Sweet tooth? Make sure to bookmark our latest recommendations for the best pastries (patisseries) in Paris. From butter-drenched croissants to silky eclairs, delightfully crunchy yet melty macarons and chewy, subtly caramely canelés, we've listed some of the prime places to score such delicacies. You'll never need to feel a sense of letdown again as you dig crumbs from your greasy paper bag.
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Image credit: GirlsofNY/Some rights reserved under the Creative Commons License.
For those of you who have been following this week's air traffic control and rail strikes in France, and have been concerned that your travel plans might be affected, the good news is that the strikes are expected to have winded down by the end of the morning on Friday, June 14th. The strikes grounded hundreds of flights earlier this week in Paris airports, and also disrupted train travel in France on Thursday and early Friday morning, but traffic is now returning to normal in most train stations and airports. Check back here for updates.
Saint-Cloud is an affluent, residential suburb of west Paris that's eerily quiet all year long-- until August hits, and the grassy expanse around the local park is flooded with people, tents and grill fire for Rock en Seine, Paris' massive outdoor summer rock festival. The 11th edition kicks off on August 23rd, so if you're interested but haven't yet secured tickets, now's the time to try-- they sell like hotcakes.
Much to the delight of indie fans, headlining acts this year include Belle and Sebastian, Nine Inch Nails, Franz Ferdinand, and Tricky. Read our guide to Rock en Seine 2013 for more info, and to find out how to get your hands on tickets or secure a camping space..
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Image: Rock en Seine in 2009. ©2009 Blink+. Some rights reserved under the Creative Commons License.
It's just a little under a month away, but for some, the summer sales season in Paris is sacrosanct-- and worth planning well ahead for.
Some are coming into town expressly to hit the racks, and many mean business. Feeling brave? Consult our guide to the summer 2013 Paris sales to get insider tips on how to make the most of the season and come away unscathed.
Where to Head For Paris Sales:
- Best Places to Shop in Paris
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- The Louvre-Tuileries District
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Image credit: Francois Durand/Getty Images
The annual, much-coveted Paris Gay/LGBT Pride event is just around the corner, and to mark the occasion, we've put together a great list of places to head for a night cap after the parade and traditional Bastille street party wind down. Most of these places attract a mixed crowd and harbor a laid-back, welcoming atmosphere, so whatever your 'stripes', partying at these popular spots after celebrating Pride among friends nearly guarantees a great night out.
I've been on something of a mission lately to build up a bank of info on how to eat well in Paris as a vegetarian. I'm not a strict one myself, but rarely eat meat, and know that readers looking for vegetarian options often encounter epic difficulties figuring out where, and what, to eat in a culinary culture that prizes meat. In comes the falafel, that nearly universally coveted, yet miraculously vegan, Middle Eastern sandwich. Even more miraculously, perhaps, Paris counts several of the best falafel restaurants I know of-- and coming from Los Angeles, where Middle Eastern communities are large, that's something of a tall order. I've put together a complete guide to the best falafel restaurants in Paris, listing my own preferred spots for a sandwich I too often crave. Feel free to comment below on your own favorites in the city.
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Image credit: Jeff Keene/Some rights reserved under the Creative Commons license.
We're inching ever-closer to June, a month that, in Paris, is synonymous with the joyous ushering in of the festivals season. Musicians of both the amateur and professional persuasion take to the Parisian streets and sidewalks on June 21st for the annual Fête de la Musique (Street Music Festival), and events like Paris Gay Pride (Marche des Fiertes) attract locals and tourists of all stripes to celebrate diversity. Take a look at our newly updated June weather and packing guide, then peruse the June Events in Paris calendar to pinpoint the perfect exhibit, festival or other happening.
Image: Marc Chagall, "Rooster Man Above Vitebsk", 1925. Private collection. ©ADAGP, Paris 2013.
Marc Chagall is often misapprehended as a surrealist painter who figured a dream world weirdly distanced from social or political realities. In his most famous and widely reproduced works, floating, vaguely contorted lovers embrace amid cartoonish, grinning goats and roosters; trapeze performers dangle in circuses that seem decidedly anchored in a dream realm.
An exhibit on until July at the Musee de Luxembourg greatly widens our understanding of Chagall's work, including his determined engagement with some of the darker political and social forces of the 20th century, as well as with his own Russian Jewish religious and cultural heritage. "Chagall, Between War and Peace" shows a much wider cross section of the Russian-born, French painter's work; as you move from room to room and gain an understanding of Chagall's personal and artistic development, it becomes clear that the artist did not shirk reality. He used a language and iconography of dreams and fantasy to better understand and respond to it. Neither was he purely a "surrealist": art historians tend to place him outside of the twentieth century's most important schools (Cubism, Suprematism, Modernism) to situate his work as an inventive, hybrid agglomeration of styles and moods.
The exhibit is curated in chronological order, taking us through four main periods, all explored through the tense framework of "war and peace". Some 100 works are included. We begin in 1915 in Russia, plunged in the shocking events of World War I and its mechanized, dehaumanizing violence. Paintings from this period depict people being displaced, wounded soldiers, and other horrors of the war, but also show Chagall's tenderness for his native village, the Jewish community and traditions that tied him to it, and for his wife, Bella.
A second section explores the artist's life and work between the World Wars. In the early 1920s, Chagall was back in Paris from a stay in Russia, and flourished in the city's vibrant and experimental artistic scene. This section shows his fascination with Biblical mythology and allegories, drawing from a broad Judeo-Christian iconography. In addition to the religious-themed paintings, we see in this section the elaboration of Chagall's curious bestiary-- his near-obsession with depicting certain animals (roosters and goats appearing the most frequently in his dream-inspired scenes) and seeming to double for the young couples figured in the paintings. The animals appear as the animus behind Chagall's notion of enduring love, the kind that survives through historical tumult and tragedy.
The third section shows Chagall's works produced after he was forced to flee Nazi-controlled France in 1937. It depicts the horrors of World War II, despite the artist living overseas and far away from the frontlines. This somber period of Chagall's work saw a new emphasis on images of burning villages, refugees, and a palette featuring blood reds and murky browns, in lieu of his usual cool blues and greys. The section also features a series of paintings in which Chagall uses the story and imagery of Christ's crucifixion to allude to the massive human losses occuring in Europe. Finally, it shows Chagall grappling with the loss of his wife, Bella, who died in 1944. He would continue to paint her for many years to come, struggling with his grief.
In the final rooms of the exhibition, we move into the post-war period. Chagall has returned to France, and his work seems marked by a new sense of peace and equanimity. He begins working with new mediums-- stained glass, mosaic, engraving, ceramics, etc-- and experiments with light and color in bold new ways. The last section seems to synthesize many of the artist's ambitions and techniques developed over his life, and show a striking maturity and singularity.
The last works, monumental canvases showing more circus-like scenes, floating lovers and bestiaries, are infused with a sense of joy and serenity, as if Chagall were asserting the value and endurance of human love and work in spite of tragedy.
One word of practical advice: this exhibit has drawn large crowds and reservations online are highly recommended. I had to wait over an hour outside in a winding line to get in, despite having a press pass.
Exhibit: Marc Chagall, Between War and Peace
Through: July 21st, 2013
Location: Musee de Luxembourg
Hours: Every day from 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m; Late nights until 10 p.m. on Mondays and Fridays
Visit the official website
I've become increasingly grumbly and exasperated with Paris restaurant culture's refusal to cater to vegetarians, or to assume that all vegetarians want and need is a plate of raw, unseasoned vegetables. Hailing from California, I have a lot of non-carnivorous friends who are used to vegetarian fare not having to rhyme with bland and uninspired, and I've often been hard-pressed to find good places to take them. Enter Macéo, a traditional-looking outfit near the Palais Royale owned by Mark Williamson, who launched the popular Willi's Wine bar next door. I recently dined there and was more than impressed to note that they give vegetables and vegetarian cuisine a starring role on their inventive, fresh, inspired menu. It's given me entirely new hope that "veggiegastronomy" might have a place in a city that's always been a dream for carnivores. For those who don't want to eschew meat, not to worry: there's plenty on the menu for you, too, but chef Taka, who once worked under the famed French chef Joel Robuchon, always makes creative use of vegetables, no matter the dish.
Woody Allen's film Midnight in Paris has Owen Wilson's character, a struggling writer, magically transported back to a Paris circa 1920-something, where he commiserates with the likes of Picasso, Gertrude Stein and Dali. Fantasies of this bygone artistic Golden Period in Paris still loom large in popular culture-- so much so that most people don't realize that the artistic and cultural center of gravity has moved from St-Germain-des-Pres and Montmartre to areas like Belleville, where the rent's much cheaper and artists have set up shop in former small factories and fabriques.
This month, as in past years, over 200 artists will be opening their studios to the public for the event known as the Belleville artists' open house. For some inspiration, let's take a look back at 2012. About.com Paris Travel Contributor Nicole Smith spent an afternoon weaving in and out of countless artists' studios, admiring street art in action, and conversing with artists for the occasion of the open house. She's documented her inspired afternoon in a gallery that gives us an inside glimpse into the 21st century artistic scene in Paris, taking us far from the cliches of so many Hollywood films.
Image: A conversation with Paris-based painter Alfred Rozelaar Green. Nicole Smith/Licensed to About.com.