Taking my funny face to Paris
January 20, 2012 4:42 PM   Subscribe

So I'll be in Paris for six days in the beginning of February. I have my cheap not-quite-a-room all set up (thanks, airbnb!) and some mild conversational skills all primed and...basically no other plans, other than vast quantities of pastries. So what do you, o wonderful Mefites, suggest? In search of: museums, especially odd ones and/or Romans, fancy paper...

...books, parks long enough to take proper walks in, cheeses, urban history, strange churches, and whatever else recovering archaeologists enjoy. I have seen this about paper, and this about the 20th. Also this about cafes. This recent question about an urbanist in London had fantastic answers, and I would love similar suggestions, especially those with long walks (ten miles is just fine). I have been in Paris when I was younger and done the standard sort of destinations, but I would like to explore more. Thank you!

(Bonus points if you can find me a photoshoot to pose in with glorious couture designs and balloons....and if you're one of the three people who ever seem to have watched Funny Face.)
posted by jetlagaddict to Travel & Transportation around Paris, France (23 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
Last month we had two great visits at the fromagerie Androuet. We went to the Rue du Bac location and they were super helpful, and spoke English.
posted by BlahLaLa at 4:58 PM on January 20, 2012

You could try to walk the Petite Ceinture, see video here.
posted by tractorfeed at 5:21 PM on January 20, 2012

Best answer: Also the Buttes Chaumont park is really underappreciated. Grab a tarte at Véronique Mauclerc's bakery on rue Crimée and then spend some time walking around the park. Be sure to climb up to the cupola for a nice view.
posted by tractorfeed at 5:29 PM on January 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

Design Sponge just updated their Paris guide. It covers a lot of museums as well as other good stuff.
posted by grapesaresour at 5:40 PM on January 20, 2012

I can't hear myself think, and I'm trying to think in French!

Presumably you're already planning to do the Musee de la Mode.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 5:56 PM on January 20, 2012

Seconding Buttes-Chaumont and Veronique Mauclerc's bakery.

Also, the Musee de l'Orangerie is something special.
posted by rahulrg at 5:57 PM on January 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

Seriously, see Versailles. It's a short trip on the RER and if you love beauty or have an interest in luxury, there's nowhere like it in the world.
posted by devymetal at 6:13 PM on January 20, 2012

Definitely go into the Catacombs.
posted by lollusc at 6:48 PM on January 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Walk the Promenade Plantee - probably not as long as you might like, but very pretty, and it ends up near another park you can wander through.
posted by celerity at 7:08 PM on January 20, 2012

Best answer: Not exactly unknown, but the Musée de Cluny is frequently uncrowded even when I've been in the more touristy shoulder seasons (May and September), despite the presence of one of the most well known works of medieval art, the Lady and the Unicorn Tapestries. Additionally, in line with your interests, the Hotel de Cluny was constructed on the Thermes de Cluny, gallo-roman baths, that have been incorporated within the museum and on the grounds.

Never been, but I've always regretted not going to the Hotel Carnavalet, which is a hotel particular that has been converted into a museum of the city of Paris. If you like tea and old cafes, I would combine this with a visit to the Mariage Freres tea salon in the Marais.
posted by kaybdc at 7:45 PM on January 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

I agree with all the above suggestons. LEt me add:

The Musee des arts et metiers
The Arenes de lutece
posted by humboldt32 at 8:50 PM on January 20, 2012

The Catacombs started to creep me out after a good while and there was no way (that I could find) to exit without making it to the end. It is interesting but morbid and sad and I felt like the constantly dripping ceiling was dripping bone juice on me.

My favorite little museum is the Musee Maillol (The Foundation Dina Vierny - Musée Maillol). Galerie Vivienne in the 2e on rue Vivienne is very charming.
posted by shoesietart at 9:22 PM on January 20, 2012

Musee Rodin was mine.
posted by infini at 10:35 PM on January 20, 2012

Sewer Museum
posted by chiefthe at 12:59 AM on January 21, 2012

For odd museums, there is the Musée Fragonard, basically a eighteenth or nineteenth century cabinet of curiosities run by the veterinary school.
posted by Schismatic at 1:02 AM on January 21, 2012

Best answer: Oh, and then there is the Musée de la Chasse et Nature. It's less a museum than a beautifully furnished and decorated mansion full of objects and paintings related to hunting and the associated animals. The charm comes in with it's clever curation, for example, rooms themed around specific animals. The deer room might have a 19th c taxidermy, 17th c paintings of deer hunting, and then a contemporary commission statue in the middle of the room. It's like being in the house of a belligerently wealthy, extremely quirky, but ultimately very tasteful long lost relative.
posted by Schismatic at 1:11 AM on January 21, 2012

If you like musical instruments I suggest trekking out to the Cite de la Musique. That was one of our favorite museums from our recent trip to Paris.
posted by that girl at 1:56 AM on January 21, 2012

Go up to the top of the Arc de Triomphe at night. It is spectacular. On one side, you'll see the Eiffel Tour lit up and sparkling, on another Montmartre aglow, the Ferris wheel in front of the Louvre and then La Defense. The view is SO AMAZING.
posted by laskagirl at 5:31 AM on January 21, 2012

Go to the top of the Tour Montparnasse, so you can get a panoramic view of Paris that doesn't have the Tour Montparnasse in it.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 9:07 AM on January 21, 2012

I preferred the top of Montmartre (while we're on the topic)
posted by infini at 9:14 AM on January 21, 2012

Best answer: Many great things mentioned above. I go to Musée Carnavalet about every 2nd time I go to Paris (it is free), and Musée Maillol often has fabulous exhibitions. Oh, and the Buttes Chaumont are amazing, absolutely.

My fairly obscure recommendation is the Espace Fondation EDF which is also free and has the randomest exhibitions - currently Yann Kersalé (link to his site).
While you're in the cul de sac the museum is in, be sure to check out the little parc at the end of it. It is ridiculously tiny (so no long walks), but absolutely adorable (tho often closed due to bad weather).

This is about 5 minutes walk from Musée Maillol by the way, so you can easily combine the two.
posted by ClarissaWAM at 9:19 AM on January 21, 2012

Response by poster: I would just like to thank you all-- I am now extremely excited about my trip, despite going at it alone, as these answers are all wonderful. I will try to report back with success stories of cheese and long walks and pastries and weird museums! Thanks again!!
posted by jetlagaddict at 6:34 PM on January 22, 2012

See the Crypte Archéologique du Parvis Notre Dame in the square in front of Notre Dame cathedral. Fascinating roman archaeology.

Also, take some time to explore the rest of Montmartre, once you get past Sacre Coeur and the Place du Tertre - it's a wonderful charming neighborhood.

Nthing the Catacombs, the Musée de Cluny , and the Arènes de Lutèce.
posted by johnvaljohn at 6:59 PM on January 22, 2012

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