Tuileries and Orangerie, 1st Arr.
Concierge.com's insider take:
There is magic in the sycamore-lined Tuileries garden between the Champs-Élysées and the Louvre. Named for the roofing-tile factory that once stood here, this is Paris's oldest public garden, but recent replantings and the addition of a dozen works of modern and contemporary art have given it new life. There are four cafés, hundreds of comfortable garden chairs and shady benches, and two monumental pools with water jets. On the northwest terrace, the Jeu de Paume, originally a handball court, is now a photo gallery with great temporary exhibits (1 Place de la Concorde; 33-1-47-03-12-50; www.jeudepaume.org; closed Mon). On the Seine-side terrace is the Musée de l'Orangerie—an absolute must-see. Reopened in spring 2006 after a six-year, $36-million renovation, it displays a tour de force by Monet: eight huge water lily paintings, shown in two oval-shaped rooms under skylights that re-create the natural light conditions Monet knew in the 1920s. The remake has succeeded to excess: The other rooms, with their amazing canvases by Cézanne, Renoir, Matisse, Modigliani, Picasso, André Derain, and Chaim Soutine, fade in comparison. So visit twice—once for Monet, a second time for everyone else (33-1-44-77-80-07; www.musee-orangerie.fr; closed Tues).