Monday, July 30, 2012

Top Ten Things To Do in Paris

Not what you might expect

by Libby Mercer

Quite a large chunk of my novel, Fashioning a Romance, takes place in Paris, so this city’s been on my mind a lot lately. (I really must get back there at some point...) Anyway, I thought I’d come up with a Top Ten list of Paris sights for this blog post, but as I Googled for details, I kept discovering so many wild and wacky Paris sights and shops, it seemed silly to reiterate what’s pretty much common knowledge – that one must visit the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, go for a walk on the Seine, etc. And now, without further ado, here’s my somewhat offbeat list:

(Apologies to any guys reading this for the overt girly slant.)

1. Saint-Séverin
This stunning church was once the main place of worship for everyone who lived on the Left Bank. Construction begun in the 11th Century, and its bells include the oldest one remaining in Paris. It’s got some wacky architectural details, including pillars in the shape of palm trees. In Fashioning a Romance, my characters visit Saint-Séverin, and as my hero, John, points out: the architects must have been proponents of the “more is more” design philosophy.

2. Parc de Belleville
The English translation for “belleville” is “beautiful town” and that’s exactly what you will see before you when you visit this peaceful park. At 108 meters, it’s the highest park in Paris and offers a gorgeous panoramic view of the city.

3. La Fée Verte
The atmosphere in this charming, old-fashioned absinthe bar and café is sophisticated, while at the same time laid back. La Fée Verte, or “The Green Fairy” has a distinctive, magical feel to it. Not sure if it has more to do with the enchanting 19th Century Parisian style or the effects of the absinthe…

4. The stock and secondhand shops
Top Parisian designers like Azzedine Alaïa and Sonia Rykiel have specific shops where they sell last season’s fashions at deep discounts, and the secondhand shops are flush with goodies after the runway shows – after all, if Giselle wears it once for twenty minutes, they can’t sell it as “new”. If fashion’s your thing, consider scheduling your visit shortly after Fashion Week, which takes place in early March and early October each year. Sadly, I don’t wear the same size as Giselle & Co. except when it comes to shoes. A few years ago, I was able to score a sassy pair of gold Gucci heels for about 80 bucks!

5. Musée de la Poupée
I guess I’m still a little girl at heart, because I had to include the Doll Museum on this list. The permanent exhibit displays dolls from 1800 to 1959, but they have an ongoing rotation of special exhibitions, focusing on such things as dollhouse art, baby dolls and Barbie et Ken. They also have a clinic onsite, so you can bring your own “sick dolls” in to be restrung, to have new eyes put in or whatever you need.

6. The Rodin Museum
Yes, I know. It’s not exactly a revolutionary choice, but there are some important scenes in Fashioning a Romance that take place there, so I couldn’t not include it on this list. Rodin’s iconic sculptures, including “The Thinker”, “The Kiss” and The “Gates of Hell” are magnificent to behold, and the museum’s surrounding gardens are absolutely sublime.

7. Canzi Biocosmetique
A skincare boutique unlike any other, Canzi offers unique products made with the finest organic ingredients from around the world including pure plant powders, rose petals, olive oil, lavender and calendula. Owner Stefan Mottay mixes the cosmetics himself, sometimes right in front of customers.

8. Bibliotheque Nationale de France

This, as you may have deduced from the name, is the national library and it’s a must-see for book-lovers visiting Paris. It’s built to look like four ginormous books open and standing on their ends. Only in Paris…

9. La Gare
Gare” means station as in “train station” which is what the building that houses the restaurant within once was. It’s a huge space with high, peaked ceilings and a massive skylight running down the center of it. A meal here will cost you dearly, and the portions are miniscule, but dining at La Gare is an experience. And a light dinner might be a good idea if, like me, you overindulge on the pains au chocolats in the morning.

10.Le Comptoir
Crafty visitors will definitely want to check out this top quality craft shop. They stock a massive selection of gorgeous wool yarn, pattern books and magazines, ribbons, embroidery thread and exquisite buttons.

So there you have it. These are my Top Ten picks for things to do in Paris. Now, how much are airline tickets going for these days…

Now a little about Fashioning a Romance:

Faced with a man so smooth he can charm the clouds from the sky, will Caitlyn be able to stick to her strict No Players policy?

Dedicated American fashion girl, Caitlyn Taylor, can’t stand players, and has successfully dodged them like enemy fire all her life. And then she meets fun-loving British CEO, John Harrington. Not only is he her boss’s brother, he’s the charismatic kind of womanizer that nightmares are made of. Worse still: he’s exactly Caitlyn’s type. As if his being the Superman of sex appeal isn’t enough, he’s also got that quirky something-something that she adores. Not that she’s even considering falling prey to his methods. No way.

John can’t fathom how Caitlyn can be impervious to his charms, given the extraordinary chemistry between them. The more she resists, the more determined he is to break down the walls she’s built up to keep him out. Forced to get creative, he orchestrates a “surprise” weekend in Paris for the two of them. Game on!

To read an excerpt from Fashioning a Romance, or to purchase the book, please click HERE.

Learn more about Libby Mercer on her blog and stay connected on Facebook.

I'll be back Wednesday with a new menu. Until then...

Happy Reading!

Sloane Taylor


  1. Aw, thanks for posting this, Sloane! I really must find a way to get back to Paris in the not so distant future.... :-)

    1. You're welcome, but I had ulterior motives. You have to take me with when you go to Paris.:)