Bookworms! So here’s the skinny. This is a summary of the highlights of our three day Parisian adventure. I would in no way consider this a guide to Paris because a. I’m absolutely not an expert and b. I’ve been to Paris before so we didn’t do some of the more obvious things (the Eiffel Tower, the Musée d’Orsay, Versailles, etc). So use this more as inspiration than as the gospel. Or just as a way to vicariously transport yourself to this magical city. Because Paris is always a good idea.
One of the first things we did when we arrived in the city was tour the Palais Garnier (aka their national opera house). This is a breathtaking building and on certain days, they allow the public to explore the entrance hall, peek into the theater, wander the side hallways, and sneak into their musical library. It’s not open every day, so make sure to check online before you visit. You can also take a guided tour or arrange for a private backstage tour. Plus, this is the setting of Gaston Leroux’s The Phantom of the Opera, so bookish win.
This garden is absolutely one of my favorites in the city and a must visit if you’re there in the fall as the leaves are just changing colors. Ride the carousel, sit and read by the fountain, and visit the numerous museums that surround the garden.
I came here twice – once to prop up my feet on the fountain and read and once to explore and take photos with my mom and dad. There are multiple sections to the garden inside – a great sculpture garden of striped columns and some more traditional garden sections. You can just pass through or get comfortable and spend hours here.
This museum is most notable for being home to Claude Monet’s Water Lilies and oh my goodness have they constructed the perfect space for this. These rooms are absolutely perfect for these breathtaking paintings, with just the right amount of filtered natural light and nothing else. Also, they have an insane collection on the bottom floor, including 25 Renoirs. Kyle says it’s a “perfectly manageable museum” and he’s completely right. The collection is a reasonable size, but what they have is incredible.
If you’re a book lover, your trip to Paris is not complete without a stop at Shakespeare and Company, an independent bookstore carrying books in English of every genre. Allow yourself plenty of time to get lost in the many nooks and crannies of this store. I left feeling giddy at the beautiful copies of the books I had found.
After you exhaust yourself at Shakespeare and Company, you’ll need to refuel. Head across the Seine to the Île Saint-Louis and settle down at this little bistro. The staff is lovely, the food is delicious, and according to Kyle, they make a terrific Whiskey Sour (we stuck to rosé as it was only 3 PM). Perfect place to sit and breath.
Walking along the Seine
We strolled back along the river in the most perfect fall weather that has ever existed, peeked into the various stalls, and brought some truly brilliant magnets for one of my closest friends. This was definitely a highlight of the trip.
This museum is newer to the Paris art scene and is a bit removed from the city, but took us less than 15 minutes to travel to by cab. The building itself, designed by Frank Gehry, is stunning. And if you go soon, inside you will find the most incredible exhibition of the work of Jean-Michel Basquiat. This might be one of my favorite art experiences of all time. They had an mind-blowing number of his works on display. His life is so fascinating and his work is breathtaking and if you’re in the area, I would highly suggest it. Definitely a more local cultural destination – most of the other patrons were French.
If you’re exploring up on this magical hilltop, poke your head into the Galerie Montmartre. On the walls of this small gallery, you’ll find artists of 2018 hanging next to works by Picasso and Warhol.
If you want to treat yourself for a meal, this is my rec for sure. This Israeli restaurant has the friendliest staff and the most delicious food. It was the perfect place to finish our whirlwind trip.
Thanks, Mom & Dad, for taking me along on this adventure!