The Paris Opera, all you need to know


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Palais-Garnier-Paris-Opera-House_1One of the fondest memories I have of my “student in Paris” days was attending performances at the Palais Garnier. Top tier and most of the time requiring opera glasses the experience was always magical.  If you’d like to visit the sumptuous building or are interested in any of L’Opera de Paris performances at a discount, here’s the insider lowdown:

Last-minute tickets

• €10 for seats with a limited view or no view of the stage at the Palais Garnier

Tickets for seats in the 6th category are only sold on the day of the performance at the box office of the Palais Garnier. These seats offer a limited view or no view of the stage depending on their location, however, tickets for them do provide access to the auditorium and allow the bearer to hear music played by a live orchestra and in some cases, catch a glimpse of what is happening on stage (with the possibility of getting a better view by standing when the seat is at the rear of a box).


• €5 for a standing-room ticket in the circle of the Opéra Bastille

32 standing tickets are sold at 5€ each (category 10) at the Opera Bastille ticket offices (130 rue de Lyon – 75012 Paris) on the day of the performance: from 11:30 a.m. Monday to Saturday; and one hour prior to the performance on Sundays and bank holidays. Tickets are limited to two per person.

• Special reduced rates  Special reduced rates on last-minute tickets for an up-coming performance that are still available at the Paris Opera’s box offices 30 minutes prior to curtain-up:

For those under the age of 28 and the unemployed:

– €35 for a ticket to an opera.

– €25 for a ticket to a ballet or concert/recital.

– €10 for a ticket to a Sunday chamber music concert.

For senior citizens over the age of 65:

– €70 for a ticket to an opera.

– €40 for a ticket to a ballet or concert/recital.

– €15 for a ticket to a Sunday chamber music concert.

Not valid for Young People’s Avant-Premières, evenings for the Under 40s, or special evenings.

Discounted rates. Certain performances are subject to a 10% discount depending on the date: See prices.

Budget prices. Throughout the season, the Paris Opera offers performances at budget prices:

  • The programme of the Academy and chamber music concerts at the Amphithéâtre Bastille from €10 to €25 (depending on age),
  • Musical Middays at the Palais Garnier from €10 to €30 (depending on the seat category),
  • Concert-encounters at the Studio Bastille: €5.

France Paris French Opera Garnier Famous Building

Take an hour and twenty minute tour:  Your visit will begin with the “Rotonde des Abonnes” (Members’ Rotunda) which was formerly used to welcome the audience, and where you will be able to discover the unique signature of the architect Charles Garnier amongst the arabesques. 

The mysterious Prophetess Pythia will greet you before you take the majestic “Grand Escalier” (Main Staircase), which brings you to the auditorium, the lounges and the foyers. The abundant decor, the splendour of the various foyers and the variety of materials used will take your breath away. The numerous paintings and sculptures allow the Palais Garnier to be not only a theatre but also a museum at the same time.

Adult :

€15.50 per person

Child (-10years):

€8.50 per person

Student (-26years):

€11.00 per person

If you’re looking for some over-the-top splendor, love history as well as the arts, this downtown treasure is well worth the euros.  Did I mention the Chagall ceiling?

After your visit, consult your No Worries Paris guide for other things to do in the neighborhood. Printemps and Galeries Lafayette are just around the corner. Or try L’Opéra Restaurant. It’s built into the Palais Garnier opera house’s east facade.


For what’s happening at the Bastille opera site go to:

FYI: For 1,000 euros you can adopt one of the Garnier’s red velvet plush seats. They’re going fast:

Snow, rain, sunshine in Paris


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March weather can be iffy. If you’re planning to visit make sure you’re equipped for the chill. Bring a second pair of shoes, an umbrella, water repellant gear. You can wake up to sun and be drenched by 3 p.m.

When all else fails, duck into a cafe, or better yet, a place like Le Fumoir. You don’t even have to smoke, just chill and have a martini or two.


Energized, head for the Picasso Museum, a safe dry elegant place and take it all in,  5 Rue de Thorigny, closes at 6.  


Here’s the view from the back window. Another nice place to chill. Hope you get to see:


Until next time. Hope you’re designing your own Paris itinerary with the city’s best walking guide, No Worries Paris. Merci!


Cleaning off my desktop – a flurry of fashion week photos


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Looking back at a few days in September. . .


Be sure to press FULL SCREEN.  And if you’re thinking of walking all over Paris, be sure to buy:




Flashback to one month ago


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Zipping around Paris taking in all the events, art exhibits, new restaurants, new attractions never gets tiring. It’s all the work when I arrive back home and have to update my Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, Tumbler and blog accounts. Complaining, I’m not, it’s a gig many have told me they’re envious of. I understand. After many years as a graphic designer, secretary, stone mason, aerobic dance teacher, chocolate chip cookie baker, and photographer, life has just worked out that way.

While in Paris I had one minute of fame. Crawling the internet at night post Balmain show I came across the Vogue Magazine online site. Lo and behold there I was on point shooting one of the cognoscenti. Thank you staff photographer Phil Oh who included it in his “Best Street Photos from Paris Fashion Week.” It made my day, my year, though I guess that’s my ego speaking.


Okay, enough about that. Time to get onboard and sell some books.  No Worries Paris is on the shelf at Powell’s Books. too, of course or at Thanks for giving it some consideration, it’s a pretty helpful walking guide to have along.


I’m back! A little slice of Paris


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Take a walk with our No Worries Paris guide.  Get inspired, get with it.



A Paris pique-nique en plein air


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No doubt about it, the French love weekend meals outdoors in the fresh air.  The ritual can last hours and depending on consumption of wine, even longer. Picnic spots are numerous. I like Bercy, Parc Montsouris, Champs de Mars, Parc Monceau, Place des Vosges, Square du Vert-Galant, Bois de Boulogne, Quai de Valmy, just to name a few.


Buying your picnic food can be a challenge. Finding central locations where everything is available can save time and frustration. Your neighborhood charcuterie probably carries most of what you’re looking for but you’ll have to add on a trip to the boulangerie, cheese and wine store.

Happily there are places that offer gourmet cold delicacies and all the trimmings, even dessert. Here are some addresses:

Galeries Lafayette Gourmet, 35 boulevard Haussmann


GLG occupies two floors and offers a home delivery service. A feast for the eyes and the taste buds, cases of mouth-watering delicatessen will have you buying more than you can eat. Fresh produce and specialities from the best international and regional food brands abound. Tasting bars dot the first floor.



Le Bon Marché, 38, rue de Sèvres

A temple of good taste, La Grande Epicerie de Paris sells 30,000 gourmet products.
It’s located on the ground floor of Le Bon Marché, Paris’s oldest department store, where its bakery, patisserie, butcher’s and cheese shop will all urge you to give in to gourmet temptation. Prices depend on the age and origin of the product, so you can just as easily enjoy a delicious lavender macaroon for two euros as bankrupt yourself for a bottle of olive oil.


Marché Bastille

One of the biggest markets in Paris, the Marché Bastille’s food stalls sprawl up the Boulevard Richard Lenoir twice a week. It’s a great source of local cheeses, free range chicken and excellent fish. The piles of fruit, vegetables, saucisses, olives and quiches  are interspersed with stalls offering African batiks, cheap jewelery and bags, discount scarves and linens.


Marché Mouffetard, 139 Rue Mouffetard
A wonderful, narrow crowded market street cobblestones and all. Charcuterie, creperies, cheeses, fruit, flowers, rotisserie chicken, pates, seafood shops wind down the hill. A moveable feast, you’re guaranteed a peek at how it used to be before le supermarche.


Jamaica Jamaica! a loudspeaker for the voice of a people


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What many people don’t know is that since the 1950s, inventions in Jamaican music—born out of the “do-it-yourself” ingenuity pulsing through the ghettos of Kingston—have laid the foundations for most modern-day urban musical genres, giving rise to such fixtures of todayʼs musical lingo as “DJ”, “sound system”, “remix”, “dub”, etc.

Often blurring the lines between distinctions—spiritual or nonreligious, rural or urban, a soundtrack for Rastafarian wisemen or rude boys from the ghetto—Jamaican music is anything but one-dimensional.


The Jamaica Jamaica! exhibition seeks to acknowledge this history, reconsidered through the prism of the postcolonial conflicts and encounters that led to a unique and universal movement—a virtual “sound clash” between Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Lee Perry, King Tubby, Studio One, the Alpha Boys School, Haile Selassie I, Marcus Garvey, etc., through musical styles as varied as burro, revival, mento, ski, rocksteady, reggae, dub and dancehall.

It brings together rare memorabilia, photographs, visual art, audio recordings and footage unearthed from private collections and museums in Jamaica, the United States and Great Britain. Also providing a platform for young Jamaican artists, the exhibition is a powerful wail that has been ringing out internationally for decades through its music.

  • Paintings and murals created on site by Danny Coxson, the Jamaican street artist invited by the Cité de la musique – Philharmonie de Paris and the Institut français.
  • Interactive installations: a sound system and tracks that visitors can operate, and discos inside the exhibition every Friday evening.
  • One-of-a-kind instruments: Peter Tosh’s M16 rifle guitar, vintage sound systems, King Tubby’s customised mixing desk, etc.
  • Reconstructions of legendary studios such as Studio One, the Black Ark and King Tubby’s.

Exhibition, from 4 April to 13 August 2017
Self-guided visits
• Tuesday – Thursday: 12am to 6pm
• Friday: 12am to 10pm
• Saturday & Sunday: 10am to 8pm

Cité de la musique – Philharmonie de Paris
221, avenue Jean-Jaurès
75019 Paris

In Paris this summer? Celebrate Rodin.


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To mark the centenary of his death, the Musée Rodin and Réunion des musées nationaux Grand Palais are joining forces to celebrate Auguste Rodin (1840-1917). The exhibition reveals Rodin’s creative universe, his relationship with his audience and the way in which sculptors have appropriated his style.


Featuring over 200 of Rodin’s works, it also includes sculptures and drawings by Bourdelle, Brancusi, Picasso, Matisse, Giacometti, Beuys, Baselitz and Gormley, shedding new light on this giant of sculpture.

Where: Grand Palais, Paris, France
Metro: Champs-Elysées Clémenceau (Lines 1, 13)

Sundays, Mondays and Thursdays from 10 am to 8 pm / Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 10 am to 10 pm / Closed on Tuesdays

And if you’re looking for things to do after the show consult your No Worries Paris guide.


“I literally read it cover to cover, which should be an indicator of its goodness. I really like this guide– it is detailed enough to provide weeks of new and exciting things to see, even for an extended stay.”  – J. A. Phillipi


Five upscale Parisian hotels: new kids on the block that shine


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Hôtel Maison Souquet
10 Rue de Bruxelles, 75009 Paris
Phone: +33 1 48 78 55 55, around 337e/night

Set in a neoclassical building in the Pigalle district, this ultrachic hotel designed by Jacques Garcia is a minute’s walk from Moulin Rouge, a two minute walk to a metro station. Featuring a mix of exotic and Second Empire–style furnishings, the opulent rooms come with free Wi-Fi, smart TVs and minibars. The 1- and 2-bedroom suites add plush sofas. In-room massages, butlers and 24-hour room service are available. An elegant lounge offers a library, a fireplace, and a bar that serves meals. There’s also a courtyard. A spa has an indoor pool and a treatment room.

“The Madison Souquet is a great hotel. The decor is second to none and creates a brilliant mood.  It’s got tons of history and makes for the perfect romantic break.”



L’hotel Panache
1, rue Geoffroy-Marie, 75009 Paris – France
Tel: +33 1 47 70 85 8,

The Panache falls in love with Art Nouveau, adapts to the tastes of the day and adds its own flair.  207e/night

“Nicely designed well located hotel with great, helpful and friendly staff! Fantastic experience. Rooms with artsy maritime touch. Great restaurant with a well priced and elegant kitchen.”


Le Narcisse Blanc
19 Boulevard De La Tour Maubourg, 75007, +33 1 40 60 44 32. Around 364e/night.

Between history and modernity, romance and comfort, the hotel-spa offers a unique change of scenery, a plunge into the culture, the art, and typical Parisian well-being.

“Excellent service, beautifully designed rooms, a top end spa and they’ve invested in really high quality fixtures and fittings. To top it all, the restaurant provides exquisite fine dining without a silly price tag to go with it.”


Hotel Adele & Jules
2 et 4bis Cité Rougemont 75009 Paris, Around 250e/night

A family secret revealed with the greatest discernment, Hotel Adèle & Jules scores double points… Set in twin low-rise buildings, on a quiet private road, the place beckons peace and relaxation, close to yet sheltered from the buzzing hub of the Grands Boulevards.

“They are all the best! Young, helpful, kind and very very smiling staff! The hotel is clean and the quality of services is good! The area around it is nice and the hotel is close to the metro.”



Hôtel de Jobo
10 Rue d’Ormesson, 75004 Paris
Phone: +33 1 48 04 70 48, around 275e/night

Named for Empress Joséphine Bonaparte, this swanky boutique hotel in the 4th arr. built at the site of a 17th-century convent is a 3-minute walk from Saint-Paul metro station. It’s also 2 km from Musée du Louvre.

Individually furnished in Directoire style, the opulent rooms and suites provide free Wi-Fi and flat-screens. All have minifridges, tea and coffeemakers, and eclectic wall prints, as well as mosaic-tiled bathrooms with rainfall showers.

Don’t forget to take this with you:

NoWorriesParisCover copy

Why see Paris like a starving artist when you can rock it like the Sun King?


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Hanging with Hemingway, Scott & Zelda, Picasso, and the crew for mind-bending soirees at Gertrude Stein’s pad has its appeal. But in reality, life was harsh and fruitless for the many thousands of the ‘Lost Generation’ whose creative juices led them from America to garret apartments in Paris in the early decades of the 1900s.


A Luxury Retreat on Palais Royal Square (1st arrondissement)

Perhaps Louis XIV’s acquaintance would be a better choice, since the Sun King and his retinue knew only the gilded opulence of Palais Royal, Chateau de Bagatelle, and Versailles. It’s possible these days to get a modern send-up of what court life was like, even if only for a week or so. You can rent Paris luxury apartments, and you don’t need to be royalty to afford them. Villa-style accommodations throughout Paris, are available for roughly the per-person price of a quality hotel room. Two catches: The first is you need to travel with a larger group, say four to eight people, to defray the cost. The second catch is to save euros by cutting back on restaurants and eating in, after gathering a bounty from outdoor markets, patisseries, and charcuteries.


Both these ‘catches’ may be deal-breakers, especially for those who go to France primarily to partake of restaurants. But keep in mind, these luxury retreats are places you will want to be in the morning for coffee, and in the evening to wind down with wine after a day of pounding the cobblestones. Expect deluxe modern kitchens, baths, extra living space, and outdoor areas in prime locales—you won’t be in a hurry to leave.

After deciding to take the quantum bump up in luxury, the question becomes, which one and where?

The overview: Paris is not huge—roughly a seven-mile-wide oval, encircled by the high-speed Boulevard Peripherique and cleaved east-to-west by the river Seine.  It’s divided into 20 neighborhoods called arrondissements. Connecting everyplace to every other is a warren more than a dozen different Metro lines, with several hundred entrance stations.


Jardin du Palais Royal

Arrondissements differ widely in character.  Here are thumbnails for the most desirable:

LEFT BANK (including parts of the 1st, 4th, and 5th arrondissements)

Two islands in the Seine—Ile de la Cite and Ile Saint Louis—are at the literal and historic center of Paris. Armies from all of Europe crisscrossed this spot for 20 centuries. Today, for tourists, this is where the ‘action’ is. On the Left Bank are the narrow streets with captivating cubbyholes and exotic restaurants. Notre Dame has dominated Ile de la Cite since its first stones were laid in 1163. After several centuries of remodels, the grand cathedral was nearly demolished by Napoleon in the early 1800s, but author Victor Hugo stirred the public to save it with his 1831 novel, The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Not far from Notre Dame (look for a line of people) is Sainte Chapelle. This church housed booty from the Crusades in the 13C, but is known today for its stained glass—15 towering windows, streaming bejeweled light in primarily red and blue hues.

After buzzing the Left Bank, you can exit uphill on Rue Galande on what was the start of the ancient route to Rome. The swerving ascent takes you to Gothic St. Etienne du Mont—built on the site of a 6C abbey that King Clovis dedicated to Sainte Genevieve after her prayers stopped Attila the Hun’s march on the city. Lofted on a hill not far away is the Pantheon, also a tribute to fair Genevieve, this time by Louis XV in 1764, after he recovered from an illness after praying to her. The light inside is heavenly. If you make it this far, it’s wise to press on a few blocks to Place de la Contrascarpe, where Papa wrote A Moveable Feast. One of the best outdoor market streets in Paris, Rue Mouffetard, snakes down from this place.



ST. GERMAIN DES PRES (6th arrondissement)

St. Germain des Pres is quintessential Latin Quarter—a blend of centuries-old architecture and the right-now glitz of cafe society. Musée Nationale de Moyan Age is housed in the medieval Hotel Cluny, which was built on top of Roman baths that date from the second century. The museum is a walk through time. Across from this masterpiece is another, la Sorbonne, the 13C college to which the Latin Quarter owes its intellectual heritage. But the campus is contemporary when compared to Abbey St. Germain des Pres, not far away, which ruled the roost in Paris from the mid-6C, until clashes with students diminished its influence (300 monks were slain) in the 1300s.

Next to the abbey on the boulevard is the holy triumvirate of Parisian cafes: Brasserie Lipp, Cafe de Flore, and Cafe de Deux Magots. Each place had its own patrons (Sartre, Camus, Picasso, and many other big-brainers) and schools of thought, though esoteric distinctions were often fuzzed by absinthe. Also in the ‘hood is the city’s most ornate church, St. Sulpice, built in stops and starts over a century, beginning in 1646. Inside are frescoes by Delacroix, who loved moving his paintbrush to the melodic groans from the world’s largest organ (count ’em, 6,600 pipes). The heart of the arrondissement (some would say of Paris) is Jardin du Luxembourg, a few blocks from St. Sulpice. Sixty acres of leafy trees, fountains, and statues have been absorbing legions of leisure seekers since Marie de Medici first laid out the park in 1615. The weighty Palais du Luxembourg has housed the French Senate for two centuries—except when it was Nazi headquarters during World War II.

PLACE DE LA CONCORDE (1st and 2nd arrondissements)

Place de la Concorde is meant to be seen from the center of its 20-plus acres—reached via a dash across umpteen lanes of traffic. The place is the austere centerpiece of the Axis Historique, a line-of-sight up and down the Champs Elysees from the Arc de Triomphe through the Jardin des Tuileries to the glass pyramid at the Louvre. The 3,300-year-old Luxor Obelisk stands in the center and two huge fountains act as bookends. This grand space is best known, however, as the primary site for the guillotine that in the late 1700s took the heads of Marie Antoinette, Robespierre and 1,300 hundred other souls loyal to Louis XIV (hmm, maybe being a starving artist isn’t so bad after all).

At right angles to the Axis Historique (forming a second axis) is Rue Royale. The view is past the American Embassy and the lavish Hôtel de Crillon (under renovation) to Sainte Madeleine. This church’s mountainous staircase and forest of columns were built to glorify Napoleon’s conquests. Branching off Rue Royale is the ground zero of haute couture, Rue du Faubourg-St. Honore, the home turf for Chanel, Dior, Prada, and everyone else in the biz. Also in this zone is Place Vendome, a chi-chi address for Parisians since 1702, and home to the Ritz Hotel, watering hole for the rich and well-heeled. You may have gathered that the theme in this part of Paris is old money.

POMPIDOU (3rd arrondissement)

The Pompidou Centre Musée Nationale d’Art Moderne (a name seldom referenced) is a building turned inside-out, its glass facade revealing an infrastructure of colorful tubes, pipes, and elevators. The art inside runs the gamut (if there is one) from Cubism, to Surrealism, to Pop Art. The sprawling grounds outside are always popping. More traditional, must-see museums are nearby: the revamped Musée PicassoMusée Carnavalet (the history of Paris), and the Archives Nationales. Tradition reigns supreme at Place des Vosges, the oldest square in Paris, having been laid out by bon vivant Henry IV in 1604. Vosges went through generations of squalor, but was respectable by the time Victor Hugo moved in at the beginning of the 1800s. Maison de Victor Hugo, now a museum, takes up several floors in a corner of the place.


Place Vosges

A short walk from Vosges is Place de la Bastille, as in ” the storming of the,” which took place on July 14, 1789, thus beginning the Revolution. The prison raid sprang from an alleyway near the place’s iconic spire, Colonne de Juillet, on Rue de Lappe. These days Lappe is a venerable nightclub scene for hipster professionals and artisans who try to set the night on fire. (You guessed it, Jim Morrison died not far away, on Rue Beautreillis.)

ARC DE TRIOMPHE (8th arrondissement)

A dozen grand avenues converge at the Arc de Triomphe forming Etoile—The Star. The most prominent avenue is the Champs-Élysées, with 50-foot wide sidewalks whose cafe tables have provided ringside seats for parades, starting with the Napoleonic Wars and extending to each year’s conclusion of the Tour de France. The view from the top of the arch reveals the Axis Historique, version 2.0, as it extends west for several miles, across the Seine, and through the center of La Defense—the enormous cube-arch (Notre Dame could be garaged inside) at the center of the sky-scrapers of modern Paris.


La Defense

A more traditional view of Paris unfolds along a stroll up staid Avenue Hoche, past treed estates with wrought-iron gates, leading to sublime Parc de Monceau. This 40-acre oasis is of the wild, English style (as opposed to the formal Luxembourg and Tuileries). Strollers, joggers, and kids-gone-wild at the park’s playground fill up the space on weekends. Numerous architectural follies (Corinthian columns, Dutch windmill, Egyptian pyramid) accent the Monceau’s wide oval path and pond. The French art of conversation has been perfected on these park benches since the late 1700s.

TOUR EIFFEL (7th arrondissement)

Though Tour Eiffel is the city’s most-touristy spot, the surrounding neighborhoods are where locals live the good life. Several market streets are nearby: Rue Cler, Rue Sainte Dominique, and along Boulevard de Grenelle. Providing room to roam at the foot of the famous tower is Champ de Mars, 60 acres of formal greenspace that lead to Invalides. At Invalides, the city’s masculine side is on display at Napoleon’s Tomb and Musée de l’Armée. Also near the Eiffel Tower are Musée Rodin and Musée d’Orsay, which is set in an ornate former railroad station and houses the art that bridges the gap between ancient (at the Louvre) and the modern (at Pompidou).

Even with all the 7th has to offer, no doubt the star of the show remains the Tour Eiffel. It draws eyes like magnets. Though many visitors will want to go to the top (1,063 feet), the more intimate view is from the 2nd level (a 15 minute walk up stairs), and the more majestic is from across the Seine at Place du Trocadero. From the plaza at Trocadero—flanked by the twin museums of the neo-classical Palais de Chaillot, and the fountains of Jardin du Trocadero—the Eiffel Tower and all of Paris is laid out before you, an immoveable feast for the senses.


From Palais Chaillot

PASSY (16th arrondissement.)

Where? Passy may seem passé to all visitors except aficionados of Brando’s Last Tango in Paris, which was filmed here. But not to Parisians: these enclaves across the Seine (like Villa Montmorency) are where the real monied folks live —the kind that don’t want to be famous in most cases. A historical exception is the former home of Honoré de Balzac on the upper bank of the Seine. Now a museum, the grounds had a back gate so the notoriously indebted scribe could escape his creditors. Throughout this arrondissement (principally on Rue Fontaine and Rue Agar) are the fanciful art-nouveau stylings of architect Hector Guimard, who makes concrete look like meringue, giving a storybook vibe to a row of facades.

By the time Metro line 10 gets to the village square at Notre Dame d’Auteuil, you’ll feel far away from Paris, especially when the scene amps in the summer during the French Open tennis tourney at Stade Roland Garros. Next to the stadium is perhaps the city’s least known jewel:  Jardin des Serres. Five glass-and-wrought-iron greenhouses are placed within a seven-acre garden planted by Louis XV in 1761. Tickets had to be rationed in 1898 when the public was admitted, since the sunlit botanical interiors cured the winter blues for Parisians.


Parc de Bagatelle

The mother of all parks in Paris, Bois de Boulogne, is 2.5 times bigger than NYC’s Central Park and makes the 16th by far the largest arrondissement. Within the Bois is another getaway trip, to the château, orangerie, and rose garden of Parc de Bagatelle. Marie Antoinette spurred the building of the château over one summer in 1777. It soon became the “it” place for exorbitant gatherings. For years, partygoers reveled in the new game ‘bagatelle’—a mini-pool with bumpers that was the precursor to the pinball machine—until times changed and a new contraption called the guillotine became all the rage.