If you’re heading east from Paris and you’ve got some time to kill, there’s a quiet little park hidden away about 20m from the Gare de l’Est, but not that easy to find.
Stand with your back to the station and head down the road on the left, to the corner. Look for a green metal gate down the side of the rather imposing stone building. It leads into a small ornamental park with a great kids’ playground, and public toilets and baby change on the far side of the park.
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.
You can enter the street by the 9 Quai Saint-Michel along the Seine, and 29 metres later, you will end up in the lively and colourful Rue de la Huchette.
Measuring 1m80, it is said to be the narrowest street in Paris. If you feel that the city is too big for you, then have some rest in this old, quiet and dark street. You’ll be able to imagine yourself in the Paris of the middle ages for a while.
This little gem which chronicles the lives of George Sand and Chopin is tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the capital. Lovely autre epoque atmosphere with a delightful period tea room. Worth discovering.
16 rue Chaptal , Metro St. Georges
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.
Tennis lovers will want to visit Roland Garros – the museum is wonderful and you can often get close to French stars as they train. But Paris has a tennis secret, the Standard Athletic Club.
This sport and social club was set up by a group of young British businessmen in the nineteenth century; afternoon tea is still served under a picture of the Queen.
Along with swimming pool, squash and gym, the club has eight tennis courts (five clay) and a cricket pitch. Membership is easy to obtain and reasonable, but the club is also generous to guests. Members may invite you to play, and most weekends guests are welcome, by appointment, to try the facilities.
Route Forestière du Pavé de Meudon, 92360 MEUDON-LA-FORET, www.standac.com
For jazz lovers, the grave of Adolphe Sax (November 6, 1814 – February 4, 1894), a Belgian musical instrument designer and musician (clarinetist), best known for inventing the saxophone is in Cimetière de Montmartre.
Montmartre cemetery, 37 Avenue Samson.
My secret tip when visiting Paris is to base yourself in Enghien Les Bains, beautiful spa resort just eight miles from Paris. You'd be in good company: VIctor Hugo, Alexandre Dumas and Frédéric Chopin all did.
Centre piece is the scenic Lake Enghien, cool and resplendent. Picturesquely dotted around the lake are little shops, hotels, a casino, its theatre - all under a relaxed and charming atmosphere. What better start to the day than to wander leisurely around the glistening lake then select a café for coffee and croissants?
A great little restaurant hidden in the back of the wine shop here - walk through the wine shop and up a couple of steps, open the curtain and there are about seven tables.
You can eat good food and drink the wine from the wine shop - very smoky but snug and secretive.
Deep deep into the Bois De Boulogne, so deep in fact that when you ask a taxi driver to take you there, he does not know what you are talking about, is a secret garden.
A garden exclusively inhabited by flowers and plants depicted from the heights of British literature. For here is the Jardin de Shakespeare. A fenced-off and beautiful garden, in which you will find only plants mentioned in Shakespeare's plays and sonnets. Shouldn't this garden be in somewhere in Regent's Park? Well no, because it's in Paris and more.
During the summer month on the natural stage at the end of the garden, companies come to perform repertories from The Complete Works in French and in English with French subtitles. Maybe we should do the same for Alexandre Dumas in Regent's Park?!
Museum full of interesting objects on themes of Materials, Scientific Instruments, Construction, Energy , communication and Transport. Something for all ages but the best is a stunning chapel used to display vintage cars, flying machines suspended from the ceiling and a scaled down Statue of Liberty you can eyeball via a curving illuminated ramp. And unlike other Paris museums - no queues!!
60 Rue Reaumur Tel 01 53 01 82 00, www.arts-et-metiers.net
Metro: Arts et Metiers or Reaumur-Sebastopol
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