5 Gifts to Buy While in Paris

With all that Paris has to offer in way of shopping and gifts, it can be hard to select what to take home with you. Airlines can be strict with regulations, lack of space and weight can present a problem when packing them in your luggage, and most of us have a limited budget for bringing things home. However, don’t miss out on snagging an item or two that you can only get while in Paris! We’ve narrowed our list of favorite items to bring home as gifts (or for yourself) to five crucial things:

Chocolate

Specifically chocolatier Jean-Paul Hévin’s chocolates. We recommend getting a large variety to take home. These heavenly chocolates will have everyone back home raving, or you can keep them all to yourself.

Address: 231 rue St Honore

Jams, Jellies, Honeys, and Mustards

Parisian’s do condiments very, very well. These are always a sure bet to bring home with you for gifts and to use at home as they travel well, last a while, and will add some real flair to your cooking.

Where to Buy: Any local grocery store

Wine

Perhaps one of our favorite take-home’s from Paris. You’ll have to limit your selection, unfortunately, as airlines are strict and usually only allow 2 or 3 bottles, but these are perfect additions to your home wine collection or for a special gift for a friend. Wine from Paris is a must.

Where to Buy: Local wineries or farms right outside of Paris, boutiques, any grocery store

Salami

Some people aren’t fans of salami, but if you are you can get some great salami in any deli or supermarket in Paris. It keeps pretty well while traveling, and makes for some great sandwiches and pasta toppings. Plus, if you happen to get hungry on your travels, or stuck in an airport, it’s always good to have a gourmet snack on board. If any makes it back home, these can make for great additions to gift baskets or dinner party host gifts.

Orangina

Perhaps one of the most refreshing and tastiest beverages you’ll ever have, cheap, and rarely found in the states. Picking up some Orangina is a must.

Where to Buy: Any local grocery store

 

Best Paris Travel Guide Books

lonely planet paris travel guide

Anytime you travel abroad, it’s always best to have a quick reference on hand – something to help guide you through the cities and to the best attractions, shopping, hotels, and restaurants. Paris is no exception. With a city this big, and with so much to see and do, a travel guide book is a must have. We did some research for you and have some of the best and most informative guides listed below:

Lonely Planet Paris City Guide

(4 and a half out of 5 stars on Amazon)

Where to Buy: http://www.amazon.com/Paris-City-Guide-ebook/dp/B00AR2MS1A/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1360109755&sr=8-4&keywords=lonely+planet+paris

Lonely Planet Description: “Paris has a timeless familiarity for first-time and frequent visitors, with more architectural icons than any other city along with glorious food, stylish shopping and priceless artistic treasures.” – Catherine Le Nevez, Lonely Planet Writer

Our Promise
You can trust our travel information because Lonely Planet authors visit the places we write about, each and every edition. We never accept freebies for positive coverage so you can rely on us to tell it like it is.

Inside This Book…
Full color guide
Free pull-out city map
350+ top dining experiences
100 of the best places to stay
12 awe-inspiring panoramas
3 museums devoted to fashion
1 gold flying carpet
Comprehensive map section
Feature coverage of top sights
Range of planning tools
In-depth background on Paris architecture

 

Fodor’s Paris 2013 Travel Guide

(4 and a half stars out of 5 on Amazon)

Where to Buy: http://www.amazon.com/Fodors-Paris-Full-color-Travel-Guide/dp/0307929280/ref=sr_1_3_title_0_main?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1360109893&sr=1-3&keywords=paris+travel+guide

Fodor’s Description: Expanded Coverage: Paris is always changing, and this edition captures the City of Light’s hottest new restaurants and hotels.

Illustrated Features: Rich color features help travelers make the most of top experiences, from visiting awe-inspiring Notre-Dame and Versailles to seeing top artwork in the Musee du Louvre and exploring the Seine on foot or by boat. Restaurant and shopping spotlights highlight the best options in each neighborhood.

Indispensable Trip Planning Tools: Paris’s top attractions and museums are broken down at a glance, as are the top itineraries, best bets for restaurants and lodging, and what to do with kids or without. Each neighborhood has a convenient overview with highlights and practical advice for getting around and planning a visit. The pull-out city map, complete with Metro map, includes top attractions, nearby dining, and great walks.

Discerning Recommendations:  Fodor’s Paris 2013 offers savvy advice and recommendations from local writers to help travelers make the most of their time. Fodor’s Choice designates our best picks, from hotels to nightlife.  “Word of Mouth” quotes from fellow travelers provide valuable insights.

TripAdvisor Reviews: Our experts’ hotel selections are reinforced by the latest customer feedback from TripAdvisor. Travelers can book their Paris stay with confidence, as only the best properties make the cut.

 

Frommer’s Paris 2013

(4 and a half out of 5 stars on Amazon)

Where to Buy: http://www.amazon.com/Frommers-Paris-2013-Color-Complete/dp/1118287649/ref=sr_1_6_title_0_main?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1360109893&sr=1-6&keywords=paris+travel+guide

Frommer’s Description:

  • Full-color throughout.
  • Free full-color, foldout map.
  • Completely updated every year.
  • Insider advice on avoiding the crowds as you explore some of Paris’s greatest gems, from the Louvre to the Eiffel Tower. Plus tips for exploring some of Paris’s more offbeat sights, from the eerie Catacombs to the avant-garde Palais de Tokyo museum.
  • Where to find everything from the coolest neo-bistros to the most gourmet Michelin-starred French restaurants. Plus, recommendations for the hippest wine bars and the best food markets, from the Marché d’Aligre to the grand, upscale food halls of Fauchon.
  • Insightful commentary on Paris’s dazzling array of art and architectural masterpieces, from the Cathedrale de Notre-Dame to the Arc de Triomphe, and from Rodin’s The Thinker to Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa.
  • Opinionated reviews. No bland descriptions and lukewarm recommendations. Our expert writers are passionate about their destinations–they tell it like it is in an engaging and helpful way.
  • Exact prices listed for every establishment and activity–no other guides offer such detailed, candid reviews of hotels and restaurants. We include the very best, but also emphasize moderately priced choices for real people.
  • User-friendly features including star ratings and special icons to point readers to great finds, excellent values, insider tips, best bets for kids, special moments, and overrated experiences.

 

Where to go in Paris for Great Wine Tasting

wine glass

French wine is world renowned, and Paris has no shortage of excellent places to taste local wines or take a wine tasting class to further your wine knowledge. We’ve accumulated a short list of some of the best places to enjoy French wine while in Paris, and where one can work on their wine knowledge.

Wine Bars

l’Ecluse Grands Augustins: 

Location: 15 Quai des Grands Augustins; tel. 01/46-33-58-74

Web Address: www.leclusebaravin.com

This wine bar features a wide selection, 57 in fact, of different wines. Including château d’Yquem and château Lafite Rothschild. There’s a wine for any taste preference at this bar, and definitely plenty to satisfy the exploratory pallet.

Le Baron Rouge

Location: 1 rue Théophile Roussel; tel. 01/43-43-14-32

Great wine, great atmosphere, world class staff, and a little something to set them apart from the rest – if you run out of wine in your own wine bottle, they’ll happily refill it for you from one of their wooden barrel casks.

 

Wine Stores

La Dernière Goutte

Address: 6 rue de Bourbon Le Chateau; tel. 01/43-29-11-62

This particular wine store offers a varied selection of estate only wine at very reasonable prices. The wine sold here is not typically available for purchase in the US.

Caves Augé

Address: 116 Blvd Haussmann; tel. 01/45-22-16-97

Web Address: www.cavesauge.com

One of the oldest wine stores in Paris, and features a wonderful selection of artisan wines.

 

Wine Classes

BKWine

Web Address:  www.bkwine.com

Phone #: tel. 06/80-45-35-70

This company offers very personalized wine classes, with you able to schedule private wine tastings and wine tours, and learn how to select the proper wine for any meal.

Ô Château

Web Address: www.o-chateau.com

Phone #: tel. 01/44-73-97-80

This company offers novice and more advanced wine classes, presented in English by trained sommeliers. You learn about the history of wine, as well as how to select the right bottle.

Complete List of All Paris Museums

Paris is home to over 70 museums within the city limits – that’s quite a bit. For your touring reference, here is a list of all of them and their corresponding websites (if available).

Attractions Map of Paris


Because Paris has so much to see and do, it’s always nice to get a birds eye view of what’s there and make your touring plan. Below is a map displaying some of Paris’ main attractions and must-see’s that may help. (You can click on the map to see the full image)

The Holy Chapel

Sainte-Chapelle, which means Holy Chapel, is a gorgeous gothic-style church located in the heart of Paris on Ile de la Cite. King Louis IX commissioned the church to be built in 1239, and it was completed in 1248 and is the last remaining building of the Capetian Royal Palace. The original intention of its construction was to be a treasury for a collection of holy relics owned by King Louis IX. Included in this collection was the crown of thorns, a piece of the “true cross”, and 30 other odd pieces.

The chapel played an important role during the reign on King Louis, as it was not only used as a place of worship, but also played an important political role by displaying the King’s artistic and architectural abilities, thus contributing to his position as the highest powered monarch in western Christian kingdoms. A large reason that the Sainte-Chapelle was considered such a triumph, and a point King Louis was sure to point out, was its major resemblance to Chalemagne’s temple. Another unique aspect the king enjoyed was the ability to quickly and secretly travel from his palace into the Sainte-Chapelle.

Throughout the years, and especially during the French Revolution, there was significant damage done to the chapel. Some of the relics were also lost or moved elsewhere, such as to the Notre Dame de Paris. Between 1803 and 1855 restorations began, however, and were considered exemplary in their careful execution under the lead of Eugene Viollet-le-Duc.

The Sainte-Chappelle is considered a true masterpiece of its time and is one of the greatest examples of “Rayonnant”, or gothic architectural style, the world has ever witnessed. The stained glass featured in the chapel is regarded as some of the most beautiful in existence. Only about two-thirds of the stained glass you see today is original, but the replacements pieces are expertly crafted.

So remarkable is the chapel, that in 1323 a local scholar Jean de Jandun, paid tribute to the building he considered one of the most beautiful ever built in his writing ”Tractus de laudibus Parisius”. His excerpt about the Sainte-Chapelle is as follows: “That most beautiful of chapels, the chapel of the king, most decently situated within the walls of the king’s house, enjoys a complete and indissoluble structure of the most solid stone. The most excellent colors of the pictures, the precious gilding of the images, the beautiful transparence of the ruddy windows on all sides, the most beautiful cloths of the altars, the wondrous merits of the sanctuary, the figures of the reliquaries externally adorned with dazzling gems, bestow such a hyperbolic beauty on that house of prayer, that, in going into it below, one understandably believes oneself, as if rapt to heaven, to enter one of the best chambers of Paradise.”

Today, you can visit the Sainte-Chapelle, located near the metro station Cite in the heart of Paris. Admission for individuals is about €5.50, and group tours are about €4.50 per person.

Opera National de Paris 2012 Line-Up

Opera Performances

 

Name: La Veuve Joyeuse

Composer: Franz Lehar

Location: Palais Garnier

Date(s):2/29/12 – 4/2/12

 

Name:  Don Giovanni

Composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Location: Opera Bastille

Date(s): 3/15/12 – 4/21/12

 

Name: Cavalleria Rusticana Paliacci

Composer: Pietro Mascagni/Ruggero Leoncavallo

Location: Opera Bastille

Date(s): 4/13/12 – 5/11/12

 

Name: The Barber of Seville

Composer: Gioachino rossini

Location: Opera Bastille

Date(s): 5/24/12 – 7/2/12

 

Name: Hippolyte Et Aricie

Composer: Jean-Philippe Rameau

Location: Palais Garnier

Date(s): 6/9/12 – 7/9/12

 

Name: Arabella

Composer: Richard Strauss

Location: Opera Bastille

Date(s): 6/14/12 – 7/10/12

 

Name: L’Amour des Trois Oranges

Composer: Serguei Prokofiev

Location: Opera Bastille

Date(s): 6/23/12 – 7/13/12

 

 

Name: Les Contes D’Hoffmann

Composer: Jacques Offenbach

Location: Opera Bastille

Date(s): 9/7/12 – 10/3/12

 

Name: Capriccio

Composer: Richard Strauss

Location: Palais Garnier

Date(s): 9/8/12 – 9/27/12

 

Name: Le Nozze Di Figaro

Composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Location: Opera Bastille

Date(s): 9/15/12 – 10/25/12

 

Name: The Rake’s Progress

Composer: Igor Stravinski

Location: 10/10/12 – 10/30/12

Date(s): Palais Garnier

 

Name: La Fille du Regiment

Composer: Gaetano Donizetti

Location: Opera Bastille

Date(s): 10/10/12 – 11/11/2012

 

Name: Tiosca

Composer: Giacomo Puccini

Location: Opera Bastille

Date(s): 10/23/12 – 11/20/12

 

Name: La Cenerentola

Composer: Gioacchino Rossini

Location: Palais Garnier

Date(s): 11/22/12 – 3/25/13

 

Name: Carmen

Composer: Georges Bizet

Location: Opera Bastille

Date(s): 12/4/12 – 12/29/12

 

Ballet Performances

 

Name: La Bayadere

Composer: Rudolf Noureev

Location: Opera Bastille

Date(s): 3/7/12 – 4/15/12

 

Name: Robbins/EK

Composer: Dances at a Gathering Appartement

Location: Palais Garnier

Date(s): 3/13/12 – 3/31/12

 

Name: L’Histoire de Manon

Composer: Kenneth Macmillan

Location: Palais Garnier

Date(s): 4/21/12 – 5/13/12

 

Name: Romeo Et Juliette

Composer: Sasha Waltz

Location: Opera Bastille

Date(s): 5/7/12 – 5/20/12

 

Name: Tokyo Ballet

Composer: N/A

Location: Palais Garnier

Date(s): 5/18/12 – 5/22/12

 

Name: La Fille Mal Gardee

Composer: Frederick Ashton

Location: Palais Garnier

Date(s): 6/18/12 – 7/15/12

 

Name: George Balanchine

Composer: N/A

Location: Palais Garnier

Date(s): 9/24/12 – 10/18/12

 

Name: Marie Agnes Gillot/Merce Cunningham

Composer: N/A

Location: Palais Garnier

Date(s): 10/31/12 – 11/10/12

 

Name: Don Quichotte

Composer: Rudolf Noureev

Location: Opera Bastille

Date(s): 11/16/12 – 12/30/12

 

Name: William Forsythe/Trisha Brown

Composer: N/A

Location: Palais Garnier

Date(s): 12/3/12 – 12/30/12

 

Name: Nouvel An A L’Opera Bastille

Composer: Rudolf Noureev

Location: Opera Bastille

Date(s): 12/31/12

 

Name: Nouvel An Au Palais Garnier/Forsyth/Brown

Composer:N/A

Location: Palais Garnier

Date(s): 12/31/12

 

Concert Performances

 

Name: Michel Plasson

Composer: Ravel/Roussel/Berlioz

Location: Opera Bastille

Date(s): 4/25/12

 

Name: Philippe Jordan

Composer: Webern/Berlioz/Stravinski

Location: Opera Bastille

Date(s): 5/23/12

 

Name: Zemlinsky/Schubert

Composer: Zemlinsky/Schubert

Location: Palais Garnier

Date(s): 3/25/12

 

Name: Rossini/Verdi/Dvorak

Composer: Rossini/Verdi/Dvorak

Location: Palais Garnier

Date(s): 5/13/12

 

Name: Takemitsu/Ishii/Taira

Composer: Takemitsu/Ishii/Taira

Location: Palais Garnier

Date(s): 6/6/12

 

Name: Webern/Schubert

Composer: Webern/Schubert

Location: Palais Garnier

Date(s): 6/2/12

 

Name: Rossini/Stravinski/Donizetti

Composer: Rossini/Stravinski/Donizetti

Location: Palais Garnier

Date(s): 11/4/12

 

Name: Caplet/Farrenc

Composer: Caplet/Farrenc

Location: Palais Garnier

Date(s): 12/16/12

 

Name: Schubert/Webern/Berg/Schoenberg

Composer: Schubert/Webern/Berg/Schoenberg

Location: Palais Garnier

Date(s): 12/30/12

 

Palais Garnier Recitals

 

Name: Diana Damrau/Xavier de Maistre

Composer: N/A

Location: Palais Garnier

Date(s): 9/7/12

Paris Opera

The Paris Opera, founded in 1669 by Louis XIV, is a cornerstone of Paris’s long history of being a giant in the arts and music community. Originally, the idea for the French opera was that of Pierre Perrin’s, whose intention when presenting it to the king was to debunk the common thinking at the time that the French language was “unmusical”. This false idea has certainly been tossed aside over the years, as not only do some of the most beautiful opera’s take place here, but the classical ballet as it is known today rose out of the Paris Opera.

The Palais Garnier (shown above) is mainly used to host the Paris Ballet, and is more widely known than any other opera establishment in the world. Decorated with the best marble, gorgeous columns, chandeliers, and bronze busts of notable composers, the Palais Garnier is the revered in the architectural community. It’s actually the setting for one of the most famous novels of all time – The Phantom of the Opera, which was eventually turned into a musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber. The Paris Opera Library-Museum is also here.

The Opera Bastille, an opera house built in 1989 with a more modern design, is home to the Opera national de Paris currently. Here you can experience classical French opera and concerts performed by only the most talented musicians, singers, and performers .You can view the line-up for this year’s performances here. You’ll find the line-up for this season to be phenomenal, featuring Operas written by classical musician greats such as Richard Strauss, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Richard Wagner, Giuseppe Verdi, Giacomo Puccini, and much more.

Paris in March 2012

Paris in springtime – plenty to see, do, and eat. There’s also no small amount of local activities and unique Parisian events you can experience during March. Here’s our list of local happenings this month you should check out while in Paris.

Foire du Trone

If giant amusement parks are your thing, this is a must-visit. Held on the lawns of the Pelouse de Reuilly, this fair begins at the end of March and runs until the end of May. It actually dates all the way back to A.D. 957 from when farmers and merchants gathered to trade their goods. Acrobats, ferris wheels, fire eaters, carousels, and much more make this a pretty entertaining hotspot for a few months.

Banlieues Bleues

A jazz festival taking place between March 16th and April 13th that features an assortment of telented musicians from around the world. You won’t want to miss these smooth sounds!

Dancing Through Life

This is a wonderful exhibition that is being held at The Centre Georges Pompidou. It will feature influences shared between dancing and visual arts. Held through April 2nd, seeing the comparison of art and dance is a truly unique experience everyone can enjoy this spring!

Trompe l’oeil

Directly translated into “Tricking the Eye”, this is a show that opened in February of this year and runs until November of 2013. This exhibit has over 400 paintings, sculptures, and textiles that were crafted specifically to trick the eye. It’s being held at the Paris Arts Decoratifs museum.

Festival of the Imagination

Held on the boulevard Raspail and running from March 19th – June 17th, you can come explore cultural revolutions from the world over expressed in dance, music, and traditional displays. This is truly a unique festival for Paris, and anywhere for that matter. Something you won’t want to miss!

Salon Vivre aurement bio et nature 2012 trade show

Paris’s “go green” trade show! This is held at the Parc floral de Paris from March 16th thru March 19th.

La Bonheur Show

Presented by the Lido revue, this is a show that consists of 4 scenes: “La Femme” celebrating women and love, “Paris je t’aime” celebrating Parisian fashion and nightlife, “L’Inde Legendaire” celebrates Shiva and Indian culture, and “Reves d’etoiles” celebrating classic film and cabaret. Catch dinner while watching this unique Parisian show happening from January 1st through March 31st in the Chams-Elysees/Louvre district.

Tim Burton at the Cinematheque Francaise

Tim Burton lovers won’t want to miss this! Held March 7th through August 5th, this is an interesting look at this beloved filmmaker and director’s work through the years. Over 700 drawings, sculptures, models, film excerpts, and costumes featured!

Paris: French for How to be Fashionable

For most, when thinking about Paris, three things come to mind: food, amour (love), and fashion – for the style savvy, the latter of the three being the most important. Paris has set the fashion curve high for the rest of the world by producing numerous outrageous and extremely talented designers, by its residents taking pride in their style and daring to be bold, and by being a city that truly embraces uniqueness and trend setting in fashion. Even the biggest fashion event of the year worldwide is held here once a year – Paris Fashion Week.

For those of you not lucky enough to make it to Paris Fashion this year in 2012, you don’t have to miss out on all the designer fun! Check out these shopping hot-spots to catch all your favorite designers’ most recent collections. Hey, even if you can’t afford them, the window shopping is still worth the trip!

Street: Avenue Montaigne – Here you’ll find such designers as Yves Saint-Laurent and Christian Dior.

Street: Avenue Hoche – Visit Dior’s store here!

Street: Rue Cambon – Chanel!

Street: avenue des Champs-Elysees – Pick up a real Parisian Louis Vuitton bag while you’re here!

Street: avenue George-V – You won’t want to miss the Givenchy designer store located on this street.

Street: Rue Vivienne – The Jean Paul Gaultier store is a must see when you’re in Paris.

Street: rue de Montpensier – Marc Jacobs!

Those are just a few examples of the famous designer boutiques you can easily locate within Paris. Now, if you’re the type that would rather do most of their shopping in a mall area, instead of running from store to store, there is also the Carousel du Louvre that features some great boutiques. Not to mention the tasty café’s located in the mall!

So, when in Paris, do as the Parisians – dress to the nines in the latest fashions! Have fun and splurge a little – why not? You’re in Paris! Happy shopping!