Paris Guide Part II of IV: What to See & Do

I know I said I would cover "What to Say in Paris" next, buuuut I have a major toothache/earache and drank wine to not feel the pain, so I really don't feel like thinking much about teaching French :-P I just need to focus on spelling correctly and not getting too distracted from writing this post, hehe.

My friend clarified that she was not particularly interested in seeing all of the typical "touristy" sights of Paris, but that she is " going with a small group of ladies, so the whole goal is to relax, eat good food, drink good wine and explore."

MAN that sounds like a good time!!

Now, I know they probably already have their itinerary planned and "what to see/do" was not one of her "help me!" questions, but I figured I might as well take this as an excuse to daydream :)

So, the following is a list of stuff (in no particular order, because, like I said, I don't feel like thinking) that I would want to see or do in Paris if I were to go back to Paris with my sisters or friends:

Montmartre and la Basilique de Sacré-Coeur
18ème arrondissement, take Line 12 to Métro (M°) stop Abbesses

I would go back here every time I visit Paris, but on any day from October 6-10 you and your girlies can celebrate the Montmartre Wine Harvest (la Fête des Vendanges de Montmarte) in the place where Picasso, Dali, Monet and Van Gogh once worked and partied with their artist contemporaries. I don't think I need to go into this one because basically there will be thousands of people there partying it up and drinking wine that was made from Montmartre's very own vineyards.. Sooo... just check out the link above and click on the English flag for translations. Although, with that many people you may not be able to actually enjoy Montmartre the way it should be enjoyed - relaxing with friends and some beer on the steps of the Sacré-Coeur, enjoying the views of Paris and its people.

(If you do go to this festival though, I literally cannot stress enough to be careful for your purse, cell phones, cameras and passports if you have them. Down the hill from Montmarte is Barbès and it's
home to the most "professional" pick-pocketers and with that many people, they will be having a hey-dey ripping off unsuspecting tourists.)

le Quartier Latin and the Left Bank (Rive Gauche)
5th and 6th arrondissements
Line 4, M° stops Saint-Placide or Saint Sulpice up to Saint Michel or Cité

Get off at the Saint-Placide Metro stop to get to the Latin Quarter and walk north toward the Jardin de Luxembourg, crossing through until you get to the other side (but not without stopping at the beautiful fountain and relaxing in the lawn chairs there!). On the other side of the Jardin you will find yourself close to Boulevard St. Michel. The choices for places to people-watch here are aplenty. There are also lots of shops to buy a bottle (or two) of wine and some food. Once purchased, keep heading north until you reach the banks of the Seine River. After checking out the picturesque stalls of books and art, walk down the steps to get closer to the water, lay out a blanket (or not, whatev), sit, talk, and drink the night (or day) away.
If it's raining there are plenty of bridges to shield you :)

Parc du Champ de Mars and la Tour Eiffel
7ème arrondissement, Lines 9 or 6, M° stop Trocadero

There are other metro stops to get to the Eiffel Tower, but from this stop you get the best view. After the necessary photo-ops, head straight toward the Eiffel Tower and keep walking until you get to Champ de Mars (big field in front of the Tower). I'm not sure how many wine/food shops are around there, but laying out a blanket and have lunch sounds like a perfect afternoon. You should also be able to find some sidewalk stands where you can get sweet Nutella crêpes instead of having a picnic! If you would rather see the Eiffel Tower at night, it lights up all sparkly n' pretty every hour, on the hour after dusk. If you decide you want to go to the top of the Tower, buy your tickets online so you can beat the crowds! (You can't go up via the stairs after 6pm/18h00. Last elevator ride is at 11pm/21h00))

Macarons at Ladurée and Shopping at Printemps de la Maison
9ème arrondissement, Lines 3 or 9, M° stop Havre-Caumartin

Okay so, this is pretty high-end, but you don't really even need to spend any money if you make sure you eat before you go! Opened in the 1860s, this is one of the original department stores of the Belle Epoque de Paris and is a national historic monument. I would go just to admire the architecture and do a little lèche-vitrine (window shopping, literally: window licking). The stores are open until 8pm (20h00) every night except Thursday where it closes at 10pm (22h00) - and surprise - they are not open Sundays. Printemps Mode is the main store for women's fashion and it carries hundreds of brands, including Prada, Calvin Klein and Chanel. Until October 10 they will be featuring a special "exhibit" of American fashion called Printemps Loves New York. On the first floor of this store, you can find Ladurée (not the original, which is situated on Rue Royale). If I don't go to a Ladurée the next time I visit Paris (which will be God knows when!), I will kick myself in the butt. I've never been, but original French macarons (not spelled macaroooons!) are delicious and it is like a work of art because they come in so many different colors, including turquoise, hot pink, electric orange, and of course pastels and natural colors. I would definitely splurge on macarons, pastries and a hot drink at this place! Marie Antoinette style!!!

le Marais Neighborhood and Musée National Picasso
3ème and 4ème arrondissements
Line 1,
M° stop Saint Paul or walk from the Notre Dame (approx 15-20 min)

The Marais district is a must for exploring. Known as a bourgeois neighborhood and home to the Paris' Jewish community, it was once a center of high culture and that is still apparent today. You'll find 17th century architecture and narrow alleyways with adorable, picturesque open-air markets and shops like bakeries, butcheries, patissieries, wineries, fromageries (cheese shops), flower shops, book shops, as well as lots of art galleries, trendy bars, lively cafes and a large outdoor flea market. If coming from the Notre Dame, stroll up and down Ile St. Louis and the Ile de la Cité, the oldest parts of Paris, and if you are at all considering visiting a museum, skip the Louvre and head to the Musée Picasso (a short walk from metro stop Saint Paul). Maybe I am partial to this museum because I ♥ Picasso, but it just fits so well with the neighborhood and feels a lot less "stuffy" than the Louvre.
(Another alternative to the Louvre is my favorite museum, Musée d'Orsay - home to the most famous impressionist paintings. The d'Orsay is not in the Marais district at all though.)  

P.S. If visiting on a Sunday, Rue des Francs-Bourgeois is one of the few streets in Paris that will actually have shops and restaurants that are open! So, take advantage!

Image courtesy of Fashion Coup. Please visit her site for her Marais shopping guide!!

Ohh this was so fun to write. I love this city so much!!

So, what are the activities that you already have planned?! Can't wait to read all about it and see your pictures!

Does anyone else have a few favorite spots in Paris that they want to share?!



kristy eléna said...

oh my, what a wonderful post about paris. so thorough! and the pictures are all lovely.

thanks for your very sweet comment on my blog. really appreciate it.

will definitely be following you. =)

Vogue Gone Rogue

Jenn said...

Thank you so much Kristy :) I am just about to add your blog to my blogroll - it is sooo beautiful and creative, i absolutely love it!!

thanks again <3


Jenn said...

p.s. they aren't my pictures.. i usually give the credit and i know i should have, but i was trying to get it done quickly!

Anonymous said...

My favorite neighborhood when I went with my sister Jenn was Marais. It was quieter, more families, and the most charming little shops down cobblestone side streets. It is a neighborhood meant to walk a little slower in and discover things you don't find in a tour book.

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