Small sights in Paris?
October 2, 2017 12:58 PM   Subscribe

We'll be in Paris at the end of this month, and I'm looking for some personal recommendations. We've done the major museums already, and we have the restaurant angle pretty well covered. I'm looking for some small places that are good for casual browsing and window shopping. Things we like off the top of my head: Antiques and most things vintage, estate jewelry, art/design, books, stationary, decorative arts, ceramics, gardens, and related things. Have you any thoughts?
posted by Think_Long to Travel & Transportation around Paris, France (21 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
Madeleine Gely's umbrella shop is fun, although the staff are very brusque.
posted by praemunire at 1:01 PM on October 2, 2017

The obvious answer is Les Puces (the flea market). Overall, it's huge, but it's composed of thousands of small shops.
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 1:13 PM on October 2, 2017 [4 favorites]

Keep your eyes peeled for Invader, it's another neat little layer of fun while getting around the city.
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 1:31 PM on October 2, 2017

When I was in Paris, I went to see the body of St. Catherine Laboure. She's an incorruptible saint (doesn't decay, supposedly miraculous if you're a Catholic) and her body is on display at 140 Rue du Bac in Paris, France. She's in a glass case and has been dead for about 150 years. I was raised Catholic so it was really interesting to me, but I've recommended it to other people as something to check out and they have liked it as well.
posted by catwoman429 at 1:57 PM on October 2, 2017

The Galerie Vivienne near the Louvres is a lovely little covered shopping gallery. Very pretty with some neat little shops in there. Here's a list of similar places--the Galerie Vivienne is third on the list.

The last time I was in Paris we went to this little hidden garden near the Champs-Elysees. Once you know where to look, it's easy to find and very worth it. The site I linked to, Messy Nessy Chic, has lots of "hidden Paris" type stuff--the author lives there and has many good suggestions of places to go.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 2:06 PM on October 2, 2017 [4 favorites]

Do a passages walk, a wonderful thing to do on a rainy day. Some passages are near Drouot, the famous auction house where you can wander the rooms looking at beautiful objects and also near the old Biblioteque Nationale, a gorgeous building. And if you haven't been to some of these small museums, especially the over-the-top Musée Gustave Moreau Museum, or the very haunting Musée Nissim de Comondo Museum, you're in for surprise. The Musée Bourdelle will give you a time machine feeling, as if this sculptor just left his studio yesterday.
posted by Elsie at 2:17 PM on October 2, 2017 [1 favorite]

The American Library in Paris is a nice stop and not far from the Eiffel Tower.
posted by soelo at 2:17 PM on October 2, 2017

Try Musee de la Prefecture de police, in the 5th arrondisement. They have a real guilotine on display, the police warrant for the arrest of Charlotte Corday who famously murdered Jacobin revolutionary Jean Paul Marat in his bathtub, and they have a mockup of the studio of Alphonse Bertillon, Paris’ first major forensic crime detective who (incorrectly) identified the handwriting of the Jewish lieutenant Alfred Dreyfus at his murder trial.
posted by storebought at 2:44 PM on October 2, 2017 [1 favorite]

I came to mention the passages, which have already been mentioned. I enjoy the Musée Gustave Moreau, not just for its exhibits but for the house (and staircase) itself. I enjoy perfume houses, so I'd also recommend Histoires de Parfums, marie antoinette, Diptyque, and so on.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 3:13 PM on October 2, 2017

If you haven't been to Deyrolle, one of the world's oldest taxidermy shop at 46 Rue du Bac, I highly suggest it. Be sure to go upstairs--it's like a museum.
posted by reformedjerk at 4:07 PM on October 2, 2017

We've done the major museums already
I suppose this means you've probably already been to the Cluny but if you haven't it's worth your time to visit. Lots of cool stuff there, including the Lady and the Unicorn.
posted by Nerd of the North at 4:28 PM on October 2, 2017 [1 favorite]

Fleamarkets! I love the one at Porte de Vanves. Smaller than Les Puces but more manageable.

My favorite things in Paris are the cemeteries, if you haven't been.
posted by Lutoslawski at 4:56 PM on October 2, 2017

pick up a copy of pariscope even if your French is limited because it has comprehensive listings. of what's going on.
posted by brujita at 6:56 PM on October 2, 2017 [1 favorite]

The Musée de Montmartre is lovely, a mixture of history of the area, art from former locals (Picasso, Renoir), and a sculpture garden. Also a big fan of the Musée Marmottan, a former private collection with Monet and other impressionists.
posted by ellieBOA at 9:05 PM on October 2, 2017

Visit Bercy Village or one of the shopping passages already suggested up thread.

Then you can just wander around Montmartre for that 20th century Parisian feel, or Barbes / Château Rouge if you want to travel to Africa while in Paris and are street smart enough not to be deterred by the many touts.

You can also try Le Marché Saint Pierre for the best fabric stores north of the Equator. Finally, Le Jardin d’Acclimatation at the Bois de Boulogne would offer a warranted break from the city itself.
posted by Kwadeng at 1:08 AM on October 3, 2017

The tearoom at the top of Printemps, the department store, is a pretty nice place to have a drink or a meal.
posted by benbenson at 8:13 AM on October 3, 2017

The Musee des Arts Decoratifs would be a major museum in most cities but we more or less had the place to ourselves on a spring afternoon. Also, another vote for Bercy, it used to be legally outside Paris for the purposes of taxation, so there were huge wineries that have now been converted into shops and restaurants, as well as the Musee des Arts Forains (circusarts) which is an appointment-only, French-only museum that only does small group tours.
posted by wnissen at 5:22 PM on October 3, 2017

Paris: Made by Hand (2009) is a faaaascinating source book by a stylist, divided up by arrondissement, for ateliers and shops, some a hundred years old. Umbrella makers, faux book binders, chandelier makers, crystal repairers, silk ribbons and quill pens.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 6:27 PM on October 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

I always like buying kitchen-related souvenirs in the cities I visit. When last in paris I stocked up on french linen dish towels, some knives, and some adorable egg cups. David Lebovitz has a good list of kitchenware stores here.
posted by amusebuche at 7:59 PM on October 6, 2017

In the 4th arr. near the Port Marie Metro is a small shop called Au Petit Bonheur la Chance (13 Rue Saint-Paul). I'm kicking myself for not getting one of the old French map posters they had when I was there last week. The entire block is pretty charming with a card shop on the corner near the Seine, some photography galleries tucked away in a alley behind, and more shops with stylish oddities as you walk Northward. My husband was visiting the Museum of Magic next door while I window shopped around here and eventually ended up reading a book along the Seine nearby where there were nice benches. It was a comfortable spot to people watch and looks like a place you can get a drink in the late afternoon. Have a wonderful trip!
posted by dog food sugar at 7:33 PM on October 29, 2017

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