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 →

Pampered Pooches at Moustaches in the Marais

Moustaches 9

No one pampers their pets more than gay men and lesbians, and Paris’s LGBT animal lovers make a beeline for Moustaches, a large dog- and cat-specific emporium offering everything imaginable to spoil Fido or Fluffy. Sure, the boutique carries the basics, but with more than 3,000 items available, you’ll find plenty of fun merchandise—including hundreds of toys—that make fantastic gifts for your furry family members. Continue Reading →

Paris’s Elysee Palace: France’s White House

Elysee Palace 9

Nearly every visitor to the City of Light pays a visit to the Champs Elysees, either to stroll the long, sycamore tree-lined boulevard or to visit the Place de la Concorde or the Arc de Triomphe that anchor the two ends of the elegant thoroughfare. But relatively few walk the two short blocks to visit France’s version of the White House—the Elysee Palace. It’s definitely worth the short detour! Continue Reading →

Picturesque Park Off the Busy Blvd. Sebastopol

Square Emile Chautemps 5

One of the true pleasures of Paris is the array of surprises that one stumbles upon when strolling the twisty-turny lanes through the City of Light. From medieval architecture to historic statues, and from stately fountains to tiny parks and green spaces, there’s something new and exciting practically around every corner. One such delight is the Square Emile Chautemps, located just off the very busy and very commercial Boulevard Sebastopol in the 3rd Arrondissement. Continue Reading →

Fantastic Fromage at La Fermette

800px-Delicious_Cheese

Fromage! Like so many other visitors to France, I have fallen in love with French cheese. Brie de Meaux. Camembert. Epoisses. Reblochon. Bleu d’Auvergne. Chaource. You name it, and I’ve tried it—and loved it. Even what some call “stinky foot cheese.” While every fromagerie in the City of Light carries the most popular cheeses, there are two Parisian fromageries that I go to again and again when I want to sample my favorites or try something new: La Fermette on Rue Montorgueil and Fromagerie Quatrehomme on Rue de Sevres. Continue Reading →

Porte Saint-Denis: Once a Medieval Gate to Paris

Porte Saint Denis 5

Not as large or well-known as the Arc de Triomphe, the Porte Saint-Denis is another massive arch in Paris that is well worth checking out. Technically a “porte” and not an “arc” since it marks the site of an ancient gate through ramparts surrounding Paris’s Right Bank, the Porte Sainte-Denise was designed by sculptor Michel Anguier and architect Francois Blondel in 1672 when the fortification was razed. The engravings and reliefs on the structure symbolize King Louis XIV’s military victories in the Netherlands and along the Rhine River. 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 →

Honoring Victims of War at Paris’s Anne Frank Garden

Anne Frank Garden-10

Visitors to the City of Light who enjoyed today’s annual Armistice Day parade and the ceremonial placement of a wreath at the tomb of the unknown soldier under the Arc de Triomphe might also wish to take a moment to solemnize the second World War, in particularl the millions of Jews who were murdered by Nazi Germany (including about 77,000 French Jews). What better place to honor them than with a visit to a serene city park dedicated to perhaps the most well-known of all the victims of the Holocaust—Anne Frank? The charming but difficult-to-locate Jardin Anne Frank memorializes the teenaged girl known worldwide for the diary she kept while she, her family and friends hid from the Nazis in Amsterdam during World War II. But the quiet green space in Paris also more broadly memorializes all those who’ve lost their lives to war. Continue Reading →

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

Maison de Victor Hugo 4

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 →

Try the ‘Guimauves’ at Delightful Pain de Sucre

Pain de Sucre 1

Visitors to the Pompidou Center should most definitely take a two-block detour to check out one of the most interesting patisseries in the Marais–Pain de Sucre. The award-winning shop was founded in 2004 by pastry chefs Didier Mathray and Nathalie Robert, both of whom honed their craft at Paris’s Michelin three-star restaurant Pierre Gagnaire. Unusual flavor pairings are the hallmark of Pain de Sucre and appear in many of the shop’s avant-garde tartes and cakes. Believe it or not, though, marshmallows (guimauves) are the patisserie’s specialty, and are prominently–and artfully–displayed in the boutique’s window. Continue Reading →