Hidden Treasures and Treasured Memories – Part 1

We’ve done so many things that are a bit off the beaten path that I thought I needed to do a two or three part blog post on those things–for those readers who follow this blog to see what there is to do in this great big wonderful city.

Shakespeare and Company might be the coolest bookstore ever.  The ground floor has books for purchase and the second floor serves as a library, a reading lounge, a visiting artist sleeping loft (really more of a crash pad), a literary group meeting room and, on the day we stopped in, an impromptu piano lounge. A 20-something Canadian girl had started playing from memory several songs that to me seemed quite complex. The piano was slightly out of tune.  At one point she looked behind her and was surprised to see that an audience had crowded around her.

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Impromptu piano concert at Shakespeare & Company
Impromptu piano concert at Shakespeare & Company
The Museum of Natural History is next door to the Grande Mosquée à Paris and adjacent to the Jardins de Plantes (which was closed for remodeling). I recommend paying for the simple entry fee and skipping the dinosaur exhibit which is a great interactive area for kids bit a bit cheesy for adults. I combined my trip to this museum with my visit to the Hammam at the Grande Mosquéé à Paris.
Museum of Natural History
Museum of Natural History
The Musée de Carnavalet is located in the Marias district. Admission is free. I recommend going shopping in the Marais, stopping by the St. Paul church to check out the Delacroix paintings and going to the Carnavalet Museum in the same day. The Museum houses several floors of furnishings depicting different eras of French design. Did I mention admission is free?
Delacroix paintings in the St Paul church.
Delacroix paintings in the St Paul church.
Musee Carnavalet
Musee Carnavalet

Musee Carnavalet

The Pierre Cardin Museum is in the outskirts of town, north or the St. Ouen flea market in a wholly non-descriptive warehouse building. The day I went was on a Saturday and two women were guarding the store and I was the ONLY visitor. I was given a personal tour of the museum (in French so I didn’t catch it all). It is quite remarkable to note that his women’s fashions from the 50’s are still in vogue today. There is also a vast display of his furniture designs which are very creative. When I left I was given a book that features a ballerina that Mr. Cardin dressed over the years. The cover of the book is signed by him but I can’t tell if it is an original signature or not because the book is still wrapped in plastic (and I’m planning to regift it). In any case, I thoroughly enjoyed the visit because my tour guide works personally for Mr. Cardin, who is still living and resides in Paris so she was able to talk personally about the man and the designer who, at 90, still creates today.  No photos were allowed so I lifted this one off the Internet.
The Pierre Cardin Museum
The Pierre Cardin Museum

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