what we did in paris


note for the Musée YSL and Musée Picasso: make sure you book your tickets at least a month in advance, especially if you're going during a busy season!

Musée d'art moderne // I'd never been to this museum before, and I highly recommend it. (Did I mention it's free?) On the mezzanine level can be found Raoul Dufy's La Fée Electricité, a rounded, floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall fresque depicting 110 famous inventors throughout history. You'll recognize familiar faces such as Marie & Pierre Curie, Thomas Edison, Isaac Newton, and many more. On the lower level are numerous galleries showcasing the museum's permanent collection, as well as some small special exhibits.

Musée Yves Saint Laurent // A must for all fashion fans. If you're expecting to see a collection of many outfits, you may be disappointed. The museum focuses more on the fashion house's design and production process (this building did use to be YSL's HQ, after all). You'll get to see a few short films, including one that sheds light on YSL and Pierre Berger's fascinating partnership. I especially enjoyed visiting YSL's atelier, which provides an inside look at the designer's creative environment.

Musée Picasso // Located in the Marais, in a beautiful building known as l'Hôtel Salé, the Picasso Museum is a must-see for lovers of the Spanish artist. And while I wouldn't consider myself a fan of his art, the visit is enjoyable nonetheless.

Atelier Brancusi // I had never heard of Constantin Brancusi before, but as a ceramic artist, my mom is familiar with his work. Originally from Romania, Brancusi is a modernist sculptor who spent most of his artistic life in Paris. Upon his death, he donated many works to the French state, under the condition that the latter reconstructed his studio and opened it for the public to visit. The Atelier Brancusi is a well-kept (and free) secret: it's wonderful to be able to witness the vast  and light-filled space in which Brancusi worked and created.


Merci // Perhaps my favorite concept store in the world. Merci has everything you could ever dream of!

Bonton // A beautiful children's store where you can definitely find something for your grown-up self... if you look hard enough. (I manage to find myself a blush pink bandana, which is actually supposed to serve as a reusable diaper.)

Caravane // A home décor store known for its exquisite fabrics and warm colors. Our family can vouch for their heatable mini-pillows, which do wonders for period cramps!

Home Autour du Monde // Another concept store, this one located in the Marais.

CSAO // This fun and colorful shop features home accessories made by artisans in Senegal and other West African nations. I love their funky embroidered pillows and recycled baskets.

Mark'Style // Cool Japanese imports. Also located in the Marais.

Fleux // And...another concept store! It even sells Pusheen egg holders. We buy a 1000 piece puzzle depicting a map of Paris, which ends up keeping us busy when we learn our return flight is delayed by three days...

Le Bon Marché // This place is the most beautiful, tasteful department store you will ever visit. Unmissable departments include the children's section, the shoe section and the bookstore. There's also the Grande Epicerie just downstairs, which I recommend if you enjoy strolling through aisle upon aisle of gourmet foods.

Conran Shop // The Conran Shop in Manhattan closed down a few years back (sadly, it's since been replaced by a TJMaxx), but the one in Paris persists. This spacious store has nice kitchen and stationery sections.


Mandarin de Ming // Chinese food is WAY better in France than in the States. No question. I order the vegetable chop-suey and it's scrumptious. Don't forget to try the apple fritters.

Paris Beaubourg // A nice brasserie near the Centre Pompidou. Veggie lasagna is pretty good. I'm still a little annoyed that they wouldn't make me a ham-less croque monsieur, though...

San Francisco // Disclaimer: this place is shmancy-fancy and pricy...which makes it the perfect place to go if your grandparents are taking you out for lunch! My risotto was one of the best I've ever had, and everyone else's dishes looked just as delicious. There are barely any vegetarian options on the menu, but the kitchen can definitely accommodate - just ask!

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