Discovered this very good restaurant and winebar on the way back to Gare Du Nord. Its only 10 minutes on foot from checking in for the return Eurostar journey to London.
A godsend! Calm, pleasant environment with extremely tasty meals and wine. The serving staff were pleasant and helpful.
We will be back!
Rather than lug your purchases around with you on your speedy business trip, why not pick them up at Gare du Nord right before Eurostar check-in? As you exit the Metro in the 'Magenta' part of the station, there's a small stall run by a chap from Provence, who dispenses great wine, cheese, pate and meats to those London-bound. Great for picking up some goodies before heading up to the Eurostar terminal.
Gare du Nord, Paris. SNCF says: France des Provinces Niveau -1 (Level -1) sous la verrière Transilien, face au couloir RER E
Forget those designer boutiques and get on the metro to head to the Place d'Aligre for a fascinating market full of clothes, antiques and world goods (particularly great for African crafts).
There really is something more enjoyable about grabbing a bargain at the market than flashing the credit card down the Champs Elysees!
For a formidable fondue feast, I recommend the Refuge de Fondues, 17 Rue de Trois Freres (near bottom of Sacre Coeur). It's a fab little restaurant with graffiti-covered walls and long tables where you eat elbow to elbow with other diners.
Love art? Love food? Overload your senses and combine the two. Le Georges sits like a crown at the top of the Centre Pompidou. Seat yourself next to the reflective pool and indulge in the beauty of the Sacre Coeur and Notre Dame.
The sleek modernist style seeps through from the galleries below and encourages a creative flair to the food. This restaurant infuses Parisian chic and fiery Thai flavours with an artistic hand. Enjoy an exquisite meal and a long stemmed rose to accompany your hedonists' view of Paris.
My top tip for Paris, especially if you’re a food lover, is to experience it like a Parisian and chose to stay in a self-catering apartment.
Paris has so many markets and beautiful specialist shops which you can’t take full advantage of if you’re staying in a hotel. You can have freshly baked bread and croissants for breakfast and then browse les marchés, boucheries, charcuteries, fromageries and other stores for fruit, vegetables, fish, meat, paté and cheese and prepare your own meals, including a tasty picnic for your return trip which will have your fellow passengers green with envy!
Directions to one of Paris’s best-kept secrets: Take the Metro's Line 5 and get off at Laumière. Climb up Rue Laumière until you reach the main entrance of the most beautiful Parisian garden: Les Buttes de Chaumont.
Climb up the hill around the lake, up to the view point. Now the real secret: if you happen to be there on August 30th at about 8.20pm, you'll see the sun setting right behind the Sacre Coeur and the Montmartre hill, now that's a view that will stay with you for a while.
Take Metro 11 (brown) to Porte des Lilas, walk down Rue Belleville using the Metro stations as your guide. Pass through neighbourhoods such as Jourdain, Pyrenees, Belleville and, passing canal St Martin, finish in Republique, the venue of many a Parisian Riot.
Alternatively, at Pyrenees, turn right on to Avenue Simon Bolivar and head for the surreal, landscaped Parc des Buttes Chaumont (19th Arr), complete with its own mountain, waterfall, temple and an incredible view of the Sacre Couer.
To finish the day, head to restaurant Au Pied du Sacre Couer, for fine yet inexpensive French cooking (metro Lamarck-calaincourt, 18th Arr).
If you are a vegetarian desperate for some French-tasting sustenance, try Le Potager du Marais near the Pompidou Centre, Metro Rambuteau.
It is a wonderful change to eating pizza or falafel and really makes you feel like you are taking part in France's famous cuisine.
Paris' constant drone of traffic noise can be wearying for the footsore tourist, but if you are near to the Opera Bastille you can make an instant escape by walking up a few steps on to the Promenade Plantee.
This little heaven away from the roar of the big city is actually a reclaimed elevated railway line, 4.5km long and planted with thousands of gorgeous flowers and shrubs. Instant relaxation guaranteed, instant slowing down of pulse, and another - somewhat secret - addition to this wonderful city's delights.
For an authentic Parisian experience, visit the market on Rue Mouffetard (Latin Quarter) on a Sunday morning. Start at the top end, enjoy a coffee in Cafe Delmas in pretty Place Contrescarpe, then work your way down the narrow cobbled street, fresh fruit, veg, meat and cheese either side, then turn left onto Rue Monge before finishing off your shopping at the market in Place Monge. If you've got time, nip across the road to see Paris's very own Roman amphitheatre (reconstructed).
Particularly if you are visiting with children make sure you take a trip on Metro line 14. This is a new line from St Lazare to Olypiades and the trains are driverless. If you get in the front carriage you can sit right up front and pretend to drive! It is great.
Visit the Deportation memorial on Ile de la Cite behind Notre Dame. It is the most poignant, peaceful place imaginable and cannot fail to bring me to tears that in the middle of such a beautiful city there is a reminder of the horrors that cleaved Europe in the 20th century. Everyone should visit, sit and think.
Slightly off the beaten track, the Grand Mosque at the 5th Arr. has a large, sunken garden, fountains and a 33-metre high minaret.
The internal courtyards, lined with Andalusian mosaics, are offset by dark eucalyptus and cedar trim. The mosque's adjoining cafe and restaurant, serves excellent north African cuisine such as couscous, tajine and sweet mint tea to all.
After many stays in mediocre and cramped hotels we've finally found the one for us - Clos de Medicis in the 5th, just five minutes' walk from the Luxembourg RER station - itself 4 stops from Gare du Nord.
From Eurostar to hotel in half an hour. It's a great area too, many good restaurants and walking distance to the Ile de Paris, Louvre, Marais - well everywhere really. Very friendly and well designed hotel - just a gem.
If, like me, you know that going to Paris means going clothes shopping then here is a treat: mens’ and ladies’ wear shop Comptoir du Marais.
It has two floors packed with stylish but wearable designs by young French designers and is unbelievably cheap! The shop has a tea room and small gallery where you can relax with your bags - inevitably full of clothes you have just bought. Tucked away at the end of Rue des Mauvais Garcons (street of the naughty boys) in the heart of gay Paris – this boutique is well-behaved wallet-pleasing fun.
8 rue de Moussy, 75004 Paris. + 33 1 4274 0606
The baccarat glass museum near metro Chateau d'eau is a gem. Wonderful exhibits and, if you can't afford the original baccarat paperweights (they're expensive!), you can buy fine glassware at discount prices in the shops in the quartier.
Le Potager du Marais restaurant, just round the corner from the Pompidou Centre, is a funky little veggie restaurant. The staff are really friendly, the atmosphere's cosy, the food's wonderful (with some of the best vegan food in Paris). Cosy means small, so book at least a few hours in advance.
Take a leisurely stroll along the left bank of the Seine, past Notre Dame and go into the Shakespeare and Company bookshop. Climb the narrow wooden stairs, pick out a dusty old tome, take a seat on a worn but comfy sofa in the corner next to the contented sleepy black cat and peruse it at your leisure.
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