Sunday, January 19, 2014

City Guides: Paris in a day

After seeing Oliver Jeffers's city guides project, I've been wanting to make my own. I loved the simple approach to his map guides and the quirkiness of his illustrations.

While I can't promise you can do all of my proposed Paris guide in five hours (mostly because you might never make it out alive from Shakespeare & co), and of course there are a million other things to do, it's a nice well-rounded experience. And yes, you should go to the Eiffel Tower (after all, I'm known for being overly-emotional about it).

1. Marché Edgar Quinet 
    Boulevard Edgar Quinet, 75014
    M: Edgar Quinet, Vavin, Raspail 

There are over 70 markets in Paris, you can find one in each of the 20 arrondissements. Street markets like these are full of fresh, local produce, as well as already-cooked food like crêpes. Marché de la Bastille is also one of my favorites, but this one is right to our next location.

2. Cimetière du Montparnasse
    3 Boulevard Edgar Quinet, 75014

While most people would choose Père-Lachaise when visiting a cemetery, I like Montparnasse the best. Some of my favorite people are buried there: Baudelaire, Marguerite Duras, Samuel Beckett, and of course Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir (they're buried together, so romantic, yes?)

3. L'Imprimerie 
    29 Rue Coquillière, 75001
    M: Châtelet, Les Halles, Hôtel de Ville ou Rambuteau

This pop-up gallery is right in front of the Centre Georges Pompidou (modern art museum), it is modern and cool, very cool. To match the artist's work, L'imprimerie converts itself into the work, morphing its façade to match the inside.

4. Shakespeare and Company Bookstore
    37 Rue de la Rûcherie, 75005
    M: Saint-Michel

The first store was home to la génération perdue of American writers living in Paris during the 20s, this first building was closed during the occupation of Paris during the Second World War, re-opened in this new location just across from Notre Dame. In it, you can find books written in English, and the 2nd floor has a small library of books you can't buy, but can sit there and read for as long as you want. This bookstore is also where the opening scene of Before Sunset was filmed, which you should watch.

5. Merci Café
    111 Boulevard Beaumarchais, 75003
    M: Saint-Sébastien - Froissart

Merci wears many hats, it is a store, a cafe, a garden, everything. There are three different restaurant rooms, and while it's a bit pricey compared to a smaller café, the decoration and overall ambiance is well worth it. From walls covered from top to bottom in books and vintage buggies parked out front, it's unique in its kind.

What are your 5 favorite places in Paris? (or any city for that matter) and where would you take embarrassing tourist friends instead?