Paris’s Elysee Palace: France’s White House

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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 →

Up Close with Le Penseur at the Musee Rodin

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One of my favorite Paris Museums is the Musee Rodin, adjacent to the Invalides complex on the Right Bank. Opened in 1919, the museum is dedicated to French sculptor Auguste Rodin. The museum is housed in the 17th century Hotel Biron—a glorious mansion in which Rodin rented four rooms for his workshop from 1908 until his death in 1917—and the manor’s enormous gardens. Among the many pieces displayed at the museum are three of Rodin’s most famous works, including Le Penseur (The Thinker), Le Baiser (The Kiss) and La Porte de l’Enfer (The Gates of Hell). Continue Reading →

G. Detou: A Must-Stop Shop for Pastry Chefs

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Paris is heaven for both amateur and professional patissiers (pastry chefs and bakers). Not only are there numerous world-class pastry shops (patisseries) to try, but there are several culinary supply stores that are simply unsurpassed in their collections of baking equipment and supplies. For pastry chefs looking for the highest-quality or the most unusual ingredients, the boutique of choice is G. Detou. The shop’s name is a homonym for the French term “I have everything”—j’ai de tout. And the place does seem to have it all. If you can’t find it here, you won’t be able to find it in all of Paris. Continue Reading →

Hotel de Sully: A Mansion in the Heart of LGBT Paris

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Paris’s Marais district, and in particular the areas around the Metro stations Hotel de Ville and Saint-Paul, is the heart of the City of Light’s thriving lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. And while there are plenty of LGBT shops, bars, restaurants and sight-seeing destinations in this neighborhood, it’s also home to more than a dozen 17th and 18th century mansions, called Hotels de Particuliers, that once served as single-family homes to France’s wealthy aristocrats who wished to live near Continue Reading →

Librairie Gourmande Named Top Cookbook Store

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Bon Appetit magazine today released its list of the best cookbook stores in the world, and it’s no surprise that Paris’s fantastic Librairie Gourmande is among them. “Food and wine books, old and new” is the motto of this two-level gold mine of cookbooks and other cuisine-related reading. Continue Reading →

The History of Paris at the Musee Carnavalet

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The Musee Carnavalet chronicles the history of Paris from its founding in 250 B.C. to today’s 21st century center of business, art and culture. The collection is massive, and only a fraction is on display in the museum’s nearly 100 rooms. The museum houses 2,600 paintings, 20,000 drawings, 300,000 engravings, 150,000 photos, 2,000 sculptures and countless other items of historical significance. Continue Reading →

Palais-Royal: Grand and Quirky

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Today’s Paris memories are of the Palais-Royal, a one-time palace located near the Louvre on the Right Bank. Once called the Palais-Cardinal, the palace is today home to an unusual modern art exhibit and a gorgeous enclosed courtyard with a huge reflecting pool, numerous statues and perfectly aligned rows of trees and shrubbery. Continue Reading →