Arts & Culture, Features, Living, Travel

Beyond the Eiffel Tower: Three Paris Must-Dos

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By Priya Kumar Paris is one of the few places in the world where one can do absolutely nothing but sit in a park with a good book and feel accomplished for the week. Meandering around the city's cobble stone streets is like hanging in a dreamlike state where buildings have stood the test of time for centuries, if not millennia. Every wall, alley way and even metro stop has half a dozen legendary stories waiting to be told-- some etched into bronze plaques, others hiding in the darkest corners of of Paris' pervasive antique bookshops. Having visited the epicenter of fashion, culture and cuisine on several occasions--including having lived here for a short period after grad school--there are a few hidden gems I'd like to share with SHE's readers. These locales are especially worth visiting after running out of the regular tourist attractions. IMG_5516 1.) Hermès boutique, 17 rue de Sèvres (near Bon Marché) I was told about this boutique by a local. As a huge fan of Hermès (my first massive luxury purchase was a green Lindy in 2007), I rarely pass up an opportunity to see what they have new in store. But there was something different about this particular boutique. Located in what was formerly Hotel Lutetia's swimming pool, shoppers walk in to what appears to by a rather small boutique, but on entrance notice a set of stairs leading down the the pool floor. With its original tiles intact, theres no questions about what this space used to be. Towering wood architectural installations fills the space up to the cafe on the second floor where one can have a tea overlooking the shoppers and handcrafted luxury leather goods. On my visit yesterday, I was having a look at the baby line. There was a charming stuffed horse no larger than the palm of my hand that appeared to be made of sheep skin. On closer inspection I discovered the child's plush toy was €750. Another time I suppose--there was a Céline bag at Bon Marché next door I had my eye on. (Insider note: Lutetia was the Roman name for Paris) IMG_5509 2.) Breakfast in America, 17, rue des Ecoles (Left Bank), 4, rue Malhe (Right Bank) Started by Craig Carlson, an American who had studied in Paris as a student, BIA offers one of the few cuisines almost impossible to find in the world's gastronomic capital-- a good old-fashioned American breakfast. Carlson ultimately went into film and found himself working locally in Paris again on a TV show. It was then he knew it was time to open a classic American diner in Paris--with a cinema theme of course. BIA is one of Paris' most popular brunch spots for both locals and visitors. It's so busy in fact, they don't take reservations and the line to dine-in can span hours on Sundays. DSC_0186 3.) Marché aux Puces de St-Ouen, Garibaldi métro There's something so romantic about walking through a flea market in Paris hunting for dust-covered treasures. Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris had a whole storyline around the fairytale that is the Sunday vintage market. Said to be the biggest flea market in the world, Marché aux Puces de St-Ouen carries toys, vintage ceramics, furniture, clothing, kitchenware and prints. Tips: Travel to Garibaldi métro instead of Porte de St-Ouen to avoid the crowds, go on a Monday or on a rainy/snowy/cold day for a better bargain, if you see something you like don't touch it to show your interest and bring cash. IMG_3183  

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