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Where in the world is Priss?

Iconic Sites at Night

Hôtel des Invalides

Paris monuments are spectacular at night, illuminated brightly against the inky-blue Paris night sky. I walked and explored three of them, and all transported me to a different time and place.

Construction on the Basilique du Sacré-Cœur in Montmartre began in 1875 and finished in 1919. The building is white and holds some of the largest mosaics in the world. There is an excellent view of Paris from the steps in front of its entrance, too.

Left to right 

Top row : Basilique du Sacré-Cœur: exterior and interior mosaic detail; Musée de l'Armée - helmet

The Hôtel National des Invalides is a complex of buildings in the 7th arrondissement of Paris. It was built under Louis XIV in 1677 to house the invalids of its armies. Today, this impressive monument brings together museums, and a hospital and nursing home for war veterans. During my visit to the museum, I also found a knight in shining armor!

The Arc de Triomphe began construction in 1806 under Napoleon, the French Emperor. It honors those who fought and died for France, and a flame marks the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier underneath its grand arch. 

Two practical tips. First, some of the monuments are open late on the first Friday of the month and less crowded then. Second, if you are staying in Paris for a week or two, you can purchase a Navigo Découverte card that includes unlimited metro and bus rides within Paris, and transportation to the Ile de France.

Tarte au Citron Meringuée at Le Loir dans La Théière

I’ll close on a sweet note – literally. For those who enjoy Tarte au Citron Meringuée, a close cousin to our Lemon Meringue Pie, Le Loir dans La Théière in the Marais serves a delicious one. Although not an actual monument, it is monumental on its own. 

À tout à l'heure,




  • Le Loir dans La Théière – casual tea room in the Marais. Good for lunch and dessert, or serves dessert only starting at 3 pm. No reservations.

  • Navigo Découverte - A travel card that includes unlimited metro and bus rides in Paris, and train travel to the Ile de France



Let me know when you are in town! You can reach me via email or leave a phone message

Easy Day Trips from Paris

Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte

I reserve Tuesdays to explore destinations outside of Paris. My requirements are that the trip is less than an hour and a half by train or bus, the site is walkable, and I am back in Paris by dinner.

My favorite bus tour combines a visit to two châteaux, Fontainebleau and Vaux-le-Vicomte. The former once belonged to the kings of France and features Napolean’s throne room and the “Renaissance” rooms showcasing decorative artifacts from the French Renaissance. The elegant Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte has arched windows that overlook the formal garden designed by André Le Nôtre. Spoiled king alert: after seeing this garden, King Louis XIV was so jealous he imprisoned the owner, Nicolas Fouquet, for life. (Not nice.)

(Left to right) Top row: Fontainebleau: Napolean’s Throne and Renaissance Room; Rouen Cathedral detail. Bottom row: Rouen, Vaux-le-Vicomte, Giverny kitchen detail

Rouen, located in Normandy, has a stunning Gothic cathedral made famous by Monet’s paintings. It is a gastronomic center and has over 2,000 timber-framed buildings and a beautifully preserved medieval quarter. It is a long day from Paris, so you can spend the night if you would like. Historical note: Joan of Arc was tried and executed here. (So not nice).

Giverny kitchen

 And finally, Claude Monet’s home at Giverny, a riot of color. He lived in the house from 1883 to 1926. The pink home with green shutters overlooks a garden of flowers and is a short walk to the pond, bridge, and water lilies the artist painted. Be sure to see his blue-tiled kitchen featuring copper pots. It is an upbeat, unexpected visual treat.

Bonne journée,




  • Château de Fontainebleau – a 1,500 room family home for the kings of France.

  • Vaux-le-Vicomte – beautiful home and gardens. Well-done audio guide that tells the story of the owner’s rise and fall from grace from his first-person perspective.

  • Rouen – Normandy town with cathedral, medieval timber-framed buildings.

  • Claude Monet home at Giverny – visit the garden, house, artist’s studio, and kitchen, which is tiled in blue.



Let me know when you are in town! You can reach me via email or leave a phone message

Cozy Ateliers of an Artist, a Sculptor, and a Novelist

Bourdelle studio with “Dying Centaur”

Paris is gray and rainy during winter – and perfect for exploring cozy, quiet museums. By luck, I discovered three small ateliers of those who contributed to the rich fabric of Paris culture with their art, each in a different neighborhood. The first, a female artist and her son living the bohemian life, the second, a sculptor, and the final, a larger-than-life novelist, sometimes in debt.

Musée de Montmartre, located very close to Sacré-Coeur, is the museum of the art and history of Montmartre. The museum includes the atelier of artists Suzanne Valadon and, her son, Maurice Utrillo, featuring a reconstructed wooden studio with a large window overlooking the neighborhood. (Spoiler alert: huge family drama.) The permanent collection is located across the courtyard in the oldest house in Montmartre, built in the 17th century, and there is also a small terrace next to a tiny vineyard.

(Left to right) Top row: Musée de Montmartre, Suzanne Valadon and Maurice Utrillo studio, and bust by Antoine Bourdelle. Bottom row: bust of Honoré de Balzac, Bourdelle studio, and desk of Honoré de Balzac.

Musée Bourdelle in Montparnasse features the works of sculptor Antoine Bourdelle. I enjoyed his studio particularly, which has remained in its original state, displays an array of his sculptures, and is bathed in northern light. The interior garden showcases his bronze statues under large trees and surrounded by ivy. Bourdelle bequeathed his works in order to create this museum in his name “as Rodin did”. 

Paint box, Suzanne Valadon and Maurice Utrillo studio

La Maison de Balzac is nestled in the hills of Passy and is the only remaining home of the novelist Honoré de Balzac. He wrote The Human Comedy and other works at the desk in his study, often during the dead of night and fueled by black coffee. His life was turbulent (he was sometimes in debt) and his attire was eccentric (he wore the dress of a Carthusian monk and the shirt of a manual laborer to establish his image of a hard worker, toiling in silence).  I will leave it there…

À bientôt,




  • Musée de Montmartre – museum of the art and history of Montmartre. There is a funicular from hill, base to top. Very close to Sacré-Coeur and Place du Tertre. .

  • Musée Bourdelle – Enjoy seeing the sculptor’s works in the garden, museum, and his atelier. Close to Montparnasse metro station. Entrance free. 

  • Maison de Balzac – Balzac lived in this home for seven years. It now has a modern café across the small garden with a view of the Eiffel Tower.



Let me know when you are in town! You can reach me via email or leave a phone message


Let me know when you are in town!  You can reach me via email or leave a phone message

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