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.

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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.

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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.

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“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.”

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

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.”

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

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.”

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Hotel Adele & Jules
2 et 4bis Cité Rougemont 75009 Paris, Around 250e/night
http://www.hoteladelejules.com

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.”

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

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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Seine

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

Easter egg hunting in Paris

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In France, offering eggs as Easter gifts began in the 4th century A.D. Church law dictated that Christians must abstain from eating meat or eggs during the 40 days of fasting that preceded Easter. On Easter Sunday, surplus eggs from hens that continued laying during the period were used to make an omelette. Legend had it that if on Easter Day, the first thing eaten was an egg that had been laid on Good Friday, you would be protected from illness until the following Easter.

To find the ‘chasses aux oeufs’ around Paris consult the list below:

TOUR EIFFEL

There will be more than 20,000 eggs scattered on the Champs de Mars vast lawn. Children aged 3-10, are welcome to retrieve eggs. Organised by the Secours Populaire, this Easter egg hunt ends with a delicious chocolate tasting.
Sunday 16 and Monday 17 April 10am-5pm.
€5 per child
Metro: Champ de Mars

SACRE COEUR

Two giant easter egg hunts lie waiting. Kids between ages 3-12 are invited to gather as many eggs as they can beneath the impressive Montmartre icon.
April 16 2017, 12.30pm-3pm
Metro: Abbesses
Obligatory reservation: 01 42 62 21 21

VINCENNES ZOO

Vincennes Zoo welcomes anyone between the ages of 7-77 to hunt. A 150,000 chocolate egg hunt is planned.  Perk: 8kg egg – jackpot of the day competition.
April 16 and 17
Activities are accessible through the entrance ticket to the park.  €22 for adults, €16.50 for 12-25, €14 for 3-11.
Metro: Porte Dorée

BERCY VILLAGE

Over a 1,000 chocolate eggs and rabbits have been hidden in the corner of Saint-Emilion court. When the count down begins kids will have only 20 minutes to fill their baskets. The most observant hunters will be offered a surprise by The Gourmande Cure.
April 16 from 2pm – 6pm.
Registration required on site. Free. Metro: Cour Saint-Émilion

 

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MUSEE de MONTMARTRE

Bring a basket or sack and enjoy the egg hunt in the Jardins Renoir. Reserved for kids 2-12. Reservations obligatory 01 49258941.

April 16, 17, 11:30 to 5:00, 12 rue Cortot, Paris 75018

CHAMPS ELYSEES

Atelier Renault Café des Champs-Elysées is organizing several hunts beneath the hoods. For kids from 6 to 14, the hunts are accompanied by culinary workshops where the children, under the leadership of a famous chef, will be invited to customize a chocolate Renault Sport RS01 with endless sugary toppings.
Sunday, April 16. Mini-hunts at 11am, 2pm, 3pm and 4pm.
Extras: Hunting for the big ones from 10.30am. Two workshop sessions at 2pm and 3pm. All the activities are free.
Metro: Franklin Roosevelt

 

If you’re in Paris March 3-April 15

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**PRESS IMAGE - USAGE MUST BE CLEARED**

If you’re a b+w fan and gravitate towards reading the celebrity news while waiting in the grocery line, don’t miss the Paparazzi photo exhibit at Galerie ArtCube, Rue de Furstenberg {metro Saint-Germain-des-Prés}.

On tap: Ron Galella, Jean Pigozzi, Sébastien Valiela, Christopher Makos and Alison Jackson, the outlaws who have been looking for the ultimate shot of a rock star, movie idol or socialite for the past 50 years. You’ll recognize quite a few. Sometimes seeing them framed and grouped is something special.

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Irreverent, cunning and intrusive as well as experts in mise en scène, the gaggle end up shining as documentarists of their time.

**PRESS IMAGE - USAGE MUST BE CLEARED**

Photos courtesy of courtesy of Galerie ArtCube

Paris: Get out of town day trips

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versaillSometimes it’s refreshing to break up hustle and bustle metropolis days with a break to the country. I’ve found some of the bus tours cheaper than hiring a guide, private car or taking the train. From my own experience, Paris City Vision has always delivered a first-class experience (and I’m not getting kickbacks), just my personal opinion. Here’s a rundown of the creme-de-la creme:

Versailles small group
$108
Half-Day Tour: Select either a morning or afternoon tour and depart from your Paris hotel bound for Versailles. Your host for the trip will give you recommendations about planning your Versailles visit and provide you with an audio guide for a tour of the palace and gardens.

Weekend visitors from April to October can see the famous fountain shows.

Versailles and Giverney
Guided $206 (all day)
• Skip the line ticket
• Entrance fees to the gardens
• Lunch with drinks

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Economy Versailles: RER from Paris:  A round trip ticket to Versailles by train costs 7,1€ per person. It takes less than 1-1/2 hours to get there. It’s the cheapest way to reach the chateau. Choose RER C; buy your tickets to Versailles-Château – Rive Gauche. The Palace of Versailles is only a 13-minute walk away from the train station. Be prepared to wait in line and spend all day wandering.

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Loire Valley Castles Day Trip  Chambord, Cheverny and Chenonceau.
Guided, all day $176. (such a deal)
Skip the line tickets, leave at 7:15 from a central Paris location. Guests traveling between November 1 and March 31 will receive a traditional lunch and drink.

Chateaux de Chambord, Chenonceau and Loire Valley Wine-Tasting Day Trip. $180
Wine-tasting at Nitray Vineyards
Eat a gourmet French lunch sourced from fresh, local ingredients

VauxVic

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Fontainebleau & Vaux le Vicomte. $75
Skip the line tickets
Full day excursion to Fontainebleau and Vaux le Vicomte châteaux from Paris by luxury coach. Explore the imperial château in the heart of the forest of Fontainebleau. Visit the stunning Vaux le Vicomte château that inspired Versailles. Audio guide tour of the châteaux and free time to explore the magnificent French-style formal gardens. Leave Paris 9:15

Happy tripping!

 

 

 

 

Paris: an open book

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No Worries Paris, a photographic walking guide brings the city to life. A look inside:

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“So many memorable walks at our own pace. Good maps, directions,  and the accompanying text is concise enough to read while on the walk.”  

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“A great help for me to plan my trip. I’m glad I’m prepared for what’s in store in the next two weeks.”

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“We had four full days to spend in Paris in September. We had never been there and wanted to make the most of our time. We decided to use the No Worries Paris guide, and it was a very good decision.”

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“Everything was beyond amazing!! I will never travel to Paris without using this guide again. Especially loved walking tours through the neighborhoods of the Marais and Latin Quarter.”

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“The experience, sights and information provided by our NWP was first class. I would happily recommend reading it cover to cover before your stay.”

Illustrated by hundreds of color photographs, NO WORRIES PARIS takes readers on a visually luscious journey along the city’s striking monuments, as well as into crannies of its villages and the full-on glamour of the fashion districts. Virtually all of Paris is covered in 10 Walking Tours, each with its own map. Walks take from a half-day to a day to complete, starting at one Metro stop and ending at another. The tours are complemented by 10 Walk Arounds, which are shorter in length, taking in the sights of a single attraction more on the fringes of the city’s arrondissements.

Practical travel tips and get-around information is included. Newcomers will most likely want to begin with monumental strolls. Francophiles may choose something more edgy and out-of-the-way. The common thread is that each walk is along a visually aesthetic pathway that has a story of its own to tell. Readers who want to get to know Paris by seeing it on foot—pausing occasionally for a gourmet taste, park bench timeout or perfumed sniff along the way— have found the right book.

No Worries Paris is available on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, Powell’s Books directly through the publishers (signed + discount) at Trailblazer Travel Books as well as your friendly independent bookstores nationwide.

Paris March events: a dynamic duo

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With the arrival of spring in Paris, a rush of rousing museum events burst forth and this year is no exception. I’ll start with a show that is off-the-beaten track and very worth your time.

March 2-July 23

Musée Maillol will be hosting an exhibition bearing the same title as Anne Sinclair’s autobiography, 21 rue La Boétie (published in 2012). In the book, the well-known journalist describes the life of her grandfather Paul Rosenberg, one of the most influential art dealers of the 20th century. The book inspired this exhibition of around 60 masterpieces by great artists such as Picasso, Braque, Matisse, Léger and Marie Laurencin.

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Musée Maillol
59-61 rue de Grenelle – 75007 Paris

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March 14-June 25

Second on my hotlist is the Musée d’Orsay’s nature-themed exhibition with a mystical focus: Au-delà des étoiles. Le paysage mystique de Monet à Kandinsky  (Beyond the Stars. The Mystical Landscape from Monet to Kandinsky). It gives visitors an introduction to depictions of nature in paintings by Gauguin, Denis, Hodler, Klimt, Munch and Van Gogh, and Canadian painters like Tom Thomson and Emily Carr.

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“Connecting with an order beyond physical appearances, going deeper than material realities to come closer to the mysteries of existence, experimenting with losing oneself in perfect unity with the cosmos: these quests are all characteristic of mysticism, the spiritual phenomenon that exists alongside all religions, in all continents. Why not, then, acknowledge its presence in Western Symbolist painting, which, at the close of the 19th century, precisely sought to elevate art to the medium of the ineffable, and the artist to the rank of initiate?”

Musée d’Orsay
1 Rue de la Légion d’Honneur, 75007 Paris

After taking in an exhibit or two you will want to take a refreshing walk. Consult your No Worries Paris for ideas in the neighborhood.  Happy spring!

covnoworriesparis2012

 

 

 

What do Madame de Sévigné, Victor Hugo, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, and Colette have in common?

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vosges

Answer: they all lived here at Place Vosges, in my opinion, the prettiest square in Paris. It is ringed with 36 redbrick-and-stone houses—nine on each side, a salute to early urban planning. To love it is to know it’s history. Definitely a place to bring your sandwich (it’s okay to sit on the lawn), take in the sunshine and feel very far away from the traffic on nearby rue de Rivoli.

Four centuries ago this was the site of the Palais des Tournelles, home to King Henry II and Queen Catherine de Medici. The couple staged regular jousting tournaments, and Henry was fatally lanced in the eye during one of them in 1559. Catherine fled to the Louvre, abandoning her palace and ordered it destroyed. In 1612 the square became Place Royale on the occasion of Louis XIII’s engagement to Anne of Austria. Napoléon renamed it Place des Vosges to honor the northeast region of Vosges, the first in the country to pony up taxes to the Revolutionary government.

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Place des Vosges is structured around two pavilions, that of the Queen at the north part of the square, and that of the King at the south part both built deliberately higher. They are not open to the public; however, you can still visit the house of Victor Hugo, author of “Les Misérables”, which is now a municipal museum. It is free and open daily from 9am to 6pm every day except Monday. To preserve this unity, the place has been protected since the 1960s by the “plan for the preservation and enhancement of the Marais” and no intervention, especially on the façades, can be made without the architect’s agreement.

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Chic restaurants, boutiques and art galleries fill the arcade surrounding the park. A small private door, open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., will give you access to the garden of the stately Hotel de Sully, headquarters of the Center for National Monuments. Be sure to visit their well stocked bookstore. Unfortunately they don’t carry No Worries Paris, but you, of course, hopefully already purchased it before your trip to Paris. Place Vosges and all there is to do and see in the area starts on page 93 and is marked on the walking map.

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Hungry?  Here are some recommended restaurants

Au Bourguignon Du Marais, 52 Rue François Miron, 75004. Regional dishes from Burgundy.

La Tartine, 24 Rue de Rivoli, 75004

Chez Janou, 2 Rue Roger Verlomme, 75003

Les Cotelettes, Cafe Martini, Cafe Hugo