If you want to spend time outdoors in Paris, you can't go far wrong with some lounging in the sun along the Canal St Martin. Hang out with the beautiful young things along the cobbled walkways next to the water and admire the green wrought iron swing bridges as the boats go past, or take a turn with a promenade around the quartier surrounding the Rue de Lancry. The boulangerie Du Pain et des Idées (open Mon-Fri) on Rue Yves Toudic has delicious picnic fare, and if you want a post-fun apéritif the Verre Volé wine bar on the Rue de Lancry serves delicious wine and light bites, or Chez Prune café on the Quai de Jemmapes by the canal's edge is great for people watching.
Canal St Martin, 10th arrondissement
Google map: bit.ly/MhEIre
Enjoy an unrivalled view of the still magical Pompidou Centre from the cafes and wine bars opposite, as the external escalators whisk visitors to the top. Or people-watch the many hundreds who throng the square every day from the cobbled slope at one end, itself always packed with people of all nationalities. Better still, buy a baguette and sit on the edge of the pool in the adjacent place Igor Stavinsky and follow the progress of the zany, multi-coloured, mobile statues and fountains, all linked to works by Stravinsky, as they spray their water everywhere. Fun for the children and a delight for adults too.
Piazza and place Igor Stravinsky outside the Pompidou Centre in the Beaubourg.
Google map: bit.ly/NC8Tsg
Wonderful quirky tea room in Le Marais, famous for its sinful cakes and original, flea-market style furniture. Definitely worth a visit if you're around this trendy neighbourhood in Paris.
3, Rue des Rosiers - 75004 Paris
+33 1 42 72 90 61
Metro station St Paul, line 1
Google map: bit.ly/L7yTgN
After a summer's morning walking the streets of Paris this cafe is a real find. Part of the Mosquee de Paris, it is tucked away in a tranquil, shaded courtyard. Waiters bring trays of perfect mint tea and sweet pastries and you can while away the time admiring the ripening figs overhead. Once refreshed you can take a stroll around the nearby Jardin de Plantes, Paris's beautitful old botanical gardens.
This is a wonderful 'literary wine bar' in the Marais, that hosts readings and performances. They have a solid list of 'by the glass' wines and space in the back to relax.
Say what you want about Italian ice creams, and God knows they are divine, the real apex for me is called Berthillon. And you’ll find their glaces in the St Louis island of Paris. Each boule (scoop) is small and pricey but there is no word to describe the ecstasy of their gianduja with orange peel, verbena sorbet and raspberry à la rose. You can enjoy Berthillon ice cream at the salon de thé or just in cornets from their stands.
Just walked hours from Le Louvre to the Arc of Triumph and looking for some respite far from the maddening crowd? Look no further. All you need is a love for Japan and its wondrous wagashi pastries. Toraya, a stone throw from Concorde square, is this very quiet and authentic Japanese salon de thé where you’ll be able to taste green tea-hot chocolate and restore your natural zen.
Tourists may be queuing up in front of Ladurée for its famous macarons but Parisians often shlep to the bucolic and authentic Daumesnil quartier to get the best Mille-Feuille in Paris, at Vandermeersch’s. A Mille-Feuille (literally, thousand leaves) is a landmark of French patisserie. Its « leaves » must be light and crispy and its cream delicately perfumed with vanilla and a touch of rum.
278 Avenue Daumnesil, Paris 12th
+33 (0)1 43 47 21 66
Google map: bit.ly/kxdncA
Here is an authentic local café with formica tables and a tasty menu du jour. If you’re a football fan, you’ll be able to discuss with the sportive owner. This café sits on a very poetic corner of Paris, it is precisely where Rue de la Fidélité becomes Rue du Paradis. I often wondered if the Haussmanian city planners did it on purpose.
Corner of rue de Paradis and rue du Faubourg St Denis, Paris (10th)
Brunch/lunch café. Menu serves (among other items): fruit cocktails and smoothies, home-made muffins, salads, packed massive sandwiches, veggie maki and my favourite: delicious, taste-bud exploding gazpacho. Oh yum. Free coffee if you eat in-house.
All is organic, all is vegetarian, all is fun as you banter with the service (they love it).
Don't go to the Coffee Parisien if you're looking for a typical French place. It's a diner where you'll have a good American brunch on weekends. They do great eggs benedict, pancakes and burgers.
Several locations in Paris but I prefer the one in St-Germain.
4 rue Princesse
Tel : +33 1 43 54 18 18
Lots of reviews said they serve lovely cake/sweets at Fauchon at Place de la Madeleine. I went there and was disappointed - the cake I had just didn't have the 'wow' factor, if you like.
Also, I witnessed something I couldn't believe. Two ladies sitting next me were leaving just as I was settling down, I guessed they were just having coffees and cakes and they left 50 euros for a tip, would you believe it!
I'd recommend going to Angelina instead, or Mariage Freres on the rue De Bourg-Tibourg for a nice cup of tea.
Abbesses is best described as a little 'village' on the edge of central Paris, easily accessible by the metro and possibly my favorite place in the world.
When I first visited Paris I was so disappointed by what seemed to my untrained eye as just another grey city - too busy, too full and too confusing. The moment I stepped off the metro at Abbesses, I saw the Paris I had dreamed of - cobbled streets, little parks, beautiful buildings and most of all a calm yet creative and highly inspirational (to the artist in me) atmosphere.
I don't need to list off the best places to shop and eat here because it is all so compact, you can wander round for hours, without feeling exhausted, and discover the endless hidden gems of vintage stores and cafes that not only have the friendliest staff in the whole of Paris but one of which serves their coffee (or herbal tea if you prefer) in bowls! It's just the nicest, coolest place I've ever been to. Great for the young, and the young at heart.
Central Paris (Eurostar recommended, it just saves so much hassle!) Metro stop: Abbesses
In the bustling, attractive Place Georges Pompidou, there are some good places to eat. In the Rue St Martin, on the first floor above an art shop called ‘Images de Demain’, is a small, quiet, pretty café nestling among conservatory plants, and a good selection of clocks and attractive kitchen items for sale.
The café has tall windows overlooking the square, and serves teas, coffees, cakes and other delicacies. Nearby, on Rue Rambuteau, is Le Potager du Marais – a café/restaurant which has long refectory tables where the mainly local clientele lunch on reasonably priced, delicious organic, veggie food.
Paris is the city of love but, whether you find yourself there with that special someone or on your lonesome, make your way down to La Coupole at Montparnasse.
The famous haunt of Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir has stunning internal décor and takes you back to another era. The food is delicious and if you are seeking the true Parisian experience then there is nowhere better to dine.
And, even if you end up alone there on Valentine's Day, indulging in their silky hot chocolate, at least the waiters know the way to a girl’s heart. Dessert on the house!
Traveling with kids to Paris? Need a place to let them burn off steam between the bateau-mouches and the Louvre? Then hit the trampolines and carousel in the Tuiliieres gardens.
After they get thirsty head to Angelina's (Angélina 226, rue de Rivoli) for chocolat chaud. Do this before the crowds arrive here and at the Louvre.
Another tip for children is to head to Sacre Coeur for the farmers' market on top of the hill on weekends, jugglers on the church steps and the carousel at the bottom.
Need a new children's shirt to replace the one covered in hot chocolate? There are some good bargain department stores on your way back to the Metro station.
I love this place, they always have some crazy exhibition going on, the shop is full of silly postcards and amazing art books. And the café is definitely worth a visit, go to the terrace outside for fantastic views over the Seine and the Tour d’Eiffel. They also organise special events with DJs and live bands.
Send your feedback or queries to email@example.com