Face it, even the best cities in the world have their places of ugh that insiders/sane people avoid (New York City: Barneys Warehouse Sale, Brunch at Pastis, Magnolia Bakery, the subways on a sticky August afternoon). Today we’ll talk about what to do instead of what everyone does in Paris with Rosecrans Baldwin, author of Paris, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), Baldwin’s charming new memoir about the realities of an American living and working in Paris.
NNN: You’ve mentioned there isn’t much about Paris that actually sucks, but the title of your book leads me to believe there are things that don’t exactly make one feel like breaking into a Cole Porter song while tappa tappa tapping down rue Cler. Not that I would ever. I do want to avoid tourist cliches on my next visit, so Mr. Baldwin, thanks for filling in the following blanks to help New Now Next find the (truly) most fabulous Paris. Baldwin’s answers are in bold.
Boozing – Instead of ordering a Kir Royale at Harry’s Bar, I should order a pitcher of white wine at any neighborhood café if I want to feel like a true Parisian. But if I insist, the best place to order a Kir Royale is in the Tuileries.
[Pitcher of wine? Sounds like something I'll have to start ordering stateside.]
In St. Germain? – Make time for dinner at Le Petit Vatel (5 rue lobineau, 75006 Paris).
Beautiful people – Oooo baby loves some elegant French people! The best place to watch Parisians being Parisian (ie friendly ) is at a park on a nice day when it’s warm enough outside to picnic.
Daytrip: Who’s got time for Versailles? For the feeling of a city escape without leaving the city, visit the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont.
Monuments – In the Sex and the City series finale, Baryshnikov’s – I mean Petrovsky’s – French daughter hated on the Eiffel Tower, so clearly that’s a don’t. the Bois de Boulogne is a do because more than twice as big as Central Park.
If You Have One Day – The one place everyone should visit before leaving Paris is a full-day’s walk spiraling out from Pont Saint Michel.
There we go! Thanks to Rosecrans for the tips that will surely make my next trip to Paris a little less touristy.
For a complete listing of events, praise, and an excerpt from Paris, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down, check out Rosecran’s Baldwin’s Tumblr. And if you’re in New York, check out his event at McNally Jackson Bookstore in Soho on Wednesday, May 16: a Conversation With Sloane Crosley.
Amanda Miller has written about food and travel for Jauntsetter, Chapelboro.com, and more. Follow her on twitter @victuspopuli.