4th Paris Arrondissement

Le Marais (a nice strolling area)

Yes, Marais has become the chic, trendy area of the 4th arrondissement and center of the city’s thriving gay community over the past decade. It’s also the city’s long-established Jewish quarter (“Pletzel”) with expensive, fashionable boutiques juxtaposed to quaint Jewish stores, bookshops, kosher grocery stores and butcher shops. As all the major Parisian shopping outlets are closed on Sundays, Le Marais is the place to go for those needing of a shopping “fix.” Another fun artsy stopover is the brightly lit Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac. Representing approx. 60 artists and estates, we feel this is an ideal place for viewing compelling pieces of contemporary art.

Of special note is the Art Noveau Synagogue, designed in 1913 by Hector Guimard, the facade resembling an open book. Similar to other Parisian synagogues, the front door of the Art Noveau was dynamited by the Nazis on Yom Kippur in 1941. The Star of David over the door was added after the building was restored.

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Le Berges de Seine (along the Seine River)

Conceived by Paris’s progressive mayor Bertrand Delanoe and begun back in April 2010, the now-completed 1.4 mile Left Bank pedestrian zone, named Berges de Seine, has become one of our new favorite spots in Paris. Set along the Seine between The Royal and Alma bridges in the midst of colorful gardens, the area has become an ideal area for picnics, relaxation, dining and numerous kids’ activities. A big draw for kids is the “Le Satellite Des Sens”, a bright green bus that takes kids on an “artistic discovery tour of the five senses.” Bev and I are drawn to the “ZZZ,” a row of renovated shipping crates where you may enjoy an afternoon nap or even a catered meal!

Notre Dame Cathedral

Notre Dame, the most visited unticketed site in Paris with upwards of 14 million people crossing its threshold a year, is not just a masterpiece of French Gothic architecture but was also the focus of Catholic Paris for seven centuries.

Built on a site occupied by earlier churches and, a millennium before that, a Gallo-Roman temple, it was begun in 1163 according to the design of Bishop Maurice de Sully and largely completed by the early 14th century. The cathedral was badly damaged during the Revolution; architect Eugene Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc carried out extensive renovations between 1845 and 1864. The cathedral is on a very grand scale; the interior alone is 120m long, 48m wide and 35m high and can accommodate more than 6,000 worshippers.

Although the queue for climbing the 422 spiraling steps to the top of the western façade is usually very long, the experience is certainly worth the time. Your taxing climb is rewarded with a face-to-face glimpse of the otherworldly gargoyles, the 13-ton bell “Emmanuel” and a spectacular view of Paris from the “Dreams Gallery”.

Of special note is the Art Noveau Synagogue, designed in 1913 by Hector Guimard, the facade resembling an open book. Similar to other Parisian synagogues, the front door of the Art Noveau was dynamited by the Nazis on Yom Kippur in 1941. The Star of David over the door was added after the building was restored.

Notre Dame de Paris cathedral, France. The most popular city landmark

Berthillon Ice Cream Shop

Located adjacent to Notre Dame, this iconic Paris ice cream shop is said to have the most delicious ice cream in the world(!) If you have time to wait in the always long queue, we feel it’s worth the time!

Brasserie Bofinger

Founded in 1864, Brasserie Bofinger is one of the oldest and most popular of brasseries in Paris. Located in the Right Bank/4th arrondissement, Bofinger features unique Alsatian fare, the smoked haddock and steak tartare two of our favorite menu items. The brasserie is decorated in a grand, refined style, reflecting the Belle Epogue décor (1871-1941 European period of artistic refinement). Another special feature here is the truly unique men’s urinals – porcelain dolphins and sea monsters to entertain the male patrons (!)

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