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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

4 Hours in Paris: What Would You Do? (A Petit Giveaway)


Well, I know what you're thinking, four hours in Paris c'est pas beaucoup - it's just not a lot of time.  But as someone who feels quite fortunate to be living in France at all, I'll take any opportunity I can get to spend time in glorious Paris.  This petit romp in la capitale comes courtesy of a break between changing trains on our return trip from visiting les parents (the boyfriend's folks) in the north of France next week.


Now we did make this exact same trip back in July, and had just about the same amount of time to spend before our quick dart to the Gare de Lyon station.  And it definitely was a glorious four hours: a sunny terrace-lunch in the Marais followed by a leisurely walk to Notre Dame and coffees along the Seine.



The only hitch to our summer Paris pit-stop was somehow our four hours slid by us and, well...we missed our train.  I wish I was kidding, but our bank account and memories of having to take my Adidas carry-on off road during our sprint to the train station clearly call for a different plan of action this time around.

Luckily, I was able to spend four wonderful days in Paris this past August, but I would love more suggestions for what to see or experience in such a short amount of time.  I'm offering up a mini-kit for making chocolate at home from Larousse .  The book is in French but it looks like most of the recipes include the words: noir, blanc, lait, caramel, & rhum, so I think we're in pretty good shape.  Plus, there are cool little orange & brown candy molds that I plan to steal if no one enters!

*To enter, leave a comment on this post on how you would spend four hours in Paris anytime before Monday, November 8th and a winner will be chosen randomly for the choco-kit. 

I'll also be publishing everyone's suggestions next Tuesday with links back to blogs or websites as needed.

Merci & bonne chance!!

(choco-kit photo credit: www.hachette.com)

21 comments:

  1. Hmmm I would probably just spend the time walking along the Seine, and visiting everything along the way- finishing with the Eiffel Tower- and I would try and time it right so I could enjoy a bottle of champagne (with company of course) in the Parc du Champs de Mars while watching the Eiffel Tower light show at 11pm!

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  2. Awesome Jen, I love it! Thanks for being the first to enter!

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  3. I would take the metro to Saint Paul and meander my way through the Marais collecting french cheeses, a baguette, and maybe even a bottle of wine along my way to Place des Vosges where I would enjoy a picnic. Then on my way back to the metro (in time so as not to miss my train ;) ) I would stop off at a chocolaterie and pick out a few treats to savor with my last moments in Paris.

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  4. Sounds like you did the right thing - I think strolling through the Marais and heading to the Seine is a great way to spend just a few hours.

    If you want another body of water, though, you could head to the Canal St Martin, pick a cafe along the way, or have Pink Flamingo - gourmet pizza - delivered to you on the canal for your own picnic! Follow it up to Point Ephemere to see if there's anything going on, then cross over to Canal de L'Ourcq. You'll see people playing petanque and can get drinks to go from Bar Ourcq. From there you can hit the beautiful Buttes Chaumont Park or the Villette.

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  5. I would say head to Odéon/Saint Germain and walk down rue de Seine for window shopping, fantastic take-away speciality shops, cafés. After about 10 minutes you'll hit the Seine where you should stroll to the right and head toward Hôtel de Ville where there is always something going on - a show, a market, a concert - and even better, in proximity to St. Paul and the Marais where you can head to Schwart's Jewish deli for a delicious bite.

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  6. It may be trite, but, after a picnic in the place de Vosges (yes, I know it's a cliche, but what the heck), I'd walk down to the Seine and along the quais of the Ile St. Louis (I once rented an apartment at 15, quai de Bourbon for a vacation, and I think the highlight was opening the shutters every morning and taking in the view of the Seine and the Pont Marie. My God, it's beautiful). Then I'd get a glass of a lovely wine at the overpriced-but-who-cares terrace at the western tip of the island, by the bridge that connects it to the Ile de la Cite, and drink in the wine and the view at the same time. Another cliche, but there's a reason cliches become cliches.

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  7. Oops, I meant eastern end of the Ile St. Louis. Desole.

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  8. Sounds great to me...totally get the cliche thing too - one of my favorite things is going to the Eiffel Tower & watching the sunset (about as cliche as it gets!). Seems like a lot of folks like the picnic idea as well, good bet especially if you have only a few hours.
    Anonymous, would you like to be entered in the drawing? Love to include you, send me an email if you like! tuulamattson@gmail.com

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  9. I, too, would head to the Village St. Paul! Then wander up the Rue Vieille du Temple to a restaurant where I had the very best crepe(pears, chocolate...) in Paris! Can't remember the name right now...but I would know it by sight. Oh, fabulous!

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  10. Ooh... I hope you don;t mind me leaving you a link to what I'd do in Paris in 5 hours.

    http://www.gourmantic.com/2010/05/25/five-hours-in-paris/

    I'd skip the Berthillon part just to make it 4 hours! :)

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  11. December, at night, and it's cold. After a quick dinner at the George V cafe (I'd have duck I think) on the Champs Elysees I'd warm up with a walk down the Champs Elysees and enjoy the Christmas market.

    At the end, I'd do the touristy thing and pay the exorbitant fee to ride the huge ferris wheel.

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  12. @Corinne: mmm, that is a mighty fine way to spend 4 (or 5) hous in Paris.

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  13. In winter I'd go to Musé d'Orsay, then get a mulled wine in the tuleries parc, then mosey over to the theatre :)

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  14. I would say the place to be when you have only four hours in Paris is right in the centre. Head for rue de Buci, in the heart of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, to sit at a nice café (or to visit some of the many fabulous chocolate shops nearby!) and enjoy the buzz. From there you can stroll along rue de Seine, rue Mazarine and rue Dauphine. The area is filled with small art galleries and interesting shops and just a short stroll from the Seine.
    Another idea is to pick one thing you've always wanted to see and just do that. For example, the Musée Jacquemart-André, on bd. Haussmann, may be a little out of the way, but four hours is certainly enough time and it is a gorgeous way to spend an afternoon.

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  15. If it's nice and sunny out, I'd head to the jardin de Tuileries, grab a cafe from the Paul kiosk and stroll around admiring the Louvre palace and then window shop all along the Place de la Concord before having a little lunch somewhere.
    If it's raining, definitely Galleries Lafayette and maybe visit Degas Ballerina at Musee de Orsay.
    Nothing too excited but f I only had four hours, I'd want to do my favorites :-) x

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  16. A walk by Notre Dame on my way to St. Germain would be a must. Some window shopping, then a drink and a nice leisurely meal in a cafe followed by some serious people watching.

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  17. Oh, I know EXACTLY what I'd do, Tuula! :-) I'd take a taxi directly to Aux Crus de Bourgogne (http://www.restoaparis.com/fiche-restaurant-paris/aux-crus-de-bourgogne.html) for dinner and have their most fabulous Boeuf Bourguignon and delicious red wine, then pop into a patisserie, fill a bag with an assortment of macarons and take the nighttime riverboat cruise because I never tire of it. :-)

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  18. I would definitely rent a Velib, and take a leisurely strole through the Marais, pick up a falafel at L'As du Falafel, and eat it in Place Vosges. Then I'd ride through the Louvre/Tuileries and Jardin du Luxembourg, because it never gets old. Finally, I'd drive to Rue Cler to pick up some essentials for the trip home (as well as maybe to stock up!). Paris, je t'aime :)

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  19. Since it's possible you'll get rain (I know, bad karma), but since it's possible--think about lunch in the gorgeous restaurant at the Musee Jacquemart-Andre (can't beat lunch under a Tiepolo ceiling--and the collection ain't bad! A wonderful way to pass a few hours. And if you have time left, you can walk down the boulevard Haussmann to the pl. de la Madeleine and have tea at the original Laduree. Just watch your knees--not much space.

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  20. Ok, grab line 14 from gare de Lyon, zoom to the Grand Magasins to see the Noël windows which are always fun! Then, if it's lunch time head around the Opera house over to L'Entreacte for a bite (it has a lovely view on the theater), or a café at the Café de la Paix on their grand terrace. Grab the bus or metro a few stops and go stroll in the Jardins du Palais Royal behind the Palais Royale and the Comédie française. Then you are right on line 1 that you can grab back to the Gare de Lyon, et voilà!

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  21. Ok, this is a food, and even moreso a pastry, lovers guide to 4 hours in Paris: I would walk up rue Mouffetard, stopping at the various food & wine shops to buy a picnic lunch with a stop at Carl Maletti for a few pastries, then walk over to the Jardin du Luxembourg to eat a romantic picnic lunch with the boyfriend. (If the weather didn't cooperate, I would go to Ze Kitchen Gallerie in the 6th.) From there, a walk to rue Bonaparte to pick up desserts for the train ride home with stops at Pierre Herme and La Duree. Take Line 10 from Mabillon or St. Germain to Severes Babylone and pick up a few more pastries at Hugo and Victor. From there a walk to and along the Seine, finding a seat along the banks to snack on a few of the pastries. Last stops would be at G. Detou for baking supplies (pistachio paste, baking size bars of Valrhona chocolate-especially gianduja and cocoa powder) and a stop at Librairie Gourmand to pick up the lastest pastry cookbooks (I've heard LaDuree now has a savory cookbook to accompany their sweet one). And finally, a mad dash to Gare Lyon. Have a wonderful time in Alsace and with your four hours in France.

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