Markets, walks shows, good places to eat out at, great addresses …: do what the Parisians do. And if you want to get the most out of the many events and cultural offerings in the French capital, think about getting the Paris Passlib' or the Paris Museum Pass.
If you are looking for a bucolic setting, Paris has 400 parks and gardens to enjoy. So here is an opportunity to take part in a morning’s t’ai-chi class at the Parc Buttes Chaumont in the 20th arrondissement, and then walk over to the popular Rosa Bonheurguinguette for some sunny flavours.
Now for a few moments of art and culture! Hundreds of events take place every year in the capital, so don’t miss out. As regards temporary exhibitions — at the Grand Palais, the Louvre, the Centre Pompidou … – make sure that like Parisians you book your tickets in advance so that you are certain to get in. There is a huge line-up of shows to choose from. A tip? The hilarious one man show ‘How to become a Parisian in one hour’. Continue your evening with dinner in one of these superb bistros, given a new twist by a chef.
The verdant setting of the Musée de la Vie Romantique, where regulars come to have a cup of tea and daydream far from the hustle and bustle of the city, awaits you. The adventure continues with a cooking lesson, tailored to your gastronomic preferences. Because, remember oenology and gastronomy are emblematic of Paris. After a themed tour on the subject, you will know all the good addresses.
Finish the day by strolling along the lively Seine riverbanks and gardens before going out to dine and dance at the cool and laid-back La Bellevilloise.
As a market town, Paris carries on this tradition at the heart of its market halls and markets. Like a real Parisian, browse around and taste the best produce, at the Marché des Enfants Rouges for example where you can sit down to eat. If you are a monument fan, stop off at the Eglise de la Trinité, a beautiful church. Next head over to the Bois de Boulogne. This wood is an alternative leafy spot for a delicious picnic. You could also opt for lunch at the Chalet des Iles, a veritable haven of peace. And a visit to the Parc de Bagatelle is not to be missed on your outing to the Bois de Boulogne.
Parc des Buttes-Chaumont: a hilly escapade
In 1864, Napoleon III decided to convert some old quarries into an Anglo-Chinese garden. It took three years of titanic labour and a lot of dynamite to create waterfalls and little streams, to dig a lake with an island at the centre and to create a grotto decorated with false stalactites.
All these efforts merit a climb up to the little Temple de la Sybille, at the top of the island. Afterwards, take a welcome rest on the steep grassy slopes or maybe stroll around and see the cedar of Lebanon planted in 1880, the enormous Oriental plane trees or ginkgo biloba trees …
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Rosa Bonheur: pure happiness
In the heart of the delightful park of Buttes-Chaumont, the guinguette Rosa Bonheur – which has not chosen its name randomly — is a fairytale chalet with a big outdoor terrace where people come to dance, have a snack, or a drink.
Outdoor tables d’hôtes, colourful tapas, large plates of food to share, cocktails and of course ‘fiesta maison’, and its electric soundtrack attract people of all ages, dancers, party people, walkers … So one thing is certain, there will be a good crowd, especially if it is a sunny day and the evening promises to be a starry one.
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Septime: a great little bistro
Ah, these neo-bistros! They are such great places to eat at, especially this one with its sober rustic decor. As for the cooking, the talented chef Bertrand Grébaut transforms excellent products into exceptional dishes: simple high-class cooking at reasonable prices.
If you add to that, great service, the approbation of many celebrities and gastronomic food guides, then you will understand why it is necessary to book several weeks in advance … Be patient, the wait will make it all the more enjoyable!
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Musée de la Vie Romantique: a lovely outing
This museum is tucked away between neoclassical residences in the New Athens District. The house, garden full of roses and the lounge-cum-workshop of the painter Ary Scheffer were frequented from 1830 for thirty or so years by the cream of Paris’s art and literary set. George Sand, Chopin, Liszt, Rossini, Turgenev, Dickens and many others were regulars there.
Many objects – paintings, drawings, sculptures, furniture, ceramics, – illustrate the richness of the Romantic period. The tea room in the glasshouse (open from March to October) offers a pleasant place to have a break during a visit to the museum
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Berges de Seine: nature, culture and sport
Unveiled in 2013, the redevelopment of the Berges de Seine gives pedestrians access to the grandiose scenery along the Seine riverbanks. On the right bank, the area given over to pedestrians extends over 1.5 km between the Hôtel de Ville (Paris City Hall) and the Bassin de l’Arsenal. On the left bank, 4.5 hectares are devoted to leisure and sporting and cultural activities. There is so much to enjoy here: tables for picnics, areas of greenery to relax, sun loungers and huge hammocks to unwind in, games on the ground like hopscotch, a chalkboard wall and a climbing wall for children, gym apparatus, a floating garden with a surface area of 1,800 m2, concerts, special activities, yoga areas … And of course, crepes, ice-creams and lots of other delicious snacks for a light bite.
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The Marché des Enfants Rouges: 400 years of success
Created in 1615, this small market in a wooden market hall was created to provide produce for the Marais district. Its pretty name comes from the clothing worn by the children from an orphanage in the district. Four hundred years later, listed as an historic monument, this quaint place continues its vocation with well-deserved incredible success.
People come here to buy lots of good fresh products and regional specialities. And you can have lunch at the Estaminet des Enfants Rouges or rub shoulders with your neighbours at the tables of caterers selling Moroccan, Italian, Lebanese, Japanese, Creole and other specialities. Whatever you choose, the food is delicious!
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Église de la Trinité: a master work by Ballu
Completed: in 1867, after six years of building work under the aegis of famous architect Théodore Ballu. Distinctive features: a richly-decorated facade inspired by the Italian Renaissance and the Gothic style, topped by a 65-metre-high bell tower. Interior features: a monumental choir and a splendid main altar flanked by 10 columns representing the Ten Commandments. The interior decor plays on colour graduation and the radiance of the gold decoration, and there are many paintings by the Ecole Académique, supported by Napoleon III… Also a little public garden, re-laid out in 2013 to enhance the overall view!
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Parc de Bagatelle: the heir of courtly pleasures
As indicated by its name, this was a place for pleasure and distraction! The Château de Bagatelle – or ‘folly’, as places devoted to libertine behaviour were then called – was built in 64 days in 1777 in the heart of the Bois de Boulogne, the result of a bet between Marie-Antoinette and the Comte d’Artois. The park of the chateau, partly in the Anglo-Chinese style looks as though it has come out of a fairytale. Prominent features include an Orangery, pagoda, small bridges, boulders, grottoes, ponds and waterfalls, majestic trees, lily pond, themed gardens including an iris garden, a walled garden with clematis, wisteria … and of course the celebrated rose garden with 1,200 varieties of roses.
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