August in Paris might seem like a pretty strange place. Everything is quiet and many of the boutiques, restaurants and shops in your area might have signs in the window informing customers that they will be closed for the entire month. Most of Paris has left to find sunshine and beaches. But what about those of us who are still in the city?
Last week we posted our picks for dining in Paris during August, and really, what do you do in Paris besides eat anyway? For those of you who would like to discover the art of the city, you shouldn’t have much of a problem. All of Paris’ major museums stay open throughout the entire month. Avoid the small art galleries, though, as many of them close for a good part of the month.
Paris Plages 2012
For shopping, the big departments stores like Galleries Lafayette, Printemps and Le Bon Marche will be open throughout the month. Popular shopping streets like the Champs Elysées, Rue Saint-Honoré and most of the larger shops in Le Marais will be open. It is the smaller boutiques scattered throughout Le Marais and more local areas that you should be careful of. In addition, the concept stores like Merci and Colette will be open for you to collect gadgets and fun souvenirs from the City of Light.
This past week, we have had some really beautiful weather here in Paris which means that everyone is constantly searching for great outdoor dining spots. After stumbling upon this restaurant with its beautiful hidden terrace last week, Bistro des Dames is definitely high up on my list.
The restaurant is affiliated with the Hotel Eldorado in the Batignolles area of the 17th arrondissement. From the outside, and even the inside for that matter, the restaurant doesn’t really seem like much but if you wind downstairs, past the kitchen and into the calm, bamboo-filled courtyard, you will realize why this is such an in-demand spot.
From late July through August, Parisians rush to escape the heat and tedium of the city, preferring to spend their long vacations near to the ocean with friends or family. While this means that the metros and buses are less packed and there are fewer lines everywhere, it also means that many businesses close up shop for long periods of time for vacation. Restaurants and shops can be closed from anywhere from just a single week to the entire month of August.
What Paris sometimes feels like in August (Photo: Silent World photo series by Lucie & Simon)
It can be difficult to know when certain restaurants will be closed for vacation. It’s incredibly disappointing to plan on going to a certain restaurant only to call and reach a voicemail message saying they are closed when you wanted to go. But with some smart planning ahead, you can work around these fermetures annuelles and enjoy many delicious meals in July and August. To help you, we have included some tips for dining in the summer months in Paris as well as a list of some of our favorite restaurants and when they will be open this summer.
Paris is a city filled with history, culture and great food and is one of, if not the most visited cities in the world! Traveling with kids is a challenge but can also make your vacation that much more special. In a city like Paris you want to make sure that mom and dad can have themselves some great wine and get to the Louvre while the kids can get some of that history and culture, as well as having the time of their lives.
Sounds like a daunting task, I know, but Paris is the perfect place for kids of all ages to learn, relax and have fun. Here are some of our tips to help you make the most out of your time in Paris with the little ones.
Sarah Flying high on a boat tour (photo courtesy of Steve Blair)
Getting kids to museums is never an easy feat. That is why we Continue reading
The Palais de Tokyo is a unique space in the 16th arrondissement, not far from the Eiffel Tower and the Palais de Chaillot. Comprising both a museum of modern art and a contemporary art creative space, this building is the place to visit for lovers of art created during the modern era.
Outside of the Palais de Tokyo (Photo: Lia Dykstra)
Originally built in 1937 as part of the Exposition Internationale des Arts et Téchniques, the building has been home to a variety of establishments, projects and creative spaces. During the Exposition, a retrospective of art from the Middle Ages to the present was exhibited. For about 40 years afterwards, the entire space housed a modern art museum, until the opening of the Centre Georges-Pompidou in 1977. The modern art museum remained in the eastern wing of the building while the west wing was used for everything from the Centre national de la photographie to Femis, a film school. The western wing remained empty in the late 90s until Catherine Trautmann, the minister of Culture and Communications, proposed a contemporary art space for this wing.
While Bastille Day is historically the celebration of the establishment of the constitutional monarchy in France by the storming of the Bastille prison on July 14, 1789, a pivotal event in the beginning of the French Revolution, today’s Bastille Day celebrations range from fireworks to parties to picnics and events throughout the city.
Here are 10 of the top events to look forward to for this years 2012 celebration of Bastille Day!
Since 1880, there has been a military parade celebrating Bastille Day. The parade starts at 9am with a wide variety of military vehicles, soldiers and even an aerial show to get you in the mood for celebration.
2. Versailles Picnic
Music and regional specialties line the Grand Canal at Versailles where people gather, all in white, to relax and enjoy the day together like the kings and queens of France. Bring friends and food and kick back to enjoy Bastille Day like French royalty.
I had the pleasure one Sunday morning a couple weeks ago of taking a tour of Paris street art, led by Demian of Street Art Paris. The tour lasted around three hours, during which we wandered through parts of the 11th arrondissement, ending up over in the 20th, in Belleville. This section of the city has one of the highest concentrations of street art in Paris. But street art can be found all over the city, if you are paying attention.
JanaundJs (Photo: Cédric Rittié)
After a brief introduction we began the tour, cameras in hand. We saw a variety of different artists and learned a little bit about their styles. Here are just a few of the artists who have left their mark on the walls and rooftops of Paris.
Nothing is more perfectly Parisian than shopping for fresh produce in the open air food markets. The thought of stuffing your shopping basket with delicious loaves of olive bread, fresh fish, perfectly plump tomatoes and deliciously juicy fruit for the family or to bring to a summer picnic is something that many people dream of.
In reality, however, these idealized markets can be more than just a little intimidating until you get the hang of it. There are certain habits and rituals to market shopping and, once understood, you will be able to enjoy every last bite of your purchases!
Here are our 5 tips to help make the most out of your market shopping experience while in Paris.
Know how much you want. You will notice that people will order their produce by the gram or kilo. I cannot tell you how many times I have come home with enough spinach to last me a lifetime or three cherries instead of the big bag I was hoping for. It is perfectly acceptable to order five kiwis or three apples. For things like spinach and cherries, feel free to stop them when they have put enough in a bag. They will tell you how many grams it added up to and you will know for next time.
It is finally starting to feel like summer here in Paris. What better way to cool off during a warm summer day in the city than eat ice cream? From gelato to frozen yogurt, Paris is full of different options. Here are some of our favorite places to satisfy your craving for glace!
Berthillon is a probably the most famous ice cream place in all of Paris and some consider it the best ice cream in the world. Not only can you get their ice cream at their main shop on the Ile Saint-Louis but also at many cafés around the city, which is helpful when the craving for Berthillon strikes. They serve a variety of flavors of both glace and sorbet. Constantly trying new recipes, Berthillon has a selection of very unique flavors such as pain d’épices or reine claude (a type of plum) that you don’t find at most glaciers. If you go, be prepared to encounter a line, especially on a warm day.
31 Rue Saint-Louis en l’Ile 75004 Paris
Metro: Pont Marie or Sully-Morland
(Closed Mondays and Tuesdays, the second half of July and all of August.)