This cosy museum north of Place des Vosges houses a collection put together in the early 1900s by La Samaritaine founder Ernest Cognacq and his wife Marie-Louise Jay. They stuck mainly to 18th-century French works, focusing on rococo artists such as Watteau, Fragonard, Boucher, Greuze and pastellist Quentin de la Tour, though some English artists (Reynolds, Romney, Lawrence) and Dutch and Flemish names (an early Rembrandt, Ruysdael, Rubens), plus Canalettos and Guardis, have managed to slip in. Pictures are displayed in panelled rooms with furniture, porcelain, tapestries and sculpture of the same period.
Place des Vosges, separating Bastille from the Marais, is the perfect example of how Paris unabashedly mixes residential zones with tourist districts. Here, you're just as likely to meet a well-heeled local popping out for a baguette as you are a coachload of American teenagers. The reason, of course, is that Place des Vosges is pure eye-candy – a 17th-century peach stone beauty that was built for Henri IV, with shop-filled arcades and a stately park that lets you lounge on the grass – a rarity in Paris. Needless to say, on sunny days the square is awash with tourists, so you might want to try our selection of authentically local attractions, cafés, restaurants and bars.
For shopping, head northwards to the boutiques around nearby Rue Charlot, Paris's hottest new shopping district, where a plethora of emerging designers flaunt their wares in stately 18th-century buildings. Click here for details.
For more information on Place des Vosges, click here.