Before Versailles there was Château de Vincennes

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chateau de vincennes

Located on the eastern side of Paris at the end of the Vincennes metro line sits one of the tallest and best preserved fortified castles in Europe. Erected between the 14th and 17th centuries, its purpose was to shelter the royal family, entire domestic staff and necessary army for its defense.

Chateau de Vincennes

It is composed of a long surrounding wall, protected by three gates and six 42 metre-high towers, which stretch over more than half a mile and protects a rectangular space of several acres. This interior square holds the keep, the civilian, administrative and military buildings and a chapel. In the Middle Ages, all of these elements together made it possible for several thousands of people to live here. A wide moat and two drawbridges ensure its safety.

Chateau Vincennes Paris

The château was definitively abandoned as a royal residence when the King elected Versailles as his new home around 1670. You can get there by metro and RER: Line 1: Château de Vincennes  or by bus: Château de Vincennes station: Line 46, 56. They’re open Monday through Saturday, 10 to 6. Address: 1 Avenue de Paris, Vincennes. Telephone: +33 1 48 08 31 20

Move over Disneyland Paris, this is the real thing. Take the kids.

Marchés volants: freshest fast food in Paris

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Paris Marche food

Paris’s open air neighborhood markets where vendors set up their stands on specific days at specific hours are a great place to snack or buy picnic items. You just have to know when and where they are.

No Worries Paris

TUESDAY
Marché Bourse – Place de la Bourse, 2nd arr Metro: Bourse 12h30 – 20h30
Marché Maubert – Place Maubert, 5th Metro: Maubert-Mutualité 7h – 14h30
Marché Raspail – Blvd Raspail, 6th Metro: Sevres Babylon 7h – 14h30 – organics
Marché Aguesseau – Place de la Madeleine, 8th Métro: Madeleine 7h à 14h30.
Marché Popincourt – Bd Richard-Lenoir, 11th Metro: Oberkampf 7h – 14h30
Marché Convention- Rue Convention, 15th Métro: Convention 7h à 14h30
Marché Saint-Charles – Rue St-Charles, 15th Métro: Javel 7h à 14h30

WEDNESDAY
Marché St-Honoré – Pl Marché St Honoré,1st M: Pyramides 12h30 – 20h30
Marché Monge – Place Monge, 4th Métro : Place Monge 7h – 14h30
Marché Grenelle – Bd de Grenelle, 15th Métro : La Motte-Piquet 7h à 14h30
Marché Président Wilson – 16th Métro : Alma-Marceau, Iéna 7h – 14h30

THURSDAY
Marché St-Eustache-Les Halles – Rue Montmartre Metro: Les Halles 12h30 20h30
Marché Maubert – Place Maubert, 5th Métro: Maubert-Mutualité 7h – 14h30
Marché Saxe-Breteuil – Avenue de Saxe, 7th Métro: Ségur 7h – 14h30
Marché Bastille – Bd Richard Lenoir, 11th Métro : Bastille 7h – 14h30
Marché Convention- Rue Convention, 15th Métro: Convention 7h à 14h30

FRIDAY
Marché Bourse – Place de la Bourse, 2nd Métro: Bourse 12h30 – 20h30
Marché Monge – Place Monge, 4th Métro: Place Monge 7h – 14h30
Marché Raspail – Blvd Raspail, 6th Metro: Sevres Babylon 7h – 14h30
Marché Aguesseau – Place de la Madeleine, 8th Métro: Madeleine 7h à 14h30.
Marché Popincourt – Bd Richard-Lenoir, 11th Métro: Oberkampf 7h – 14h30
Marché Saint-Charles – Rue St-Charles, 15th Métro: Javel 7h à 14h30

SATURDAY
Marché Maubert – Place Maubert, 5th Métro: Maubert-Mutualité 7h – 14h30
Marché Saxe-Breteuil – Avenue de Saxe, Métro: Ségur 7th 7h – 14h30
Marché Président Wilson – 16th Métro : Alma-Marceau, Iéna 7h – 14h30
Saint Honoré, Place du Marché Saint Honoré, 1st arr, 3pm to 8pm and Saturday morning
Baudoyer, Place Baudoyer, 4th arr, 7am to 3pm

SUNDAY
Marché St-Eustache-Les Halles – Rue Montmartre Metro: Les Halles 12h30 20h30
Marché Monge – Place Monge, 4th Métro: Place Monge 7h – 14h30
Marché “BIO” Raspail – Blvd Raspail, 6th Metro: Sevres Babylon 7h – 14h30
Marché Bastille – Bd Richard Lenoir, 11th Métro : Bastille 7h – 14h30
Marché Convention- Rue Convention, 15th Métro: Convention 7h à 14h30
Marché Grenelle – Bd de Grenelle, 15th Métro : La Motte-Piquet 7h à 14h30

parismarchefood

The markets I especially like are bold faced. I’ve saved the best for last:
Enfants Rouges
39 rue de Bretagne
Tuesday to Saturday from 8:30am to 1pm and from 4pm to 7pm; Sunday from 8:30am to 1pm

Forget about dieting. You’ll need your strength for all the walking you’re going to do with your No Worries Paris guidebook.

Recommended 5 star hotels Paris

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5starhotelsparis

A few hotels for you luxury travelers whose sky is the limit.

Hotel Napoleon Paris
$320 and up
40 Avenue de Friedland, 8th arr
+33 1 56 68 43 21

http://www.hotelnapoleonparis.com/fr/accueil

Castille Paris
$300-$400
33-37 Rue Cambon, Paris
http://www.castille.com

Hotel Balzac
$300-$400
6 Rue Balzac, 8th arr
+33 1 44 35 18 00
http://www.hotelbalzac.com

hotellobby

L’Hotel du Collectionneur Arc de Triomphe
51-57 rue de Courcelles, 8th
http://www.hotelducollectionneur.com

Hôtel du Louvre, a Hyatt hotel
$400 and up
Place Andre Malraux, 1st arr
http://www.hoteldulouvre.com

Hôtel Scribe Paris
$478 and up
1 Rue Scribe, 9th arr
http://www.hotel-scribe.com

Sofitel Paris Arc de Triomphe
$480 and up
14 Rue Beaujon, Paris – Map

http://www.sofitel.com/gb/hotel-1296-sofitel-paris-arc-de-triomphe/index.shtml

Hotel de Vigny
9 rue Balzac, Paris, 8th arr
http://www.hoteldevigny.com

Paris5starhotels

Hôtel Pont Royal – Paris HotelsRating:
5.0 Stars
$460 and up
Hôtel Pont Royal
7 Rue Montalembert, Paris, 7th

http://www.leshotelsduroy.com/en/hotel-pont-royal

Hotel Baltimore Paris
$300 and up
88, Bis Avenue Kleber, 16th

http://www.accorhotels.com/gb/hotel-2789-hotel-baltimore-paris-mgallery-collection/index.shtml

Brocantes: bargain vintage shopping

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ParisFleaMarkets

Weekends are the times to find pop-up flea/antique markets (brocantes) all over Paris. Posters occasionally point the way but even better is the website Vide-greniers.org. It’s in French but pretty simple to navigate. Links to location maps are included.

ParisFleaMarkets2

Be sure to check out the big vintage show this weekend: Salon du Vintage, http://salonduvintage.com, entry 4 euros, Espace d’animation des Blancs Manteaux, 48 rue Vielle du Temple, metro: Saint Paul/Hotel de Ville

fleamarketParis

“Paris 1900, City of Entertainment” exhibit: put this on your “MUST” list

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Petit Palais Exhibit 2014

Happening now at the Petit Palais is a Belle Époque Paris extravaganza inviting the public to relive the splendour of the French capital at the time when the Paris Exposition Universelle was heralding the arrival of the 20th century. More than ever before, Paris was seen throughout the world as a sparkling city of luxury with a sophisticated way of life. Over 600 works will plunge visitors into a charged atmosphere when talents from everywhere were converging on the French capital to train in studios, to exhibit in the salons and sell their wares in the expanding network of art galleries. On view are paintings, objets d’art, costumes, posters, photographs, films, furniture, jewelery and sculptures. The technical inventions, the cultural effervescence, and the sheer elegance of Parisian women will be staged and displayed as representative legends of that Paris whose image has been promoted in literature and the cinema throughout the world.

Petit Palais doorway

Masterpieces by artists such as Gallé, Guimard, Majorelle, Mucha, Lalique, Cézanne, Monet, Renoir, Pissarro, and Vuillard, alongside works by Gérôme, Bouguereau and Gervex…. and then there is the permanent collection to take in. Reserve half a day and kick off your shows when you take a break at one of their cafe tables in the courtyard.

Open Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 6pm. Late opening until 8pm on Thursdays for temporary exhibitions.
Admission: 11 euros
Metro: George V
http://www.petitpalais.paris.fr/en/expositions/now

What you need to know in Paris for June

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parisevents2

Be hip to what’s going on, jot down the dates and make it happen:

Van Gogh/Artaud, The Man Suicided by Society, Musée d’Orsay, 11 March – 6 July 2014

HENRI CARTIER-BRESSON at the Centre Pompidou, through June 9
http://www.centrepompidou.fr

Musée de l’Orangerie, Archives of the Dream, through June 30
www.musee-orangerie.fr

TATTOOISTS, TATTOOED, Quai Branly Museum, FROM 06 MAY 2014 TO 18 OCTOBER 2015
www.quaibranly.fr/en

PARISevents

La Fête de la Musique, June 21
Rock music is usually held at the Place de la Republique, classical orchestras can be heard in the courtyard of the Palais Royal and indie bands at place Denfert-Rochereau. New groups and singers are performing on street corners and cafes around Paris. All concerts are free.
www.fetedelamusique.culture.fr

French Open
One of the four tennis Grand Slams, invites the best World players and is France’s biggest sporting events. Watching matches live is the ultimate fashion statement!
TIP: Book well in advance for a decent seat (buy your tickets from the French Open website). Leftover tickets can be bought at the stadium two weeks before the games start.
Roland Garros Stadium, June 2014

Summer SHOPPING Sales 2014 in Paris
From 25th June to 29th July 2014

Jazz festival in St Germain
Excellent Jazz performances held around the Left Bank of Paris
May to June 2014
www.festivaljazzsaintgermainparis.com

La Fete des voisins
French Mairies (courthouses), social clubs as well as individuals, organizes get-togethers parties all over France. In Paris you will certainly find many of them in June. You might even get invited to a party yourself.
http://www.immeublesenfete.com

Fête du Vélo
A celebration of urban riding with thousands of cyclists invited to meet up at various points in the suburbs and pedal to Paris, for a huge picnic in the city centre. To hire a bike or learn more about the Vélib bike scheme in Paris, visit http://www.velib.paris.fr.
www.feteduvelo.fr

Join the dance
Free performances, workshops for beginners and balls on the streets and squares of three districts in Paris.
Parc Bercy, animation Centre Les Halles-Marais, and the Bagnollet.
www.entrezdansladanse.fr

Art St-Germain-des-Prés
Almost 50 galleries get together to showcase their top artists, with red carpets spread outside each gallery. The galleries are mostly concentrated on rue de Seine, rue des Beaux-Arts, rue Visconti, rue Guénégaud and rue Mazarine. Open from 14.30 to 18.30
www.artsaintgermaindespres.com

Festival de St-Denis
The Gothic St-Denis basilica and other historic buildings in the neighbourhood host four weeks of top quality classical concerts.
http://www.festival-saint-denis.com

Paris Jazz Festival
Two months of free jazz weekends at the Parc Floral.
Parc Floral de Paris, Bois de Vincenes, 12eme
From June to July
www.parisjazzfestival.fr

Festival Chopin à Paris
In June & July, Orangerie de Bagatelle, Parc de Bagatelle, Bois de Boulogne, 16th arr.
From June to July
Candlelit evening recitals of Chopin’s works are held in the Bagatelle gardens.
www.frederic-chopin.com

and much much more to do in your No Worries Paris guidebook.

P.S.  Pack an umbrella in June, one of Paris’s rainiest months.

Paris’s treasured attic: Musée Carnavalet

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carnavaletmusee

Located on the Right Bank in the Marais is a museum housing the history of Paris. The exterior with it’s dripping vines, roses and French formal gardens screams “photo op!” Digesting all there is to see in one visit (and it’s free) is almost an impossible feat, but worth a try.

As visitors wander through re-creations of rooms in styles ranging from the 17th to the 20th century, they can follow developments in Parisian interior design, immerse themselves in revolutionary history from the French Revolution to the Paris Commune, and also enter into the private lives of famous Parisians, imagining for example, the Marquise de Sévigné at her Chinese laquerwork desk penning her famous letters, or even Marcel Proust in his bedroom, dividing his time between his brass bed and his little table covered in pens, ink and notebook, peruse Eugène Atget and Henri Cartier-Bresson photographs.

Musee Carnavalet

Georges Fouquet’s jewelry boutique, the Alphonse Mucha collection, primo examples of Art Nouveau, 2,600 paintings, 20,000 drawings, 300,000 engravings and 150,000 photographs, 2,000 modern sculptures and 800 pieces of furniture, thousands of ceramics, and the lavish Art Deco ballroom from the hôtel de Wendel, which was painted in 1925 by José-Maria Sert….exhausting yes, but one of the reasons you’ve come to Paris. It’s essence is here in “old-time”. The Louvre’s second little cousin.

Before your visit, my advice is to bone up on the city’s fascinating history, then tackle the 100 creaky floored rooms in bite sized pieces.

Musee Carnavalet

16 Rue des Francs Bourgeois, 75003 Paris, France
10:00 am – 6:00 pm, closed Mondays
metro St-Paul, Chemin Vert or Rambuteau
Bus lines: 29, 69, 76, 96
http://www.carnavalet.paris.fr

On the No Worries Paris guidebook route.

Notre Dame Cathedral: taking it to the top

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Gargoyles of Notre Dame

The best views of Paris can be seen from the Eiffel Tower, Pantheon, Tour Montparnasse, Sacre Coeur, Arc de Triomphe and least visited because of space limitations, Notre Dame towers. Get there at 10 and you’ll have no trouble winding your way up the 387 claustraphobic stairs to hobnob with the gargoyles and see the historic bell. It costs 8.50 euros but if you have a Paris Pass there’s no charge (this doesn’t mean you can cut into the front of line).

notredamegargoyles

Getting there early means better air clarity and no one in the way when you Instagram your Selfie. Warding off evil since 1362, these grotesque monsters are now becoming 21st century instant celebs.

notredamefacade

This is one of the highlights on your first walk in the No Worries Paris guidebook. Consult for more interesting sights in the vicinity.

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