i'm headed to paris for a long overdue 2 week vacation. i'll be staying in the marais district in an apartment. any special tips beyond the usual attractions?
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sure.  i used to live in the 18e arrondissement -- just north of the 9th.  while i wouldn't recommend hanging around too much after dark in the pigalle area (at the foot of montmartre), it's well worth your while to climb up and see the sacre coeur cathedral.  on the north slope beyond sacre coeur there are a number of really fantastic small restaurants that are very accomodating, and a few jazz clubs, not to mention small neighborhood cafes.  

it's been four or five years since i lived there (for three years or so), so i can't give any exact details.  

in the marais there is plenty to explore, including the islands (islets?), and, obviously, you're just a few steps from all that the left bank has to offer -- a great place to just walk around and explore.  there's an expert luthier who specializes in double bass and cello on one of the side streets in the marais with an open shop window -- nice guy.
sorry, i meant south slope, not north slope -- vid. above.
two weeks in paris, that's fantastic. particularly in christmas time.  
with respect to jazz, i have some tips for you:
sept lezards - marais jazzclub (frequent jam sessions)
duc des lombards/baiser salee/sunset/sunside - rue des lombards (french jazz)
new morning - 9 ar. international jazz

also check the fantastic cd-shop paris jazz corner close to the old mochee
if you like modern art go to palais de tokyo, which also has a fancy restaurant.
how about fleamarkets? -> porte de clignacourt.

so far, i wish you a great time in paris, a.
paris jazz corner is right near the arenes de lutece, if i recall correctly, right?  if so, it's a great spot to have a sandwich, pick up some rare vinyl, watch old folks playing petanque and so forth.
i always buy a visitor's metro pass with the rer addition. i have always found it an easy and economical way to visit nearly any place that i wanted to go, except maybe last bastille day when i wanted to see the fireworks at the eiffel tower, wall to wall people, but still enjoyable. i enjoy so many things it is difficult to say which is the best. i usually visit giverny because i so enjoy the works of claude monet. i never discount the opportunity to just relax and enjoy the atmosphere in a cafe. decide the things you want to see and do and do those things. j'espere que vous avez de grandes vacances.
peace out!

so you're going to my home town?
i certainly hope you'll like it .
i know this city fairly well so if you have specific questions, please shoot. call me even if you need.  

le marais is a great place to stay at. you'll see place des vosges. it's  very central.  

couple of tips:
in the metro, keep your hands on your wallet, they spot tourists. they pretend to bump into you, touch your legs while another goes for the back pocket. just be careful you'll be fine.

there are at least 2 castles that are worth the detour. obviously versailles but also chantilly.  

as far as less famous museums, i like musee rodin.  
giverny is a good recommendation although a little far, but you have time :)

for sure walk an evening in montmartre, it's just beautiful there and plenty of street artists.  

at the restaurant, choose a "menu" (usually a 3 course meal) rather than a la carte. forget soda. (i'm pretty french when it comes to not drinking soda while eating :)
certainly stop in a nice pastry shop and get treat yourself to the best cakes you will ever taste. ask the locals for a good nearby pastry shop or go with a chain like le notre, martial or flo'. they have very decent cakes.  

see if you can get some tickets for the opera (garnier). it's the most beautiful building inside and out, and it was completely renovated 10 years or so ago. the work inside is phenomenal.  

what else? things might pop up. but if you have specific questions, let me know.

i really hope you enjoy.  

(note i already wrote another post about this but it somehow got lost in cyberspace, maybe posted in a different thread, oh well)
ah, this is obviously an elaborate hoax by jazz+ who clearly being the secret jazz star we all know he is pretending that he's going to paris when he clearly visits all the time when he tours as the famous jazz pianist he is, he's just trying to throw us off the scent!  i think we've caught you herbie/keith/oscar/all the jazz piano players who are alive!!  ;)
i lived in paris for two years, but that was decades ago.

i'm sure it's very different now, nonetheless you should (at the very least) treat yourself to a couscous royale while there.

be aware that bistros will charge you different prices depending on where you sit. at the comptoir (counter) is the cheapest. inside the bar at a table will cost you more, and if you decide to sit outside on the street terrace you'll pay through the nose.

if you want to know what entertainment is going on in town at the moment pick up a copy of "officiel des spectacles" (available at any kiosk).

and french beer (except those from alsace) is even worse than american beer (go for belgian beer - you almost can't go wrong).

if you don't speak french expect to be treated like dirt. luckily i do speak french, so i was treated like a king.

and get the current michelin guide of paris, it will really help to prioritize your extremely short stay. in fact, you should get the michelin guide before you go (available at any decent bookstore stateside).
i'm sure you'll have a great moment. you'll find alot of people wanting to help you and they will answer in english, be sure of that. if you are there by october 31th don't miss a special event taking place at sunset club (60, rue des lombards), it's the 25th anniversary of this club (i think the special events lasts one month for this occasion, but on 31th it will be the first and biggest), with singer dee dee bridgewater and musicians : belmondo quintet, giovanni mirabassi trio, jean-jacques milteau quartet, julien lourau quartet, didier lockwood, sixun. i love this pianist giovanni mirabassi.

in paris, you're not there to drink beer (even though you'll find good ones), taste wines as much as you can (i mean as frequently as you can, you've followed me ...)

if you have plenty of money, you'll find five-stars restaurants try "la tour d'argent" if you can (5e arrondissement). (you're a star aren't you ?? :-))
if you have less money (like me :-) there's a restaurant i like to go to : le procope (it's in st germain area, a nice place of paris to visit, with cool atmosphere, lots of jazz caves in the past). at the procope (the oldest restaurant of paris (1686) where writers like voltaire, rousseau or diderot used to come, and also danton, robespierre, or marat during the revolution), you'll have a nice dinner and you'll see furnitures and décoration from this era.   (13, rue de l'ancienne comédie - 75006 paris )

don't miss the louvre museum (huge, at least 3 days to visit : you should choose something you like in art and see that during one day). not far from there, get into the pyramide du louvre, lots of things to see there also.

have a nice trip. shake sarkozy's hand for me (our new president), and tell him he's currently doing a good job :-)  
and be happy that we have the cuttest women in the world :-)

hmm... i have to say something about that.  
i you go to paris like you own the place, you will be treated like dirt. stay humble and you'll find many nice people.  

french people often find americans superficial, americans may find the french to be stuck up... it's just a culture difference.  

and don't do that about sarkozy :) (sorry jm)
i speak some french, but i have never been rudely treated for my inadequacies. those who have traveled with me usually spoke no french and were treated very courteously as well throughout all france. in all my travels i and those with me are treated far more discourteously in the usa than any where else in the world. french people may be a little slow to warm up at times, but they are genuine and passionate when they are more familiar. and if there is any question of my nationality, i am a citizen of the usa by birth. just my observations.
peace out!
i was in paris about 24 years ago.  i knew no french so i picked up a phrase book and learned a few basics.  i found the french people eager to help me - probably because i took the time to try.  i learned how to tell them i don't speak much french and ask if they speak english.  i think it's rude to assume everyone speaks english - i'm guessing they do too:)

i do remember having dinner with some friends who would just point to the phrases in the phrase book.  the server would not even look at the book nor did he speak any english.  after we ordered several dinners and bottles of wine, his english emerged with a very natural midwest accent - turns out he had lived in chicago for a while - heh heh:)

in any case...have a great time jazz+!  how'd you work out a two week trip to any place?  especially paris!
knotty, if jazz+ decides to call you, can you reveal his identity to us? :-)
thanks for all the nice responses!

one of the highlights was being invited upstairs in st. sulpice cathedral in paris, the same one in the da vinci code. i stood beside resident organ master daniel roth and watched him perform for an hour. being the resident organist at st sulpice is the most prominent position of all for a french organist. roth likes to play a repertoire of modern classical organ music, virtuoso works, bach , and his own improvisations.


videos of organist playing:
(sound quality is low fi):

here is one of daniel roth's improvisations:

more playing:

here daniel roth demonstrates some of the organ settings: (also see text below photo)

more explaining:

"the organ tradition of st. sulpice dates back a long time. from the mid 16th century we can observe the presence of an organist. then the well known guillaume-gabriel nivers and louis-nicolas clerambault follow. but these organists served the first parrish church of st. sulpice. the current church building, built during the mid 18th century according to the design of the architect chalgrin, contains the monumental organ case (also designed by chalgrin) that we can admire to this day. this case originally contained an instrument built in 1781 by clicquot, with five manuals, 64 stops, and a montre of 32 ft. the organ was considered one the finest organs of the french kingdom, along with those of saint-martin de tours and notre-dame de paris. thanks to the talent of its organist, nicolas sejan, the instrument became celebrated throughout europe.

during the 19th century, the famous organ builder aristide cavaille-coll constructed a new instrument that conserved much of the previous organ, with the intention of realizing the union of the "older art with the new." thus the grand-orgue of st. sulpice, one of the three "100 stop" european organs accompanied by ulm cathedral (walcker) and liverpool cathedral (willis), rapidly became admired throughout the world. professor adolphe hesse of breslau, a noted performer of bach who had visited the organ just after its completion, wrote: "i must declare that of all of the instruments that i have seen, examined, and played, that of st. sulpice is the most perfect, harmonious, largest, and really the master work of modern organ building."

in 1863, the brilliant virtuoso lefebure-wely was nominated organist. he was succeeded in 1870 by charles-marie widor who was only 26 years old. nominated with the title as a "temporary organist," he was never given the official title of "titular" during his 63 year presence at st. sulpice! he resigned on the 31 december 1933, handing the post over to marcel dupre, another great figure in the organ world. dupre died during the afternoon of the pentecote in 1971 after playing for the mass that morning. he was succeeded by his student, jean-jacques grunenwald, another great musician who would only hold the post for ten years. these artists, with high regard for cavaille-coll's work, had left the instrument intact; such was not the fate of many of his other instruments, which more or less have been modified during the first half of the 20th century.

in fact, this instrument should not be viewed as that of a romantic-symphonic style, which many may suggest. instead, the creater desired an instrument where the classic tradition and the new romantic style are intimately linked!"

daniel roth (translation by b. epstein)
the only jazz i heard was a good group called "borsalino", they play outside for tips all over paris:

in the subway tunnels and on subway trains lots of musician in paris are playing for tips. i heard many good classical players and russian or gypsy musicians around every other corner.

classical in the subway:

gypsy/russian music in the subway:

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