* Samaritaine Department Store Panorama
By taking the elevator up 11 floors and then walking up a narrow stairway you'll be standing at 243 feet altitude overlooking Paris with a 360 degree view. There is a 1920's enamel frieze that makes all the landmarks easy to identify. The store is on the Right Bank at the edge of the Seine in store number 2, 19 rue de la Monnaie. 9:30AM to 7:00PM, Monday thru Saturday and until 10:00PM on Thursdays. This is perhaps our favourite view of Paris.
The above text was written a few years ago and, unbelievable as it may sound, the Samaritaine store closed for extensive work in June of 2005. French television indicated that the building was in serious violations of fire codes and needed renovation. Parisians were both saddened and shocked.
* Isle St. Louis: 4th Arr.
This is a small island behind Isle de la Cité and Notre Dame. A stroll down rue St. Louis will take you past some wonderful galleries and some interesting restaurants. Be sure to make time to have the best most chocolaty, thickest hot chocolate in the world in the little chocolate shop. We waited 30 minutes for a table but it was worth it. Tea is also very big in this shop.
* Montmartre and Place du Tertre:
If you go to Montmartre be sure to visit the little square to the left of it. It is called Place de Tertre and the square is filled with artists and their work. Many of them are painting and you can buy a nice little unframed painting for not to much money. Kati and I have bought one each time we visit Paris. The paintings are small and fit easily into luggage. Also at the Place du Tertre is the restaurant/cafe/nightclub called La Bohème. Nice for an espresso or glass of wine while contemplating your new painting!
If the weather is clear while you are in Paris you really should go back to Momartre in the evening to see the city center all lit up. There is a little tram you can take, use a metro ticket, if you don't want to walk to the top again. You can pick out the Eiffel Tower, and many of the other buildings that are lit during the evening. This is a real sight to see. There are usually many students in small groups, sitting on the steps at the entrance to the church both day and night. They will be singing, playing guitars, perhaps drinking but will not bother you.
*See a movie on the Champs Elysee
*If you understand French and enjoy philosophy and a little debate, have your Sunday morning coffee at the philo cafe.
* Parc des Buttes Chaumont: 19th Arr. Metro: Buttes Chaumont.Upon exiting the Metro, you take a short elevator ride to the street and the park is right at the Metro exit. Quickest entrance to the park is to your right and a few minutes walk.
A beautiful park complete with a lake, grotto with water fall, lovely lawns and walks. Not many tourists here just locals walking with their dogs or children playing. There is a great view of Montmartre from the island once you've climbed to the top! A wonderful restaurant is found across from the main entrance at 1 Place Armand Carrell. Its name is Le Napoleon III. Mention La Bohème to the pretty waitress.
* Pere Lachaise Cemetery, 20th Arr, Metro: Pere Lachaise
This is the cemetery where Edith Piaf, Sarah Bernhardt, Jim Morrison of the Doors and many, many other famous are buried. It's a really old and very interesting to see all the tombs/monuments. You can purchase a guide book to find were all the "famous" can be "found".
* If you happen to be on the Champs Elysee and want to sit down, hear some music and have a coffee, go to the Virgin Record store.
Besides a huge selection of CD's, books and videos there is a cafe on the second level that overlooks the Champs Elysee. There is a grand piano in the cafe and if you're lucky someone will be playing it. Other than having an incredible inventory of CD's you'll find very high tech music sampling stations. Take any CD from any rack, go to the nearest listening station, put on the headphones and pass the CD thru a "reader" (like you'll find at the grocery checkout stand) and you can listen to the complete CD before purchase. Remember the old "listening booths" where you put a 45 or a 78 rpm on a turntable?