a few favorites, mostly food, some old, some new (to me)…
Over a few glasses of red wine tucked away in Saint Martin one night, a french friend pondered out loud, “What is zees fascination with doors you all have?” to which we all responded with an audible swoon.
There’s something inexplicably sentimental about those gorgeous mammoth doors that line the streets of Paris. I won’t try to explain exactly what it is I love about them, but I will leave you with this mini series of impromptu door portraits and our running joke that each night, special workers were tasked with the honor of freshly painting the doors of Paris solely to impress tourists as they roam the city. Seriously, those things always look bright and clean!
Nestled amongst beautiful shops and famous falafel in the heart of Le Marais, La Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature is almost eerily quiet. The lesser-known museum offers a quiet respite from the bustling streets of the busy Marais, where one can explore the extravagant structure that is home to antique armament and taxidermy beasts of all shapes and kinds.
The diverse and serene Musée Rodin is an immersive experience, delighting its visitors with a multitude of scenery. From the outdoor gardens featuring the super famous “Thinker” and “Gates of Hell” to the softer interior works elegantly showcased by stately wooden architecture, Musée Rodin offers the exquisite art of a world class museum without the selfie-stick-clad crowd armed and ready to ruin your day. Highly recommend!
*Pro Tip: Stop at Café Coutume for a spring toast and some caffeine, post-museum.
Okay, so it’s not exactly a “hidden gem”, but this quiet(er) museum boasts an impressive collection of masterpieces from the likes of Degas, Monet, Matisse, Van Gogh, Lautrec, and Rodin, to name a few. Second only to the artwork, the beauty of the building itself- an ornate old train station- is breathtaking. If you have time, get lost in the adjacent Musée de l’Orangerie, home to Monet’s epic waterlilies. It’s my number one must-see for the Paris traveler who is “not a museum person”. Must see!
With its picturesque parks and emphasis on apéro, Paris may just be the picnic capital of the world. But there’s one alfresco dining location that will always have my heart…
Whether it be a quiet morning croissant or a much-needed apératif spread, Le Canal Saint Martin reigns king among Parisian picnic places. Attracting young families, locals, and artists to its banks, the Canal captures all that is cool. Its mirrored green surface reflects the thriving trees and distinct architecture of the trendy neighborhood, showing pedestrians the fluttering, introspective Paris of the moment.
*Pro Tip: Grab un tradition at Du Pain et Des Idées and a coffee at Ten Belles in the morning, or a hummus toast at Caoua, a yummy salad at Myrthe and a bottle of wine in the afternoon, and get comfy. The people watching is unparalleled.
Keeping with the theme of introducing you to new-to-me treasures in the city of light, let’s take a walk down the most colorful street in Paris…
Voilà, Rue Crémieux. Famous for its candy-colored facades, this short passthrough abruptly begins, pulling you off of the already ravishing streets of paris and into the devastatingly charming- and refreshingly quiet- storybook street that is Rue Crémieux.
Self-timed Instagram shots and portrait mode abusers (guilty) aside, there really is a rare peace to Rue Crémieux, its passengers stunned with a hushed tone as they perfect touristy stereotypes, take photos, and well, stop to smell the flowers. Its a lesser-known pin on the Parisian must-see map, and one I highly recommend exploring. Keep an eye open for cats jumping windows, painted plant life, and birds floating up toward the second story…
Each time I go to Paris, there are certain things I just must do. A picnic along the Canal, a nap in Place de Vosges, un tradition from my favorite bakery. I thought I’d share a few of them here with you, starting with a trove of treasures that was new to me this time around…
If you should find yourself with nothing to do on a Sunday in Paris, put on some walking shoes and make your way over to Les Puces de Saint-Ouen to peruse one of the city’s most bountiful flea markets. If you push past hoards of folks peddling dress shirts wrapped in plastic and “designer” sunglasses for €10, your persistence will be rewarded with a enclave of antique gems and oddities, ripe for the cherishing.
Practice your french bartering with sellers for a pair of tiny tin soldiers to bring home for your brother. Pick up an antique Dijon container to fill with flowers back in Providence. Fall in love with a random, romantic napkin ring- of all things- boasting your mother’s first initial elegantly scripted in metallic. Remember the sound of the Edith Piaf crooner in the lively restaurant sinking into the market’s mid-section, savor the smell of a dusty summer in the city.
*Pro tip: Stop by the hip commune-style café La Recyclerie to fuel up on fresh assiettes du jour, homemade in an eco-forward oasis of a cafeteria. Again, not for the timid traveler, but fully worth the one-of-a-kind experience and healthy helping of trendy french fair.
greeted by her eiffel highness
rumbling, rolling, romantic, righteous
bite for bite on a sweet, cheap crêpe
across the seine
to a quiet bench, we two escape
noses close, we chat and laugh
french rats dash
la lune illume on your cheeks abash
with a tuck and a roll, you’re on one knee
brown eyes wide
some dreamy ride
I watch my body float up over the trees
madame Tour winks and twinkles on repeat
we rush to recieve her blissful bonne nuit
along the river, smiles bloom and steep
who look like us, but with a promise to keep
strolling towards “home” in the middle of the night
this living love
the greatest hour of my favorite flight.
11:04 pm — on a rainy porch in providence, one week later.