Livestream the 2017 Bastille Day Fireworks!

Paris Fireworks

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 →

Quatrehomme: Arguably Paris’s Best Cheese Shop

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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 →

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 →

A Visit to the Home of the Man Who Saved Notre Dame

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A great—and free!—way to spend a delightful and informative hour or two while in the City of Light is to visit the one-time home of one of the most famous of all Parisians: artist, poet and author Victor Hugo. Hugo lived in a 17th century mansion overlooking the gorgeous Place des Vosges in the Marais for 16 years, from 1832 to 1848. In fact, it was at his second-floor apartment in this very house that Hugo penned one of his most famous works, the novel Les Miserables. But perhaps his most significant work is the novel Notre-Dame de Paris (known in English as The Hunchback of Notre Dame), a book that is credited with saving Notre Dame Cathedral from possible demolition. Continue Reading →

UPDATE: A L’Etoile d’Or to Reopen Nov. 3!

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UPDATE: After a gas explosion destroyed her candy shop A l’Etoile d’Or in February 2014, it was reported that shop owner Denise Acabo had thrown in the towel and would not be reopening the boutique that drew visitors from around the world. But multiple reports out just today say that Acabo is stocking her shelves for a Nov. 3 reopening! This is a most welcome development for scores of candy fans throughout Paris–and indeed the entire world–who regularly visited Acabo’s renowned shop. If you’ve never been, definitely make a special trip to A l’Etoile d’Or at 30 Rue Fontaine in the 9th Arrondissement (Metro: Blanche/Pigalle). Continue Reading →

Don’t Miss Christian Constant’s Chocolate Delights

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Paris is the heart of France’s chocolate industry—and sheer heaven for chocolate lovers. There are many boutiques run by world-class chocolatiers throughout the City of Light that should not be missed by sweets connoisseurs. One of my favorites is the Left Bank shop run by master chocolatier Christian Constant. Constant’s signature chocolate products are those that blend unusual flavors with dark, milk and white chocolate, including such essences as orange blossom, jasmine, cardamom, ylang-ylang blossoms, rose-scented geranium and verbena flowers. And both locals and visitors alike rave over Constant’s chocolate and banana tart (called the Sonia Rykiel) and his the dark-chocolate ganache tarte. Délicieux! Continue Reading →

Tea Time? Head to Mariage Freres in the Marais

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Most people naturally associate tea with England, where indulging in afternoon tea is practically a national pastime. But the tea trade also became a vital part of France’s economy and part of its aristocratic culture in the mid-17th century when entrepreneurs and explorers began to seek out and import exotic foreign goods, including teas. One of the best-known tea emporiums in France—Mariage Freres—has its roots in this global exploration. Brothers (freres, in French) Nicholas and Pierre Mariage became experts in the tea trade in the mid-1600s, and passed that knowledge on to successive generations of Mariages. Today, the family operates more than 30 tea shops and salons (including sales counters in luxury department stores) around the world, including it’s flagship emporium in Paris’s Marais district that is the perfect setting for a delicious dessert and a spot of tea. Continue Reading →

Tracing the History of the Famous Tarte Tatin

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A quintessentially French dessert is the tarte Tatin, what many Americans believe to be an upside-down apple pie. But it’s actually a bit more than that. And its origin, although never definitively proven, is akin to how a classic American dish—chocolate chip cookies—came about: by accident. Continue Reading →

Don’t Miss Fragonard for Fantastic French Fragrances

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Perfume is big business in France. The nation emerged as a global perfume hub during the Renaissance and by the 18th century, aromatic plants and flowers were cultivated specifically for the perfume industry, particularly in the south of France. As such, it comes as no surprise that one of France’s best-known modern perfumeries—Fragonard—was launched in Grasse, a French Riviera town known as the world capital of perfume that lies just north of Cannes. Best of all, visitors to the City of Light can tour the company’s perfume museum and buy Fragonard scents at seven Paris boutiques. 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 →