GREAT FOOD MARKETS TO DISCOVER IN PARIS

Springtime at Marche d’Aligre: perfect asparagus & morels. Photo, momentsparfaits

One of the great pleasures of a visit to Paris is spending time exploring the many wonderful food markets.  You can take your pick from 69 open-air and 13 covered markets in the city, meaning that some arrondissements have more than one market.  Everyone has their personal favourites, and we certainly have ours, but we also love to visit other markets in various parts of the city to see what’s on offer.  Produce is always seasonal and high quality, and one of the fascinating things is to observe which vendors attract long queues while others are slower.  Each market’s produce will usually reflect the profile of its neighbourhood, which means you can find the flavours of the West African community in the Marché Dejean in the 18th arr. or German smoked ham at Marché Saint-Martin in the 10th.  So take plenty of cash, a big supply of re-usable shopping bags, and head off to discover some edible delights.

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THE MUSÉE MARMOTTAN MONET – A LITTLE-KNOWN GEM IN PARIS

‘Impression, Sunrise’ by Monet, which inspired the name of the Impressionist movement. Photo, wikimedia

A description that’s often used to describe the Musée Marmottan Monet is that it’s a “hidden” gem.  Rather, I’d say it’s perhaps more overlooked than hidden, given its location in the chic Passy neighbourhood in the 16th arr. on the edge of the Bois de Boulogne, beside one of the loveliest parks in Paris.  Famous for the world’s largest collection of works by Claude Monet, the museum also has works by other Impressionist painters such as Morisot, Degas, Manet, Sisley, Pissarro, Renoir, Gauguin and Signac as well as over 300 masterpieces from the Middle Ages, Renaissance and First Empire period.

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LE CHÂTEAU DE VINCENNES – A MEDIEVAL FORTRESS IN PARIS

Th medieval fortress of Chateau de Vincennes. Photo, commons.wikimedia

When you think of châteaux in the Paris area, Versailles is likely the first that would spring to mind.  For its sheer beauty, opulence and size, not to mention the wonderful gardens and parklands surrounding it, it’s no wonder that Versailles is one of the most visited destinations in the entire country.  However, for those who have “been there, done that” and would like to explore another former royal residence in Paris, the enormous Château de Vincennes offers a most interesting contrast.

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WHEN SHOPS TRANSFORM INTO ‘CONCEPT’ STORES

A small Parisian fashion studio that concentrates on handwork embellishment. Photo, s6056.pcdn

Paris has long been famous as a world capital of fashion and design, but it is also a city with a wealth of exciting design concept stores bursting with products unique to France.  It’s a country and a society with a history of commitment to artisan craft skills, a deep appreciation of the handmade object, innovative use of natural materials and the creative expression of the individual artist or designer.

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RUE MOUFFETARD – A PARIS STREET PAVED WITH HISTORY

There are many delightful cafes in rue Mouffetard. Photo, Paris + Plus

Around every corner of Paris you will find streets full of history.  The secret to discovering the real Paris is to detour off the grand boulevards, famous squares and enticing shopping streets.  If you delight in discovering special places, little nooks and crannies, narrow, ancient, pedestrianised streets beloved by locals but unknown to most visitors—the rue Mouffetard in the Latin Quarter of the 5th arrondissement is for you.

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