PARIS — A great debate rages in France over whether more shops should open on Sundays. In the meantime, here are some ideas of what to do in Paris on a day when much is closed:
— Head to the Marais. Many shops in this former Jewish quarter, turned Paris' gay center and trendy shopping hot spot, follow tradition and stay closed on Saturday to open on Sunday. While the rest of Paris can feel sleepy, the Marais positively buzzes on Sundays.
— Visit an ethnic neighborhood. The Little India and African markets near the Gare du Nord or the Chinatowns around the 13th arrondissement's Avenue de Choisy and Belleville metro station in Paris' east are all packed on Sundays. Join the crowds hunting for curry or dim sum.
— Take a day trip. There are several beautiful chateaux just outside Paris: Versailles, Vaux le Vicomte, Fontainebleau. Monet's house and gardens at Giverny are also open during the spring, summer and fall. Sundays are good for exploring these mansions and having a picnic on the grounds.
— Visit a park. The Luxembourg and Tuileries gardens are Paris' most famous, but the city is also edged by two woods: Vincennes in the east and Boulogne in the west. The Parc de Bagatelle, within the Bois de Boulogne, has beautiful rose gardens and a chateau of its own. You can rent a rowboat on the lake in Vincennes.
— Head to a market. Many food markets are open on Sunday mornings, and the flea markets on Paris' periphery, like those at Saint-Ouen and Vanves, are also busy on the weekends.