Paris: Places to Explore

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Western Paris

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Welcome to Paris at its most prim and proper—but hardly stodgy. This genteel area is a study in smart urban planning, with classical architecture and newer construction commingling as easily as the haute bourgeoisie inhabitants mix with their American expat neighbors. There's no shortage of celebrities seeking some peace and quiet here, but you're just as likely to find well-heeled families who decamped from the center of the city in search of a spacious apartment. Passy, once a separate village and home to American ambassadors Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, was incorporated into the city in 1860 under Napoleon III.

A walk along the main avenues gives you a sense of Paris's finest Art Nouveau and Modernist buildings, including Castel-Béranger, by Hector Guimard, and the Fondation Le Corbusier museum, a prime example of the Swiss architect's Modernist style. This neighborhood is also home to one of the city's best and most overlooked museums—the Musée Marmottan Monet —which has an astonishing collection of Impressionist art. Enjoy a dégustation (tasting) at the Musée du Vin or simply find a café on Rue de Passy and savor a moment in one of the city's most exclusive enclaves. If it's a leafy landscape you're after, spend an afternoon at the Bois de Boulogne, especially if you have kids. At Le Bois, you can explore the Pré Catelan and Bagatelle gardens, both meticulously landscaped and surrounded by woods. Head to the old-fashioned amusement park at the Jardin d'Acclimatation or take a rowboat out on one of the park's two bucolic lakes. You can also rent a bike and hit the 14 km (9 miles) of marked trails.

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