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Palais-Royal garden with one of its avian residents. one of the fun finds in unexpected Paris.

Nearly all the best things . . . have been unexpected, unplanned by me. ~ Carl Sandburg

The last gold rush began in 1896 when George Cormack went fishing for salmon but found gold nuggets instead. Or so the story goes.

Just like that prospector, you often come upon some of the best things when you’re looking for something else, especially while traveling.

Here are a few “gold nuggets” I stumbled upon in unexpected Paris you might like to find “on purpose:”

Sweet & savory pastries from Francart, one of the fun finds in unexpected Paris.I was on my way to late-night at the Louvre and wanted a little dinner first. So I looked around for a restaurant where I was at the time, on the left bank. I spied this pastry shop across the street and knew “take out” was the way to go. I bought slices of quiche Lorraine and a cake with fruit filling, then hurried across the Seine to a bench in the Tuileries Garden to enjoy them. And at first, I did, taking one, two, then three bites of the most amazing quiche Lorraine I’d ever tasted.

The only problem is the birds caught on and began to gather, eyes fixed on my quiche. The Louvre would have to wait. I packed up my pastry and went home to the studio to eat in peace. That’s how I was able to take this photo of the dessert pastry and what remained of that exquisite quiche.

 Gabrielle Renard and Jean Renoir, 1895; one of the fun finds in unexpected Paris located at Musée de l'Orangerie.The gorgeous collection of Renoir paintings at the Musée de l’Orangerie bowled me over. Especially since I had gone, principally, to see Monet’s Water Lilies (Nymphéas). What do you think about this portrait of Gabrielle Renard and the artist’s infant son, Jean? It’s my favorite of the works on display.

Group of metal musicians in concert at Rueil-Malmaison, one of the fun finds in unexpected Paris.If you like “quirky,” you’ll love this group of metal musicians in the city of Rueil-Malmaison.  You’ll find them performing on the lawn in front of City Hall 24/7. I happened upon them while looking for where to catch the bus back to Paris after a full day of touring the Empress Josephine’s château.

Millie's white chocolate & macadamia nut cookie, one of many fun finds in unexpected Paris.This white chocolate and macadamia nut cookie from Millie’s was SO good! I grabbed it with coffee at the Gare de Lyon metro station while rushing to catch an early morning train to Fontainebleau. And just when I thought I’d end up with no breakfast at all.

What surprising things have you come across in your travels while looking for something else?