NYT: 36 hours in Paris

A bridge over the Seine

The Times’ Sunday Travel section on how to spend a quick, intense visit to Paris , including a Friday evening dash through the Louvre, Moroccan food, Baudelaire’s grave and finding great costumes at the flea market.

“THE chief danger about Paris,” T. S. Eliot wrote to a friend, “is that it is such a strong stimulant.” That wasn’t merely the overcaffeinated ramblings of a Left Bank cafe habitué. Few cities thrill visitors with such a beguiling multiplicity of personalities. There is the devout Paris of Notre Dame’s Gothic solemnity, and the naughty Paris of Pigalle’s red-light bars. Sophisticated Paris radiates from the vaulted galleries of the Louvre and the gilded Opéra Garnier, while bohemian Paris emerges in the art galleries of the Marais and gritty rock ’n’ roll nightclubs. For every Gallic gastronomic temple, there’s an Asian, African or Middle Eastern restaurant brimming with exotic flavors. And for every Jean Paul Gaultier, there’s a fledgling fashion student opening his first boutique. In the words of Henry Miller, another American drawn to Paris’s manifold pleasures, lofty and low: “To know Paris is to know a great deal.”

I fully realize the Paris I’m expecting will not be the Paris I actually see, and that’s perfect.