I’m living in Paris (only been here for about two weeks, but my girlfriend’s been here for a year). I just wanted to know if there were any dopers out there who’ve lived in Paris and would like to suggest any little places that they really love. I’m talking anything: culteral centers, theaters, bars, pubs, bookstores, libraries, cinemas, etc.etc.
The most important things are the cheap ones. If anyone has any fun little activities that are cheap, like special offers from little theaters or something like that.
Been ages since I have been in Paris, and am no big fan, but while I was there I went to The Village Voice - a cool bookshop/cafe that was at the time a favorite of ex-pats and a fun place to hang out. I know it still exists (as per internet search) but don’t know how it is today. The owner was a very nice French woman who seemed to attract English speaking writers living in Paris.
On a bright hazy day, I enjoyed wandering into the Sainte Chapelle in the Palais de Justice. You enter through the lower chapel which feels almost oppressively heavy with its low quoined ceiling and dark windows, then ascend to the upper chapel where the very high windows that surround it let in a myriad of colors above which the ceiling appears to float.
Not a place to spend hours and hours, but any time you’re passing across the Ile de la Cité on a bright non-tourist day, it is worth a visit.
Great place! And from there an easy stroll through the Jardin des Plantes and to the Seine for the Jardin des Sculptures en Plein Air, and continuing on to Notre Dame. All in all my favorite Paris walk (Mo. Jussieu…once you’ve found the Arènes the hard work is done).
Hey gitfiddle - guess you’ve had no luck on the part time job front then ?
All ‘national’ museums are free on the first Sunday of every month - rather than joining the crowds at the Louvre or Orsay I’d go somewhere you might ordinarily pass by (like the musée de Moyen Age). The Rodin Museum has a cheaper ticket which just lets you into the garden - there are a lot of works on display there and (on a nicer day than today) it’s a lovely place just to sit and mellow.
You’re spoilt for choice for places to people watch. As you no doubt know Paris Plage has just opened. Buttes Chaumont park has already been mentioned - it’s much ‘wilder’ than the central parks, stays open later and there is a real mix of people. Or, for a great view of Paris from the park and a chance to eat ‘ethnic’ food, head up to Belleville in the 20th.
For good food in a nice ambience try the bar in the museum of Naive Art; to the right of the hill when you are stood at the bottom of Montmartre looking up at Sacre Coeur.
While it’s a bit cooler again hire a bike - there are the mass bike rides on a Friday evening (details in Pariscope, they start in front of Hotel De Ville) which are just surreal to see or go round on your own. It’s my favourite way to explore. You get a true sense of freedom.
The cemetries, which are free, are interesting to look round as well, there’s Père Lachaise with Jim Morrison, Oscar Wilde etc. but alos Montparnasse (Porfio Diaz) and Montmartre (Nijinsky).
Like everything else things are quieter on the expat front at the moment - see if you can get your hands on a copy of Funky Maps in one of the expat bars to find out what is going on in various places - pub quizzes, sports events etc. I don’t know the Village Voice but Shakespeare’s bookshop opposite Notre Dame sounds similar.
Pariscope, 0.40€ every Wednesday is a real investement - there’s a full listing of all the films on each week, there are a lot of smaller cinemas showing old classics and Pariscope is pretty much the only way to keep track. The morning showings are generally a couple of euros cheaper BTW. From next week there will be open air film showings at temporary cinemas throughout the city. Take a picnic and enjoy the show.
Hope this give you some ideas altho’ not knowing you it’s hard to be specific. Which area are you staying in ?
Hey gitfiddle - guess you’ve had no luck on the part time job front then ?
Well, Cat…you hit the nail on the head. No job. It’s mostly my fault, but either way, we’ll see what happens. I’m still trying to arrange everything for my carte de sejour, my university, and c.a.f. Not to mention, my girlfriend and I hadn’t seen each other in 6 months when I got here, so I’m not in any big rush to leave her to start working. I can manage for a while, as long as I can stay away from expensive places.
Thanks for all of the recommendations, too! Do you know of a museum that, I think, is called Carnivale? Someone told me about it before I left. I think it’s a natural history museum or something.
We live in the 16eme arrondissement. Near Ranelagh.
I still have yet to visit even one expat bar. I don’t really even know where many of them are. When I lived in Angers, though, I had a bar that I went to every day (not to sound like an alcoholic) and it was the greatest thing in the world. It was the same people every afternoon, kind of like Cheers. I wouldn’t mind finding that around here.
That’s all for now. Time to “faire le cours.”
Thanks again. It would be nice to meet up sometime. We’ll be in Angers for the rest of this week, but maybe some other time?
It’s the Carnavalet. It’s the Paris history museum. I find it confusing (navigation-wise, it’s installed in several buildings joined together) and what it displays of very variable interest. There are archeological remains, bits of statues, old shop’s signs, paintings depicting Paris at various times or depicting historical events, reconstitued rooms (decoration, wallpapers, furnitures) from various eras salvaged from demolished mansions (that’s the part I find the most interesting, and in particular the reconstitution of a jeweller’s shop from the early 20th century), and a lot of other stuff. It’s situated in the 4th arrondisement not long away from the “Hotel de Ville”.
This museum is now free (like all museums belonging to the city of Paris, but I don’t know which they are), but you must pay for the temporary exhibitions.
By the way, regarding some other recommantions given in this thread : the “Sainte Chapelle” is the monument I like the most in Paris (but I’m partial to stainted glasses, and thee are mind-blowing) . Unfortunately it’s also the only
church in Paris with an entrance fee. It must be visited on a sunny day. There ar also concerts held there at night, but of course they aren’t free.
The gardens of the Rodin museum are indeed lovely, with a number of famous works of art displayed for a very minimal entrance fee.
The 16th is essentially unknown to me it being a residential area where, besides some museum I’ve nevr any reason to go to. I assume that since you’re living close to Ranelagh, I don’t need to point out the “Bois de Boulogne”. I would however mention in this wood the existence of the wonderul flower garden of “Bagatelle” (unfortunately privately owned and paying) and also of an open air theater, that used to display Shakespeare plays (in english) during the summer. I’m not sure if it’s still true.
Speaking about open air, it reminds me of the open air movies at the “Parc de la Villette” park (unfortunately on the other side of Paris). You can loan chairs and blankets, but if you don’t mind just sitting on the grass, it’s free (it last only during part of the summer). It’s quite fun due to the large attendance that don’t mind shouting, making fun at cheesy scenes, and so on. usually, they show movies related to a particular theme changing each year, but this year, it’s a “best of” and I’ve no clue what movies they’re going to show.
By the way, I like quite a lot the park itself. It’s large, very modern in its organization, created along the banks of a canal and actually include very different “sub-parks” (garden of bamboos, for instance). The museum of sciences, the 180° movie theater (“Geode”), the museum of music (very interesting in my opinion) and various other things (like a real submarine that you can visit) are situated there too, but of course, these are paying.
By the way, the “Buttes Chaumonts” park meioned above (one of my prefered park too) is not long away from this one.
Also, since I mentionned a flower garden, there’s anoher one on the other side of Paris, in the “Bois de Vincennes”. But it’s in my opinion much less beautiful and more a family sunday walk. And still paying. However, the “bois de Vincennes” can be pleasant to spend an afternoon on the grass under the trees, rowboating on the small lake, etc… There’s an Aquarium near to the park in the former museum of African and Oceanian arts (the museum is very unfortunately closed now), but once again paying. The Paris zoo is also there, but they’re currently emptying of its animals due to safety concerns. Oh! and you can attend to horse races at the “hippodrome” of Vincennes too if you’re in this sort of thing. I think it’s free. I finally forgot the Vincennes castle
By the way, the “Promenade Plantee”, a former railway line situated on a viaduct, changed into a long alley with plants and flowers, and going from near the “Bastille” to a close distance from the “Bois de Vincennes” is IMO one of the most pleasant walks in Paris, allowing you to look at this part of the city from roof level. Under the viaduct, in the part of the “Promenade” closer to the Bastille, there are various art shops.
Since someone mentionned the “Arenes de Lutece” : close by, there’s the “Jardin des plantes”, an OK park with several museums related to natural sciences. It’s also close to the great mosque of Paris where you might want to drink a minted tea and have a pastry in the beautifully ornementated rooms (the ones in the back). Unfortunately, it’s now quite a well known place, and it’s crowded in summer. There’s also a hammam in the mosque, by the way. Also close is the quite touristy “rue Mouffetard”, running down from the Pantheon. Tons of rather cheap restaurants here, but due to past poor experiences, I wouldn’t recommand them.
And while we’re refering to roman ruins, the Cluny museum (museum of middle-ages mentionned by another poster) also include the remains of the roman baths. I’m not convinced these baths are of the upmost interest, though. On the oter hand, the museum itself is my prefered one, but I’m partial to the middle-ages.
The 16th ? very swish! far side of the city from us (20th). Get in touch when you’re back, mail in profile, expat bars are kinda pricey tho’ so I may have to offer to buy you a drink
Good news about the Musée Carnvalet - it’s free THe bad news is it isn’t anything to do with Natural History but the history of Paris. Anyway it’s in the Marais, go to M° Saint Paul and head up Rue Mahler.
The Natural History stuff is in the Jardin des Plantes opposite the Gare de Lyon and not far from the Roman arena Barbarian mentioned.
Try to get a copy of ‘Paris for You’ a little booklet available free from temporary tourist offices scattered around the city (Place Bastille has one) and probably the main tourist office on the CHamps Elysées too - it has info on all the summer events, museum opening times, prices etc. as well as a handful of walking itineraries.
By the way, since you’re mentionning “Pariscope”. There’s another interesting booklet : “Lylo” that mentions a large number of the bands, singers, etc… playing in bars. It’s available only in the bars that regularily features such concerts (and it’s free). It’s very convenient since it mentions the adress, the hour, the kind of music, whether or not buying a dring is mandatory, etc…, so if on some day you feel like listening to jazz, or latino music,… you just have to look it up and pick a place (there are normally dozens of such concerts every day). The drawback is that generally, the bands are completely unknown to you, so you can’t be sure what to expect.
There’s a nice Japanese garden called Jardin Albert Kahn, which I discovered last Summer. Bring a book and some water and you could spend a very relaxing afternoon there. When I was trying to remember its name just now, I came across this page which you might find useful. My fiancé likes the tea rooms at the mosque though I’m not as big a fan as he is. Paris is a wonderful city to walk about in - I’d recommend some long walks to discover little-known sights and places.
Another idea might be the opera. There are some cheap tickets available. I remember queuing for them outside the Bastille ticket office very early one morning. Our seats were high up and to the side but we could see everything and enjoyed the performance. Someone else might be able to fill in the details.