Extraordinary, Phasntasmatic and Fetishistic

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Seeing a place through a singular lense of a person, especially the infamous and original designer Jean-Paul Gaultier, is to uncover a wholly different city. The New York Time article ‘Fashionista Paris‘ was fascinating and it conjured up for me, another Paris, than the one I know. It reminded me how a place, a memory, constantly evolves and changes. I don’t know if I would of appreciated his Paris few years back. Funny, I have been changing as his Paris looks all so interesting to me now. Reading about his Paris made me truly appreciate not only his fashion designs, which I am not a fan of, but to uncover the place which fed the dream of a little boy into becoming a world renown designer of singularly original couture and design.

Few highlights (where I definitely concur with Ms. Gaultier or will be on top of my list for my next trip to Paris)

1. Though there will be a busload of tourists, there is nothing more gaudy AND interesting than looking at Marie Antoinette at the Paris’s wax museum, Musée Grévin. Imagine. Not only the adults but the children love seeing these figures and they serve as an interesting discussion points to talk about Paris history and figures.

Musée Grévin, 10, boulevard Montmartre; Ninth; 33-1-4770-8505; www.musee-grevin.com. 19.50 euros.

2. One of my all time favorite discovery and places, Grande Galerie de l’Evolution in the Natural History Museum. The evolution building is a soaring, 19th-century iron-framed, glass-roofed structure with dramatic pools of light; where there is an entire installation of taxidermied animals from giraffes and elephants at the head of the pack to the little monkeys at the rear. It is an amazing site for the entire family.

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Grande Galerie de l’Evolution, 36, rue Geoffroy Saint Hilaire; Fifth; 33-1-4079-5479 or 33-1-4079-5601

3. We love afternoon teas and it has become a sacred ritual for us in Paris, both for the parents and the children. It requires us to pause, during the day, to take in and appreciate the quotidian gestures and to recharge. The idea of mint tea and baklava in the mosque’s outdoor tearoom, sounds divine. This tearoom is located within the La Grande Mosquée de Paris.

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La Grande Mosquée de Paris, 2 bis, place du Puits de l’Ermite; Fifth; 33-1-4535-9733; tea room: 33-1-4331-1814; www.mosquee-de-paris.org.

4. It seems Ms. Gaultier is deep down inside, still a little boy who loved hanging out with his grandmother. This is exactly the scene one enters at the tearoom Angélina, next door to the Meurice Hotel near the Louvre. To go to Angélina is to enter the grande dame of the tearooms, a world of yesterday, where ladies with gloves and hats sat for hours for civilized salades and a cup of tea. They are world famous for Mont Blanc, a ball of meringue that is topped with Chantilly and a lot of vermicellles of chestnut paste.

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Angélina, 226, rue de Rivoli; First; 33-1-4260-8200.

5. Of course, Marché aux Puces de Clignancourt. My husband took me this famous flea market during our first trip to Paris together. It is not just one, but many different ones. It is worthy of just spending an entire weekend there. It is gorgeous, and a treasure trove of discovering and understanding of all the richness that is Paris and France.

Marché aux Puces de Clignancourt; Avenue de la Porte de Clignancourt; 18th. Located in the north of Paris, this is most easily reached by cab. Make sure to visit the Paul-Bert and the Serpette markets

WHERE TO GO (THE GAULTIER TOUR)

Crazy Horse Paris, 12, avenue George V; Eighth; 33-1-4723-3232; www.lecrazyhorseparis.com; The show, including a half bottle of Champagne, or two drinks, starts at 70 euros a person.

Bal du Moulin Rouge, 82, boulevard de Clichy; 18th, 33-1-5309-8282; www.moulin-rouge.com. The show begins at 9 p.m. and costs 99 euros, including a half-bottle of Champagne. An 11 p.m. show costs 89 euros.

La Grande Mosquée de Paris, 2 bis, place du Puits de l’Ermite; Fifth; 33-1-4535-9733; tea room: 33-1-4331-1814; www.mosquee-de-paris.org.

Grande Galerie de l’Evolution, 36, rue Geoffroy Saint Hilaire; Fifth; 33-1-4079-5479 or 33-1-4079-5601

Galeries de Paléontologie et d’Anatomie Comparée, 2, rue Bouffon; Fifth; 33-1-4079-5479; www.mnhn.fr. Admission is 8 euros.

Le Jules Verne, Eiffel Tower, second platform, Avenue Gustave Eiffel; Seventh; 33-1-4555-6144; www.lejulesverne-paris.com. Prix-fixe dinner 190 euros.

Casa Olympe, 48, rue St-Georges; Ninth; 33-1-4285-2601

Angélina, 226, rue de Rivoli; First; 33-1-4260-8200.

Hermès, 24, rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré; Eighth; 33-1-4017-4717; www.hermes.com.

Jean Paul Gaultier boutique, 6, rue Vivienne; Second; 33-1-4286-0505; www.jeanpaulgaultier.com.

La Pagode cinema, 57, bis rue de Babylone; Seventh, 33-1-4555-4848.

Théâtre du Châtelet, 1, place du Châtelet; First; 33-1-4028-2840; wwwchatelet-theatrecom.

Musée Grévin, 10, boulevard Montmartre; Ninth; 33-1-4770-8505; www.musee-grevin.com. 19.50 euros.

Le Grand Rex cinema, 1, boulevard Poissonnière; Second; 33-1-4236-8393; www.legrandrex.com.

Marché aux Puces de Clignancourt; Avenue de la Porte de Clignancourt; 18th. Located in the north of Paris, this is most easily reached by cab. Make sure to visit the Paul-Bert and the Serpette markets.

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