Paris Journals

Alt.Paris (Alternative Paris)

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A July 2000 trip to Paris by Shetraveler

Musee Rodin Photo, Paris, France More Photos
Quote: So you've been to the City of Lights and visited the top sites recommended by your guidebook and friends. Or maybe you never been and you'd rather take the road less travelled. This journal will suggest some friendly alternatives to the usual places (nothing against them, of course). Try seeing some of the "big ticket" monuments and visiting some of the sites I suggest for comparison. Either way, I promise, you'll still get your share of history, culture and great cuisine.

Alt.Paris (Alternative Paris)

Best Of IgoUgo

Overview

Eiffel Tower Photo, Paris, France
Quote:
There's a reason they call it "The City of Lights"! Paris is even more beautiful and romantic after dark.1. Walk the Champs Elysee at night. Not only is it beautiful, but you will get to see every kind of humanity there is.2. Take a cruise down the Seine after dark. Stay away from the cheesy dinner cruise.3. The Louvre Museum is open late (until 9 pm) on Wednesdays and Fridays. The illuminated pyramid is striking to see at night. Cross the Cour Carée in the Louvre complex and walk over the Pont des Arts to get a beautiful view of the river and the palace. Quick Tips: 1. One of my favorite places to visit in Paris is a "secret" garden (but it won't be anymore ...). If y...Read More

Hotel de L'Empereur

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Hotel

Quote:
Named for the Man himself, this charming hotel is a tribute to the memory of the big "N", with its exclusive location adjacent the Invalides dome. I think of it as an alternative to that cheap funky left bank hotel you may have stayed in while you were in college or a starving artist. This one''s still on the left bank and the prices are very fair. But now you get the amenities of a two star hotel, especially since its recent renovation.The rooms are on the smaller size (perfect if you don't plan to spend a lot of time in it), tastefully decorated and several come with a view of the dome (ours on the 6th floor did). Each contains a phone with direct access to the Internet, TV, minibar, mod...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 5, 2001

Hotel de L'Empereur
2 Rue Chevert
Paris, France
0145558802

Le Flore en L'Ile

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Restaurant

Quote:
While there are more famous cafes in Paris, such as the de Flore and the Deux Magots, their view could not match that of this little cafe across the Pont St. Louis. The beautiful backside of Notre Dame and a faraway view of the Pantheon are all yours as you sip your espresso or eat your Berthillon ice cream from a goblet. That's a 3-star view for the price of a few euros! Meals are in the cafe vein, but can be substantial. Try a delicious steak with a gravy boat of roquefort sauce, on the side. It comes with buttery noodles. After that, I dare you try to eat a fruit tart for dessert. Something lighter might be a bowl of hearty onion soup, complete with a crusty cheesy crouton float....Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 29, 2002

Le Flore en L'Ile
42 Quai D'Orleans
Paris, France
01 43 29 88 27

Hippopotamus

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Restaurant

Quote:
Michelin 3 star restaurants are great. But let’s face it. I don’t know too many kids that are preoccupied with eating that kind of meal. Kids want to eat and go. Hippopotamus allows just that. With its easily identifiable icon, Hippo feels fun – they even play upbeat Motown music. Take one look at its menu, full of photos of what you can order and French food will suddenly become familiar … and safe. A Croque Monsieur turns out to be an open-faced ham and cheese sandwich. ("That’s recognizable") A Chevre Chaud is really a green salad with cheesy croutons on top. I can eat that ("I’ll just take the cheesy bread off"). And on we go… In fact, the menu is a perfect basic French food primer for ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 29, 2002

Hippopotamus
46 Avenue Wagram
Paris, France
01 46 22 25 34

La Charlotte de l'isle

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Restaurant

Quote:
Everyone who's been to Paris tells you that if you love chocolate, you must go to the legendary Angelina's for the amazing pastries and the decadent "Chocolat Africaine" (never mind the politically incorrect name). For the uninitiated, this type of hot chocolate is really an earthy sludge, resembling a melted chocolate bar, that has to be cut with whipped cream so that you can actually drink it. Follow it up with a tap water chaser and you've had your "Angelina's" experience, just like thousands of other tourists they've served that day.La Charlotte serves a similar sort of hot chocolate (but calls it something more whimsical) but in a completely different setting. Sylvie Langlet's romantic...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 1, 2001

La Charlotte de l'isle
24 Rue St-Louis-en-L'Ile
Paris, France
01 43 54 25 83

7 eme (Septieme) Sud

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Restaurant | "Septieme Sud"

7 eme (Septieme) Sud Photo, Paris, France
Quote:
No foie gras here! If you are tired of traditional French cuisine with its emphasis on heavy sauces and meats, I suggest you try Septieme Sud with its cuisine that focuses on food from the South of France/the Mediterranean and location steps from the Hotel de L'Empereur (which I have reviewed). Lighter fare such as salads and tartines (toasted French bread with various toppings) prevail here, but they also have a deft hand at pasta and the nightly special fish.If you're so inclined, start off with a Greek salad. Tender lettuces leaves are tossed with tomatoes and a tangy salad dressing. It's topped with a generous slab of fresh feta. I also like the simplicity of tomato and cucumber salad. For...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 5, 2001

7 eme (Septieme) Sud
159 rue de Grenelle
Paris, France
01 44 18 30 30

Le Loir dans la Theiere

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Restaurant

Quote:
If you're tired of the uninspired American-style brunches offered by the chain hotels in town, stop by Le Loir dans La Theiere ("The Doormouse in the Teapot") and join the crowd of locals who come for Saturday/Sunday brunch. The restaurant is basically a large drawing room filled with mismatched chairs, wing chairs, settees, ottomans and sideboards. For example, the first seats available to you and your companion may be a cozy loveseat where you'll be eating off a low coffee table. These unusual seating arrangements give the feeling of being a guest in a grand salon, participating in what the French feel are their god-given rights: eating good food and discussing the world while doing so. It bec...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 4, 2001

Le Loir dans la Theiere
3 rue des rosiers
Paris, France
01 42 72 90 61

Eglise Saint-Eustache

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Attraction | "St. Eustache"

Quote:
You'd have to be a real cathedral lover to skip Notre Dame and see only St. Eustache. You really should see both of them as this enormous church was originally built a couple hundred years after Notre Dame to give that cathedral a run for its money. Of course, it hasn't enjoyed the same notoriety as its island cousin (it never had a famous hunchback) - it lacks the same conservation care and hordes of tourists, but nevertheless, St. Eustache served the right bankers well as the parish church for the folks then living at the Louvre and Palais Royal. Indeed, Richelieu, Madame Pompadour and Moliere were all baptised here. Colbert is buried here in a black marble tomb. The cathedral's bulky silhouette ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on August 5, 2001

Eglise Saint-Eustache
2 impasse Saint-Eustache
Paris, France

Vaux le Vicomte (Gardens, Castle)

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Attraction | "Vaux-Le-Vicomte"

Quote:
So, been to Versailles and done that? Visit the chateau that inspired Versailles and its gardens ("inspired" is a nice way of putting it, given Vaux-Le-Vicomte's tragic history).The story goes like this: Nicolas Fouquet was a finance superintendent (like a treasurer) under Louis XIV. He decided to build a home worthy of such a high position in the king's court and hired the most talented architects, painters and landscape designers France had to offer. Upon completion of the project, he threw a lavish housewarming party to which he invited the king. The king, outraged that such a chateau should better any of his own, had Fouquet arrested 2 weeks later by the famous musketeer ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 1, 2001

Vaux le Vicomte (Gardens, Castle)
Castle of Vaux le Vicomte
Paris, France

Musée de la Mode et du Textile

Attraction | "Musee National de la Mode & du Textile (Le Louvre)"

Quote:
Not to be confused with the Musee de La Mode and du Costume in the 16th arrondissement, this annex of the Louvre in the Rohan wing offers a peaceful respite from the beehive atmosphere of the Louvre's main galleries.BR> Selections are rotated every 6 months, like the objets d'art that they are, and are presented by theme. When I was there, the theme of the exhibit was the "Art of the Orient." Going back to the 17th century, all manner of clothing from head to toe (for men and women) displayed Asian influences, either in form or in fabric. For example, a lovely 18th century ballgown had a detailed and intricate Asian garden sceneembroidered on its skirt, complete with fountains and courte...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on April 29, 2002

Musée de la Mode et du Textile
107, rue de Rivoli
Paris, France 75001
+33 1 44 55 57 50

Musée des Egouts de Paris

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Attraction | "Egouts (Sewers) of Paris"

Quote:
If someone offered you a glass of water directly from the Seine, would you drink it? You might if you had lived during the Middle Ages. This city underneath the city, literally its guts, showcases the history of the sewer in Paris, going all the way back to Roman times. It requires a sense of adventure, since you're going under the city instead of above it. Waste management was begun minimally during Napoleon's regin. However, Baron Haussmann should have been knighted for developing a system to separate the waste water from the drinking water later in the 1800s. At the time, the network of sewers was mere 360 miles long. Compare that to the present day length of about 1,300 mi...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on April 29, 2002

Musée des Egouts de Paris
face 93, quai d'Orsay
Paris, France 75007
+33 1 53 68 27 81

Tati

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Attraction

Tati Photo, Paris, France
Quote:
Let's get ready to rummage!!! Described by some as the "mosh pit of retail" and "combat shopping", Tati appeals to the lowest common denominator in all of us, whatever that may be. In 1948 Jules Ouaki decided to sell clothes at the lowest prices possible, displaying them like fruit in a market. Thus, Tati (and the sport of discount shopping) was born. Having said that, be prepared for a circus-like atmosphere and "the lowest prices" (their slogan) for things you never knew you needed. The pink gingham shopping bags have as much brand recognition in Paris as our Tiffany’s blue bag. Even the name is evocative, as the experience is completely tatty!An average hectic day at the ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 29, 2002

Tati
5, rue Belhomme
Paris, France 75018
+33 1 55 29 50 00

Deyrolle

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Attraction

Deyrolle Photo, Paris, France
Quote:
The Deyrolle shop could only exist in Paris. This 155+ year old taxidermy shop is straight out of a fairy tale where family pets and wild animals don’t actually die, but live in suspended animation in this shop. They certainly all come alive after the shopkeeper locks up at night. Personally I imagine them lighting up their cigarettes, pouring the cognacs, and discussing the finer points of human nature.The shop is the quintessential Cabinet of Curiosities (and a bit of Noah's Ark), with its faint smell of formaldehyde, creaky wood floorboards (sometimes the only sound you'll hear!), and shelves crammed with creatures great and small. You'll walk down one aisle only to find it blocked ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on April 29, 2002

Deyrolle
46 Rue du Bac
Paris, France

Montmartre Cemetery-Cimetière de Montmartre

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Attraction | "Cimetiere De Montmartre"

Quote:
If it's a beautiful day, why not go to a cemetery? Unlike the gruesome burial plots of horror movies, the cemeteries of Paris are like lovely tranquil parks, strangely soothing, with shady trees, benches and lots of outdoor sculpture (on the above-ground tombs), a couple even by Rodin. While many first-timers to Paris go to Pere LaChaise (many to see Jim Morrison's grave), a perfectly fine cemetery in itself, as an alternative, I recommend the smaller, more manageable Montmartre cemetery, as you will probably be in the area visiting the Sacre Coeur church. It would be very easy to do both in the same day as they are within walking distance of each other. Entrance is free and while you should take ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 13, 2001

Montmartre Cemetery-Cimetière de Montmartre
Place de Clichy, Avenue Rachel
Montmartre, Paris

Musee Rodin

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Attraction

Musee Rodin Photo, Paris, France
Quote:
Paris is a city known for museums/collections dedicated to individual artists. For example, the Picasso Museum in the Marais is extremely popular for art lovers. But maybe Picasso's works don't speak to you. Or maybe you're into sculpture (you like your art 3-dimensional). I recommend visiting the Rodin Museum, housed in the lovely Hotel Biron in the 7th arrondissement (adjacent to the Invalides). Like Picasso, Rodin was a prolific artist and understood the value of his work commercially. Once a masterpiece was created, like "the Kiss", casts were made so that the general public too could own a little "kiss". Also like Picasso, whose mistresses tended to become his muse, Rodin's mistress, th...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 13, 2001

Musee Rodin
77, Rue De Varenne
Paris 75007
+33 (1) 44 18 61 10

Boutique Maille Paris

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Attraction | "Maille Mustard"

Quote:
Anyone visiting Paris can easily pick up an Hermes scarf (better to get it at the duty-free shop) or a bottle of perfume. But what about something that someone could actually use? That's where the Maille mustard store comes in. True, it's the same brand of mustard available at your local supermarket. Heck, it's been around since the early 1700s! However, the store in Paris (and in Dijon, where else?) sells flavors exclusive to the retail outlet, some of which are pulled straight from the tap. As I stood in line behind several locals refilling their earthenware jars (croques) with one of the three flavors offered that day, I determined that I would purchase a medium-size croque of the Chabli...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 29, 2005

Boutique Maille Paris
6, place de la Madeleine
Paris, France 75008
+33 1 4015 0600