While you’re probably familiar with museums like the Louvre and Orsay whose collections can be described as “encyclopaedic” and from their origins (or almost) were public, there are many smaller ones that at one time were the private property of Parisians who generously donated their homes and their art collections to France.

We’ve made a selection of elegant private residences that you can visit during your next visit to Paris:

Musée Jacquemart André

Photo made by Ricardalovesmonuments

The Jacquemart André museum was the home of Edouard André (1833-1894) and Nélie Jacquemart (1841 - 1912), who bequeathed their mansion and their art collection to the Institut de France. André inherited a fortune from his father and married Jacquemart, a society painter. They were both passionate about Italian art and every year traveled to Italy to buy it. Their Italian collection includes works by Botticelli, Francesco Botticini, Perugino, Ucello, Mantegna and Bellini. Even after André died, his wife continued collecting art works from Italy and the Orient.

This is one of my favorite small museums in Paris, because in addition to the works of art, you are able to visit their home and view what life was like for the well-to-do in the latter part of 19th century Paris.

  • StrollsParis tip: Be sure to visit the tea room and look at the incredible fresco on the ceiling.

  • Where to find it: Musée Jacquemart André, 158 boulevard Haussmann, 75008 Paris — Metro Saint Philippe du Roule (line 9) Courcelles (line 2)

Cité de l'Économie

Hôtel Gaillard by Cité économie monnaie

This museum is devoted to the study of economics, so all you economists out there might want to add it to your itinerary. For the rest of us, it’s another piece of the fascinating history of how the very wealthy 19th century French were able to display their art collections.

The building is the Hotel Gaillard, built for Emile Gaillard, a wealthy banker from Grenoble who seemed to face the problem of many bankers of that time: not having enough space or the right space to display their art collections. He was a collector of art of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. In 1882, he was able to move into his new home with his collection and stayed there until 1919 when he sold the building, but not the art collection, to the Banque de France. Yes, this was the neighborhood bank for a rather upper class neighborhood. Banking activity stopped in 2006 and the plan to develop the museum was announced in 2011.

  • StrollsParis tip: For non-economists, If you’re going to be in the neighborhood, seeing the exterior of this neo-Renaissance masterpiece is worth the detour. And also, be sure to visit the Parc Monceau, which is just steps away.

  • Where to find it: 1 place du Général Catroux, 75017 Paris — Metro Monceau (Line 2)

Musée Nissim de Camondo

Musée de Nissim de Camondo by Chatsam

This museum will remind you of visiting the summer homes in Newport, Rhode Island, USA if you’ve ever done that. The advantage here is that it is less crowded than the Newport homes and you won’t be rushed from room to room. The house was built for Count Moise de Camondo in 1911 but the design is based on the 18th century Petit Trianon at Versailles.

De Camondo’s passion was arts and crafts from the time of Louis XVI, but also fine examples of decorative arts such as the Savonniere carpets woven in 1678 for the Grand Galerie of the Louvre or the dinner service table setting of Orloff silver that was commissioned by Catherine II of Russia attracted his attention.

Moise was the father of Nissim de Camondo, a pilot in the French army during World War I who was killed in action. At the death of Count de Camondo in 1935, it was announced that he had decided to bequeath his home and its furnishings to France in memory of his son, and thanks to his generosity we now have the museum, which opened in 1936.

  • StrollsParis tip: Be sure to visit the impressive kitchen that was used to feed the de Camondo family, the staff and their friends.

  • Where to find it: 63 rue de Monceau, 75008 Paris — Metro Monceau (line 2).

Question for you: If your house were to become a museum, what would you want to have displayed? Leave us your comments below. Wishing you artistically nice visit,

Eliot & Pamela

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Maybe you're dreaming of taking cooking classes during your trip to Paris. What a great idea!

We have great schools that will provide you the cooking skills that you need to prepare those delicious dishes that will make your friends want to be invited for dinner every weekend.

Before we go into our recommendations we would love to share with you the stories of two US citizens who lived in France and took cooking so seriously that they were willing to confront the challenges of professional training, which here are serious.

First is Julia Child: in her book, My Life in France, co-authored with Alex Prud’homme, she describes her first meal in a French restaurant in Rouen in 1948, where she ate oysters and sole meunière and knew right away that she had to learn how to prepare food that tasted that good. So she enrolled in l’École du Cordon Bleu in Paris, but made the mistake of signing up for the year-long course rather than the six-week. She noticed two things right away: she was the only woman in the class and the other eleven students were also from the USA (GI’s). There were no French students in the class: neither men or women. In her book she describes her unpleasant encounter with Madame Brassart (school director), who told her she didn’t understand why she would waste her time and theirs because Americans don’t know how to cook. The excellence of the instruction she received from the chef and instructor Max Bugnard more than made up for the unpleasantness of Madame Brassart.

Julia Child went on to have a television show in the US, « The French Chef, » which was interesting because she was neither French nor a chef. She also authored eleven cookbooks.

So why would the French not consider her a chef? She had never been one: she was a cookbook author who had a TV show. Most importantly, she did not follow the rigorous system of apprenticeships that all chefs go through in order to move up the ranks and become a chef de cuisine.

For us Julia Child could be considered the first cooking influencer in the world who encouraged American women to learn a new cuisine that at the time was thought to be only for the elite.

Our second cooking enthusiast is Bill Buford, someone who wanted to learn what it took to become a French chef.

For anyone interested in understanding the difference between taking cooking classes and becoming a French chef, I highly recommend his book, Dirt. The following text is taken from its cover:

"At first, Bill Buford (beloved best-selling author of Heat, thinks that in order to learn the fundamentals, a little time working in a restaurant, and then perhaps a few months in France, should be enough. He persuades the revered French chef Michel Richard in Washington, D.C. to take him on, but then — after quickly realizing that working in a kitchen in France is indispensable — he rashly and rather radically moves to Lyon, the gastronomic capital of France…with his wife and three-year-old twin sons. He meets Bob, proprietor of Lyon’s best boulangerie (bakery), becomes his apprentice, and learns how to make bread. He studies at the legendary L’institut Paul Bocuse. He cooks at the storied, Michelin-starred La Mère Brazier and endures the endless hours and exacting rigeur of the kitchen. Weeks turn into months, seasons go by and turn into a five-year digression from normal life, all in pursuit of the answer to one question: What makes French cooking, well, French? "

Eliot with his Poisson Boulangère

As you can see there are many different stories about cooking in France, and you can have your own. For this reason we have reviewed and described some of them for you to have an entry level cooking class during your stay in Paris. (If your hope is to become a Chef, please know that you better move to France and do a proper training program that includes instruction in the top schools and apprenticeship in restaurants.)

L’Ecole du Cordon Bleu — Founded in 1895, they offer year long diploma granting courses for professionals and one or two day workshops for food enthusiasts. Their workshops emphasize pastry making, but also include sauces and jus, and provencal cooking. Their website shows them to be a lot friendlier than when Julia Child enrolled there in 1948. They even list her as one of their success stories!

L’Ecole du Cordon Bleu

Ritz Escoffier Cours de Cuisine — The Ritz Hotel at one time was famous for having been liberated at the end of World War II by Ernest Hemingway and his private militia. It is a five star (Palais) hotel located in the place Vendome. Their cooking school offers 3 and 4 day workshops in pastry making, cocktails, healthy cuisine, etc.

Ritz Hotel www.ritzescoffier.com

La Cuisine Paris — Located on the quai de l’Hôtel de Ville, across the Seine from Notre Dame, the school offers classes in pastry making, sauces, or a dish accompanied by a market tour to decide what to cook that day.

La Cuisine Paris, 80 quai de l’Hôtel de Ville, Parus 4. Metro: Pont Marie, line 7. https://lacuisineparis.com

Le Foodist — In addition to offering cooking classes for pastries, le Foodist offers a class for either a three-course lunch or a four-course dinner, both with an optional market tour. Located near the Panthéon.

Le Foodist www.lefoodist.com

Cook’n with Class — Located in Montmartre, they provide market tours and instruction in sauces, macarons, French desserts, bread baking, and croissants accompanied by a market tour to select the day’s ingredients.

Cook’n with Class, 6 rue Baudelique, Paris 18. Metro: Simplon, Line 4. www.cooknwithclass.com

L’ Atelier des Chefs — Located in several sites in Paris and in other French cities, L’Atelier des Chefs offers courses from 30 minutes to 4 hours. French cuisine lessons cover topics such as a bistro lunch, pastry, sauce techniques and shopping at an outdoor food market. Current non-French classes include a Japanese menu and Indonesian fish curry.



Your first cooking lesson is offered by Eliot! Learn how to make Chicken Marengo and join us in this experience:

Bon appétit!

Eliot & Pamela

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Original Eiffel Tower
CC0 Paris Musées / Musée Carnavalet

Paris will host the summer Olympic Games in 2024. It was also the site of the Olympic Games in 1900 (the second Olympiad) and 1924 (the movie « Chariots of Fire » Olympics). Like other cities hosting the Games, Paris wants to put on a show on top of the spectacle that the city offers every day.

Somehow, major events in the city, whether in celebration or in sorrow, require doing something with the Eiffel Tower. For the Olympics, the project is to repaint the tower yellow, brown, and golden. This will mean painting its 18,000 pieces and 2.5 million rivets. When the tower was first built for the 1889 World’s Fair, it was painted red. In 1907, Eiffel said that he wanted it painted yellow, brown, and golden, and those remained the colors for the first half of the 20th century.

Most buildings in Paris are considered historical, this means they are protected and modifications are rarely allowed. When I wanted to replace the windows in my apartment, the company that would build and install them had to measure the size of each window, pane of glass, and of the mullions and muntins. This because they had to look exactly the same as the old ones for the renovation to be allowed.

But; it’s OK for the Eiffel Tower to change color: it’s one of the things about living in this city that makes you say, « go figure. »

Our beloved tower has a knack of surviving human folly. Built in 1889 for a world's fair, it was originally scheduled to be torn down after the end of the fair. At the end of WWII it was one of the monuments that almost got leveled under the orders of Hitler! But somehow she has managed to resist the times.

The city of Paris uses the lighting of the tower to show support for different causes, while advertising by private companies has almost been non-existent here are some exceptions: In 1926, when the tower was still operated by the Eiffel family, Citroên advertised their automobiles.

In 2017, the Paris Saint-Germain soccer team paid 50,000 euros to have their acquisition of Neymar, the Brazilian star, feted in the red and blue team colors for a couple hours!!! Any company may use the image of the tower for free for their advertising provided that it’s a daytime photo. When the lights are on at night, they need to have the authorization of the city and they have to pay for it.

In 2011, the Ginger Engineering Company wanted to make the Eiffel Tower into a planter for four years. Plants would have covered all four sides for its entire 357 yard height. That was about 600,000 plants plus 12 tons of rubber tubing to keep the plants watered. The engineers estimated this would add 378 tons to the weight of the Eiffel Tower.

You might well ask why they wanted to do this.

Answer: the company wanted to create a carbon negative building; they wanted to have Paris be the first city in the world to do this; and as we all know, the Eiffel Tower symbolizes Paris. With this project, the 7 million annual visitors to the Eiffel Tower would not just have been visiting the Eiffel Tower, they would have been involved in eco-tourism.

According to the engineers, the Eiffel Tower produces 84.2 tons of carbon dioxide. With the 600 thousand plants, 87.8 tons would have been absorbed.

Ginger claimed to have the support of the Paris mayor and the national Minister of the Environment but then a funny thing happened. The story appeared in the news. The stories politicians would rather not see in the news are more likely to appear than the stories they'd like to see. The Mayor issued a statement saying that he had not yet decided whether to support the project and as you might have guessed, the project became a part of history that most everyone ignores.

Now you know; when you come to Paris make sure to take pictures to immortalise the Eiffel Tower of "your time", because there’s no guarantee it will look the same in the future.

By Eliot Goldman

StrollsParis tips:

1- After a visit to the Tower you might consider a moment of calm, you can find this by the hidden waterfall between the Musée de l'homme, rue Benjamin Franklin and rue le Tasse, the hidden side of Trocadero garden. You can watch our facebook live tour we did on June 13th 2021 to know where this is: https://fb.me/e/1435QZ490

2- The Paris Aquarium, in the Trocadero gardens, is a great place to bring your kids.

"Aquarium de Paris" 5 rue Albert de Mun, Paris 75016.

Metro Trocadero, Lines 6 and 9

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