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
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


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.


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



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:


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


“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.”


“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.”


“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.”

“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, 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.




Musée Maillol
59-61 rue de Grenelle – 75007 Paris


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.


“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!





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


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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.


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.


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.


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

Soldes (Sales), 6 weeks of them


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Paris’s “Winter Sales” began on January 11 and continue through February 21. It’s not just department stores that are having them. The big fashion houses are also in on the discount extravaganza and there are bargains to be had.


The discounts are deep, 50 to 70% on selected items. Get there when the doors open, when everything is neatly piled and lines less long at the cash register. Some designers have to limit the number of shoppers in their department store boutiques. You’ll always see a queue of just-off-the-jetters who go for the big brand names.



Values are waiting in the triangle d’or (Avenue Montaigne, Ave George V, and Rue Francois 1er),  where the finest Haute Couture shops in the world are located. The prestigious houses include: Dior, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Ferragamo, Dolce e Gabbana, Max Mara, Christian LaCroix, Valentino, Prada, Ungaro, Joseph, Bonpoint, Jean Louis Scherrer, Gucci, Pucci, Loewe, Krizia, Bulgari, Calvin Klein, Nina Ricci, Ines de la Fressange, Donna Karan, Celine, Yves Saint Laurent (headquarters), Bulgari, S.F. Dupont, Porthault Linens, Caron, Hermes, Gianfranco Ferré, Givenchy,  Kenzo. Rochas, Courreges, and Balmain. Be prepared to have your purse searched before entering.


Tired just reading the list? The Georges V (31, avenue George V) to the rescue with a time-out drink at Le Bar or light meal in the L’Orangerie restaurant. The staff are always gracious and welcoming; the flower arrangements will take your breath away. Sidenote: If you’re a guest, free flower arranging classes are offered by their world-renowned flower magician ($200 for non-guests); the staff offer guests  a special morning hour-long jog at 7:30 along the Seine, through the Tuileries (free, once a week), room rates start at $800 a night.


At 50-70%, even the couture prices may well be beyond your means. Depot-vente (secondhand boutiques) present another choice. Dive into the piles for some amazing bargains all year round:

Mistigriff, 83-85, rue Saint-Charles  75015, 

Chercheminippes, 124 rue du Cherche-midi 75006,

Didier Ludot,  24 Galerie Montpensier – Jardin du Palais Royal  75001

Kiliwatch, 64 Rue Tiquetonne, 75002


The Rooftop Igloos at Galeries Lafayette


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Paris is very cold in January and it would be unheard of to venture to the open-air top floor of a department store for tapas and a cocktail. BUT, Paris’s innovative department store, Galeries Lafayette has come up with a unique idea by plopping a few heated see-through geodesic domes over the rooftop bar.


The concept, brilliant, the view, magnifique. They call it a “cocooning vibe where serenity and tranquility reign supreme”.  Who wouldn’t want that?


Here’s the menu:

Champagne, cocktails
Soft drinks, fruit juices
Hot drinks
Savoury and sweet tapas
Foie gras
Regional French products
Seasonal dish of the day

Continuous service from 11.00 am to 8.00 pm. When they will be removed to make way for spring, I’m not sure.

Galeries Lafayette Paris Haussmann, 40 boulevard Haussmann – 75009 Paris

No Waiting: Make a Paris dinner reservation online


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Not a new concept, but not everyone is aware that you can book ahead at certain restaurants all over the world. Paris is no exception and the options for each restaurant vary. A very slick service that has a very comprehensive list of establishments is ( They make it easy, just fill in the date and time you’d like to arrive.


Il était un square, 54 Rue Corvisart, 75013 Paris

reservations: or

Lunch: de 12h à 15h (sauf dimanche)
Dinner : de 19h30 à 22h30 (sauf dimanche)

Charolaise beef, cooked or tartar, cheeseburger Montagnard, artisanal buns and original recipe small plates.bougn

Au Bougnat, 26, rue Chanoinesse 75004

reservations: or

Wednesday – Sunday, 12h à 22h. Monday – Tuesday de 8h à 19h.  Located on the île de la Cité.

Bougnat’s burger is served on homemade bread.  Charolais beef, bacon & Cantal cheese, homemade fries
Panfried beef fillet (7oz), potato galette, foie gras sauce
Roast duckling fillet, sauted mushrooms
Sauteed tiger prawns with pesto sauce, creamy parmesan risotto


Plaisir Gascon
16 Rue Grégoire de Tours 75006


Small, cozy, intimate. Beef from Gascony is their specialty.  Superb croustade de pomme with more than a splash of Armagnac


25 Rue Mazarine 75006, metro: Odeon

Puréed and smoked potatoes, seaweed butter, cream, caviar.
Crispy basmati rice with Comté , prawn kadaïf, Vermouth Carpano sauce.
Wild cod, seaweed butter & green peas, apricots, verbena-infused foam.
Rib-eye steak, home-made crisps, shiitaké powder, peppered cherry paste.


Le Versance
16, rue Feydeau 75002

Think lobster curry, calf’s sweetbreads and spiced pears. Elegant dining room.


Le Christine
1, rue Christine 75006, 33 1 40 51 71 64

Located between Saint-Michel and Saint-Germain-des-Prés. Excellent seasonal produce. Indulge in foie gras cooked au torchon [in a cloth], accompanied by delicious stewed red onions with grenadine or fillet of beef. Don’t miss the sweet notes of the tiramisu, a real treat!


Bel Canto
72, quai de l’hôtel de ville 75004

Opera is invited to your table at Le Bel Canto. Every evening, a quartet of young opera singers (soprano, mezzo-soprano, tenor, baritone), accompanied by piano, participates in the service of the restaurant by interpreting great arias of opera. The opportunity for you to have dinner with Verdi, Mozart, Puccini, Rossini… You’ll either hate it or you’ll love it.

Dinner & show, without drinks: 85 € fixed price.

Under the category named “cabaret”,  the Paris tourist office recommends the Bel Canto as one of the best live venues for a night out in Paris: a unique show combining opera and French haute cuisine.

The restaurant is located on the banks of the Seine in the 4th arrondissement. Magnificent view from the dining room of Notre-Dame la Seine, île Saint-Louis. Inside, the decor with warm red and gold colors, is dedicated to opera.

After all the eating and drinking you’ll be ready for a nice long walk: No Worries Paris, your best friend.


Joyeux Noel 2016


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Joining hands around the world to wish you a Merry Christmas. Thank you for making us one of Paris’s top walking guides.


Nightclubbing in Paris




Nightcrawling at the tourist cabarets or hanging with the retro pop, indie, funky, bohemian chic crowd? Take your pick. Here are some choices that will jumpstart your after-dark adventures:

What better way to start than with the classic Moulin Rouge, ‎82 Boulevard de Clichy, (since 1889) where there are holiday specials going on right now. If you haven’t been there, the extravaganza is worth a trip.

11, quai François Mauriac, 75013. A club on a boat. Open until or 2 or 3 a.m. with DJs. Good restaurant onboard.


Blaine Bar (above), 65 rue Pierre Charron, 75008. A Prohibition ambiance theme at this speakeasy like cocktail bar. Jazz concerts and DJ spins all night long.

La Mano, 10 Rue Papillon, 75009. A small and cute bobo nightclub for cool 30-somethings on the Left Bank. It hosts hot electro parties (and electro salsa latino nights) for trendsetting locals but doesn’t try to be arrongant and keeps the party simple. Creative cocktails are at an average price of 12€. It’s also a restaurant serving good Mexican finger food.



Chez Jeanette (above)47 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis, 10th Arrondissement, Metro: Chateau D’Eau, Strasbourg Saint Denis.  Popular with a crowd of self consciously laid-back stealth hipsters. A typically Parisian old cafe that a full revamp and great music have turned into a destination.

Le Divan du Monde
75, rue des Martyrs, in the 18th. Small intimate venue in former art nouveauish theatre.

Le Baron
6, ave Marceau, in the 8th. 01 47 20 04 01. A former brothel, the club is now one of the coolest nightspots in the city with a strict door policy. No grunge.  Music starts at 11. Dance the night away here with style.

Social Club
142, rue Montmartre, in the 2nd. One of the hippest clubs in town. Serious musicians host the most famous DJs playing everything from house to hip-hop in an intimate setting.


Lizard Lounge
18, rue du Bourg-Tibourg, in the 4th. On three levels, LL is a good warm-up/stay-on venue. The bar is a hip Marais hangout, while local DJs man the decks with a good mix of styles for the small booths downstairs.

Now that you’ve stayed up late, your day will presumably start at noon. Bleary eyed or not, pick up your No Worries Paris and head out for an espresso followed by a refreshing stroll  along the boulevards. Le savoir-vivre.


Piscine Molitor: Where the bikini was born


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The Art Deco masterpiece Piscine Molitor was built in 1929 to resemble an ocean liner. Surrounding the pool were three levels of cabins with round windows resembling portholes. The indoor pool became an ice rink in the winter and the decks of the outdoor pool were lined with sand. You didn’t go there just to swim, you went to be seen.


In 1946, the first modern bikini designed by Louis Réard was unveiled. The pool soon became a magnet for all things chic. Sunbathers would lounge among celebrities and starlets, stretched out in white deck chairs and very often topless.


Ultimately it was referred to as “les Grands Établissements Balnéaires d’Auteuil” (the Great Seaside Establishment of Auteuil) and became the site of various sporting events. Olympian Johnny Weissmuller was one of the first lifeguards.


By 1989, the pool was in decay and due to safety standards permanently boarded up by the city. Developers proposed to rebuild it as a hotel and parking lot. To the rescue,  a group of citizens founded the “SOS Molitor”.  They  successfully halted demolition and in 1990 the Molitor was listed in the inventory of the French Monuments Historiques program. Sadly, vandalism and poor maintenance took its toll after being protected by the government (see above).


A new organization called Piscines Molitor was created to obtain funding for the rehabilitation of the site. In 2014, it reopened as a privately owned club adding a 124-room swanky hotel, spa and restaurant.  The clientele is still the same well-heeled crowd. A day pass will run you around $245 and annual membership fees are $4,500. For guests of the hotel, daily fees are, of course, gratuit.

Molitor, 8 Avenue de la Porte Molitor, 75016 Paris

Give a gift of Paris. . .