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Top 4 Paris Moments!

March 4, 2014 @ 12:23 pm
posted by Sandra Sheridan
Paris ballet and opera

Opera Garnier – CREDITS: Atout France/ Benoit Roland

Each of us approaches trip planning in a different way.  Some need the security of detailed plans; others prefer a more devil-may-care approach, allowing moments to unfold and surprises to occur.  Regular readers know, of course, that I fall into the latter group!

This Top 4  Moments in Paris provides for some magnificent experiences, while keeping your agenda open for that spontaneous glass of wine in the Marais or ducking into that little Librarie in search of old etchings  or books.  Not in any particular order, I recommend a mix of culture, couture and fantastic flea market shopping.

First, I would hasten to purchase tickets on line for a performance at the Opéra Garnier, one of the most elegant venues in all of Paris.  You can easily purchase tickets on line, and you will enjoy the luxury and luminosity of the performing arts in the refined setting of Opéra Garnier.  The location is central to everything – near Galeries Lafayette – so you can find an ideal spot for a little aprés Opera drink or late dinner.

Museums, Paris

Jaquemart-Andre Museum, Paris

Also on a sophisticated but so approachable note, plan to visit the Jacquemart-Andre Museum.  One of Paris’ ‘beauty marks’, the museum welcomes you home to the refined world of the former owners.  If possible, try to go for the Saturday or Sunday brunch – quite an elegant affair held from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. in The Café Jacquemart-André.  You also have the option of late-night openings during certain seasons, but be sure to check the museum website for specific nights and times.

Remember now that I am just offering you a few specific recommendations, but I fully expect you to wander the city.  Be sure to enjoy quiet walks along the Seine and duck into a fabulous Brasserie for an unparalleled chocolat chaud.

One of our favorite streets for reeling in the grandeur of Paris is the fashion world of Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré.  Shall we drop a few names?  Hermès, Lanvin, Givenchy, Dior ….  Some of the world’s most exclusive designers are set in sparkling shops amid five-star hotels.

We stopped for a carafe of wine on the street overlooking Estée Lauder – a perfect spot for watching distinctly upscale shoppers sating their appetites for finery.  You will be just around the corner from Place Concorde and the Palais de l’Élysée – official home to the French president – so you won’t lack sightseeing opportunities.  Our most notable experience was stopping at a sidewalk cafe and looking up to see the handsome, fully-outfitted French Republican Guard marching down the street – quite a sight!

Now, we shall explore one of the most famous of all flea markets in Paris – Les Puces (The Fleas), more formally known as Les Puces de Saint-Ouen.  Dress comfortably, as you will literally comb through acres of treasures in the world’s largest antique market.  Naturally, such adventurous shopping will stimulate your appetite; so stop in at one of the flea market cafes for a breather and an excellent tureen of soup (that happened to be our lucky find on a very chilly day!)  The market’s best hours are on Saturday and Sunday from 9 or 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Be prepared, plan a bit but not too much, and look forward to perhaps the most memorable Paris visit of your life!

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