Our summer family vacation to London and Paris was a dream come true. I enjoyed Paris so much that I jumped at the chance to accompany my husband on a business trip a few months later. While I enjoyed 2 days and every evening with my husband, he was in Paris for a conference, Le Web, and was unavailable during the day. Most days I entertained myself by exploring Paris alone. I took the metro to museums and sites, meandered along small streets, looked in tiny boutiques and tried to speak French. It was indeed a luxury to see Paris at my own pace.
Here are some highlights of the days I spent alone:
Musée de l’Orangerie. It’s most famous for Claude Monet’s Les Nymphéas, but the entire museum is lovely. It’s a manageable size and offers a nice selection of modern art masters. I really enjoyed this museum and highly recommend a visit (no photographs were allowed).
Centre Pompidou. I really liked this museum of contemporary art. I didn’t see all of it – it’s enormous – but I saw the permanent collections and the Edvard Munch exhibit; that was a treat because I love his work. There’s also a viewing platform with fantastic panoramic views of the city.
Galeries Lafayette. This department store is gorgeous–and overwhelming. I had never seen a shoe selection this big; I was dizzy. I drank hot chocolate at the in-store Angelina and had macarons from one of the two Pierre Hermé boutiques. The art gallery had a great exhibit on display and there are several champagne bars. Santa Claus welcomed visitors in the enormous toy department and the whole store was gaily decorated for Christmas.
Palais Royal. Paris has so many grand buildings and this is one of them. There is a garden, contemporary art columns by Daniel Buren and high-end boutiques.
Café de Flore. This famous café on the Left Bank is very expensive, but a great spot to grab a cup of tea and people watch. I had a nice conversation with an older French gentlemen sitting next to me.
Shakespeare and Company. Near Notre Dame, this English bookstore is fantastic. It sells both new and used books; I could have stayed there for hours browsing and reading in one of cozy corners. I picked up a used copy of In The Heat of The Night as a souvenir for my son.
Sainte-Chapelle. We missed seeing this church during our last visit to Paris, so I made a point of visiting this chapel built by King Louis IX to house his collection of Passion Relics. The stained glass literally took my breath away.
Tiny boutiques. Of all the things I saw in Paris, this was one of my favorite: a tiny shop, no bigger than a closet, that only sold finger puppets.
There was so much to see and do in Paris and I barley made a dent, but that’s just a great reason to return – maybe with friends or family, but maybe by myself. I’m a great travel companion!
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