Friday, July 8, 2011

We'll Always Have Paris


I leave for Paris in a week.  I am taking my oldest son.  I love to travel, but hate to fly over water so had talked to my doctor about a small prescription (both in strength and number) of Xanax, which cures my ills.  I had decided not to take it after a friend, who had just made the trip, assured me that one is not over open water all that long.  The news yesterday sent me to the pharmacy.

Now that I am assured of the edge being chemically taken off, I'm on to the next thing on my list.  Help me out with a couple of things, will you?  Please suggest one thing, one, that you think I should see (or eat) while I'm there.  Please, please, please, please, please do not recommend something like Versailles or Laduree.  I'm looking for something I wouldn't find in a guide book.

I'm also taking recommendations of either the best book or movie you would take on the plane to set the mood.  One.  Pick the best.

Image, Architectural Digest International Interiors, 1979, the home of Princess Claude Ruspoli on the Ile Saint-Louis.  Photography Pascal Hinous.  And, yes, trellis.

95 comments:

Town and Country Mom said...

I haven't been to Paris (yet), but I enjoyed Paris to the Moon by Adam Gopnik, My Life in France by Julia Child, and, on the lighter side, Almost French by Sarah Turnbull. The Sharper Your Knife, The Less You Cry by Kathleen Flinn is also an interesting read if you like to cook. Have fun! I can't wait to read about your trip!

kansasfarmhouse said...

To say I'm jealous is an understatement! I have no suggestions since I've never been. I know it will be wonderful! Enjoy!

Todd the Bruce said...

It will be in guidebooks because some famous people are buried there, but Cimitiere Montparnasse is not to be missed. Much smaller and more intimate (and less crowded, at least by the living) than Pere Lachaise. I always always go for a little walk there when I am in Paris. The tombs are works of art. For food, the KFC at Place Clichy, like the McDonalds across from the Diocletian Baths in Rome, is not to be missed. :-)

Todd the Bruce said...

Also, get some wine (or ice cream for the eldest Little Blandings) and go to Notre Dame and walk down the big stone steps to the Seine and sit and watch the sun set. Or take a blanket and watch night fall on the Champs de Mars. Those are two of my favorite memories from being in Paris as a teenager. Admittedly, no parents were involved either time, and wine definitely was.

Carole Buschmann said...

Every time I return to Paris I must revisit Saint Chappelle on the Ile de la Citie. You can find it in the guide books but it is a beautiful structure to see. I just returned from Beaune France last week.

LPC said...

The thing is, you don't need us. Paris is pretty much enough, Paris and a couple of the usual guidebooks. Were I going, I'd email Tish Jett of the A Femme D'un Certain Age blog and ask her for a lunch, maybe, and a store. But a concierge and Fodor's is good enough. As for the plane going over? I'd listen to Joni Mitchell, I suppose, just for the juxtaposition of beauty and rue.

LilyBart said...

I would recommend picnicking in the parks. This is an idea I did get out of a guide book, but I don’t see many tourists doing it – the French do however.

Rick Steves recommended going to a market street like Rue Cler where they have the various shops for bread, cheese, wine, pastries, produce, etc. Pick out your fare and take it to a park and enjoy.


We picnicked in the Luxembourg Gardens and at the Parc du Champ de Mars. At Luxembourg, there were French families picnicking. We sat near a family having a birthday party for their little girl. The little ones were dressed in tulle tutus and they were playing ‘Red Light / Green Light” in French. Charming. At Parc du Champ de Mars, the crowd was younger and they were running around playing games. There were a mix of nationalities too – We were all eating and waiting for it to get dark enough for the lights on the Eiffel Tower to come on.

Several years later, we still think of these as the best meals we had in Paris.

The French will picnic all over the place. We came upon a group of college aged kids who'd spread a blanket and were eating on one of the bridges. It was great.

Can't wait to read all the ideas other people have.

http://www.ricksteves.com/plan/destinations/france/ruecler0208.htm

Anonymous said...

Well, of course go and see "Midnight in Paris" before you go, if you haven't already seen it.

Pick up a copy of The Lady and the Unicorn, by Tracy Chevalier to read on the plane, and then go and see the Unicorn Tapestries at the Musee National du Moyen Age (the Cluny). While you are there check out the other textile fragments from the middle ages.

David said...

Une chose?! C'est impossible.

Ok, its in all the guide books, but you really need to go to Pere Lachaise. If you run across someone famous' grave that's great, but if you never see Jim Morrison's headstone you won't care. The volume and variety of monuments, and their various states of repair, are amazing.

Stop at a few food shops and make a little picnic to take with you. It'll be warm and its all walking, you'll need both the snack and the break.

Stacy said...

I always love the Bagatelle Rose Gardens. It is in the guide books but rarely crowded and very relaxing.

http://www.frenchgardening.com/visitez.html?pid=3128389543401

alwaysokc said...

We have spent quite a bit of 2 summers in France with children. The one VERY touristy thing I would recommend would be to get passes for a "big yellow bus." or sometimes it is a red bus. Those are the open air buses that drive through the city and you can hop on and off. They are great if you want to see the city without thinking about navigating or have a few places you want to go in the same day- or you don't really know what you want to do. Sit outside on top, take in the city, hop off and then feel free to blend in. Our favorite days have been the ones where we buy bread and cheese and fruit and wine and spend time in the park at The Eiffel Tower with all the older gentlemen playing boule. My boys have been invited to play many times with a group of them. So fun. We laugh a lot. And return to our hotel smiling....

mary said...

Paris--My favorite city. You lucky duck!! Although I never made it to this wonderful museum (too many little ones always under foot), the Musee Jeu de Paume cannot be missed. Have a wonderful trip--please post all of your adventures.

townhouseturnaround said...

St. Julian le Pauvre church. I stumbled upon it after visiting Notre Dame -- it was so beautiful, peaceful, quiet, and filled with a glowing light. I used to go to it almost every day, and often didn't see another soul.

quintessence said...

Oh so envious - for some reason, I've been just dying lately to go to Paris - I haven't been in - well - decades!! So obviously I wouldn't be able to give you a recommendation. I can't remember if you know my friend Tish over at A Femme d'Un Certain Age? She's a local and would have a perfect suggestion I'm sure!!

Mrs M said...

Hello there, Xanax does sound like a good idea! although I did see the movie 7 days and 7 nights ! I too find flying difficult after many years of long flights all over with no problems ,,,, age perhaps ,, as a Scot living in France and Paris for more than 30 years there is much to see that is off the charts. The Carnavalet museum is small and good and doesn't leave you exhausted and is in a nice area for lunch and shopping. The new Museaum of Arts Premiers is wonderful with nice gardens. Off center is the Chateau de Maintenon is one of my favorites and La maison Fournaise on Ile de Chatou where Renoir painted his famous after the boating painting is worth a visit. As for books I waver between reading 'The End of the Affair' by G Greene again or an old Mary Stewart novel 'Nine Coaches Waiting', probably too hard to find, Mary Stewart is a great retro read and easy. Have a good trip and thank you for a lovely blog, Stephanie Murray

Anonymous said...

I adore the museum of perfume, which is free (it's run by the perfumer Fragonard)& usually free of tourists. It's in a beautiful townhouse near L'Opera- which is itself worth seeing- One enters the elegant townhouse, goes through the museum and ends up in the retail shop at the back. (Google 'Fragonard Perfume' to get the exact address.) Feeling like you 'should' buy something isn't a problem - who doesn't need a beautiful box of guest soaps as a gift? Bon Voyage!
Elizabeth Hickman, Nashville

The Devoted Classicist said...

Although it can be found in guide books, few visit Nissim de Camondo. If you have never visited, you would appreciate both the house and the furnishings.

Linda @ a design snack said...

Where would we be without modern medicine? I haven't been to Paris in 10 years but we had a wonderful time as will you and young Master Blandings. Looking forward to reading all about your adventures!

Kerry said...

I'd pick A Moveable Feast by Hemingway or just a nap would be my choice for the plane. For an evening meal I'd try La Coupole. It is certainly in a guidebook but is sweetly retro. Although the escargot there were dreadful,get those elsewhere, the profiteroles changed my life.

Peony said...

Recommendations for Paris....
Lunch among the locals at Au Babylone cafe at 13 rue de Babylone then take a short walk to La Grand Epicerie--the emporium for local, gourmet and international foods and treats--there are all-American favorites, too, including Frosted Flakes for Little Blandings. You can also change currency at the adjacent Au Bon Marche luxe department store. Still within walking distance is Poilane. If you cultivate the owner or sales staff, they will allow you a peek in the famed bread shop's back room with the chandelier constructed from bread. Stop for a glass of Taittinger or take tea at the Hotel Lutetia bar for an Art Deco eye-full. The hotel has many deco and contemporary sculptures and a decided feel of intrigue. Check out Paris Breakfast blog of artist Carol Gillott for guidance on how to walk (straight-legged) and dress (July is "sale" month, so invest in a scarf--they are worn year-round even by kids) and where to find the best pastries in Paris.
Enjoy every moment...will think of you and send positive Karma for a safe and memorable trip!

DAM said...

No tip for Paris, but I flew to Australia this past Thanksgiving and the pharmacist recommended taking 1 and only 1 Benadryl about 20 minutes before you are ready to sleep.

As a result of trying to both stick to a normal schedule and the small pink pill, I slept my 8 hours and arrived refreshed and ready to go. I kept the regiment because the time difference is so terrible each night at bed time and slept well.

Now adjusting back was terrible, but isn't it always?

LuciP said...

The Gobelins Tapestry Factory! It's in the guidebooks (I think) You can take a tour and watch tapestries being made using 17th century techniques.

Also, the Zuber wallpaper store for dreaming... Have fun!

Kristin Smith said...

The outdoor market in the Marais district is great. I know it is open on Sunday, it may be open on Wednesday as well. You should also go to the antique market - Marchee aux Puces. It's in all the guidebooks - it's worth the trek.

redolence said...

you should eat Bertillion green apple sorbet, go to the Ile St Louis store. You should take Isabella Blow's tragic biography. You should see Didier Ludot, high high end couture resale in the gardens of the Palais Royale

My Dog-Eared Pages said...

I am sending in an email. List of places to eat from a friend who has a house in Paris. ; )

davidsl said...

the maison du verre, by pierre chareau [my spelling may be WAY off]. it is not to be missed. you may need to arrange for entrance. it will be worth whatever difficulty that presents. i've been lucky enough to get into the house twice and it was life changing.

the book to set the mood: diva by delacorte

enjoy!

pve design said...

One thing you must try are "la grenouille" and you must have a coffee at "Cafe de Flore" - I love the BHV basement - it is a hardware store with style, wooden shoe trees and just great home things.
Love the churches there-
pve

LPC said...

OK, OK. I too go to the Sainte Chapelle every single time. The impact only takes a few minutes, so with boys you can do in, drop jaw, out. And then take them up in the funicular at Montmartre. Oh, oh, there's also a street and a restaurant called Rue des Mauvais Garçons! I tried to go with my best friend, who has 3 boys, but the chef yelled at us and told us we were too early and we gave up. At the very least the sign makes a good photo.

Also walk through the Tuileries and right up the steps when you go to the Louvre - the entry plaza makes such an impression that way.

Anonymous said...

Lucky you!! These are not exactly secrets but I second Saint Chapelle and would add L'Orangerie which is a small museum with amazing Monet panoramas. Hediard is great gourmet goodies to bring home. The four red fruits and autumn jams are favorites. Le Dome Du Marais is a great restaurant in the Marais which was a pawn shop to the Parisian elite back in the day. Try to get a table under the Dome. The food is truly fantastic and you are not likely to see many tourists. For steak and frites Le Relais de Venise is a Paris institution. It can feel touristy but well worth the visit and is bargain. Bon voyage!!

Mary Wells said...

I so enjoy your blog and your thoughtful musings, Mrs. Blandings. Thank you so much for keeping up with this hard work, which we all enjoy and learn from.

I second the recommendation of Carole Buschmann above. Do by all means visit La Sainte Chappelle on the Ile de la Cité. The glorious stained glass windows there will remain a lovely image in your mind that you can "feed on" forever.

Bon voyage et bon retour!

Leslie said...

When we went to visit our daughter during her study abroad in Paris, I asked a good friend (married to a Frenchman, goes to Paris every summer) for her recommendations of hidden gems. Her #1 choice by far: the Musee Jacquemart-Andre -- a "house" museum on Blvd Haussmann in the 8th arrondissement. It was built in the mid-1800s by a wealthy banker and his wife, both avid art collectors with a superb eye. When they died, they bequeathed their mansion (all contents intact) to l'Institut de France as a museum -- a wonderful way to see how the elite lived in the late 19th/early 20th century. There's a charming cafe on the grounds. http://www.musee-jacquemart-andre.com/en/jacquemart/

The first time my son was in Paris was when he was 10, and I made sure to get him to the Science Museum -- http://www.cite-sciences.fr/en/cite-des-sciences. Lots of things to do and explore: http://www.cite-sciences.fr/en/cite-des-sciences/contenu/c/1248107514710/exhibitions-now-on/

linda said...

Angelina( near the Louvre and gardens) for desserts/lunch and Berthillion( near Notre Dame) for the best ice cream.
-linda,ny

John said...

The Hunting Museum is a hidden gem in the Marais - I think both you and your son will love it. Amazing interiors and taxidermy.

http://www.chassenature.org

There was also a great looking new store in the June Elle Decoration (France) - the name escapes me other than it was something I had earmarked for my next trip. Sadly it's not with me, but it looked worth looking into!

Enjoy your trip!

Clarissa @ ClarissaStitches said...

I had the good fortune to be included in a group of museum professionals and affiliated craftspersons for a three week study tour of furniture in France. I can tell you about many things you will not find in your guidebooks (and I am happy to share with you if you are curious), but since I must choose ONE I would say try to visit the atelier of Remy Brazet whose draperies and upholstery are in the Petit Trianon, several of the Newport cottages, and Arabian palaces among other dreamy places. *sigh*

http://www.maisonbrazet.fr/en/home.htm

Anonymous said...

Well, for anyone interested in French interior design, although, yes, it is in guidebooks, the Musee Jacquemart-Andre is NOT to be missed on your trip. Currently there is an exhibition on the Caillebotte brothers which explores their artistic influences at the dawning of photography. Make time for the cafe inside, or if you have time visit the Mariage-Freres tea salon in the Marais district. The aroma of all the exotic teas in the nineteenth century setting will charm you.

Lisa Stevens said...

I love that you are taking your son. It reminds me of what Gwenyth Paltrow has said about her father taking her to Paris. He told her he wanted her to experience Paris for the first time with a man who would always love her. She did a post about where to go in Paris, check it out here: http://goop.com/newsletter/23/. I've never been, but it is at the top of my to do list. My favorite book about Paris is A Movable Feast by Hemingway and a movie to get you in the mood would be Le Divorce starring Kate Hudson. I'm not a huge fan of Kate Hudson but how can you resist a movie where Paris and a red Hermes bag are almost main characters, love it!

Azaleamum said...

Have a great time and shop at Gallerie Layfayette. It's just a department store but the girls at the cosmetic counter are so French and beautiful. Cannot wait to hear all about the trip. Bring home a bottle of Chambrod. Yum to sip and remember your trip

Pam Heath said...

The church of Saint-Severin the 5th off the Rue Saint-Jacques, a few blocks from Shakespeare & Co.

I also 2nd Bertillon ice cream on the Ile St. Louis behind Notre Dame--and the Lady and the Unicorn tapestries at the Cluny which are breathtaking and (for me at least) strangely moving, and I'm not a tapestry fan.

http://www.saint-severin.com/

Jan Jessup said...

Much better than Notre Dame is St. Chapelle across the street--it's a little jewel box of a church. You have to make your way past the guards of the Dept. of Justice, since it's in the same compound, but that's easily done. Look for posters outside St. Chapelle advertising chamber music concerts being played there--and if you can attend one, go! It will be a memorable setting.


I think you and your son would also enjoy the newest museum in Paris, the Museum of Asian, African & Oceanic Art on the Quai Branley, near the Eiffel Tower. After visiting, walk across the pedestrian bridge over the Seine, bear right and it will bring you to a memorial to Princess Diana, as the entrance to the highway tunnel where she was killed is nearby. Lots of messages and mementos are left, which makes this quite moving. Bon voyage!

kirsten kaplan + haus said...

Ooh la la! Must haves for the plane: pashmina, ear plugs and an eye mask from Dream Essentials. Must do in Paris: notice the architecture, especially the scale of doors and windows. Bon voyage!

Jan Jessup said...

One shopping tip: you have to spend a minimum of 175 Euros in France in one store to get a tax free form for a VAT refund--and since the VAT is about 20%, that can add up.

If you shop at a large store like Galeries Lafayette or Bon Marche (which feature many boutiques from designers who also have tiny shops all over Paris), you can take all your receipts to the Tax Desk on the lower floor and they will add up all your purchases and give you one Tax Free form to show at the airport Customs Office. Lots of little purchases can still add up to a VAT refund! (Just be sure to visit the Customs Office at the airport before you check your baggage as Customs agents can ask to see the purchases to be sure they're being exported.)

Also, if your hotel doesn't have maps that include a 10% discount card to one of these stores, go to the Information Desk on the main floor of the department store; if you show your passport, they will give you a discount card. The 10% discount and the VAT refund goes a long way to counter the dollar/Euro disadvantage.

linds said...

I grew up in KC and love your blog. On my next trip, this is on my list to see http://www.greatbuildings.com/buildings/Notre_Dame_du_Haut.html
If the Le Corbusier building is too far from Paris, maybe you could check out one of the toll houses by the architect Claude-Nicolas Ledoux.(Evidently Lou Kahn talked about him frequently.)

The enchanted home said...

A few things-
1. I am very jealous, was in Paris in Jan. and plotting and thinking of how to get back again very soon
2. I take Ativan for my flight (xanax family) only take 1 or 1.5 miligrams and its enough just enough to take the edge off of my panic-y state. It helps and why live with the nerves?
3. Been to Paris 5 times.....2 or 3 things I would suggest, go to Brasserie Lipp, considered by many to be the original, a true Parisian bistro, very beautiful very French and the menu is chock full of famous French dishes.
4. Sitting in the lobby/foyer dining area, La Galerie, in George V Hotel, have coffee or a cocktail and watch all the beautiful people from all over the world converge- we stayed there and one of my highlights was watching the super fashionable and well heeled people sit and mingle..it was sooo entertaining! We had breakfast there every morning but didn't love it and it was extremely expensive, preferred grabbing a croissant from a neighboring bakery right out of the oven!
3. Last if you can take a side trip to Monets gardens in Giverny, you will not be sorry (also enjoyed the Paris flea market but its huge and very very time consuming)
Au Revoir!

Anonymous said...

The Place des Vosges in the Marais will inspire you, Christopher Wren probably saw it and it was the basis for much of his work at Hamp-
ton Court.
Have you read the Hare with the Amber Eyes? Paris, Proust and Camodo feature strongly at the beginning of this wonderful book

Bon voyage

AR London

Anonymous said...

Absolutely never miss the Rodin Museum. It is small and it is perfect. Romantic and utterly doable.
For the plane....much more tricky.

Anonymous said...

We had the good fortune to live there for several years in our late twenties b4 kids. Nissim de Camondo museum, even over Jacquemart Andre ( you did say ONE thing). But partially becasue you then should take a picnic in the Parc Monceau behind it and soak up the very BCBG (bon chic bon genre) atmosphere of the 18th. Compelling story, beautiful house.

The other house museum that doesn't get as much play is the Marmottan in the 16th (tres BCBG aussi) Best Monet collections along with Caillebotte, guaguin, Manet, Renoir, and some gorgeous furniture. From there wander to Place du Trocodero- carrette has very nice macarons and spec tac u lar views of the Tour Eiffel.

Mainly just walk the streets, any street and soak it in...bon voyage.

best, Leigh Ann

Anonymous said...

Ooh, forgot,

Go see "Midnight in Paris", and absolutely read A Moveable Feast, at least a few pages while hanging out at the Jardin du Luxemburg or one of the cafes in the book. Also, The Paris Wife for the (fictional) other side of the story. David Sedaris' Me Talk Pretty One Day the essay is hilarious look into learning the language

allez hop!

HOBAC said...

So close, yet so far.

Kathy said...

I too am heading to Paris next week and I am taking my youngest son! what a coincidence. we are leaving tomorrow and going by way of London first to meet friends for the opening night of the final Harry Potter movie :). I bought The Paris Wife - a fictional tale about the life of Ernest Hemingway's wife. It seemed such a perfect choice after seeing Midnight in Paris...which should be at the top of your movie list before going!

Kim said...

Book on flight: My French Life by Julia Child
Movie on flight: Something's Gotta Give
Must visit and eat: Denise Acabo's A l'Etoile d'Or candy shop, buy a bag of the best Caramel-Buerre-Salé (salted butter caramels, the obsession continues) by Henri LeRoux sold exclusively at Denise's shop.

Anonymous said...

If you are in Paris over a weekend, be sure to go to the Marcheaux Puces St. Ouen de Cligancourt which is the largest flea/antique market in Paris. It is very easy to get to via the Paris metro and so much fun to visit. Another day trip is out to Monet's house and garden in Giverny. There are direct trains to Vernon, and then you can get a taxi to his home.

Anonymous said...

Agreed on the Musee Jacquemart-Andre and its cafe. The Monet murals at L'Orangerie literally make me cry with joy every time I see them. Speaking of which, if offered, try a delicious aperatif called Vin d'Orange. And just walk around the 6th arrondissement, and end up at the Luxembourg gardens. Watch out for the charming little costume jewelry stores everywhere (and ice cream and patisseries for the Young Master). Buy a "Paris Practique: Plan par Arrondissement", a little very handy map book that locals use, available at most bookstores. For the plane, there is nothing wrong with A Moveable Feast. Enjoy, Mrs Blandings and son!

Sarah said...

As an interior designer obsessed with good chocolate and married to an architect. All of our vacations involve odd routes around cities looking for certain pieces of architecture and certain pieces of chocolate!
http://www.jcrochoux.fr/ is to die for chocolate and though not off the beaten path the hubby does adore the Pantheon. Just wrapping up the Paris Wife and would recommend that for a good read on the way to get you in the spirit of things.
Have fun, though that should not be too hard.
Sarah

Flo said...

After you land, check in, and begin to roam the city, it doesn't matter where you go, just be led by the energy around you, and be sure to look UP the whole time. If you're doing this right, your neck will be in agony, so pack ibuprophen. That's all the advice/tips I have to give, pack it, and take it. F.

jayneonweedstreet said...

I like you Mrs. Blandings HATE TO FLY! But it didnt keep me from Paris recently and won't keep me from my son who lives in Santa Fe! I have tried Xanax but I still want to cry. So I get 8 pills of Valium (be prepared for connecting flights and delays, I say) and that old song, 'Don't worry, be happy" plays in my head.
I watched my favorite movie "Moonstruck" on my last flight because I disappear into the story and somehow almost forget I am on that whining horrific machine defying gravity...oh I hate it!
My favorite thing was a picnic in the park - jardin des tuileries...a bottle of wine and a sandwich with great people watching.....

Diogenes said...

Well, I would suggest the Marche aux Puces in the St. Ouen area of Paris. Block after block of fabulous antiques shops, 17th, 18th and 19th century. I really love the guy with a stall that is nothing but drawers full of huge crystals of all sorts from old French chandeliers. After you've had you fill of shoppping, get lunch at Chez Louisette, a little bistro tucked in the heart of the antiques market, where you can hear singers belt out old French songs while you sip wine shoulder to shoulder with the natives.

Louvre des Antiquaires is also extraordinary, but you have to be an oil baron to buy. Fun to look, though.

penelopebianchi said...

All I can tell you is that my poor husband had lunch at the same place 9 days in a row in Paris.....'Les Deux Magots" the "farmer's salad" I think? It is lettuce; (some special kind); lardons, and a crispy toast thing with goat cheese.....HEAVEN.

Best lunch I have ever had...to this day! we had it 9 lunches in a row. What a wonderful husband! No matter where we were..we took a cab.....and ....we had lunch there!

JaneyAnn said...

As many others have suggested, do not miss Sainte Chapelle as it is breathtaking. Also, the Musee des arts Decoratifs, part of The Louvre, but housed separately, is lovely. Marie Antoinette, The Journey by Antonia Frazier is a spellbinding biography. Bon Voyage!

Reggie Darling said...

A most pleasant place to have a bistro lunch when visiting the Notre Dame area is Restaurant Paul on the Il de la Cite. Go during the week, not weekends, when it is frequented by judges and office workers from the nearby courts. Tucked away on Rue Dauphin, Paul is nothing fancy, but the location is most convenient, and the half a dozen meals I've eaten there over the years have always been tasty--some sublimely so, some not. But always good. Some reviewers complain about rude wait staff. I've never had that problem there, but then I've never been one to get up in arms over that, particularly in Paris. The roast chicken is quite good, I recall. I have returned to Paul for lunch every time I have visited Paris over the last 25 years, and I will continue to do so on every future visit there.

Jake Travers said...

I am in Paris now with my husband and our younger son, though at 23 a bit older than your oldest. My husband and I came for the wedding of a friend in the South; our son met us later in the Vendee for the first few days of the Tour de France, which is a great spectacle in Paris on its last day in if you will be in the city on July 24--watch from the Place de la Concorde.
There is an event going on now that could bestow coolest mom status on you for an evening or two. Between now and July 14 there are free concerts every night at 8pm sponsored by the 3eme and a popular French radio station next to the park on rue Bretagne and rue Temple in the Marais. The event is called Soirs d'Ete and you can find info online. Since dark doesnt come until well after 10pm, people of all ages are out enjoying the music. The first act
starts at 8 and the next at around 9:15. It is fun and very safe to just stand in the street to listen and people watch. People also sit in the park. There are lots of restaurants in the neighborhood where you can eat and listen. You and your son will feel a part of a very cool local event in Paris. Bon journee!

Playhouse said...

You and your son should see Deyrolle and "eat" the hot chocolate at Angelina. He will remember his whole life that you enjoyed these things together!

penelopebianchi said...

If I were going I would go immediately to:

http://www.thestylesaloniste.com/2009/09/dianes-paris-address-book-few-paris.html

Diane Dorrans Saek's suggestions to do in Paris.

She is the most distinguished and prolific author of books on interior design; and her divine blog Le Style Saloniste is a wonderful source on travel!

And, by the way, once she was interviewing me for the book, Santa Barbara Living, on my way to Europe. She gave me advice on how to avoid jet lag. I followed it to the letter; and for the only time in my life I had zero. She recently published that in her blog as well. I would print it out and do it!

You will thank her! Have a wonderful trip!!!

Anonymous said...

Go see "Midnight in Paris." Then, if you like biographies, get "Everyone Was So Young," a bio of Gerald and Sara Murphy who were in Paris and Antibes in the 20's and knew everyone.

Do not--repeat, do not--get "Paris Wife" and do not believe all those glowing reviews on Amazon. Every thing is dead on the page. So much for Yaddo.

ddu said...

On the flight over, take an EmergenC or Airborne tablet in a cup of water every hour, and do NOT drink any alcohol. You will arrive jet-lag free in Paris.

Go to Shakespeare and Company, not far from the Pont Neuf, if you are a bibliophile. It's funky and laid back. Go for a walk through the Luxembourg Gardens and people watch. Bon voyage! Donna

ddu said...

On the flight over, take one EmergenC or Airborne tablet every hour in a glass of water. Do NOT drink any alcohol. You will arrive jet-lag free in Paris.

If you are a bibliophile, go to Shakespeare and Company, near the Pont Neuf, and enjoy its funky vibe. Take a walk through the Luxembourg Gardens; sit on a bench and people watch. Enjoy!

Ruth K said...

Given the recent death of Cy Twombly, I would want to see the ceiling he painted for the room of Greek bronzes at the Louvre.

Niki said...

I like to get a gelato at Berthillon on Ile St. Louis and then walk across to Ile de la Cite and stroll through the flower market. (metro Cite) I love the quirky little shops, butchers and cheese places on St. Louis.

At night, watching the lights come up in the city, sitting on the steps of the Sacre Coeur in Montmartre is lovely or if you want to do some great people watching, grab a mini quiche and a bottle of wine and sit on the edges of the canal St. Denis in the 10th. Bon Voyage !

Anonymous said...

the glass house paris

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/26/arts/design/26ouro.html

as a design professional you can tour it:

http://paris.untappedcities.com/2010/07/28/the-maison-de-verre-house-of-glass/

Qwendy said...

You are so cool! I am sending you an email with our personal Paris Guide which is not like any others, just a few pages long, but a Paris born artist and designer's notes on our favorite place.

That said, all of the small museum recs are right on, with the addition of the Musee Maillol which has some of the most intriguingly curated exhibits in Paris, where the others just have their own fabulous but static contents.

The best pastry on earth is at Pierre Herme, and it is worth
the wait, or traveling to his other location for more.......

Bon voyage Mrs B!

Anonymous said...

Although it's been said twice before, do not miss the Nissim de Camondo. It will take your breath away with it's exquisite collection of french antiques, beautiful floors, a paint color in the main salon which I tried to find in a Paris department store, - oh so beautiful. You will walk through this house more than once, come home and start another makeover.

Lory said...

As a frequent visitor to Paris and a fellow lover of simple elegant design, I'd like to share some hidden jewels with you.

1) You must visit Radison Blu Le Dokhan Hotel. It was decorated by Frederic Mechiche (pardon moi I don't know how to make accents on my Mac!). It is boutique hotel by the Tour Eiffel and they have the most gorgeous (and the first one in Paris) champagne bar where you can lunch or have tea or simply quaff away! A tiny jewel box of elegance decorated in antique celadon boiserie (the most perfect celadon I've seen) and those mysterious ghost- like gilded antique mirrors.. Ask for a tour of the rooms and suites, they are so charming. Modernized Napoleon Bonaparte

2) I would also highly recommend having tea or dinner at 1728 restaurant. It has a gallery and is one of the most gorgeous places I've seen. Squeaky old plank floors, candlelight, simply stunning
and brought tears to my eyes.
http://www.restaurant1728.com

3) The Shakespeare Book Store on the left bank...a venerable book store that always delights. This is where the real authors used to buy their books.

4) Finally...take your son to Rotisserie D'en Face (sp?) for dinner (left bank) a great family place with poulet the way we all wish we could make here in The States.

bon voyage!

Anonymous said...

I recommend the Musee Picasso in Marais at 5 Rue de Thorigny. It is in a really cool area and a great museum. I think your son would like the Paris Natural History Museum, especially the Grand Gallery of Evolution. And I agree with the person who suggested the Rodin museum. Have a blast!!!

EllieA said...

I believe that the Albert Kahn gardens in Boulgne-Billancourt on the last metro stop Pontiac de Sevres is THE hidden gem of Parisian gardens, indeed a jewelnof the city.

ellen

EllieA said...

One great gem at the last metro stop Pontiac de Sevres immediately outside of Paris in Boulogne-Billancourt. three ancient tea houses, including one given to M. Kahn by the Emperor of Japan when he came to the Worlds Fair, a Belle Epochconservatory, and five magical gardens.

Qwendy said...

I just looked up the name of my favorite Museum entrance experience in Paris -- the Galerie de Paleontologie at the Jardin des Plantes -- great for you and especially the boy, Google images to see why!

Bon voyage!

Mary Kay Andrews said...

For a movie--Charade.Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant in a caper in Paris. Nothing finer

Room Temperature said...

I can think of a few things in Paris I'd like to see, but they're things that I know you already know all about. One movie, though, that I didn't see in anybody's comment is Alain Resnais' Pas sur la Bouche.

Normally, I'm not a big fan of musicals--especially ones in a language I don't understand--but this one was memorable, or it would be, if, after ten years, I could remember much of anything about it other than I really liked it at the time. One thing I do recall is describing it afterwards to someone as "pleasant", a word I don't use very often, but which I meant in a less equivocal way than it sounds. Other than that, though, I'm drawing a blank. It was like good champagne: light & sparkly, and without a hint of aftertaste.

Have a wonderful trip.

Anonymous said...

I would second a recommendation for Adam Gopnik's Paris to the Moon and nominate Alistair Horne's Seven Ages of Paris.

Suemi said...

"Cherries from Chauvet's Orchard' is full of the author's passion for things Provencal, and will be read by lovers of Provence (and Provencal food) with the greatest pleasure, but it is also an extremely honest account of what it takes for an artist to find his or her way in the world. There is a gritty kitchen sink element to Cherries which is absent in the work of, say, Peter Mayle, and which lifts this book above the usual croissants-and-cafe crme panegyric. This is a book about real people struggling to turn a ruin into a home and a relationship into a marriage. The ruin just happens to be set in some of the most beautiful countryside in the south of France."
Joseph Geary author of Spiral and Mirror

linda said...

Agreed with previous commenter, the doors/doorways are beautiful- you can fo a photo montage of the different doors/door knockers- just breathtaking....also the bridges.
-linda
p.s Chez Georges - great restaurant serving the french bistro classics.

Diane Dorrans Saeks said...

Mrs B--

Your fabulous readers' suggestions are top of the top.
Not a dud in the list...though important to note that the Picasso Museum is closed for remodeling.
Instead, I love the Cy Twombly suggestion. (Get Louvre tickets online, so no waiting in hot sun.)

Penny Bianchi: yes, I've written extensively on THE STYLE SALONISTE blog on Paris walking tours, and I suggest two of my stories that are in the archives:
1. Sunday afternoon in the Luxembourg gardens: you can see the boules players, eat crepes or icecream, see the beehives, sit and read, walk in the shade, rest, watch the chess players, sit in the shade beside the Medici fountain. Late afternoon there are bands in the music rotunda-bliss.
The key is to AVOID TOURIST PLACES at this time of year. You will hate the crowds and they will make you tired and grumpy.
2. Read my 'jet lag survival' tips. The key--for you and others--is to speak to your medical advisor about sleeping aids, as you must sleep the whole way there. Sleeping-you will avoid anxiety. Essential: buy the bright orange 31 decibel ear plugs to that you lessen the engine sound. A fabulously effective thing to do.
Get on the plane, get out your pillow and warm throw, prepare to sleep, sleep for 8 hours, and you will arrive fresh and energetic. Don't eat on the plane. Take an energy bar. Sleep...

Have a wonderful safe trip...and know that your devoted readers will be thinking of you, with love.

cheers, DIANE
http://www.thestylesaloniste.com/

Anonymous said...

Now you just need someone to do an excel spreadsheet w/all these recommendations so you can get your mind around them.

I was in Paris in 2003 with my dear husband... we always thought we would go back... who knew we had so little time....he died two years ago...
Seize the day.

Suzy said...

You must sit in the place des vosges and just enjoy being in Paris.

carriesdesignmusings said...

I am going to Paris in Sept. so I can't wait to hear what you have to say. I am celebrating an anniv. and found the Chateau de Vaux le Vicomte; http://www.vaux-le-vicomte.com/ just outside the city. It is inspired by Versailles, they have tours of the Chateau by day and candle light tours at night. 2 sat. nights a month they offer fireworks and music in the gardens. Something for everyone. PROFITER

Easy and Elegant Life said...

http://www.lereminet.com/ A nice place for a bite to eat as is Willy's Wine Bar in the Bourse district.

I was struck by the Rodin museum when last there. Also, the Art Deco museum is off the beaten path.

Happy Bastille Day. Bon Voyage!

Anonymous said...

la rue Mouffetard both while the market is taking place and then when there is no market

a show at the Opera de la Bastille and the Opera National de Paris ... for comparison's sake

Pont des Arts and take in the view

the booksellers on the quai of the Seine .. again, take in the View

view of Paris from the top of the Centre Pompidou and don't forget the Niki de St Phalle art in the fountain as you leave the Centre

Musee d'art moderne de la ville de Paris. Amazing.

Hector Guimard's art nouveau Metro entrances both the canopied and cast iron. Beautiful.

Unfortunately, the Musee de la mode et du costume is closed until fall. But it would have been on the list.

Amy Clark said...

The Marais for Falafel. (Okay the Marais for anything!)
The winding brick lanes, the smells, the languages, are you in France?, are you in Israel?--you know for Sure you aren't in the Mid-West like you and me! And don't even get me started about the falafel...

Anonymous said...

oh ... books .. I forgot.

I would suggest Zola's 20 titles which make us the Rougon-Macquart Second Empire series.

But, in the interest of time, maybe you'd settle for Exiled in Paris by James Campbell?

For your son, perhaps he will be enthralled with Jules Verne if he has not already discovered him.

JWK said...

Musee Jacquemart-Andre is a must (preferably with a glass of wine on the terrace!)

Also, your son might enjoy Ralph Lauren's car collection at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs (and hit the bookstore on your way out-DIVINE!!)

Goodharbormary said...

On the plane read Hemingway's Moveable Feasr (and The Paris Wife). for the plane home buy your son some Asterix (sp?!) books. In Paris... When going to Le Musee D'Orsay., be there when it opens for the day and go straight to the top. Work your way down opposite the crowd. Place Clignacort Marche aux Pouces. A fun cheap buy there are the cafe au lait bowls. I also found a gorgeeos teapot there and a silver soap rack for the tub. When I was little my dad took me to Le Bois de Bologne o a formal restaurant but all we ate were potatos. For the life of me I cannot remember what they were called but they were "blown out"/crisp on the outside... Very thin. Hollow on the inside. Very very French. And they amazed me then, and still do. Have a blast!

Lara @ La Plates said...

Have a BALL in Paris! I want full details, poolside when you return. Be sure to eat a street vendor crepe, pack a lunch for the gardens outside Notre Dame & photos from Sacre Coure are fab. If you want to get through Versaille quicker (long line), have your son request a wheelchair...my friend had a bum knee & it worked to our advantage;) What an experience - enjoy every minute with him!

Mary said...

My favorite restaurant is Le Tastevin on the Ile Saint-Louis. My best friend treated me to dinner there for my 40th birthday. You will feel like you are dining in someone's home.

Also I love the Rodin Museum and the Carnavalet Museum.

Anonymous said...

When you go to the Luxembourg Gardens-and you must. Be sure to seek out the Medici Fountain. Perfect for reveries on past, present and future. Totally magical hide-away!

Stephanie said...

Please go to the George V Hotel to see Jeff Leatham's
flowers. If you don't love flying, take along Tina Fey's
Bossypants.

Oh, also Patricia Wells blog - it is wonderful and her classes are paradise.

Have a wonderful time!

Jennings and Gates said...

Without a doubt, take The Gold Coast by Nelson DeMille. Sharp, sexy, well-paced, will-spoil-you-for-other-authors well written, and laugh out loud funny.