First Arrondissement

Paris: Arrondissement by  Arrondissement 

The First Arrondissement

The best plan for Paris is what the French call “flâneur” which means to stroll aimlessly or to be that cool, aloof observer of urban society. There is no better place to practice the art of flâneur than in Paris, especially the 1st arrondissement. This arrondissement is home to the Louvre, the beautiful Hausmann boulevards, Galleries Lafayette, the Tuileries Garden, the Musee L’Orangerie (home of Monet’s Water Lilys) and so much more. 

When I first went to Paris as a flight attendant in the 1980’s, it was here that I stayed in the Hotel Intercontinental on Rue des Capucines. And it was here that I first fell in love with Paris. The best of Paris resides in this district (in my humble opinion) from shopping on Rue Saint-Honoré to dining at Michelin star restaurants such as Le Meurice (228 Rue de Rivoli) and strolling through the most famous museum in all the world, the Louvre. You could spend days wondering the streets in this district alone!


Where to shop and what to buy:

Rue Saint-Honoré: Goyard, Fragonard (the most luxurious hand lotions and perfumes in France), Furla, Escada, Sandro, Maje, Longchamps, and so many more.  Well-known French brands alongside other European brands of clothing line both sides of the street. This street intersects Rue de la Paix where Cartier opened his first store and where  Princess Diana spent her last night at The Ritz Hotel.

Les Halles is the largest shopping mall in Paris and also has a great pharmacy to buy all the best French skincare!

Galleries Lafayette is an absolute must! All the designer brands are located here as well as my favorite shoe store-Repetto.  You definitely want to spend time soaking up all the beauty of this unique shopping experience. Take some time for a treat of caviar and champagne before heading to the rooftop for a splendid view of Paris.


Museums to visit: the Louvre and Musee L’Orangerie. Don’t be dismayed by the long line outside the Louvre….the trick few people know about is to take the stairs by The Carrousel. There are actually 4 entrances to the museum so no need to stand in the long line outside the pyramid. Do not miss the L’Orangerie! It is home to the exquisite paintings of Monet’s Water Lilys.  Get there early before the crowds so you can enjoy the murals in all their splendor. 


Best brasseries and patisseries: Angelina’s on Rue de Rivoli is where you will find the best hot chocolate in the most beautiful setting! The line to enter may be long but my experience has taught me that it usually moves pretty fast. Just down the same street is Cafe Carrousel. I always make sure to stop here either midday or after dinner for dessert and to people watch.  Pierre Hermes, Cafe Kitsune, Aki Boulanger, Les Gourmandises de Saint-Honoré, and the food hall across from Galleries Lafayette are all worth a visit. 


Hotels: My favorite hotel in the Westin located on Rue de Rivoli for its proximity to everything wonderful and only two blocks from a Metro station. Other fabulous hotels include The Hotel Intercontinental, Le Meurice, The Ritz, and the Sofitel. 


Something unique: Harry’s New York Bar.  This is a must see for Americans, especially New Yorkers. Harry’s Bar was once in NYC. During prohibition in the 1092’s, Harry (the owner) got the idea of moving his bar to a more alcohol friendly place. What better place than Paris! So he dismantled the bar piece by piece and shipped the entire place to Paris.  Harry’s became the place to be during World War Two entertaining many famous Americans including Ira Gershwin who wrote the score to An American in Paris while at Harry’s.  The piano he used is still there to this day! The other famous tidbit about Harry’s is that this is where the Bloody Mary was invented. The atmosphere in Harry’s is truly delightful and well worth a visit. 


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