I have to admit, on my last two days in Paris, I did a fair amount of window shopping. I was trying to soak it all in before I headed back home.
On my final Sunday, I spent an afternoon wandering around through my neighborhood, Le Marais, doing just that. I'm sure I've mentioned it before, but Sundays in Le Marais are lots of fun. It is really the only area that is truly 'open' and therefore attracts quite a few people. It is a fabulous neighborhood for wandering, people watching and just killing time. I loved poking in all of the sweet little boutiques, stopping at cafes, sitting in parks and watching the world go by. To me, this is Paris. It feels smaller and more comfortable to me. I love it here and would stay again in a heartbeat.
After spending a fair amount of time browsing the fantastic shops, I ran into the entrance of a museum that I had wanted to visit, but never really made time for. Unexpected finds are truly the best!
The Musee Carnavalet is right in the midst of this shoppers heaven and is a perfect place to duck into for a break. The museum houses collections of paintings, decorations and other symbols showing the evolution of historic Paris. The rooms are fun to wander through, even if you get lost like I did. I particularly enjoyed the paintings of a much older Paris. Provided context and meaning to a lot of the sites I had been visiting.
I have to say though that one of my favorite spots was the courtyard garden. It was cool and felt very calming. A nice place to sit for a little break on a busy day.
I'd recommend a visit if you are in the neighborhood. You could spend hours if you are really interested in the history of Paris, or much less if you just want to enjoy the gardens and a brief tour of the rooms. The advantage is that this museum is free if you skip the temporary exhibits!
The visitor entrance is located at 23, rue de Sevigne.