Paris: Places to Explore

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Around the Louvre

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The neighborhoods around the Louvre, from the Faubourg St-Honoré to Les Halles, are a study in contrasts, from très chic to trendy, with the Louvre in the midst of the bustle.

The impossibly posh Rue Faubourg St-Honoré has been a fashionista destination for three centuries, as popular now as it was when royal mistresses shopped here. Just about every chic boutique has a branch here, and this is where you can find some of the city's best hotels. Once the stomping ground of kings and queens, today it's home to the French president and the American and British ambassadors. To the east, Les Halles has risen from its roots as the city's vermin-infested wholesale food market to a booming quarter with expensive apartments and shops, cafés, and bars centered on Rue Montorgueil, one of the city's oldest market streets and today the epicenter of one of the city's hottest neighborhoods.

In between, you can find some of Paris's top draws, namely the mighty Musée du Louvre and, next door, the majestic Jardin des Tuileries. The garden is home to the Musée de l'Orangerie, with its curved galleries showcasing Monet's Water Lilies, while the nearby Musée des Art Décoratifs is a must for design buffs. In the Place Colette, the stately theater, the Comédie Française, is still going strong after 400 years, and at the edge of the square is the psychedelic sculpture—doubling as a métro entrance—of the kiosque des noctambules (kiosk of the night-crawlers), designed by artist Jean-Michel Othoniel.

Hidden just off Place Colette is the Palais-Royal, a romantic garden ringed by arcades with boutiques selling everything from antique war medals to the latest frock by Stella McCartney. A stone's throw away is the Galerie Vivienne, the exquisitely restored 19th-century shopping arcade.

Recalling the area's history as a food hub, there's a small cluster of shops stocking everything a well-dressed kitchen needs (during her years in Paris, American chef Julia Child was a regular at the legendary E. Dehillerin, at 18–20 rue Coquillière). This is the gateway to Les Halles (pronounced leh-ahl), which was until 1969 the city's wholesale food market, but has since flailed for an identity. A sweeping multiyear renovation is now under way that promises a much-needed face-lift of the plaza above ground and the vast shopping mall below.

Around the Louvre at a Glance

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