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Paris in the rain

Things to do when the weather ain't playing

Bars with board games

What's your poison? Be it Trivial Pursuit or pétanque, no city bar list is complete without a roundup of places to have a gentle game or two over a drink. Of course, things can get a little whackier than Scrabble – check out our selection to get involved in everything from brain-bending French dictation to Star Wars-themed sushi. The best Paris bars with board games Le Charlus This is one of Time Out's 100 best bars in Paris. Click here to see the full list. Le Charlus is fast becoming the worst-kept secret in Paris: we almost don’t want to tell you about it, as an increasingly unmanageable crowd crams itself into this little café with irresistible charm, its sign barely visible as you traverse the Rue Albert Thomas near to République. Once inside, you discover a well-presented space with coloured lights on the ceiling, stone walls and red curtains that open on to a pub stage. Here, talented actors take turns every Thursday night to improvise under the watchful eye of improv guru Farid Rezgu. Insane direction is provided by the public, who throw the performers challenges such as developing a musical comedy on the theme of ‘the laser-armed octopus’. The actors have to perform hilarious feats of imagination to keep up, reducing the audience to tears of laughter as much as any sober appreciation of acting talent.Opened by a former literature student, Le Charlus is a clear reference to the famous protagonist of Proust’s ‘La Recherce du Temps Perdu’ – a sophisticated allusion not

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Les passages couverts

This is one of Time Out's top 50 things to do in Paris this summer. Click here to see the full list.In 18th and 19th century Paris, the areas around today's Grands Boulevards created many glass-roofed shopping galleries known as les passages couverts (covered passages). These forerunners to our modern day malls simultaneously allowed you to take a shortcut, shelter from the rain, shop, dine or spend a secluded, debaucherous hour in the arms of a lover. Paris's reputation for its ubiquitous merde may even have roots in this era, as most passages were equipped with a salon de décrottage – literally a de-pooping room, in which punters had their shoes scraped clean.Nowadays these passages are real architectural gems – olde-worlde galleries perfect for hours of delicious browsing. Galerie Vivienne is one of the prettiest, with ochre paintwork and mythology-themed mosaics. It also has a tearoom. Passage des Panoramas, built in 1800, takes the credit for being the first public area in Paris to be lit by gas in 1817. Best for a mooch, though, are Passage Jouffroy and its continuation, Passage Verdeau, both built around 1847. Here you'll find the Musée Grévin waxwork museum and dinky boutiques for everything from precious stones, stamps and jewellery to antique cameras and furniture. Take a tour of the galleries Galerie Vivienne Passage du Grand Cerf Passage Bourg-l'Abbé Galerie Choiseul Passage du Caire Passage Jouffroy Passage des Panoramas Passage Verdeau

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By: Time Out editors

The 100 best shops in Paris

There's a magic to shopping in Paris that no other city can match. Its riches encompass to-die-for creations from world-famous designers, delicious discoveries in food markets and antique stores, the finest jewellery and the most outré fashion concepts around. At Time Out Paris, we've summed it all up in 100 essential boutiques that capture the sparkle of shopping in the French capital. The 100 best shops in Paris Accessories Luxury gloves and gems, bags and belts Books These quirky independent bookshops offer many happy hours of browsing Concept stores Thousands of quirky gift and clothing ideas Designer Places to splash out Food shops Places to be tempted Geek chic Collectable addresses Interiors Suffering from IKEA fatigue? Kids shops Handcrafted treats for tiny hands Menswear Avant-garde men's fashion brands share rails with vintage gent's clothing Record stores Jazz, rock, fuzz, echo, country, pop, dubstep... Sexy Saucy shopping Shoes Stunning shoe boutiques Shopping with a conscience Boutiques that give back Vintage Pre-loved boutiques Wine and spirits Boutiques of excellent vintage See also Vintage Paris on a Vespa Vintage shops in London and New York have been adding retro flair to wardrobes for years; but it has taken Paris, the city of ‘serious’ haute couture and designer boutiques, a wee bit longer to jump onto the bandwagon. Today though, that wagon is well and truly rolling, and it’s dripping in everything your vintage heart could desire, from rare 1920s Cha

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Rainy day kids' activities

Aquarium de Paris When it’s rainy out, why not tackle water with water? The Aquarium de Paris offers a restrained but entertaining array of fishes and other marine life, just across from the Eiffel Tower in the Palais Chaillot. All of our favourites are there, including clown fish, puffers, sharks and sting rays. While there are no dolphin or sea lion shows here (it’s not Sea World), there are plenty of small workshops and demonstrations each day. Films and other activities geared towards les enfants flesh out the experience if the rain won’t ease up, and there are even shows featuring pirates – check the day’s schedule before heading out. Bateaux Mouches The Bateaux Mouches boat rides across the Seine are usually covered, so it’s a way to stay 'outside' in the rain and still see Paris. Besides, what kid doesn’t like a boat? Depending on the company, rides around the river usually run for about an hour and offer panoramas of the city’s major sites. Different services leave from the Eiffel Tower, the Pont Neuf, Notre Dame, and Pont de l’Alma, so you can price compare online beforehand. Certain companies have a live commentary in French and English, while others feature audio guides. The 'Enchanted Cruise' is a special bonus for kids if you book it ahead of time, featuring costumed actors presenting their stories through song. Passage des Princes Paris's many covered passages offer shelter from the rain, but the Passage des Princes (5 Boulevard des Italiens and 97 Rue Richelie

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Quirky museums

Paris wears its nickname as the 'Museum City' with pride. And with three of world's most fabulous museums – the Louvre, the Centre Pompidou and the Musée d'Orsay – it's got good reason to be chuffed. However there's much more to its cultural scene than these behemoths. Off the beaten track, down cobbled side streets and even smack bang in the middle of touristy areas, you’ll find many weird and wonderful little-known gems – all well worth an hour of your time. Musée de la Poupée This small, private museum and doll hospital enchants little girls with its collection of some 500 dolls (mostly of French origin) and their accompanying accessories and pets, which are arranged in thematic tableaux.A few teddies and quacking ducks are thrown in for young boys, and storytelling sessions and workshops (along the lines of making doll's clothes or miniature food for dolls' houses) are held at 2pm on Wednesdays (in French, reserve in advance; €8-€13). There's even a clinique pour poupées if your doll is falling apart at the seams. Musée de la Préfecture de Police The police museum is housed in a working commissariat, which makes for a slightly intimidating entry procedure. You need to walk boldly past the police officer standing guard outside and up the steps to the lobby, where you have to ask at the reception booth to be let in - queuing, if necessary, with locals there on other, but usually police-related, errands. The museum is on the second floor; start from the Accueil and work you

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Museums for kids

Families are well catered-for in Paris with dozens of museums offering regular kids’ activities as well as permanent collections that enthrall little and big minds alike. And if all else fails, there’s always Disneyland... Musée de la Poupée This small, private museum and doll hospital enchants little girls with its collection of some 500 dolls (mostly of French origin) and their accompanying accessories and pets, which are arranged in thematic tableaux.A few teddies and quacking ducks are thrown in for young boys, and storytelling sessions and workshops (along the lines of making doll's clothes or miniature food for dolls' houses) are held at 2pm on Wednesdays (in French, reserve in advance; €8-€13). There's even a clinique pour poupées if your doll is falling apart at the seams. Musée de la Monnaie de Paris Housed in the handsome neo-classical mint built in the 1770s, this high-tech museum tells the tale of global and local coinage from its pre-Roman origins, using sophisticated displays and audio-visual presentations. The history of the franc, from its wartime debut in 1360, is outlined in detail. Musée de la Poste From among the uniforms, pistols, carriages, official decrees and fumigation tongs emerge snippets of history: during the 1871 Siege of Paris, hot-air balloons and carrier pigeons were used to get post out of the city, and boules de Moulins, balls crammed with hundreds of letters, were floated down the Seine in return, mostly never to arrive. The second section

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Art deco museums

Art and design boomed in 1920s and 30s Paris, as the gracious curves of art nouveau (popular from the Belle Époque to World War I) made way for the rectilinear elegance of art deco. In post-war France, the style reflected the country's desire to promote its industrial and artistic savoir-faire – consolidating design and technology in new ways, and with new materials. The five museums listed below pay homage to the movement with rich collections of art deco art, artefacts and furniture – from sumptuous period rooms in the Musée des Arts Décoratifs to neoclassical 1930s sculpture in the Musée Belmondo. If you're really into the style, book a guided tour at the Musée des Années 30, which takes you around art deco buildings in Boulogne-Bilancourt before showing you the museum's collections. Musée Paul-Belmondo For most people in France, the name Belmondo is associated with Nouvelle Vague actor Jean-Paul Belmodo; that sexy, thick-lipped heart-throb with a distinguished boxer’s nose who shot to stardom in 1960s films like Jean-Luc Godard’s 'A bout de Souffle'. What most of us don’t know is that the actor’s father, Paul Belmondo (1898-1982), was actually one of France’s most important 20th-century sculptors, and many of his works – characterised by harmonious forms, unfussy lines and smooth surfaces – epitomise the 1930s style. Musée des Années 30 The Musée des Années 30 is a must for lovers of the art deco period, with a collection of art and sculpture from the 1930s. Look out for

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Photo tour: The Louvre

Explore the world's most-visited museum from the comfort of your computer Further information For our full review of the Louvre plus ticket information, tips, opening hours and details of temporary exhibitions click here.

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See also

An A-Z of Paris in autumn

A seasonal cornucopia of things to do in the French capital The autumn alphabet A is for • Asterix Exhibition • Astérix à la BnF This homage to the moustachioed Gaul at the Bibliothèque Nationale is based around 120 original boards donated by Albert Uderzo (illustrator and the only author in charge of the series since the death of writer René Goscinny in 1977). The exhibition looks at the creation of the story, analyses the reasons for its enormous success, explains the work of the Goscinny-Uderzo duo, and evaluates the legancy of the cheery magic potion drinkers around the world. It's a wonderful opportunity to rediscover one of the most iconic strips in the history of comics, and to revisit the masterful humour and unparalleled energy of Asterix... B is for • Bookshops Shopping • English language bookstores In the last few years there have been some sad casualties on the English bookshop scene in Paris, with much-loved outlets Tea and Tattered Pages, Village Voice and Red Wheelbarrow all closing their doors. But the city that nurtured Hemingway and Fitzgerald, Orwell and Beckett remains a major hub and an inspiration for English writers and readers, and there are still glossy emporiums, delightful second-hand treasure troves and plenty of mixed-language outlets to explore. They're also great places to find out about literary readings and events (particularly Shakespeare & Company)... C is for • Choreography Stage • 'In a world full of butterflies, it takes balls to be a ca

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