Things to Do in Paris
Sitting in Paris’s theater district on the southern edges of Montmartre, the Théâtre des Nouveautés (literally the ‘theater of the new’) opened in 1921 and features a plush scarlet-and-gold auditorium with seating for 585. Designed by architect Adolf Tiers, this is the fourth Parisian theater to bear the same name, the first opening in 1827 on Salle de la Bourse to host comic operas and satirical plays. Today the newest incarnation of the Nouveautés is still pulling in the crowds under stewardship of French producer Pascal Legros, while maintaining the tradition of putting on light comedy and vaudeville farces alongside works by Ionesco and satirical shows. The theater is also home to the wildly successful one-man – and English-speaking – show by French comedian Olivier Giraud, who takes a fly look at ‘How to be a Parisian in One Hour’.
While Yves Saint Laurent is an icon of the fashion world, the name Pierre Bergé perhaps doesn't roll off the tongue quite as easily. But it was Bergé, Saint-Laurent's partner in life and business, who helped the YSL brand become synonymous with haute couture–and who, through the establishment of the Pierre Bergé-Yves Saint Laurent Foundation, ensures that the legacy lives on.
In addition to a well-curated roster of temporary exhibitions, visitors can also see and walk through Yves Saint Laurent's studio, which is filled with the items and ideas that inspired him, as well as personal art pieces and several of his award-winning fashion pieces. There is also the meticulously maintained couture salon, where clients would come to see private fashion shows of his latest collections. Some of his famous sketches are on display as well!
The 9th Arrondissement is located on the Right Bank in Paris and is home to a number of places of cultural, historical and architectural interest. It also boasts more hotels than any other arrondissement in Paris, so it can be a great area to base yourself to explore the city. Here you will find the Palais Garnier, which is home to the Paris Opera, as well as the Musee Grevin, a waxwork museum featuring more than 500 characters from French history. As you walk around the arrondissement, look for commemorative plaques outside of homes indicating notable landmarks. Be sure to check out the covered passageways near Boulevard Haussmann and rue Vivienne. Dating to the 19th century, these were precursors to the modern shopping mall.
Nouvelle Eve is a lively cabaret in the Montmartre neighborhood of Paris, one that is especially popular for its rendition of the Can-Can, a roaring dance of high kicks and petticoats performed by a chorus line of female dancers. The Can-Can first appeared in the working-class ballrooms of Montparnasse in 1830 and has been admired ever since.
This cabaret, in particular, has been around since 1898; its modern incarnation since 1949. La Nouvelle Eve’s interior of deep blue velvet stars and coverings is based on the heady times of the Belle Epoque, when cabaret was invented in a whirl of glitter and feathers. Cabaret was inspired by the bohemians of the Latin Quarter, the musicians and poets who performed in a relaxed atmosphere where people were free to eat and drink as they pleased. In Montmartre, the art evolved into the extravagant mix of comedy, burlesque and dancing known today.
Established by Phillippe d’Orleans, the Duke of Chartres and cousin of King Louis XVI, Parc Monceau lies in the 8th arrondissement of Paris, stretching 8.2 hectares and renowned as the city’s first landscaped garden.
The public park was designed by writer and painter Louis Carrogis Carmontelle back in 1778 to mimic an English style garden with curved walkways and a striking series of follies built by German architect Etickhausen. In 1787, the park’s dramatic centerpiece, the Pavilion de Chartres, was erected to designs by Claude Nicolas Ledoux – a classical Doric Temple, which now features a 19th century classical dome added by architect Gabriel Davioud.
Steps from the Musée d'Orsay, the Musee de la Legion d'honneur (National Museum of the Legion of Honour) recognizes the history of the Legion of Honor through an impressive display of ceremonial and military medals, royal jewelry, and robes. Dedicated to military leaders from France and abroad, you'll see oil paintings of the likes of Napoleon and Patton. And as you wander the rooms of the Museum of the Legion of Honor, you'll also get see interesting collectibles like ribbons and honor pins from around the world.
Housed in an elegant mansion in St-Germain-des-Prés, at the Musee de la Legion d'honneur you can also see video tributes to the likes of US general and Légion member Dwight Eisenhower.
More Things to Do in Paris
The home ground of Paris Saint Germain, the capital’s leading football team, the Parc des Princes is one of Paris’ leading sports venues, and despite being overtaken in size by the Stade de France in 1998 (now home to the National football and rugby teams), it remains an iconic stadium.
Built in 1972, the stadium turned heads with its striking, avant-garde design, the creation of architect Roger Taillibert, and 49,000-capacity grounds, making it the 4th largest stadium in the country. Originally serving as the finish line of the Tour de France and hosting FIFA World Cup games, UEFA Euro and Champions League finals, League Cup finals, and Latin Cup finals, the stadium has also been used as a music venue since the 1980s, hosting acts like Michael Jackson, the Rolling Stones, Muse and Green Day.
Founded during the French Revolution in 1793, the Museum of Natural History, or Musee d'Histoire Naturelle, took over the grounds of Louis XIII’s Royal Medicine Plant garden and prevailed under the guidance of naturalist pioneers Jean-Baptiste de Lamarck and Étienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire. Despite once rivaling the University of Paris’ scientific research departments, the museum is now best famed for its educational collections, focusing its research on environmental studies and preservation work.
Today, the vast museum complex is split into three different areas – a Paleontology museum, a Taxonomy wing and a Geology museum. The Museum of Paleontology is renowned for its prolific collection of bones and fossils, including a spine-tingling display of dinosaur skeletons and a lifelike collection of exotic taxidermy.
L’Atelier des Chefs is an organization with 14 locations throughout France (including six in Paris), 10 years of operation and one mission: to rekindle the love affair with cooking that they feel the French have lost somewhere along the way. Over the years they've opened up their classes to visitors as well, and their cookware shops have become a go-to resource for kitchen supplies and gadgets.
Classes vary from a half-hour to four hours and cover the entire gamut of French cuisine as well as foreign dishes such as sushi. Of particular interest to Paris visitors are the two-hour pastry class and the flexible essentials class, the latter of which can include everything from quick tips and tricks to a full session of cooking a meal. Varying budgets and time constraints are taken into account in the Atelier's wide range of classes.
The City of Light may be one of Europe’s more refined destinations, but an evening at Cesar Palace Cabaret offers travelers an experience that’s full of glitz, glam and fun that’s sure to leave a lasting impression.
Traditional Cancan girls in rhinestone costumes and high-flying acrobats guarantee a good time during a two-hour show full of non-stop Parisian wonder. Travelers can tuck into a three-course meal of French delicacies served alongside regional wines while the cabaret’s top performers sing, dance and juggle. A visit to Cesar Palace is better than the standard dinner and a movie, and offers visitors a top-notch night of live entertainment.
Once the buzzing center of Paris’ wine trade and home to the biggest wine market in the world, Bercy Village has now reinvented itself as one of the city’s most unique shopping destinations, thanks to an urban renewal project that started in the 1990s. Today, the vintage and modern stand side-by-side, with the 19th-century wine cellars and warehouses repurposed as shops, clothing boutiques and art galleries. The old train tracks, where barrels of wine would arrive from regions like Bordeaux, are still embedded in the cobblestone streets. Wine tasting is still a popular activity in Bercy Village, but it’s also a beautiful spot for a walking tour. With its historic architecture, tranquil Bercy Park and plenty of cafés, restaurants and bars make for a delightful mid-sightseeing pause. There are also over 30 shops to browse, selling art and handicrafts, artisan foods, fashion and gifts, including big names like Parisian perfumer Fragonar, L'Occitane, Oliviers & Co and Sephora.
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