Best Day Ever

The Real Paris MVP Is a Day Of Musèes, Vélib', Patisserie

by Crystal Meers
Paris, Paris, France

In a city with so much to offer, you can plan your route by following brain and then belly.

PARIS – Cultural institutions are best discussed over a flaky bite. And the fastest way to follow the trail of crumbs is a rented Vélib' city bike.

1. See the post-impressionists at Musée d’Orsay, then shoot down rue du Bac to Pâtisserie des Rêves, where le Paris-brest comes laced with liquid praline to impress. The seven-minute ride could be just five if you time it right.

2. Pay homage the little sparrow herself at the Edith Piaf Museum (5 rue Crespin du Gast) in the 11th, her old neck of the woods. For a madeleine worth singing about, zip down rue Sain-Maur to acclaimed Ble Sucre.

3. For photography exhibitions that click, drop by Jeu de Paume. Fifteen minutes down rue de Rivoli to 134 RDT, and you'll have a shot of the city's most picture-perfect croissant.

4. It's only fitting to follow reveling in the beveled wonders at Musee Bacarrat with a trip to the multifaceted pastry king Pierre Hermé for a chocolate bonbon. A flashy sixteen-minute trip down Avenue des Champs-Élysées will lead you to the place on Avenue de l'Opéra.

5. The cult following for the Musée des Arts Forains' collection of quirky fairground finds is rivaled by that of Bread & Roses' (7 rue de Fleurus) exceptional chocolate tart. It's just 20 minutes between them via Boulevard Saint-Germain.

6. Veer left for Japan after an exhibition at Palais de Tokyo. A fifteen-minute cruise to Sadaharu Aoki is all it takes to arrive at a moment of zen with an éclair au sesame noir.

7. Behold Centre Pompidou, the largest museum of modern art in Europe. Break at Helmut Newcake, just ten minutes away on two wheels along rue de Turbigo. Gluten-free pastries made with chestnut and buckwheat flours call for attention, but le cheesecake is a real work of art.

8. Renoir is among the many artists over the last three centuries to have called the Musée de Montmarte buildings that top the great peak of Paris home. The 20-minute ride (or half-hour walk) downhill on rue des Martyrs makes the macarons at the Ladurée Printemps on Boulevard Haussman taste even sweeter.

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