I wish I were a Swede

L’Institut Suédois in Paris… Fika!

Whenever I go to the Marais, I never manage to do what I went there for. 

Instead, I discover the museum that I tried to get to last time, but never did. Or I stumble across that café that I wanted to go to, but couldn’t find the road on my map. Oh, and there was that expensive time that a wrong-turn on the way to the Place des Vosges led me to the “fripperies” (second-hand clothes stores) followed by a recovery lunch at Les Philosophes. It’s a rabbit warren of delights and hidden places, where it seems I only find things when I’m not looking for them. Am I alone?

Last weekend was a classic example; I went looking for the Musée Picasso again and ended up rediscovering the wonderful Institut Suédois (Swedish Institute) and its cafe which is such a pretty and welcoming place that I actually wrote down in my notebook  “Swedes are nice.”*

The entry to the institute is enough to make you want to know more. With its beautiful arching entrance and peaceful courtyard with birds flitting amongst tables, even if you don’t fancy looking round the exhibition, it’s a great place to bring a book and relax after exploring the Marais. 

Wind down in the cobbled courtyard

They bake their own bread every morning and, along with some typically French patisseries, they also sell Swedish delicacies. “Fika” in Swedish means “to take a break”, normally with family or friends over a coffee, which is an important part of their mindset. I think I like their culture. Facebook has an entire page on this word!

I recommend the home-made carrot cake

Aside from food, at the moment the Institut Suédois is celebrating 100 years since the death of famous writer, painter and photographer August Strindberg with a number of different exhibitions, conferences and performances in his honour.

If you haven’t yet been there, I highly recommend checking it out. Here are the practicals:

11 rue Payenne
75003 Paris
Metro St-Paul or Chemin Vert
Open Tues-Sun 12-6pm

Here’s to getting lost and finding what you weren’t looking for…

“To dare is to lose your foothold for a moment, to not dare is to lose yourself.” Ström (1981)
(Att våga är att tappa fotfästet en stund, att inte våga är att förlora sig själv) just dont ask for pronunciation 

Hej då!


*Swede as in Swedish, not the vile vegetable which, along with meringue, is on the top of my most hated foods list. 

All photos are reproduced with the kind permission of photographer Nils Boldt-Christmas. Thanks Nils!
This entry was posted in 75003, Coffee, Culture, Drinks, expat advice, France, http://schemas.google.com/blogger/2008/kind#post, insolite, Marais, Paris, Paris secrets, swedish institute, things to do in Paris, tourist, visit paris. Bookmark the permalink.

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