Our next major must-see-stop in Paris involves modern art in massive proportions! Home of the Pompidou Center, the Paris 4th arrondissement is a feast for the eyes. You can certainly spend a full day in this burrough with plenty of art and people-watching alone. If contemporary art and fashion-forward city locals are your thing, then dress comfortably for the weather as you will be inside and out all day long.
Paris 4th Arrondissement Architecture
As you spiral outward from the Paris city center you will find more locals and less tourists. Take the metro to Rambuteau to reach the Pompidou Center in the Paris 4th Arrondissement. Walk down Rue Beaubourg one block and you can’t miss it! The exterior consists of exposed pipes in a rainbow of colors; each symbolizing a specific use type. Conceptualized by a British architect couple, the center is home to 10 floors of Europe’s leading collection of modern and contemporary art. Look for masterpieces by Henri Matisse, Pierre Bonnard, Robert Delaunay, Georges Braque, and Pablo Picasso.
View From The Top
As you wander from floor to floor, be sure to step outside every now and again to catch the breathtaking views of the city. Some of the best views of the Paris 4th Arrondissement can be seen from the upper floors of the Pompidou. Yes, the Eiffel Tower is certainly visible, but keep looking. Beautiful rooftops and architectural details are the scene stealers from this vantage point.
Once you’re done drinking in all of the art your soul can contain, head back outside to Loustic Cafe for lunch. Loustic Cafe serves the best coffee and quiche Lorraine in the Paris 4th arrondissement. The interior is cute and cozy and the baristas are very accommodating and are happy to “parler anglais”. The vibe in this part of the city is very hip and this is one of the best areas to drink in fun fashion.
When you’re full and satisfied, plan a little trip to the Jewish quarter for some belle window shopping. The Marias District is located along Rue des Rosiers in the Paris 4th arrondissement. Rue des Rosiers spans about 3 blocks, so just put it in your maps and enjoy the scenery as you make your way there. The Marais neighborhood is full of pre-revolutionary and medieval buildings. You will love the quaint storefronts and Jewish details as you stroll along cobblestone streets.
Since there is still a strong Jewish community, be advised that Saturdays are pretty quiet in this area. Any other day, you can people-watch as you wander through the Marais in the Paris 4th arrondissement. The Marais is a bit like Soho in Manhattan and has many conceptual schools influenced by post-modernism. If you love Brit-Pop meshed in with classic Parisian architecture, consider making another quick stop here during your trip. It’s fun to take in the culture on different days or at different times of the day.
Rue St. Antoine
Finish your journey at the little square of St. Catherine. There are many quaint bars and restaurants that are perfect for relaxing in as you finish your time in the Paris 4th arrondissement. If it’s warm enough to sit outside, choose a cozy table and take in a meal like a true European. That means a leisurely hour or two of sipping and nibbling among small apartment building and grand arched walkways.
If you have time in your day and are determined to bring back some French goodies, add Izrael or La Vaissellerie to your list. Both specialty shops are hidden gems in the Paris 4th arrondissement. Izrael is full of specialty items and our place of choice to stock up on lentils de puy. These green lentils are a little firmer and have a more refined taste. Purchase a few in their reusable cans, which serve as great keepsakes from your trip. La Vaissellerie has legitimate (fake ones abound) Opinel and Nogent knives. Perfect for slicing and dicing! That should be a full enough day for you, stay tuned until next time..