Let's Explore

Check list to see and do Destinations Tours, Guides, Walks & Wheels Museums Sightseeing Famous Graves sightseeing destinations in Paris, around Paris, outside France, within France

  • image emergency passport Colleen's Paris
    Life in Paris & France,  Specific Info

    Passport? Obtain an Emergency Passport

    For the first time in four years, I would be visiting my family in the States. For the past four years, my French passport was my entry to other countries before and after the pandemic. Wednesday afternoon, six days before my departure, while entering information into the airline website, the moment of desperation descended upon me. The expired passport, two business days, a weekend and Labor Day stood between me and the flight. Asking those around me for their experiences helped bring down the tension, but I had to act swiftly. With a quick exchange of emails with the Embassy I received a Friday morning appointment, stood in line with…

  • Entrance to Sarah Bernhardt Exhibition Woman Created the Star Et la femme crea la star
    Let's Explore,  Museum exhibitions

    Sarah Bernhardt – Woman Created the Star (Et la femme créa la star )

    The artist, Sarah Bernhardt’s life knew no limits. There was no frontier she could not conquer during her 79 springtimes on earth. She was an emblematic figure, the “divine Sarah”, the “holy monster”, the “golden voice”. Miss Bernhardt (1844-1923) created the star that she was. She was the influencer of the epoque. This icon’s face appeared on major brand beauty, soap, cigar and food products, posters and calendars. Bernhardt’s “S” silhouette, her sharp profile and curly, red hair corresponded perfectly to the aesthetics sought by the Symbolists and Art Nouveau artists. Four hundred pieces make up the exhibition “Sarah Bernhardt – And the Woman Created the Star” (Et la femme créa la star) at the Petit Palais until August…

  • Kayaking and sailing on the Seine near Bas de Marie - Pont Sully - Paris Colleen's Paris
    Let's Explore,  Seeing Paris

    Paris Plages 2023 is Open with Swimming in the Seine

    On July 8, 2023 kayaks and sailboats were gliding on the Seine. About 25 Parisians, including city hall employees, were diving in and swimming between the Pont Sully and the Pont Marie bridges. Mayor Anne Hidalgo gave the signal. With this move, she is officially promoting Seine swimming for the Paris Olympics 2024. The Seine will then reopen to the public in 2025.

  • 1924 Le Grand Escalier Printemps Haussmann reopened 2023
    Let's Explore

    Printemps Haussmann Reopens Le Grand Escalier

    Opening the daily newspaper, Le Parisien, the photo of a magnificent staircase in Printemps Haussmann met my eyes. After forty years, Printemps Haussmann reopened Le Grand Escalier (the Great Staircase). Get lost in the mirrors that reflect and the balustrades that twist to infinity. A major renovation project is complete. Forty years after Printemps closed off the staircase in the rotunda, the beautifully refurbished 1924 staircase once again reaches to the 7ème ciel (the seventh heaven) the rooftop. The staircase reopened Thursday, June 1, 2023. The only way to reach Le Grand Escalier is through the Caumartin women’s building. Excited to see the renovation, I entered the Caumartin rotunda, crossed the mosaic floor to…

  • image from Arts in the City and Air BnB for a night at the Opera Garnier colleensparis.com
    Let's Explore,  Monuments

    Spend the night in the Opera Garnier? 

    Glancing at the Arts in the City‘s newsletter, the headline “Reservez une nuit d’hôtel à l’ Opéra Garnier” (Reserve a night at the Opera Garnier) caught my eye. Mark your calendar and keep your computer open! Reservations open March 1 at 6 pm (CET-Paris).  The first date to reserve is July 16. Sit down for the next piece of information: 37 Euros a night. The Opera National de Paris  and Air BnB are collaborating for an extraordinary experience: a one-night stay in the Box of Honor. This loge (box) usually reserved for visiting dignitaries (without the bed, of course). Additional, fun information about the event “Guests will sleep in the largest opera box in the Palais Garnier – the Box of Honour – a…

  • Storefront Arts et Lumières with MailDrop, Mr. Bringas and the lamps colleensparis.com
    Let's Explore,  Neighborhoods,  Shopping/FleaMarkets/Organic

    Finding Treasure Around the Corner in the Bastille

    Have you ever wanted a specific, stylish item? And you searched until you found it? My search was for finding the hanging lamp treasure that would fit in with my 1890s library ceiling. No flea market was needed. The treasure was literally, around the corner from my apartment in the Bastille. I looked through the window of a vintage lamp store. After 27 years, I finally pushed open the door of Arts et Lumières, looked around, looked up and fell in love. Once I made the decision about buying the lamp, I took my time. Uuntil one day, the signs Tout doit Disparaitre (Everything Must Go) and Déstockage Massif (Clearance…

  • Detail of no parking handicap and other signs BHV Quincaillerie Hardware department colleensparis.com
    Let's Explore,  Life in Paris & France

    Humorous wall and door signs at BHV

    Are you looking for that very Made in France gift or souvenir with a touch of humor? Have you thought about a French door sign? Yes or no, visit a quincaillerie (hardware store) or BHV (Bazar de l’Hôtel de Ville). The department store, BHV has a hardware department with many humorous wall and door sign choices such as house numbers, door signs, occupation, WhatsApp neighbourhood watch, etc. I have known about these signs for a long time, but it was a question that spurred me to share this information. Paul, a Colleen’s Paris readers, asked recently if BHV, was still selling the blue and red Jour/Nuit (day/night) no parking signs.…

  • Edouard Dubufe et Rosa Bonheur (1857) Portrait of Rosa Bonheur Colleen's Paris
    Let's Explore,  Museum exhibitions

    Rosa Bonheur Looking Into The Souls of Animals

    Rosa Bonheur married art—”It is my husband, my world, the air that I breathe. I do not feel anything else. I cannot think of anything else.” For Rosa Bonheur, animals were that art and the eyes of animals were the windows to their souls. The Musée d’Orsay presents this retrospective on her “marriage” for you until January 15, 2023. A friend mentioned wanting to see Rosa Bonheur. A browser search of the name suggested three drinking spots in the Parisian suburbs (guinguettes) named Rosa Bonheur. With more digging, I found out she was a French animal portraitist, sculptor, illustrator, photographer, independent female, admired icon of Buffalo Bill Cody, and first…

  • Bugatti type 35 Jean Luc Decluzeau Salon du Chocolat 2022 colleensparis
    Events and Trade Shows,  Food, Drink & Health,  Going Out,  Life in Paris & France

    The Salon du Chocolat 2022 Offered Fashion and a Chocolate Bugatti

    What do you do with 400 kilos (881 pounds) of chocolate? You build a Bugatti Grand Prix type 35, of course! The Bugatti was one of the numerous creative chocolate sculptures at the Salon du Chocolat’s 27th edition in Paris at Porte de Versailles.  The event is always scheduled for the last weekend in October. When I arrived, I headed past the chocolate sculptures, the chocolate tastings, the bean-to-bar stands and straight to the fashion parade of fifteen chocolate-covered dresses and costumes. The announcer was loud and clear, so the event had begun. With two afternoon start times, I would still see everything.  At the world’s largest event dedicated to cocoa, I…