Keith's Paris City Guide: Day 3
A Day on the Right Bank
Start the day on the Left Bank with a visit to the Musée d’Orsay and then walk across the river to the Tuileries Gardens, stopping in at the Musée de l’Orangerie to see Monet’s water lilies. I tend to skip the Louvre unless I can be there for many hours, which isn’t usually possible on a shorter trip.
Head for the Palais Royal for shopping and if you’re really in the mood for an iconic meal, reserve lunch at Le Grand Vefour, Paris’ oldest restaurant which boasts 2 Michelin Stars.
I love walking through and browsing in the Palais Royal shopping area, which is the part of the old royal palace of the Louvre that has been converted into boutiques and restaurants. There are a lot of high end fashion brands in the Palais Royal but also new ones to discover.
If you’ve got the energy after lunch and shopping, taking a cab to the Musée Nissim de Camando is a must, if not today then on another. One of the grandest house museums in the world, housing one of the premier collections of objets d’art of the 18th century, the house.
I always think an early drink at the Ritz is a great idea. It is my idea of the perfect hotel, and The Bar Hemingway, named for its famous denizen, is a wonderful bar for people watching.
Where to Have Dinner
See recommendations from Day 1.
A Day in Les Halles, Île de la Cité and Île St. Louis
I always love spending time at the Centre Pompidou in the late morning and reserving lunch at the rooftop restaurant, Brasserie Georges. Not only is the restaurant super chic and filled with beautiful people, but it also has one of the most incredible views of Paris anywhere.
The Centre Pompidou will allow you to see all the modern art you won’t see at the Louvre and the Musée d’Orsay and it’s nice to pair this neighborhood with a visit to Notre Dame, Sainte Chappelle, Hotel de Ville and to stop for afternoon ice cream at the famous Berthillon on the Île St. Louis. There isn’t a whole lot to do around Sainte Chappelle and Notre Dame, but if you can figure out how to get tickets to go through the Palais de Justice and up to the Sainte Chapelle, it is one of the most miraculous examples of stained glass anywhere in Europe, prettier even than Notre Dame. It’s worth the wait to see it.
A Day at the Marché aux Puces (Flea Market)
The multi-market Paris flea markets are spread across many many blocks in St. Ouen, an outer suburb of Paris, which is an easy Metro ride from the city center. This field trip requires at least half a day, preferably a whole one, but it repays the effort tenfold.
The neighborhood of St. Ouen is what my kids would call “sketchy,” and keeping your wallet close is well-advised. There are many cheap markets selling knock-off Chanel bags on the periphery that you’ll see on the walk from the Metro. Don’t let that scare you. You’re in the right place.
I always head straight down the rue de Rosiers to the Marché Paul Bert and Marché Serpette, which focus on furniture, art and objets, antique, vintage and eclectic other. Much of it is too big to bring home unless you plan to ship, but it’s well worth the stroll through what feels like a little village of brocante. The prices here are at market rates, so you won’t find much of a bargain, but it’s lovely to walk and look. Unlike an American flea market, the Paris puces are a series of winding alleyways and streets outdoors, with small storefront stalls open to the street, walls climbing with ivy and wisteria.
After strolling the Paul Bert and Serpette Markets, I walk down the street to the Marché Vernaison, which is one of my favorite places in the world. Here, you will find gorgeous 19th century monogrammed linens on fine damask, antique botanical prints, old hotel silver, jewelry, portraits from the ‘30s and ‘40s and all manner of eclectic curiosities.
There are too many shops to enumerate here, but I use two guides when I go. The first is Astier de Villatte’s Ma Vie à Paris including the Guide des Puces. I also think this AD article by Vincent Darré is a great primer.
For lunch, there was once a place called Louisette that had lively singing and music in a typical French bistro setting. Last time I visited, it was no longer there, but check before you go, as it may have reopened.
For a delicious meal and wonderful choice of wine, try Bonne Aventure on a side street off the rue de Rosiers.