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Places to Go, Paintings to See, Fromage to Eat; Squeezing it all in while in Paris

February 26, 2016

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Tour Eiffel. Arc de Triomphe. Sacre Coeur. As a follow up to our very first travel blog post – nearly one year ago –about dining in Paris, and in preparation for GIC’s return to the City of Light in just three weeks, let’s explore some of the touristic activities that are available in between GIC’s events.

While visiting a city known for its rich history and culture, stopping by a museum is a natural choice for an afternoon activity. With over 50 museums and monuments to choose from, there is no shortage of options including Centre Pompidou, the Picasso Museum and the brand new Fondation Louis Vuitton, so grab your favorite guide book and make some selections.  One note about planning your museum visit:  be sure to check the admission hours as many are closed one day a week, usually on Mondays or Tuesdays.

Many first-time visitors will, of course, run straight to the most famous: the Louvre, home to the world renowned mysterious lady smiling coyly for her many admirers.  However, rather than struggling through the Louvre’s crowds and queues, one of my preferred museums to visit is dedicated to the French sculptor, Auguste Rodin. Located near the Eiffel Tower in an 18th century mansion with a stunning sculpture garden not to be missed (complete with outdoor café), the Musée Rodin houses a beautiful collection of his sculptures, 7,000 of his drawings and a handful of paintings. Here you’ll find several of his masterpieces such as The Thinker, Adam and The Gates of Hell (which, if you can’t make it to Paris, I am proud to share, can also been seen at the Rodin Museum in Philadelphia).

Another popular choice is the Musée d’Orsay, located in a former railway station across the River Seine from the Tuileries Garden. You’ll find the celebrated works of familiar artists such as Cézanne, Degas, Gauguin, Manet, Monet, Renoir, Seurat, van Gogh, and many others from 1848-1914.  At GIC’s event last March, following the morning’s private roundtable discussion at Le Grand Bistro de la Muette, our delegation took a stroll through the Ranelagh Gardens (a popular spot for au pairs and their children) for a guided tour of the Marmottan Monet Museum. Located in the 16th Arrondissment (aka neighborhood or zone–Paris has 20 of them), this museum contains the largest collection of Claude Monet in the world. The neighborhood is also home to the chic Rue de Passy, known for being one of the best shopping blocks in Paris.

Speaking of shopping, in a city known as an international shopping destination, I could dedicate an entire blog post to the multitude of retail experiences available, however I will limit my suggestion to just one store: Fauchon.  A hot-pink paradise for a food-obsessed Francophile like myself. Located on the Place de Madeleine and established in 1886, Fauchon has two locations on the square. First is their café; filled with all sorts of tempting treats to-go, a coffee bar, a ridiculous bakery case, and of course, a killer plateau de fromage.  Across the street is Fauchon’s retail store where you can stock up on gourmet gifts which, I find, make the best souvenirs.  Leave room in your suitcase for classic French indulgences like macarons, champagne, caviar, truffle honey, and chocolates too pretty to eat. That is, if you can resist making a picnic out of what you just bought. I guess that’s why there are gift shops in airports.

 

 

 

Click here to see the agenda and speakers for GIC’s Central Banking Series Paris, March 21-22.

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