THE CERNUSCHI MUSEUM OF ASIAN ART, PARIS

The grand staircase of the Musee Cernuschi. Photo, Alamy

The Musée Cernuschi is relatively unknown to most visitors to Paris.  Located on a quiet, leafy street that leads up to the beautiful Parc Monceau in an ultra-exclusive area of the 8th arrondissement, it’s just around the corner from the Musée Nissim de Camondo.  The Cernuschi is an Asian art museum, mostly specialising in works from China, Japan, and Korea.  These are objects collected by Henri Cernuschi, and displayed in a small mansion that used to be his home.  He was one of the first collectors in France to amass such a vast and important collection of Asian art.

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WALKING THROUGH A WORK OF ART – MONET’S GARDENS AT GIVERNY

Front entrance to Monet’s house in Giverny. Photo, Alamy

We have often been asked about visiting Monet’s gardens at Giverny.  How difficult is it to get there independently, or is it best to take a tour from Paris?  Is it really worth it, or has it become a victim of tourist hype?  Are the hordes of visitors a turn-off?  Is it possible for those who want to experience the atmosphere and tranquility of a beautiful garden to still enjoy a visit, given its enormous popularity?  

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A FEAST OF FESTIVALS IN FRANCE

One of the many fabulous displays made of citrus fruit during the Fete du Citron, Menton.

From history to fantasy, and everything in between, there are plenty of festivals in France where you can experience the country’s vibrant culture.  These events celebrate everything from the latest movies, the medieval period, art, wine, parks & gardens, kites, lemons, and dragons, to theatre, opera, and other different genres of music.  Right across the country, the biggest and most important festival in France is of course Bastille Day.  However, if you want to make the most of your next trip to France, check out these festivals—by no means an exhaustive list—and start booking now.

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L’HÔTEL DE LA MARINE – A TOUCH OF VERSAILLES IN THE HEART OF PARIS

Th Hotel de la Marine faces onto Place de la Concorde.

If you’ve been to Paris more than once, very likely you have been past the Hôtel de la Marine.  This is not a hotel in which you stay, but a hôtel particulier of epic proportions.  A “real” hotel, the historic, luxury Hôtel de Crillon, is adjacent.  These opulent 18th century buildings are a perfectly balanced pair facing onto Place de la Concorde.  Fortunately, during its long and illustrious life, from the reign of Louis XV through the centuries housing the Navy Ministry offices, it has never sustained damage or serious changes that would have compromised its presentation of fine French craftsmanship and as an expression of power.

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LA SAMARITAINE, AN ICONIC PARISIAN DEPARTMENT STORE REBORN

The beautifully restored Art Nouveau interior of La Samaritaine. 

La Samaritaine has finally re-emerged, like the phoenix rising, if not from the ashes, from a long hibernation of neglect and deterioration that left a gap on the city skyline between the river Seine and the busy rue de Rivoli.  Its recent re-opening was a much anticipated event.  After 16 long years of closure, renovations, and some controversy, this historic icon is the ultimate grand magasin.  Definitely a must-see on your next visit to Paris!

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