Les Grands Boulevards City Orientation
This neighborhood covers parts of the 2e, 3e, 8e, and 9e arrondissements. Take the métro to the Opéra station, named for the opulent opera house. Just behind it, you can find the department stores Galeries Lafayette and Au Printemps, each with three buildings (women's, men's, home) along Baron Haussmann's wide avenues known as the Grands Boulevards. If you're planning to visit the numerous small museums, take the métro to Parc Monceau.
Top Reasons to Go
Les Grands Magasins. Sample a new perfume under the magnificent dome at Galeries Lafayette; update your look, wander the sumptuous food halls, or gaze at Parisian rooftops from the 8th-floor outdoor restaurant terraces at Au Printemps.
Opéra Garnier. It may not be haunted by the Phantom, but this 19th-century opera house still dazzles. Enjoy a ballet or an opera, take the guided tour, or simply ogle the halls bedecked in marble and gold leaf.
Parc Monceau. Join the well-dressed children of well-heeled Parisians and frolic on some of the prettiest lawns in the city.
Les Passages Couverts. Stroll the passages Jouffroy, Verdeau, and Panoramas to experience what the original shopping malls were like 200 years ago.
Making the Most of Your Time
If you're a serious shopper, plan on a day-long visit to this neighborhood, beginning with the department stores near the Opéra métro stop. Nearly every French chain has a shop dotting the boulevard, which changes names several times (Boulevard Haussmann, Montmartre, Poissonnière, de Bonne Nouvelle, etc.) as it stretches from west to east.
If shopping isn't your bag, plan on a long afternoon's visit: tour the Opéra Garnier and one or two museums, or bring a picnic lunch to lovely Parc Monceau on the western edge.
Café de la Paix. Once described as the "center of the civilized world," this grand café was a meeting place for the Belle Époque's glitterati. It's an elegant spot to enjoy a drink (or meal) in the shadow of the Opéra Garnier. 5 pl. de l'Opéra, Grands Boulevards, Paris, Île-de-France, 75009. 01–40–07–36–36; www.cafedelapaix.fr.
Café Le Brebant. Night owls will love that this popular brasserie—a favorite of Parisian film folk—is open until 5 am daily. The rest of us can just enjoy the classic French fare, eye-popping decor, and friendly service. 32 bd. Poissonnière, Grands Boulevards, Paris, Île-de-France, 75009. 01–47–70–01–02.
Delaville Café. This edgy café is a favorite with locals. Open late, it's best for an evening apéritif and snack. A DJ spins tunes at night, Thursday through Saturday. 34 bd. de Bonne Nouvelle, Grands Boulevards, Paris, Île-de-France, 75010. 01–48–24–48–09; www.delavillecafe.com.
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