For those new to Paris or seeking unique places to explore in the city, we offer this guide to our favorite museums, markets, shops, parks and châteaux in and around Paris. Explore on your own or contact us to have a private French lesson at any of these locations. We’ll help you get to know Paris from a Parisian perspective…and in French.
Our Favorite Museums
Situated in a magnificent Renaissance-inspired palace, this museum displays over 100,000 pieces of clothing and accessories reflecting French fashion trends from the 18th century to present day. Visit: www.palaisgalliera.paris.fr/en
How did Paris come to be Paris? Find out at this museum entirely dedicated to the City of Light. You can track Paris’s rise to prominence from its ancient beginnings as the city of Lutetia right up to modern day. Visit: www.carnavalet.paris.fr
There’s so much more to this world-famous museum than the Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo – over 400,000 pieces more. Having a private French lesson while exploring the Louvre’s palatial galleries can help you know its works more intimately without becoming overwhelmed. Visit: www.louvre.fr/en
Located in a stunning former 19th-century railway station, the Musée d’Orsay covers artwork and objects from the mid-19th century through 1914. Its collection of impressionist paintings by Cezanne, Monet, Van Gogh and other masters is legendary. Visit: www.musee-orsay.fr
Lovers of modern architecture and modern art will appreciate the exceptional works displayed in this colorful and unique cultural center. Others will be more fascinated by the panoramic views of Paris offered from the top floor. Visit: www.centrepompidou.fr
Rodin’s museum and sculpture garden features the great sculptor’s most iconic pieces, including The Thinker and The Kiss, and hundreds of his lesser-known but equally splendid works. Visit: www.musee-rodin.fr/en
After five years of renovation the Picasso museum finally reopened in October 2014. Come to this stunning 17th century mansion to enjoy a range of Picasso’s works and witness the development of his art in Paris. Visit: www.museepicassoparis.fr/en
Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie
Planes, planets and robots, oh my! This enormous science museum, the largest in Europe, gives you an hands-on chance to explore almost every area of science, from biology to technology. Visit: www.cite-sciences.fr/en
Paris’s waxworks museum is full of astonishingly lifelike effigies representing a range of French and European historical and cultural figures as well as modern American celebs, from Madonna to George Clooney. A great place for a private French lesson as you can actually “meet” some of France’s most famous figures. Visit: www.grevin-paris.com/en
Packed with model ships, naval-themed paintings and figurines, fans of maritime history will enjoy this journey through French naval history in the Palais Chaillot. Visit: www.musee-marine.fr
National Museum of the Middle-Ages
Appropriately, this museum is housed on two historic sites: a 14th century townhouse built by the abbots of Cluny and the site of former Gallo-Roman baths. Enjoy viewing a range of remarkable medieval relics, including tapestries, paintings, sculptures, stained glass windows, and objects from daily life. Visit: www.musee-moyenage.fr
Quai Branly museum
One of the newest museums in Paris, quai Branly houses a large and fascinating collection of indigenous art and cultural objects from Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Americas. Visit: www.quaibranly.fr/en
Our Favorite Parisian Food Markets (plus one flea market!)
There’s no better way to delve into Paris’s culture of excellent eating than by exploring its many fresh food markets. Browse for your favorite cheeses, fruits, vegetables, breads, meats, seafoods and other treats at the markets listed below. To learn how to navigate these markets in French, don’t forget to schedule a private French lesson with us!
Located in the heart of the historic Bastille district, only minutes from the Marais, this sprawling market of 115 stalls offers almost any fresh food your heart desires. Open Thursdays (7am – 2:30pm) and Sundays (7am – 3pm). Click here for more info.
Saint Germain Market
St. Germain, one of the most elegant areas of Paris, is home to a covered market that offers a range of excellent foodstuffs, from seasonal delights to Italian and Greek specialties. The market also features a number of clothing boutiques and shops.
Open Tuesday – Saturday: 8:30 – 1pm and 4:7:30pm. Sundays, 8am -1pm. 4- 6 rue Lobineau, 6th arrondissement.
This lively market near Bastille is well-known for being the bulk food source for many Parisian restaurants and gourmets. You’ll enjoy browsing here and listening to the various vendors vie for your attention.
Open Tuesday – Friday: 9am – 1pm; 4 – 7:30pm. Saturday: 9am -1pm; 3:30-7:30pm. Sunday: 9am – 1:30pm.
Trailing up the chic boulevard Raspail, this organic outdoor market is the favorite of Paris’s glitterati. Try to spot French movie stars and personalities – if you can tear your eyes away from the delectable organic fruits, vegetables, poultry and speciality goods on offer. We love the lavender honey!
Open Sunday, 8am – 2pm. Boulevard Raspail. 7th arrondissement.
Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen
The largest and most famous flea market in Paris. Come here to sift through treasures and junk alike until you find that extraordinary, one-of-a-kind piece that makes your heart leap.
Open Saturday – Monday, 7am – 17:30pm.
Our Favorite Department Stores
When you’re new to Paris, it can be difficult trying to figure out where to buy clothing, household items, or interesting, original gifts. The following three “Grands Magasins” (big stores) are the place to be. If you like, go ahead and schedule a private French lesson as you shop so we can help you become familiar with proper terms and Parisian shopping etiquette!
This vast department store dates back to 1865. Known for its sublime array of offerings, you should also be sure to visit its gorgeous Art Nouveau cupola above the tearoom in the Boulevard Haussmann store. Visit: www.printemps.com
The most visited landmark in Paris after the Eiffel Tower, this is one of the most famous department stores in the world. The merchandise is magnificent as is the unique Art Nouveau staircase and glass-and-steel dome in the main store. A must-see during the Christmas season. Visit: www.haussmann.galerieslafayette.com/en
The Bazar d’Hôtel de Ville (BHV) originated in the mid-19th century just across from the City Hall (Hôtel de Ville) in the Marais. Today, in addition to its 8-floor flagship store, BHV has several niche stores through this trendy neighborhood, including a men’s shop, pet accessory store, motocycle accessory store and more. Visit: www.bhv.fr
Our Favorite Parks, Gardens and Châteaux
The elegant parks, gardens and châteaux in and around Paris are wonderful places to absorb the city’s special character and history. Stroll around these historic places on your own or visit with a private French tutor for deeper insights into their history and and role in Parisian life.
Place des Vosges
A marvelous 17th-century square surrounded by pink brick townhouses and romantic stone arcades filled with art galleries, specialty shops and cafés. Located in the Marais.
This majestic garden is spread over 61 acres and include a small forest, pond, apiary, an orchard and several stone fountains. Despite its great fame, it is no tourist trap but is regularly used and loved by Parisians and tourist alike. Located in the 6th arrondissement.
Jardin des Plantes
A lovely botanical garden filled with gentle sloping paths and a diverse assortment of plants and trees. The grounds house three museums, each a component of the Natural History Museum, a small zoo and a charming merry-go-round featuring extinct animals. Located in the 5th arrondissement.
Père Lachaise Cemetery
The tranquil, leaf-strewn final resting place for a number of famous persons from Chopin and Molière to Gertrude Stein and Jimi Hendrix draws reflective crowds.
Louis XIV’s sumptuous palace and grounds set the standard for splendor. Less than an hour from Paris by commuter train, it’s a vision not to be missed. Visit: www.chateauversailles.fr
Less in-your-face opulent than Versailles and less crowded, the beautiful castle of Fontainebleau makes for a less hectic way of exploring the grand lifestyle of France’s former royalty. Visit: www.musee-chateau-fontainebleau.fr
Set in a lovely town less than an hour from Paris, this castle is often overlooked by tourists. But this impressive fortress is the former residence of many centuries of French kings and birthplace of Louis XIV. Today, it houses the National Museum of Archaeology. Definitely worth a visit, particularly if you’re an ancient history buff or love Asterix and Obélix! Visit: www.musee-archeologienationale.fr
Chateau de Malmaison (Rueil-Malmaison)
The former home of Napoleon Bonaparte, full of luxurious Empire-style furnishings that give a very clear impression of the decadence of the Bonaparte lifestyle. He may not have been royal but he certainly lived as if he were! The grounds are also very beautiful and peaceful. Visit: www.chateau-malmaison.fr
This magnificent château was the rather tragic inspiration for Versailles. Upon seeing the sumptuousness of this chateau King Louis XIV became jealous and imprisoned the owner, his own Finance Minister, for life. He set plans in motions for creating Versailles shortly afterwards. Versailles notwithstanding, Vaux-le-Vicomte remains extraordinary. The candlelight visits of the grounds during summer is especially enchanting. Visit: www.vaux-le-vicomte.com