1st Arrondissement

Dominated by the Musée du Louvre and the Tuileries Gardens, the first arrondissement is ze grandest zone in ze sea of grandiosity that is central Paris. It’s the center point of our glittering metropolis, just above the Seine river; kind of like a beating heart that strums with dusty, windswept, elegance. See below for a curated map of the places worth visiting besides Le Musée du You-Know-What.

 

This neigh­bor­hood is all about the Lou­vre Muse­um. You might as well go in (not right now: reserve first! Since the Big Cooties start­ed they usu­al­ly require a reser­va­tion to ensure entry) and bask in the opu­lence of its stun­ning works of art – some, at least, as there are approx­i­mate­ly 400,000 of them. Head over to Cédric Gro­let’s pâtis­serie take­away for an after-Lou­vre treat, to the Tui­leries Gar­den for some green­ery or to Rue de Riv­o­li for tak­ing it all in. Don’t be tempt­ed by the sou­venir shops under the arcades, they’re all ‘made in Chi­na’ trin­kets. For sou­venir shop­ping, go north to the Sec­ond instead, to the Empreintes ‘Made in France’ shop. And don’t miss the beau­ti­ful La Samar­i­taine depart­ment store: Its years-long ren­o­va­tion has put it back on the map as a prime shop­ping epi­cen­ter. The main bonus is that you get to gaze at a fab­u­lous Art Nou­veau ceil­ing in all its flow­ery glo­ry for ~free~

 

This is the Parisian water­front. You want to stroll down the riv­er Seine, you need to stroll down the riv­er Seine—Parisians love it and when the weath­er is coop­er­at­ing, are there all of the time—a result of the unique devel­op­ment of the Berges de Seine over the last few years. The for­mer may­or had the bril­liant idea to turn two lanes of high­way into a pedes­tri­an and bike-only zone… and soon fol­lowed barges ded­i­cat­ed to drink­ing and eat­ing, side­walk dj sets, chillax zones, and climb­ing walls that you can dip into as the sun sets over the glit­ter­ing riv­er Seine. OK, so now car traf­fic is hell­ish but that’s what all the share bikes are for…

Les Halles is very cen­tral, very his­toric and very ener­getic. It’s the neigh­bor­hood that almost nev­er sleeps. Cen­turies ago, it was a sprawl­ing food and wares mar­ket. Now it’s a sprawl­ing under­ground shop­ping cen­ter sur­round­ed by street per­form­ers (watch out for pick­pock­ets), main­stream stores, an icon­ic cathe­dral (the wild­ly-under­rat­ed Saint Eustache), mod­ern gar­dens and two fan­tas­tic art muse­ums (Col­lec­tion Pin­ault for con­tem­po­rary art and, not too far east, the world-famous Cen­tre Pom­pi­dou). And most impor­tant­ly, beau­coup late-night dining…

Oh, Place Vendôme, thou art so fan­cy but so cold, and bar­ren. It’s best to appre­ci­ate you from the com­fort of a bicy­cle seat, cir­cling your cen­tral col­umn sev­er­al times like some fer­til­i­ty rit­u­al giv­ing alms at yet anoth­er phal­lic French mon­u­ment (French archi­tects did not spare the rod when they recon­struct­ed the city and one sup­pos­es that the 1800s were a kind of zenith for straight things point­ing ~oh, so unsub­tly~ at the sky…) while gaz­ing over at the Ritz and …the beau­ti­ful lamp posts? And then head­ing over to the near­by Rue Saint-Hon­oré and the Palais Roy­al for a cozi­er (but still luxe) shop­ping and din­ing expe­ri­ence. Resist the blitz of press urg­ing you to vis­it the Ritz’ new pâtisserie—we found it to be a touristy and unwel­com­ing. Aside from the PR machine buzz, the lines are long, the seat­ing is poor­ly planned and we found the staff (at least on the day we dared vis­it) to be incred­i­bly rude, even by Paris standards.

Some Place Vendôme over­share: Once, while strolling the glit­tery win­dow dis­plays in this jew­el­ry mec­ca whist on a Tin­der (first!) date, le mon­sieur tried to buy a dia­mond bracelet for your dear Edi­tor-in-Mis­chief, which her ther­a­pist took as a Very Bad Sign. (He claimed to be affil­i­at­ed with Sarkozy and there were lots of rea­sons why it all did­n’t work out but most­ly one gets kicked out of Antifa, it is said, if they accept some­thing from Van Cleef & Arpels on the first date…) Instead nip around the cor­ner to one of our favorite cof­fee shops — Café Nuances — for a ~total­ly lit~ rose lat­te…ça déchire…