Cards after lunch. The nonchalant merchants were more interested in their game than conducting business. Want to buy that painting – you’ll have to wait.
Dare to haggle. Set limits on how much you want to spend.
Les Puces de Saint-Ouen (largest in the world)
48, rue Jules Vallès (Marché des Antiquaires) Saint-Ouen
(between the Porte de St-Ouen and Porte de Clignancourt, just outside 18th arrondissement. from the metro, follow the crowds to main shopping alleyways
Hours: Sat. – Mon., 7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.,Sat. – Mon., 7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., metro: Porte de Clignancourt (line 4), Porte de St-Ouen (line 13)
Marché aux Puces de la Porte de Vanves
avenue Georges Lafenestre & avenue Marc Sangnier, 75014
Hours: Weekends; avenue Marc Sangnier until 1 p.m.; avenue Georges Lafenestre all day. metro: Porte de Vanves (line 13)
Marché aux Puces de Montreuil
avenue de la Porte de Montreuil, 75020, Hours: Sat. – Mon., 7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., metro: Porte de Montreuil (line 9)
Marché d’Aligre (includes indoor food market)
Place d’Aligre, 75012, Hours: Tues. – Sat., 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 to 7:30 p.m.; Sun., 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.. metro: Ledru Rollin
Marché du Livre Ancien et d’Occasion
Parc Georges Brassens, 104, rue Brancion, 75015
Between 60 and 80 bouquinistes (book dealers) gather every weekend underneath the former horse slaughterhouses of Vaugirard. Hours: Weekends, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
metro: Convention (line 12), Porte de Vanves (line 13); Bus: lines 48, 62, 89, 95
I spend time here. The winding alleys are stacked with graves, so calming, so unlike the buzzing surrounding streets of the city. There’s wisdom to be learned from the headstones and abandoned vaults and most visitors are congregated around the celebrity artists so you have much of the cemetery to yourself.
The centerpiece is the Monument to the Dead (Monument aux Morts) sculpted by Paul Albert Bartholomé. Organized in two levels, with twenty larger than life figures, the upper terrace focuses on the transition from life to death, while the lower portrays what happens after the big move. The figures on the left whispering words of farewell demonstrate the despair, grief, despondency and resignation with the death of a loved one. An inscription reads: “”Those who lived in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.” Chilling, non?
Behind the locked doors lies an ossuary of the bones of Parisians from cemeteries all over the city, a smaller kind of modern day catacombs. When it became overcrowded recently, the bones were removed for cremation and returned to the ossuary after the cremation process. Efforts were made to store bones and ashes in separate boxes.
Père Lachaise Cemetery
Address: 16 Rue du Repos, 75020
A good share of tourists never wander beyond the front plaza, interior or bell tower. Walk behind the cathedral to Square Jean XXIII for a little tranquility. Shaded benches will be your friend and the view of the flying buttresses and gothic Fountain of the Virgin will entertain your camera.
A little known fact: not far, on the roof of the sacristy is a specially placed bee hive. From ND’s website: “Notre-Dame de Paris, accommodating this hive, matches the preservation of the dynamic biodiversity and hopes to remember the beauty of creation and the responsibility of Man towards her.” Wow! This hive belongs to beekeeper Nicolas Géant who disposes many hives on the roofs of Paris. Bees of this hive are the gentle Brother Adam variety, an essential virtue for urban beekeeping.
This is IT: Paris’s sanctum sanctorum for professional and amateur cooks. An “old school” mecca for everything in cookware. A 200-year-old establishment selling everything from 20 different sizes of spring form pans to stock pots big enough for a full-sized boar. Quality is what they’re all about. A garlic press purchased here will last until the end of your cooking career.
Julia Child shopped here. Descend the creaky winding steps to the basement where shelves are piled with copper pots, baking gear, knives, crepe pans, bread pans. Prices are a little hard to determine, but so what, you’re buying the best, just charge it and be ready for a big surprise when you get home. Finding room in your suitcase is another matter. Remember no knives in your carry-on. Even if you go just to gawk, this memorable pilgrimage will be worth your time.
E. Dehillerin (takes you to their website)
18 rue Coquillière
metro: FranceChâtelet/Les Halles, 1er
Call them what you like: chaussure de sport, cross-trainers, sneakers, tennies, running shoes. The news is they’re “in”. They were everywhere, pounding the pavement on the Champs Elysees (where the Adidas shoes store is located) and behind the barricades of Fashion Week 2015. Almost anything goes as long as they’re clean.
Size? (with a question mark)
16-18 Rue Berger, 1e, tel: 01.40.39.02.86
Métro : Les Halles ou Châtelet
Deals, descriptions, photos, stars, comparisons are why I like to do my research on internet booking pages. A few I’ve been using lately:
Some good deals during this shoulder season:
Hotel Monceau Elysees
108 Rue De Courcelles, 17. Batignolles-Monceau
$75 best deal
Victoria Hotel Paris
2 Bis Cite Bergere, Faubourg-Montmartre
$85 best deal
Quality Hotel Paris Orleans
185-187 Boulevard Brune, 14. Montparnasse
$90 best deal
Hotel Fontaines du Luxembourg
4 Rue De Vaugirard, 06. Saint-Germain-des-Pres
$142 best deal
Hotel Chaplain Rive Gauche
11 Bis Rue Jules Chaplain, 06. Saint-Germain-des-Pres
$138 best deal
Hotel Observatoire Luxembourg
107 Boulevard Saint Michel, 06. Saint-Germain-des-Pres
$168 best deal
If you contact the hotel directly, sometimes you might get even a better deal. Almost all hotel staffers these days speak (or attempt) English. Start with the booking sites.
It’s only 10 euros with 1 extra euro for an added piece of bacon, fries made from Picardie potatoes (included), special sauce, buttery homemade buns, environmentally raised beef, and your choice of cheese. A juicy, winning combination served along a counter on the periphery of Marché des Enfants Rouges. The stand is so popular getting a seat seems a privilege. Add a beer or cider and you’ll think you’ve died and gone to heaven.
The menu sounds better in French:
Boeuf et bacon fumé à la sciure de hêtre (les viandes de la ferme de Châteauneuf)
Salade de Picardie, tomates du Marché et pommes de terre de la Ferme Pelpome
Fromage au choix, cheddar d’Irlande, Tomme au cidre Chapelle Saint Jean, Bleu d’Auvergne, Chèvre vendéen et Cantal
Farine (pour les petits pains maison) de la Ferme Pelpome
Cidre de la Ferme et jus et pétillant de pommes de chez Jean Marc Les Vergers d’Hordevillers
Jus et pétillant rhubarbe de la Brasserie Maeyaert
Bières blanche, blondes et ambrées de St Rieul
Le Burger Fermier du Marché des Enfants Rouges, 39 rue de Bretagne, 75003 Paris
Wed – Sun: 9:00 am – 6:30 pm
Metro: Arts et Metiers, Temple, République, Filles du Calvaire