Not sightseeing in Paris

Discussion in 'Europe' started by The Missy, Feb 8, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. The Missy
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    The Missy Silver Member

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    I'm very very lucky to have been to Paris several times so going up the Eiffel Tower is not on my to-do list anymore.

    I do try to make time for Musee d'Orsay and Musee Marmottan on just about every trip, but now, its about the shopping and eating :)

    When I'm in Paris, these are my must-do's.

    Have hot chocolate at Angelina - a tea salon at 226 Rue de Rivoli.
    Seriously ... the best hot chocolate in the known universe.

    Make the chocolate/macaron shopping rounds. La Maison du Chocolat, La Duree, & Jacques Genin. Also of note are Christian Constant, Jean-Paul Hevin, A la Reine Astrid, and Fauchon.

    Make the tea shopping rounds. Mariage Freres is my favorite, but this could be because its right across the street from the 2nd arrondissement La Maison. Betjemen and Barton is also very very nice.

    My favorite places to souvenier shop in other countries are the grocery stores. The food hall at Galleries LaFayette and La Grand Epicerie are a freaking goldmine for bringing home gifts that people will enjoy much more than the little Eiffel tower statue you might have been considering. I have learned that a 2 Euro package of Gaufres de Liege (sugar waffles) will make my kids happier than any other gift I could think to bring home. Bringing home jars of le romarin and la basilic to non-traveling friends makes their spice cabinet feel much more exotic than the jar of McCormicks sitting next to it.

    If I'm in Paris on a Sunday or Tuesday, I will go to Raspail Market (its all organic on Sundays) to buy sea salt and foie gras. Raspail is also conveniently close to La Grand Epicerie so I usually plan to hit both at the same time.

    What are YOUR favorite non-sightseeing things to do in Paris?
     
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  2. ArizonaGuy
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    ArizonaGuy Silver Member

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    My wife's undergrad degree is in French. She went to l'Université de Paris for a year and teaches the language. So going to Paris is great for me. :)

    Grocery stores outside your home country are always great. And Nutella from Europe blows away the American version. As for food I'm satisfied just grabbing sandwich from any market. Or a crepe from any cart. And January is the best time to go to hit the government-regulated sales in the shops!

    Visiting Père Lachaise Cemetery on the outskirts is interesting if you want to see the graves of Jim Morrison, Oscar Wilde and notable figures in French culture. That's not always on the list of first or even second time visits so it's something to consider.
     
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  3. JasonH
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    JasonH Silver Member

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    I challenge the "best hot chocolate in the known universe" label and offer up The Chocolate Company as the contender to that title. Specifically the one located right outside the Duke's Palace in Luxembourg. A hot chocolate menu that would rival most martini bars in selection. And while one is there the macaroons at Wenge made the ones we had in Paris seem... pedestrian.
     
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  4. b1513
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    b1513 Silver Member

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    I love Mariage Freres as well but I like the one off Rue Christine in the 6th. I remember whiling away an entire rainy afternoon there once with my son and it was heaven. Sunday would be ideally spent visiting the Bastille Market and then wandering along the Promenade des Plantes.

    I usually spend some time just sitting on a park bench at Place Dauphine watching a game of petanque.
     
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  5. aabrock
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    aabrock Silver Member

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    Without fail, when wandering the streets of Paris just enjoying the atmosphere (which is something in itself I suppose) you will see posted signs for classical musical performances in one of the many churches throughout the city. The last trip there we watched a performance of Bach cello suites, and another night a fantastic set of Chopin (at the Church of Saint-Julien-le-Pauvre, I believe). And while the music is usually spectacular, the ambience of a centuries-old church only heightens the experience.

    Oh, and macarons at La Duree followed by a nice, slow café crème.
     
  6. Lalala
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    Lalala Silver Member

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    I like to try different markets including some of the ones up in the 19th on the canal. TH likes to walk the canals. I have a book of great small parks in Paris and we try to hit one every trip. I also like the bigger parks that most tourists don't visit - Parc St. Cloud and Andre Citroen. I also like to wander around and look at the different housing projects that were built during different times of building reform in Paris, but I am weird that way. Sometimes, I just like to sit in th tuileries and read a book in the sun.

    Most other places, Dehillerin etc. are full of tourists buying something, I'm not sure what and getting the blow by blow about one of the clerks best friend in the world, Ina Garten.

    Oh yeah, I like to wander the basement of BHV, they have some pretty cool things in the hardware section. I buy a lot of my nephew's clothes in their kids department. Very cute stuff and reasonable.

    For chocolat chaud, I would recommend either trying JP Hevin's tea room on rue st. honore, or schelpping to Christian Constant at Rue d'assas 37 for some really decadent chocolat chaud and pick up a box of his awesome chocolates and some tea.

    I have a Facebook note about my take on Paris, its pretty detailed. I should put in here, not all of you would want to friend me.
     
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  7. JasonH
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    JasonH Silver Member

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    I'm sure you've been, but I really enjoyed Parc de Monceau in the 8th. It was about 3 blocks from our apartment and it was a great place to sit in the morning and relax. Definitely not a touristy parc, but I enjoyed it greatly.
     
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  8. Lalala
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    Lalala Silver Member

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    I love Parc Monceau, but I love even more the Musee Nissim Commondo where the Commondo family had its own entrance to the Park from their hotel particulier.

    The kitchen itself is worth the price of admission. Amazing.

    Here are some pictures.
     
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  9. JasonH
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    JasonH Silver Member

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    Sadly a musee we didn't make it too before we left. Like anywhere else you live close to something and you don't think about it.
     
  10. b1513
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    b1513 Silver Member

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    Parc Des Buttes Chaumont is another wonderful park to wander through. It's out of the way, large and almost desolate sometimes.
     
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  11. pokerhammy
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    pokerhammy Silver Member

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    Eat the Ispahan at Pierre Hermé. People watch at the Jardin des Tuileries.
     
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  12. jneugeba
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    jneugeba Gold Member

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    I love sitting and drinking champagne pretty much anywhere in the city!
     
  13. Lalala
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    Lalala Silver Member

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    Love parc des buttes chaumont...
     
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  14. Paris is Food Porn
     
  15. Captain Oveur
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    Captain Oveur Gold Member

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    I love to people-watch at Jardins du Luxembourg; I could sit there for hours and just daydream.

    I also make it a regular thing to buy some Bernachon chocolate A L'Etiole d'Or.
     
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  16. Freddie Listo
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    Freddie Listo Gold Member

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    We usually spend at least on afternoon in Luxembourg Gardens with a picnic lunch and a something good to read.
     
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  17. b1513
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    b1513 Silver Member

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    You're talking my language. I love that store. The woman, Denise Acabo, is really a cool lady. Gotta love the braids. Bernachon is the best chocolate in the world IMO. don't touch the chocolate bars, though, or you will be reprimanded. The heat from your hands may melt the chocolate. I go there every time i'm in Paris.
     
  18. JasonH
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    JasonH Silver Member

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    The people watching at the Jardin des Tuileries is good, but it is even better during La Fête foraine des Tuileries. Something about watching kids and adults queueing up to ride the rides and play the games is relaxing.
     
  19. lili
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    lili Gold Member

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    Meet the Parisians at Work. I spent an afternoon in the back shop at Gerard Mulot learning how chocolates and macaroons are made. Tastings, plus a 4-piece box of chocolate included in the 6 euro cost. (I see the price is now 10 euro :eek:)


    For the boulangerie experience (make croissants yourself) I was the only one signed up, shop owner agreed to have me visit, but he only spoke French. No croissants por moi. :(
     
  20. lili
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    lili Gold Member

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    A day out at Chartres is always good. Half hour by train from Montparnasse, the village is especially nice on market day. Even if you're cathedraled out a tour with Malcom Miller is hilarious and erudite.

    IMG_0039.JPG
     
  21. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    There's also a market on the left bank along rue Moufftard (spelling?) in the 5th, IIRC on Saturday morning. Another fun market is the one for birds and other live animals on the right bank, just in front of the large department stores along the Seine.

    I like to get a cone with sorbet and then stroll along Ile St Louis. In also try to return to the big pond in Luxembourg Gardens, the Rodin museum if it isn't crowded, Musee d'Orsay, the Picasso museum, and the water lily paintings. Shopping and window shopping are always fun.
     
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  22. ShopAround
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    ShopAround Silver Member

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    For me, it's chocolate, macaron and caramel rounds. I was in Paris last month and schlepped way out of my way to get caramels at Jacques Genin. To. Die. For. Better than anything I ever bought at L'Etoile d'Or, or anyplace else for that matter. Genin is now a must-do for all my future Paris trips.
     
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  23. MSPeconomist
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    There's a Bacarrat crystal museum and showroom, including a stylish cafe/restaurant that looks interesting. It's now located on a small square not far from the Plaza Athenee. This seems to be the reincarnation of a former museum and sales room in a grimy somewhat out-of-the-way neighborhood and it's totally different, a very stylish modern installation in a historic building in a very prime neighborhood. I made a point of visiting the old location whenever I had time in Paris and while the new one could be criticized as lacking the character of glass manufacturing, it's a shiny new space which is also fun to visit, either as a museum or a store.
     
  24. mynameismud
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    mynameismud Gold Member

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    Rue Mouffetard, is a nice place where i used to live nearby. It made many of my sundays afternoon...and also some of my saturdays
     
  25. mynameismud
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    mynameismud Gold Member

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    if you do not know the place you could try and go to Cours Saint Emillion/Bercy Village (metro line 14)
     

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