An Afternoon in Paris: A New Yorker's Guide
I spend about a month out of each year in Paris. Neither a native nor a foreigner, I still get swept up in the romance of the city, but also have my own life there. With the help of my friends, family, and the GoGo Paris guide, which I carry with me everywhere I go, I've amassed my own circuit of haunts.
If you're in Paris for the Pitchfork Festival, kicking off today at the Grande Halle de la Villette, take advantage of the festival's late start to check out some of the suggestions GoGo Paris shared in our Pitchfork Paris guide, or follow my itinerary below for an afternoon in Paris.
Lunch at the Publicis Drugstore
Publicis Drugstore is where Paris meets New York -- for one thing, it's open until 2 am, a rarity in Paris. Take a stroll around the store, a cross between a gift shop, newsstand, and gourmet food store, where you can buy Pierre Hermé Macaroons and a range of high-end prepackaged foods to go (another characteristic that makes it feel trés New York). Stay on the main floor for a casual meal at the eponymous bistro -- ask for a table in the atrium or outside for a view of the historic Arc de Triomphe, and be sure to take advantage of their free WiFi. For fancier French fare, head downstairs to Joël Robuchon's Atelier -- at 40€, their prix fixe lunch is a steal.
A Stroll on the Champs Elysées
It may be a notorious tourist draw, but a visit to Paris wouldn't be complete without a stroll on the Champs Elysées. Make your way towards the Louis Vuitton flagship store, but instead of joining the line of tourists waiting to get inside, make a right on Rue due Bassano and look for the back entrance. The lobby looks like an ordinary office building, but take the elevator to the top floor, and you'll find the Louis Vuitton Espace Culturel (60, rue due Bassano; +33 (0)1 53 57 52 03), a sprawling art gallery with exhibits curated by Louis Vuitton. This is one of many delights that I discovered in the GoGo Paris guide. Admission is free, and exhibits rotate every few months or so. Be sure to check their website before you go, as the gallery is closed between exhibits.The current exhibit, "Journeys: Wanderings in Contemporary Turkey," will run through June 1, 2013.
Other things to see on the Champs Elysees: Levi's Flagship Store (76, Champs-Elysees; +33 (0)1 53 53 05 70) sometimes features exclusive collaborations and exhibits; last time I was there, it was James Murphy and Pedro Winter, a.k.a. Busy P. If you're into music, pay your respects to an endangered species at the Virgin Megastore (52-60, Champs-Elysees; +33 (0)1 49 53 50 00). Paw through the CDs, if only for the sake of nostalgia; you might just discover something new. As a sneaker enthusiast, I always make a point of stopping at Nike Paris (67, Champs-Elysées; +33 (0)1 42 25 93 80), just to see if anything piques my interest. I'm a Nike girl myself, but there's also an Adidas store (22, Champs-Elysées; +33 (0)1 56 59 32 80) down the street, if that's your jam.
Skip: Ladurée. If you're into macaroons, grab a few to go at Pierre Herme in the Publics Drugstore, or opt for another location where the line won't be as long. Breeze past Abercrombie & Fitch -- there's no overt signage, but the unmistakable scent of their cologne will hit you once you're within a 100-foot radius. You'll see that it has the longest line in the block -- just don't stand in it.
Choose Your Own Adventure: A Monumental Walk… or a Short Metro Ride
Just past Abercrombie & Fitch, you'll find the Franklin D. Roosevelt metro stop. From here, you have three options: 1) Take the M1 (yellow) metro line towards Chateau de Vicennes, and disembark at the Tuileries (skip to the next section on Colette); 2) Take the M1 (yellow) metro line towards Chateau de Vicennes, and disembark at Louvre-Rivoli (skip to the section on the Louvre); or 3) keep walking (and keep reading).
If you choose the latter, I feel compelled to warn you that it's going to be a very long walk, but it's the option I would choose, and well worth it.
Continue on the Champs Elysees, and make a right on Avenue Winston Churchill. There you'll find the Grand Palais and the Petit Palais (Avenue Winston Churchill; +33 (0)1 53 43 40 00), directly across the street from one another. The Petit Palais' permanent collection can be visited for free; don't miss the circular courtyard, where you can stop for a drink or snack.
If you continue walking on the Champs Elysees, you'll run into the Place De Concorde, and just beyond that, the Tuileries Gardens. Enjoy a leisurely stroll, Instagram your heart out, and when you reach the second large circular fountain along the center of the park, make a left and exit at Rue du 29 Juillet. Walk one block, turn right, and you'll find yourself at…
If there is one place you absolutely cannot miss in Paris, it's Colette (213 Rue Saint-Honoré; +33 1 55 35 33 90). Colette has an impeccable curatorial eye and carry everything from books and music to gadgets and electronics. Upstairs, their fashion selection literally takes my breath away. I can't afford any of it, but for me, it's like visiting a museum -- look, but don't touch.
Just like every aspect of the store, Colette's book collection is fantastic -- some of my favorite purchases have included the GoGo Paris guide, the Travel Almanac, and a variety of zines and art books I wouldn't have discovered otherwise.
One of the best things about Colette is that they rotate their selection regularly -- there are new things on display every time I visit, even when my visits are only a few days apart.
After Collette, walk along Rue Saint-Honoré (follow the direction of traffic), and make a right on Place du Carrousel. There, you'll see the Louvre's glittering glass pyramid.
Full disclosure: I've never been inside. Shameful, I know. I don't have the patience to stand in line; instead, I just hang around the courtyard taking pictures, then head to Spring (52 Rue Arbre Sec; +33 (0)1 58 62 44 30) for a glass of wine.
Spring is yet another discovery I made through the GoGo Paris guide. The first time I visited, I was very confused; Spring is actually more of a wine shop than a wine bar (there's also a full-fledged Spring restaurant down the street, adding to the confusion). We sat at the counter by the window, told the shop keeper what type of wine we each liked, and he returned with exactly what we wanted. A great place to wrap up an eventful afternoon and mentally prepare for the evening's festivities.
For more recommendations around Paris, be sure to check out our guide to Pitchfork Paris, curated by the GoGo Paris team.
Pitchfork Returns to Paris this November
Test Drive: Gogo Paris Mobile App
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