35 Instagrammable Spots in Paris

August 13, 2018 Paris, France

Paris is a photographer's dream!  To me, Paris is my "studio".  Every corner is an opportunity to capture something spectacular.  After photographing Paris for the past few years, I decided to create a list of 35 of my favorite Instagrammable spots that I have either found through photowalks with my Parisian friends or discovered on my own.   And now I'd like to share this list with you:
  1. La Maison Rose
  2. L'oasis d'Aboukir
  3. Rue Crémieux
  4. Rue des Barres
  5. Musée d'Orsay
  6. Le Palais Royal
  7. Rue de l'Université
  8. Square Rapp
  9. Musée du Louvre
  10. Jardin des Tuilèries
  11. Pont Alexandre III
  12. L'Arc de Triomphe de l'Etoile
  13. Palais Garnier
  14. Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris
  15. Odette Paris
  16. Shakespeare & Company
  17. Aux Vieux Paris d'Arcole
  18. Galeries Lafayette Haussmann
  19. Trocadéro
  20. Place de la Concorde
  21. Basilique du Sacré-Cœur
  22. Le Moulin de la Galette
  23. Moulin Rouge
  24. Hôtel de Ville
  25. Place Dauphine
  26. Ladurée Paris Champs-Elysées
  27. Sinking House in Montmartre
  28. Place des Vosges
  29. Pont Bir-Hakeim (aka "Inception" bridge)
  30. Lamarck-Caulaincourt
  31. Chanel Boutique and Apartment
  32. Galerie Vivienne
  33. Boot Café
  34. Printemps Haussmann
  35. Fountaine de Marie de Médicis
Also, to make things easier I created a Google map below with pictures I took of these spots so you have an idea of what they look like.  Enjoy!!

Offbeat Paris: Marché aux Puces Saint-Ouen

August 2, 2018

The allure of Paris usually consists of the following:  art, gastronomy, fashion, history, and architecture.  I'd like to add to this list, if I may.  Nostalgia.  Nostalgia, to me, particularly found in tangible objects that were at one point in time of the utmost value to a person's life, but then traveled through time from one home to the next and then eventually finding its way to an antique dealer...in Paris.  It has occurred to me a few trips ago that I had not crossed off an important 'must-see' in Paris...the antique markets.  I've always wanted to visit the most famous of them all, the Marché aux Puces Saint-Ouen in Paris.  You know, the flea market seen in "Midnight in Paris"?  Well, this time I was invited on a walking tour with Localers, a local tour company offering guided tours, to tour Paris with one of their expert guides.  Localers have so many walking tours to choose from, even offbeat ones, but since I had not seen Marché aux Puces Saint-Ouen I decided to book their "Paris Flea Market Tour".

Marché aux Puces Saint-Ouen (also known as the "Puces", which is French for fleas) is one of the largest antiques markets in the world.  It is located in Paris at Porte de Clignancourt and has 15 markets within 7 hectares:
  • Antica
  • Biron
  • Cambo
  • Dauphine
  • Django Reinhardt
  • Jules Vallès
  • le Passage
  • Malassis
  • Malik
  • l'Entrepôt
  • Paul Bert Serpette
  • des Rues
  • l'Usine
  • Lécuyer
  • Vernaison
Our Localers guide, Eric, showed us a couple of them:  Marche Paul Bert Serpette and Marché de l'Entrepôt.

We met up with Eric and another family at the Garibaldi Metro station on a Sunday morning, which was the closest stop to the Puces.  We walked down Rue des Rosiers, which is the main street where the different markets can be found.

Marché de l'Entrepôt was our first stop.  It's a spacious alleyway housing bulkier items like furniture, spiral staircases, mantelpieces, doors, wrought iron gates, bars, and iron railings.  These items were dismantled from former chateaus and made its way here.


Our second stop on this tour...
Marché Paul Bert Serpette is an avant-garde market housing a beautiful mix of furniture, art, kitchenware, decorative pieces from mid-century modern to pieces dating back to the 17th century.  It's a favorite among celebrities like Julia Roberts and Kanye West.  Plus, it was featured in "Midnight in Paris."

I have heard the Puces can get crowded and like any place in the world you should be mindful of your belongings to avoid being pickpocketed.  Luckily it was nice, quiet, and not crowded at all!  It made the tour quite pleasant.  One thing I've noticed is that the Puces is not cheap.  For example, the vintage utensils below are 40€ for each bundle of 12.  But I'm sure the price is negotiable with proper negotiation techniques.


The Puces is open every Saturday and Sunday from 9h to 18h, and Mondays from 11h to 17h.  Although I did not find what I was looking for, I'm thrilled that I had the opportunity to visit the Puces and will be planning another trip back to visit the other marchés.

Thanks Localers for sponsoring this post.

'Midnight in Paris' Photo Walking Trail

June 28, 2018

Last year I had the pleasure of creating a photo walking trail for an app called Spotroam to help visitors explore local spots of Paris not usually known by the average tourist.  The theme I created was 'Midnight in Paris' because I know that fans of the movie would appreciate something like this.  This trail will be a pleasant walk through some of the medieval parts of Paris to the infamous steps where Owen Wilson's character, Gil Pender, gets picked up in a vintage car to get transported to 1920s Paris in Woody Allen's film "Midnight in Paris". This trail has four spots and it should take about 20-30 minutes to complete.  In addition, I added two bonus spots at the end of the walking trail where you can 1) get a nice view of the Eiffel Tower and 2) walk a short distance to the beautiful Jardin du Luxembourg (yes it's nearby so why not?).  Below are some interesting tidbits about the spots you'll see plus the Google Map of the walking trail.  Take your time and enjoy the medieval sites and have fun!

Spot #1:  Place de Hôtel de Ville in front of Hôtel de Ville

Pont d'Arcole was open in 1856 and the first unsupported bridge made of wrought iron.  It connects from Place de Hôtel de Ville (formerly Place de Grève) to île de la Cité.  Hôtel de Ville de Paris is the City of Hall of Paris.  It is absolutely stunning both inside and out and is free to visit as long as you make a reservation at least two months in advance.  To reserve a tour you can email visites.hdv@paris.fr.  Place de Hôtel de Ville (formerly Place de Grève) is the plaza in front of city hall.  Historically, it is known for the public executions during early Paris.

After crossing the Pont d'Arcole, you will arrive at Île de la Cité, the center of Paris.  Wander off the beaten track by making a left turn on rue Chanoinesse when you see a brasserie with orange awning with the words "Le Quasimodo Notre Dame."  Rue Chanoinese is one of the oldest, medieval streets untouched by Haussmann's renovations with a few things you will find interesting.

Spot #2:  Au Vieux Paris d'Arcole and What's Behind 26 rue Chanoinesse?

Behind the maroon doors of 26 rue Chanoinesse is a courtyard called Gravestone Courtyard and, much like the rest of this street, was untouched by the architectural overhaul done by Haussmann.  There is a strip of mismatched stone slabs laid besides cobblestones that were once used as gravestone markers taken from churches torn down by during Haussmann's renovations.  They were re-purposed in this courtyard.  Some of them have worn out Gothic writings proving their original purpose.  The maroon doors of 26 rue Chanoinesse are usually locked so there are no guarantees it will be accessible.


As you stroll down rue Chanoinesse look to your left to find a picturesque cafe covered with bright purple chairs outside, called Au Vieux Paris d'Arcole.  Au Vieux Paris d'Arcole is one of the prettiest cafes in Paris.  It's covered with wisteria in the spring, greenery in the summer and beautifully decorated for the holidays in the winter.  Also, legend has it that Paris had their own "Sweeney Todd" in the 14th century.  In the late 14th century, a barber and a butcher occupied the spaces 18-20 rue Chanoinesse (actually located on the left side of the street behind from where I was standing to take this picture). The barber would kill his customers with a razor and the butcher turned the victims bodies in patties for freshly baked pies, which were widely popular.  They eventually confessed to their scheme, were burned to death, and their houses destroyed.  The lot stayed empty due to superstition for centuries.  Now it's a garage for police motorcycles and if you’re lucky enough a nice police officer may let you see the old building foundation in the basement of 20 rue Chanoinesse.

Spot #3:  Filming location from Midnight in Paris - Square Jean-XXIII

Square Jean-XXIII is a nice peaceful square away from the hustle and bustle.  It's located in the back of Notre-Dame lined with lots of trees and park benches where you can sit and enjoy a nice sandwich.  This location is also featured in the "Midnight in Paris" in the scene where Gil Pender played by Owen Wilson sits on a park bench with a French museum docent played by French First Lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy.  He listens to her translate an entry of an old diary he purchased from le bouquinistes (booksellers).


Spot #4:  Filming location from Midnight in Paris - Church steps of Saint-Étienne-du-Mont

The church steps are located around the corner from the front of Saint-Étienne-du-Mont.  In the movie, Gil sees a 1920s Peugeot at midnight drive up on Rue de la Montagne Sainte-Geneviève at Place de L’Abbé Basset.

Saint-Étienne-du-Mont contains the shrine of  St. Geneviève, the patron saint of Paris.  Next door to the church is the Panthéon.  The Panthéon is one of the most marvelous architectural masterpieces in Paris. Louis XV ordered to replace the damaged Saint-Geneviève church to show his gratitude to God after recovering from an illness. After the revolution, it became a mausoleum for exceptional Frenchmen and women.  If you want a nice panoramic view of Paris, this is one of the many places.  You can purchase the tickets (about €3 per person) and during certain times of the day a guide will lead a group to walk up the steps to the top of the Panthéon to Les colonnades.

P.S.  I've been at this spot at midnight.  The church bells didn't ring, which explains why there was no sight of a 1920s Peugeot.


French Traditions of Celebrating Easter and How We Celebrated in Paris

April 1, 2018

Two years ago, my husband and I had the pleasure of being in Paris for spring.  However, when I first booked the trip I didn't realize Easter was within our travel dates!  So you can imagine how excited we were to celebrate our first holiday in Paris.  As many of you know, Easter is a religious holiday marking the resurrection of Jesus and it is one of the most celebrated holidays in France, which the French call "Pâques" (pac).  Here are some ways the French celebrate Easter.  Easter celebrations in France have some French particularities as I learned while spending Easter in Paris.

Easter bunny vs Flying Bells
Traditionally in the United States the Easter bunny delivers treats to children.  However, one of the things I noticed in Paris was the Easter bunny or lapin de pâques isn't as popular as it is in the United States.  So who delivers the Easter treats to kids?  A French tradition says the flying bells do!  Yes it sounds odd, but it's quite an interesting story.  From Good Friday until Easter Sunday morning, all the bells in France do not ring.  As the story goes the bells grow wings and fly to the Vatican to be blessed by the Pope.  On Easter Sunday, they fly back to France and drop Easter treats like chocolate eggs to well-behaved kids.  Then, the bells ring loud for all to hear during Easter Sunday mass to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus.


Easter Egg Hunt
The hunt for eggs are a big part of Easter in France as it is worldwide.  But how awesome would it be to hunt for eggs at a French castle?  One of the most popular places for Easter egg hunting or chasse au œufs is at Château de Vaux le Vicomte near Paris.  People of all ages are welcome to hunt for little chocolate treasures hidden around the French garden or jardin à la française designed by Le Nôtre.  The lucky winner will find a chocolate sculpture.

Chocolate Artistry
If you're lucky enough to spend Easter in France you'll notice a lot of wonderful window displays of grandiose chocolate sculptures.  Chocolatiers stop at nothing in creating extraordinary detailed sculptures of fish, rabbits, chicken, eggs, etc.  These creations are not only too pretty to eat, but when you shake them they rattle due to the little pieces of chocolate inside.


How We Celebrated Easter in Paris
It rained for most of the time we were there, which did not put a damper on things because let's be real...Paris is gorgeous in the rain.  The clouds cleared up on Easter Sunday.  We woke up early to catch the sunrise on the Seine and capture a few photos of one of my favorite spots, Place Dauphine, before attending the 8 o'clock mass at Notre-Dame.  We assumed it would be crowded, but I guess 8am was to early for most.  After mass, we decided to have Easter brunch at one of our favorite spots, HolyBelly, located in the 10th arrondissement.  Since our daughters did not come with us to Paris, we shopped for chocolates to take back home.  Now, these types of magnificent chocolate sculptures are part of our Easter family tradition even when we're not in Paris.


The Sinking House in Montmartre

March 31, 2018

The Sinking House is located next to Sacré-Cœur on the right (if you're looking at it).  Now before you go out and search for the sinking house in Montmartre you must know that the "sinking house" is, in fact, not sinking at all.  That's right folks.  It's just a camera trick that is quite simple.  Just tilt your camera to the left until the hill is leveled.  Or you can just use the SKRWT app to rotate the image. 

Before

After

Remember, don't believe everything you see.


EOS Must-Haves and Beauty Hacks

March 16, 2018


If there is one beauty item I must have in my purse it's lip balm.  Yes, I am a lip balm fanatic.  Ask my family and they'll tell you I have a habit of buying different ones.  However, the lip balms I've always adored are the ones from EOS.  I recently partnered up with EOS to share with you my new favorites from their product line that I carry with me and a few beauty hacks to show you their versatility.


My new favorites from EOS
I use lip balm as a primer before I apply lipstick and to keep my lips from getting dry.  I had recently tried three of EOS's lip balms:  Visibly Soft Pure Hydration, Organic Stick, and Crystal.  Honestly, I really love all three and how they make my lips feel.  They've kept my lips soft and nourished.

Visibly Soft Pure Hydration in Neutral flavor
If you want long lasting, intense hydration without any fragrance or flavor, this is it!  It's enriched wtih cocoa and shea butters, plus a blend of moisturizing oils.

Crystal Lip Balm in Hibiscus Peach
It's 100% wax free, vegan, and made with Shea, coconut, avocado, and other natural oils.  Plus, it smells delightful and it's clear as crystal!

Organic Stick in Sweet Mint
Parched lips no more!  This stick is certified organic and packed with vitamin E, shea butter, and jojoba oil.  The Sweet Mint feels cool and soothing on my lips.



Beauty hacks using EOS lip balms
Below are a few ways I use my EOS lip balms aside from using them as a primer for my lips and keeping them hydrated.
  • Taming Flyaway Hairs:  Rub your fingers on the EOS lip balm and apply to the loose strands.
  • Soften Cuticles:  Swipe EOS lip balm over the cuticles
  • Tame Eyebrows:  EOS lip balm can act as a brow gel to keep them in place.
  • Eyeshadow primer:  Use EOS lip balm as a primer to intensify the color and help your eyeshadow stay on longer.
  • Fix makeup:  Take a Q-Tip and rub it on your EOS lip balm and then use the Q-Tip to rub off your makeup mistake.  Dry off the area with the dry end of the Q-Tip.
You can purchase the Crystal Lip Balm, Organic Stick, or Visibly Soft Pure Hydration lip balms by EOS in Target or you can click here for your nearest retailer.  Try them and let me know what you think!

Thanks EOS for sponsoring this post.

Photography Walking Trail: A Scenic Stroll through Montmartre

March 4, 2018


I often get asked for recommendations on various things regarding Paris.  In the subject of photography, I try to geotag my photos on my Instagram account (@ruemargaux) to make it easier for everyone to find the places I photograph.  But sometimes geotag is just not enough, which brings me to the subject of this blog post.

As I was drumming up some topics to discuss on my blog, I thought about my first time in Paris.  I walked for hours and hours discovering as much of the city as I can.  Aside from the typical tourist stuff, I longed to discover the Paris seen by locals, but like many who have come to Paris for the first time, I asked myself "where do I start"?

Recently, I asked many of you following me on Instagram if you would like to see future blog posts of photography walking trails in Paris.  I was happy to receive an overwhelming "yes" vote!  So as promised, today's first photography walking trail post, one of many photography walking trails I plan to post, will take you through Montmartre.  I know many of you will benefit from this guide, but I encourage you to explore Paris on your own to make your own discoveries.

Prior to your walk around Montmartre, I encourage you to read my very first blog post, Exploring Montmartre, for some information on the things you'll see.  Montmartre is situated on a hilltop in the 18th arrondissement.  There are many stairs to climb so keep that in mind.  Take your time and enjoy the views.  Although this guide was created to give you a nice scenic walk that flows nicely, you don't have to follow my photography walking trail to the "T".  And remember you can always take the Funiculaire de Montmartre if you don't feel like taking the stairs to the top of the hill (it is marked on the Google Map below).  This guide starts at the Blanche metro station where you will see Moulin Rouge once you exit the metro.  It will take you through sites like the famous Cafe des Deux Moulins as seen in the movie "Amelie"; the singer, Dalida's home and the bust dedicated to her; Basilique du Sacré-Cœur; and through the historic quaint village of Montmartre.  The trail ends at the Le murs des je t'aime (Wall of Love) near the Abbesses metro station.  Enjoy!

Pretty Lattes in My Favorite Stylish Boutique

February 18, 2018


What happens when your favorite boutique opens a café?  You get one happy gal!  This weekend my favorite apparel boutique, Morning Lavender, just opened their lovely café within their boutique in lovely Downtown Tustin.  I couldn't be more happier because it's rare to find a café that serves two things I love, lavender + rose, not to mention in a form of lattes and milk teas.  You can now shop their stylish boutique whilst enjoying their delicious drinks and snacks served in pretty dining ware.  As pretty as their lattes are, I think it's worth mentioning that the Morning Lavender OC Café interior design is a great melange of elegance, sophistication, modern, fresh, and French-inspired with crystal chandeliers and Parisian bistro chairs that I'm always crazy about!  I think Marie-Antoinette would approve!  Just see below...


As my family relaxed in the café and took pictures in front of the wall of roses, I did a little shopping.


I purchased two sweaters I've been eyeing for a while:  the Roxanne Black Off-the-Shoulder Sweater and Carly Blush Twisty Sweater.


It's fun to watch Morning Lavender grow from an online women's boutique to opening two brick and mortar stores, one in their homebase in Downtown Tustin and the other in San Francisco.  If you're in Southern California and in the mood for some coffee and tea and can squeeze in a little shopping, you must stop by!


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