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By Theadora Brack in Paris—With long looks and fiery chitchat, let’s kick off the chilly New Year in Paree with a smoldering nod to the late, great Eric Rohmer (1920-2010) and his movie Les Rendezvous de Paris! Cheapos, it is cold outside, but our love of Paris, vin chaud and French Cinema will keep us warm.
Here are a few of my favorite rendezvous-worthy places, squares and gardens, along with the les bancs (benches) and statues that bring them to life. So allons-y! Pack an umbrella, reading material and a picnic. Oh, je t’aime! Je ne me quitte pas!
1.) Place du Trocadéro
Where: Place du Trocadéro, 16th arrondissement (Métro Trocadéro)
Here you’ll find my favorite view of the Eiffel Tower! Let’s first meet up for a brownie and a Coke Zero at the bustling, family-friendly Café Carlu nestled inside the Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine. This is my new happy place! I think you’re going to dig the bookshop, too.
2.) Place Dalida
Where: The tip of rues Girardon and Abreuvoir, 18th arrondissement (Métro Abbesses)
Pilgrims from all over the world visit the quite fetching bust of Dalida (the female Elvis of France) and touch her for
luck! By the way, the pop diva’s house is located nearby on rue d’Orchampt, and her grave is in the Cimetière de Montmartre. (Katy Perry’s fireworks got nothing on you, Dalida!)
3.) Le Jardin du Musée Galliéra
Where: 11-13 avenue du Président Wilson, 16th arrondissement (Métro Iéna or Alma-Marceau)
Though the museum is still closed for an extensive makeover, the gorgeous garden is still open. I love this place. This is where I catch my breath, gaze out at the mile-long lines across the street at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris and Le Palais de Tokyo and feel completely satisfied.
4.) Square Jehan Rictus
Where: Place des Abbesses, 18th arrondissement (Métro Abbesses)
Please take heed! The “J’taime Wall” will get you in the mood for random kindness, imagine! After touching the wall, we’ll saunter over to the Café Saint Jean for a lil’ vin chaud and the best chicken salad on this side of Sacré Coeur. Inside or outside, this joint is a prime people watching hot spot.
5.) Place Constantin-Pecquier
Where: 18th arrondissment (Métro Lamark- Caulaincourt) The Fontaine Steinlen
Ah, Cheapos, I’ve a confession up my faux fur sleeve. After my cat left this world for another Fancy Feast, this is where I spent many hours. Both Montmartre residents Steinlen and Erik Satie understood the wonderous feline, and I found and still find great comfort in that.
6.) Église de la Sainte-Trinité de Paris
Where: 4 Place d’Estienne d’Orves, 9th arrondissment (Métro Trinité)
I love this church not just for its beauty alone but also for its brilliant solution to the ugly construction in the works. They didn’t just apologize, Cheapos, they brought in the clowns! Bars and cafés round out the Place. The Musée du Romantisme (Museum of Romantic Life), with George Sand’s bling and other personal artifacts, is just a Chopin hop, skip and away!
7.) Jardin des Tuileries
Where: 1st arrondissement (Métro Tuileries)
Let’s meet at Métro Concorde or at Métro Carrousel du Louvre because we’ll be able to pick up reading material at either W.H. Smith Book Shop or at the fabulous museum shop at the Musée de la Mode. Let’s not forget the Jardin de Tuileries gift shop either. Cheapos, how green does your garden grow?
8.) Square du Vert-Galant
Where: Tip of the Île de la Cité, 1st Arrondissement (Métro Pont Neuf)
For the love of vitality, admiration and gossip, Parisians gave the little tear-drop-shaped park the flamboyant King Henri IV’s nickname, “Vert-Galant,” or “Gay Blade,” since he was larger than life, compassionate, wildly loved and quite the looker in the day. Mad about music, wine and women, Henri would horse around here with his friends, entertainers and favorite mistress, Gabrielle d’Estrée. Ooh, ta ta.
As Henri IV liked to say, Cheapos, “Great cooking and great wines make a paradise on earth!”