rue de Rivoli that was a favorite haunt of Madame Chanel—and of Marcel Proust, Audrey Hepburn and virtually every luminary in the haute-couture fashion design world throughout the 20th century. You’ll become an instant fan, too! Continue Reading →