Paris Archives - Paris with Scott
Paris 2019 – Free Admission to the Louvre on the First Saturday Night of Every Month

Paris 2019 – Free Admission to the Louvre on the First Saturday Night of Every Month

As of January, 2019, the Musée du Louvre opens its doors for free to all visitors on the first Saturday night of each month!  That’s right – for free – from 6:00pm to 8:45pm.

Louvre to Open First Saturday Night Each Month with Free Admission

Attempting to attract more first-time locals to visit, the Louvre adds the first Saturday of each month to its free admission line up.  As the most visited museum in the world, the Louvre has no problem attracting visitors.  But, it wants more locals to visit as well.

With this exciting news out of Paris, the Louvre adds more time for locals and visitors from all over the world to visit the Louvre without paying the price of admission.  Right now, a full-price admission ticket is 17 euros.  For a family of 4, that price could keep away many families working full time jobs and trying to make ends meet.  So, to try to get more locals in the doors, it has opened on an additional night.  That is good fortune for visitors, too!

Past Efforts

In the past, the Louvre opened on the first Sunday of each month with free admission, trying to draw in the locals.  But, after reviewing data on visitors coming at that increasingly popular free day, the museum lacked an increase in locals.  It appears that more and more international visitors are taking advantage of the 12 free Sundays each year.  Who doesn’t want a free entry?

One goal of the Louvre is to engage locals.  Saturday night seems like an obvious gateway to reach suburban locals wanting a night out.  Louvre officials hope that this additional free time does the job and entices young adults and families from outside Paris proper to take advantage of the world’s most-visited museum.  In addition to being free, the museum is hosting a board game area and a reading corner – all trying to lure young families in the door!

Bonus for You!

Of course, for non-local visitors, it is a boon as well.  Night visits are an extraordinary way to see the massive royal palace and its dumbfounding treasures.  Along with looking out of the windows into the night sky of the city, fewer people visit at night.  You may wind up in a gallery with entire rooms to yourself.  Admire the art with only your family and friends.  Climb the worn marble stairs alone.  Wander through the vast space and imagine the kings and queens that were there before you.

Musée du Louvre

Hours:  Open Wednesday – Sunday from 9am to 6pm
Night opening until 9:45pm on Wednesdays and Fridays
Night opening until 8:45pm on FIRST Saturday of the month beginning January 2019
CLOSED: on the following holidays: January 1, May 1, May 8 and December 25.
Arrondissement:  1st
Nearest Métro:  Two stops serve the Louvre.  Exiting at Louvre-Rivoli, you will be at the eastern-most end of the Louvre.  Exiting at Palais-Royal–Musée du Louvre, you will be closer to the pyramid entrance and very close to the entrance at the Passage de Richelieu (if they will let you in) and the entrance through the Carousel de Louvre – kind of underground shopping area that leads you to the main entrance under the pyramid.
Nourishment:  Food and drink options available inside the Louvre in various locations – enjoy a baguette sandwich overlooking the entrance while watching the people come down the stairs under the pyramid!
Official website
Suggested time to visit:  In the evenings on the days it is open late


Recipes for a Parisian Bistro-Style Meal

Recipes for a Parisian Bistro-Style Meal

Cooking and enjoying a Parisian bistro-style meal is a great way to get in the spirit of visiting Paris.  With a little planning, it can be an easy weeknight event.  Or, invite some friends and make it a weekend dinner for family and friends.  Either way, it will transport you to Paris – even if just for the evening.

These Parisian recipes are pretty simple with ingredients that can be purchased in nearly any local grocery store.  Do not worry if it doesn’t come out perfect.  My cooking always seems to look lopsided on the plate.  It took me multiple attempts and lots of photos to try to make these dishes look as good as I could.

Three Part Series for Parisian Bistro-Style Meal

There are 3 parts in this series on Parisian recipes.  I always start with dessert.  Then, you will find the appetizer.  Finally, the main course and a couple of sides.

With those 3 courses, it will be a simple, but filling Parisian bistro-style meal.  It should satisfy your yen for French food – right in your own home.

Here is the first in the series.


Should you want to know what the French have for a full dinner, the following are the courses and the order.


Aperitif (same in English)

Generally a glass of Champagne or a glass of dry white wine, maybe a kir, along with some roasted nuts, assorted olives and a cracker.  Not a cocktail hour, but a settle-in drink while waiting for everyone invited to gather round (or make it to the dinner).


Entrée (our appetizer)

This is the first course at the table.  Generally, this will compliment the main course.  So, if you are having fish or seafood for the main course, you may want to have a vegetable tart or onion soup.  If you are having meat for the main course, then choose a fish or seafood appetizer.


Plat Principal (main dish)

Obviously, this is the bigger portion of the meal that will include a protein and a side dish or two.  Again, make it work with the appetizer to provide variety during the meal.


Salade (salad)

Just like how it sounds, but probably very simple.  Some greens, a light dressing and really that is it.  No need to go crazy with eggs, olives, nuts, dried fruits and all the things we toss together in a salad.


Fromage (cheese)

A great thing about Paris is that there are cheese shops all over the place and it is easy to have little tastes of a variety of cheese at the end of a meal.  Like you can imagine, a plate may be presented family style with 3 cheeses.  Maybe some honey, preserved fruits or roasted nuts will be on the side.  Then, you slice off a portion for your plate and pass it around.


Dessert (dessert)

Been waiting the whole meal for this?  Well, like over here, some people go all out on extravagant desserts and others are simple and often contain fruit.  The thing about Paris is, pastry stores create beautiful desserts that are wonderful tasting – and you don’t have to make them.  So why not go all out on dessert in Paris?


Café (coffee)

At the end, after dessert, coffee will be served.  Often times a small bit of chocolate will be served to accompany the coffee.

By this time, you should be D-O-N-E.  Even without huge portions, this should be a sufficiency.

The recipes here are for an abbreviated version of this full French meal.  Even without all of the courses (let alone all the dishes to wash), this Parisian bistro-style meal will probably satisfy you.



How Did Paris Get So Many Green Spaces?

How Did Paris Get So Many Green Spaces?

Planning the Greenspaces of Nineteenth-Century Paris, written by Richard S. Hopkins, is an LSU Press publication exploring the green spaces in Paris.  For the avid gardener and garden designer/planner, this could be a great book to learn more about Paris’ parks. Many people may think parks and gardens were created just to look at.  But, the government influences more than people’s eyes.

Emperor Napoleon III wanted to make Paris an international capital.  And, what an emperor wants, who can deny?  Along with his great recreation of Paris, he wanted to include green spaces in each of the city’s sections.  So, while Hausmann was tearing down ancient buildings and creating wide boulevards, gardens were being planned and planted all over the city.

Certainly, urban planners in the second half of the 1800s faced similar issues as those of today.  First of all, how do we create green areas and their facilities that will attract visitors?  Also, how do we serve the people living nearby and be good looking?  Like today, building gardens and public gathering areas was a way to build communities and provide identity to the neighborhood.

This detailed book explores the history behind green spaces in Paris.  Green spaces were public works projects.  Many people were employed to construct and maintain the parks.  This maintenance has continued for hundreds of years.  So, it seems the parks succeeded at that goal.  And, other goals were accomplished too.  We, as visitors, are certainly the beneficiaries of this great nineteenth century project!

Praise for Planning the Greenspaces of Nineteenth-Century Paris

Planning the Greenspaces is a fascinating read and a welcome addition to the scholarship on Paris and on urban greenspaces that could work well as a supplemental text in an upper-division course on Paris or France.”—American Historical Review

“This concise and elegant book reflects rigorous archival research rendered in readable prose. . . . Geographers will appreciate the author’s attention throughout to scale as an analytic tool, and his sustained analysis of the social production of urban space through a dialectic of design and use.”—Journal of Historical Geography

“Richard S. Hopkins’s book Planning the Greenspaces of Nineteenth-Century Paris serves as an important reminder that the development of acres of parks and gardens were also central to the project of creating a modern European capital. . . . [An] insightful and enjoyable text.”—Canadian Journal of History

Read more for yourself in Richard S. Hopkins’ book.  He is an assistant professor of history at Widener University.  The only part that I would have liked more is to have had illustrations of some of these green spaces.  Sadly, there are none.

Planning the Greenspaces of Nineteenth-Century Paris, by Richard S. Hopkins.  Order here.

Planning to Go to Paris Again

Planning to Go to Paris Again

After talking about it and writing about it so much, and realizing I need many more digital photos for Paris with Scott, it is time to go again.

During this whole experience, I will write entries for every part of the process – planning, going and returning.   It will be an example so that someone interested in doing the same thing can kind of see how one traveler (Scott, in particular) does it.

How the Process Begins

First, I talk with John A. and he agrees it is time to go again.  We talk in general about a time of year to go.  It is the height of summer right now and we are not going in the next month.  So what about sometime in October or November?  Cooler weather – a big bonus!

The fall is perfect because it is cooler.  Any heat at all, and even in the cold, I sweat.  It is not a problem at home because I can just keep showering, changing clothes and do all the laundry I need.  But, out of the country, not so much.  (These are important things to consider when planning a trip!  Seriously, check out the Self-Assessment in So You Want to Go to Paris.)  As a result, the fall is a great time to go again and the cooler the better for me.

How Long?

Second, I want to include a weekend since I have a full-time j-o-b and I will have to take off work for some days.  But, this will not be a two weekend and week in the middle trip.  Only long enough to recharge on Paris, escape to the most beautiful city on the earth for a few days, and get some work done for this site!  Five nights will be long enough to go again.  Of course, I want to go for much longer.  But, five nights will do.

Is the Calendar Open?

Now, I start looking at the calendar and marking out dates.  I have to take into account the LSU football schedule.  I would rather not miss the home games, so I have them all on the calendar already and it is easy to see what dates are not that great.

Then, there is Thanksgiving which kind of takes out the two weekends on either side.  And, the trip should not be too close to Thanksgiving, because there is a lot going on then.  But, I need a little time to make plans, so maybe middle to late October would be good.

Seems perfect for me, but then asked a few friends about going as well, and middle to late October didn’t really work for them.  Then, I forgot a niece is coming in town then, and… there are too many obstacles.  November is out for the friends as well.  So, I skip December because that is already busy for me and move along to 2019!!!!!  January could be the time.

To Go Again in Winter

January may not seem like a great time to go.  But the cold and the potential rain and the limited daylight is fine with me.  It is when I began six months of school there, so I think it is a great time.  Honestly, any time of the year in Paris is perfect for me.  A couple of friends say okay to January.  And, unless your team is in the playoffs for the Super Bowl, and who knows about that, it seems like the month is wide open on the calendar.

Great, January it is!  And, since the entire month is free, I start looking at airlines and hotels to see if I can find any differences in price.  In other words, maybe a discounted rate on one weekend versus another.  Also, I check some of the museums for any shows that may really entice me.  And, I check the opera schedule to see if a performance is a must see for me.

What To Do When It Is Raining in Paris

What To Do When It Is Raining in Paris

First, stop and take stock when it is raining in Paris.  Try to assess how much rain it is going to be.  A whole day of rain?  Or, only a brief shower?  A deluge or a drizzle?   If it is supposed to rain all day long, then you may want to adjust your schedule.  If it is only a sprinkle, keep going full speed ahead with the day as planned.

Most importantly, take a deep breath and remember, rain is not the end of the world.  It will not ruin your vacation.  Paris does not close up when it rains.  Open top bus tours still run – put on a poncho.

If it really is going to rain all day long, see if you can find some inexpensive waterproof shoes and take an umbrella and explore.  Paris in a drizzle is one of my favorite times.  The colors seem to become saturated on buildings, trees, park benches, grass, the cars….  The gray clouds make the ancient buildings even more enticing.  The narrow streets in the Marais are even more inviting.

But, if it is raining and umbrellas are everywhere, avoid busy rush hour foot traffic.  Eyes are a precious commodity that shouldn’t be poked with umbrella tips.  Between 5:30-6:30 – to take a rest back at the hotel, or rejuvenate with coffee at a cafe.

The most logical place to go when it is raining in Paris is to visit a big museum – like the Louvre.  A big museum has exhibits, shopping, food, and drink.  And, it can be a good idea, depending on the time of year.  But, everyone else is thinking the same thing.  So the big museums will be mobbed with people trying to avoid the water.  Besides traditional museums, here are a few suggestions for things to do in Paris when it is raining.

An Unusual Museum Visit

Weren’t thinking of the Musée de la Chasse et Nature?  Well, a rainy day may change your mind.  Pull out your guidebook and look up museums.  Choose one or two that you never thought you would visit.  Take a chance.  The worst thing is that you go, take a look, leave and go back out into the rain.  However, the upside is you may see something incredible, take in important architecture and history – and have fun – while dry.


Nearly 70 feet below the surface, Paris has an extensive network of underground passages that were once limestone quarries.  From the late 1700s until the mid-1800s, millions of human bones were exhumed from cemeteries and moved into these subterranean quarries.  Although the official website states that the “tour is unsuitable for people with heart or respiratory problems,” and “those of a nervous disposition and young children,” it is a dry place to explore an interesting part of Paris’ history.  Les Catacombes de Paris:  1, avenue du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, 75014; Métro:  Denfert-Rochereau; Closed Mondays, check the website for more details.

Sewer Museum

Engineering wonders lurk beneath all cities, but Paris displays its sewers in grand style – in a museum, no less.  When it is raining in Paris, take a tour through the tunnels that not only serve as sewers but also provide the passageways for internet and phone cables, tubes that run between post offices (like at the bank teller line) and pipes filled with drinking water.  In the past, tourists were ferried through in boats and suspended carts.  Now, admire the amazing workings on foot.  The museum also boasts a gift shop!  Musée des Égouts de Paris; Near the bridge, Pont de l’Alma, across the street from 93 quai d’Orsay, 75007; Métro: Alma-Marceau; or RER:  Pont de l’Alma.

Watch a Movie

Parisians are devoted fans of cinema.  As a result, movie theaters dot the city.  Even the avenue des Champs-Élysées is full of movie theaters.  Don’t look for a megaplex like you see in the suburbs.  These movie houses will have a sign on the street advertising the current films.  Once you pass the entrance, then you may find multiple theaters.  Many American movies are shown at the theater with French subtitles.  So, head in during a downpour and enjoy hearing your mother tongue.

Shopping at Galeries Lafayette and Printemps

Wide canopies of Printemps

Wide Canopies of Printemps where you can duck out of the rain; Photo by Minato ku, BoulHaussNoel, CC BY 3.0

These department stores feature MANY departments!  For the dedicated shopper, when it is raining in Paris, it is a shopping day in Paris.  If you do not find what you are looking for in one, walk down the street and look in the other one.  Another bonus on a rainy day is that much of the sidewalk around the two behemoths are covered.  So don’t fret too much about getting your packages wet.  Also, both have amazing architecture inside and out plus full-service cafés for eating, resting and re-loading on caffeine and hot chocolate.  Rest and retail therapy all under two roofs – barely a block away from each other.

Cooking Class

Want to learn some basics, make pastries or cook a meal while in Paris?  When it is raining may be a good time to do it.  Many places offer cooking classes for real beginners as well as advanced cooks.  A great part about taking a cooking class is that you get to eat what you cook!  And, the classes are indoors.  Start looking at options now so if it does rain, you can have a list ready to book online or ask the concierge to help you book on the day you want one.  La Cuisine Paris (or The Paris Kitchen) gets rave reviews.  Check it out here.

Long Lunch at a Nice Restaurant

When it is raining in Paris, or scheduled to rain for a good chunk of mid-day, reserve a spot at a fancy restaurant.  This is your chance to take advantage of the “down” time outdoors to relish a long lunch.  All without feeling guilty about not doing other things.  Enjoy the pampering and delicious foods at reduced lunchtime prices.

Visit Parapluies Simon When It Is Raining In Paris!

parapluies simon

Forgot your umbrella?  No worries.  Make a special trip to Parapluies Simon and find a souvenir when it is raining in Paris.  This umbrella store on Boulevard St. Michel in the 6th is full of specialty rain protectors and also takes custom orders.  Find out more.

River Cruise

Yes, when it is raining in Paris, take a covered river cruise.  It can be FUN in the rain.  Even if it is pouring, you will stay dry, hear the pounding rain (no chance of hearing the tour guide on the loudspeaker), scream to hear each other and still be able to have some great views.  Plus, it will be even more memorable because you will have a fun story to tell of taking the boat in the pouring rain.

And, Last But Not Least

A friend wrote and said, “After all, Paris is the most incredibly romantic city.”  So, hang the “Do Not Disturb” (Ne Pas Déranger) sign on the doorknob outside your room and enjoy Paris in a very intimate way while the rain is falling on the window panes.