|Subject: re: Paris in (early) August|
You wrote: Okay - we are going! Six artists (ages 70 to 35), half have never been to Paris. I am depending on the wonderful travelers here to tell me what we shouldn't miss (the things the guidebooks might not tell us)! Pls let me have your gems.
There are several art museums that tend to be overlooked among visitors but which I find myself returning to on my too infrequent trips to Paris. The first is the Musee Rodin (http://www.musee-rodin.fr/welcome.htm) in the shadow of the golden dome of Invalides in the 7th arrondissement. Of course you will see the sculptures that are very familiar, but I love the rose garden which is a terrific place for a picnic lunch. Second is the Musee Marmottan in the 16th arr (http://www.paris.org/Musees/Marmottan/marmottan.e.html). This was the private residence of the Marmottan family who were prominent art patrons in the 19th century. It has a fabulous collection of Monets but the real delight is viewing them in such an intimate experience - you are literally in someone's house! Plus it is much less crowded than other Paris art museums and you have to walk through a lovely park to get there from the metro.
When I lived briefly in Paris, I had enough time while I was there to explore a lot of the city and completely enjoyed just walking around. If you want to know more history about the places you are seeing and find other lesser known gems in Paris, I strongly recommend a book by Thirza Vallois called Around and About Paris - Volume 1 (1st - 7th Arrondissements). It is like having a very knowledgeable tour guide with you as you wander about. She has two other books covering the rest of the city, but in five months in Paris I did not even complete the walks in Volume 1.
A place that I find fascinating which I have never seen in any guidebook is called Rue Cavallotti in the 18th arr (nearest metro is Place de Clichy - you will need a map to find it). It is a completely nondescript street except that the storefront shutters are decorated with famous paintings. The storekeepers tried everything to keep graffiti off their shutters. Then someone had the idea that taggers might leave the shutters alone if they were decorated with art. Voila! This seems to have worked. One of my favorite little-known sights but you must visit on a weekend or in the evening after the shops have closed.
I will only give you one recommendation regarding food - you make at least one visit to Berthillon on the Ile St. Louis (31, Rue Saint-Louis-en-l'ile, 4th arr) for the world's greatest ice cream!
Finally as you research your trip, here are a few web sites that I have bookmarked that might be of use to you:
http://www.bparis.com - articles, chat and discussion about France and French culture (like restaurants and shopping) http://www.paris.org - everything a tourist might want to know about Paris (akin to a visit to the virtual tourist information center) http://www.paris-anglo.com - advice for english speakers who are travelling, living or working in Paris
Mark Los Angeles, CA