This year, due to Corona, no Paris in Spring for me. But with years of regular trips there is a lot to share and let’s hope we can visit “the city of light” again soon.
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Saint Germain des Prés
One of my favorite neighborhoods is Saint-Germain-des-Prés in the 6th arrondissement. A good starting point for lots of activities, on walking distance the Seine, Notre Dame, Montparnasse and the Marais, and I always feel safe when I’m on my own. That means I don’t have to go by the “Metro” to find a restaurant because there is one on every corner, there are fashion shops, like Zara, Marc’o Polo, Sandro, Loft, Hugo Boss etc and there is a pleasant, informal atmosphere in the streets.
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What to visit
Important too that you can find attractions in the surroundings, like
- Notre Dame, the main structure, including the two bell towers, were saved in the fire, but now you will find scaffolding around the rest of the building for the restoration. See this emotional tribute of André Rieu to the Notre Dame summer 2019 on the Vrijthof Concert.
- The church Saint Sulpice, which plays a role in the Da Vinci Code of Dan Brown, with its antique fairs on Place Saint Sulpice.
- From Rue de Buci, along Notre Dame, it’s a 20 minute walk to Centre George Pompidou, with collections of modern contemporary art. You can also visit just one of the temporary exhibitions. Try to order your tickets online, makes a big difference to get in quickly!
But as an “interior” addict the interior shopping Around Saint Germain in the 6th and 7th arrondissement is important for me. You can find a lot of nice interior shops. Don’t stay on the main streets like Rue de Rennes. You can find new stores in the streets in the corner between Boulevard Saint Germain/ Rue de Rennes and the Seine. For instance visit one or more of these shops:
- Tashen, 2 Rue de Buci, 75006, with a selection of beautiful Interior Design books, as they mention themselves: “Shop the most coveted books from fashion to film, and everything in between”. Their limited editions are spectacular.
- Muji, 30 Rue Saint Sulpice , 75006 natural and simple design. This Japanese based company wants to sell well designed, attractively priced and unbranded (yeah!) products. When I was with a friend and told her I wanted to buy a dustpan and brush in Paris, she laughed but let’s be honest, isn’t it great to buy something simple that looks good.
- BoConcept, 61 Rue de Rennes, 75006, contemporary furniture with a Danish accent
- Madura, 66 Rue de Rennes, 75006, household linen, curtains and blinds, cushions. Beautiful textile. Always difficult to take a souvenir that will not only be great on the location but also at home. A cushion cover, so beautiful in French: “enveloppe de coussin” is the right choice. Fits in every bag and make you remind at home your trip.
- Caravane, 9 Rue Jacob, 75006 For the romantics “a poetical and intimate story, without borders and without limits”. You will love that they explain where the products are made, the craftsmanship it takes and what materials are used. The site is stunningly beautiful.
- Ligne Roset, 85 Rue du Bac, 75007, with a history of 150 years Ligne Roset offers a high-end collection
- Christian Liaigre, 42 Rue du Bac, 75007, modern furniture based on a classic furniture history.
- Le Bon Marché, 24 Rue de Sèvres, 75007 The first department store in the world and with a great collection Design with brands like IIttala, Cassina, Hay, Descamps, Baccarat, Poltrona Frau. Have a look at the art deco stairs and feel as if you are in the in the early years of the 20th century.
- Muuto, 240 bis Boulevard Saint-Germain, 75007. A new address added to this post. July 2020 opening of a Muuto flagship store!
And something special!
Feel like a philosopher in Café de Flore
After all the shopping it is time for coffee, tea or champagne. You will feel at home in Café de Flore, on the corner of Boulevard Saint Germain and Rue Saint Benoit. The history of this café is one big guestbook with artist names. Important names of the French cinema like Simone Signoret, Brigitte Bardot, Jane Fonda or well known names of Intellectual and Creative Paris.
For me, Simone de Beauvoir and Sartre were the names which seduced me to visit Café de Flore. 172 Boulevard Saint-Germain, 75006.
And to stay in the atmosphere of the great writers I propose for dinner Café Restaurant Les Éditeurs, they have lovely little tables for one person so if you are on your own, great! Make a reservation and bon appétit. 4 Carrefour de l’Odéon, 75006.
Take a bike
After you have seen the most important things in Paris like Tour Eiffel, Notre Dame, Sacré Coeur (maybe with the help of a red bus tour) it is nice to discover more on a bike. In Paris bikes are to rent all over the city. Velib’ has about 20.000 bike and it’s easy to use.
You can do the above-mentioned shops by bike. For instance, last time we visited Bercy Village a paved courtyard bordered with historic, white stone storehouses around the Cour Saint-Emilion. A name that reminds us of the former largest wine market in the world on this location. And what is more fun than cycling along the Seine? (my bike is from the parking garage on Boulevard Saint-Germain).
Although I use digital notebooks but my travel companion for Paris is the Moleskine city guide. I like to have a map that you can use in the “Metro” (without fear of no-connection) and at home I write down new addresses to visit next time.
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- If you love Paris you will also enjoy another weekend city tip/city trip: Berlin
- Music, Charles Aznavour, J’ai vu Paris
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Paris packing list