Very good, well-kept, secure, cheap campsite. Well serviced by a regular bus service to the nearest metro, which itself is only a 15-minute walk from the centre of Paris.
Much cheaper than any hotel. The only drawback is the poorly stocked shop so do your food shopping before you arrive.
Good website, reservations can be made online. If you haven't got a tent there are also self-catering cabins to rent.
Les Campings d'Île de France
Camping du Bois de Boulogne,
Allée du Bord de l'Eau 75016 PARIS
Tel : 33(0)1 45 24 30 00 Fax : 33(0)1 42 24 42 95
It's a fast food place that has toasted sandwiches that are amazing, though never have more than one as this will ruin the experience. I recommend the Texan or the American (with all sauces).
Ravanel le rouge opp the bp garage
An old railway line overlooking Paris streets it stretches out for 4.5 km from touristy Bastille to the Bois de Vincennes. To get it to it, go round the back of the Opera Bastille and you'll see the viaduct. Ideal for a jog, brunch or simply getting away from the Parisian hustle-and-bustle. Very Railway Children.
Promenada Plantee, Avenue Dausmenil, 75012
In a street shyly hidden from tourists unless you're returning home after a late one on the Grands Boulevards. Part of this small bar is celtic open-plan, for the usual wide-screen-loving rugby shirts. After 10 pm, the dj turns the turntables on for indiebeatpunkdiscomodeighties music (it's the name of one of the nights). A rare delight for French students looking for a pub "comme a Londres". The crowd's a mixture of self-styled fashion throwbacks and relaxed trendsetters, in an alcohol-fuelled (try the vodka-caramel) but relaxed atmosphere.
10-12, rue Feydeau, 75002: 00 33 (0)140265997: Metro Bourse/Grands Boulevards
Festive carnaval atmosphere at this Brazilian restaurant. Try the native bbq (churasco) and remember not to let go of the delicious fresh fruit caipirinha. Caliente all the way through the week, with special emphasis on carnaval-inspired electro at the weekends. Colourful decor and don't bring muddy shoes, it'll look out of place when you're dancing on the tables.
18 rue du Faubourg du Temple, 75011: 00 33 (1) 40 21 38 14: Metro Republique
For those who want to turn boring weekday nights into party intervals between work - generous happy hour policy, creative cocktail arrangements and eclectic dj workouts. Arrive at ground level, you'll encounter a Parisian Anglophile ambiance (great brunch and anglosaxon press), then go into the basement to impress your English to an unpretentious cosmopolitan crowd, eager to mix with the English enemy in very sense.
18 rue du Bourg-Tibourg, 75004: 00 33 (1) 42 72 81 34: Metro Hotel-de-Ville/Saint Paul
Great Anglo-expat hideout smack bang in the middle of Paris. It's where the French meet their Anglo-Saxon neighbours to have a proper knees up. Although situated in the tackiest location, it has (fingers crossed) kept a hedonistic and cosmopolitan crowd. Overcrowding gives it its charm, but it could be its downfall.
18 rue Saint Denis, 75001: 00 (1) 40 39 00 18: Metro Chatelet
If you're in Calvi or Ile Rousse on the west coast you can't miss the rickety old train running between the two towns.
You don't see trains like this very often anymore. Noisy as hell, sweltering hot in the summer but the views are stunning as you rattle along the coast with all doors and windows open.
It's basically a Beach Transporter. Helping you get out of the two towns to find lesser populated beaches along the coast.
8 euros for the return trip. Cheaper if you hop off at a beach. Pay at the station or on the train. Calvi to Ile Rousse takes about 45 minutes.
They're fiercely proud of their culture, these Corsicans, and they're starting to learn the finer points of marketing and branding. The island is big and it's fertile so all manner of goods are produced there. Take your pick of Corsican wine, whisky, foie gras, marmalade, spirits, cheese, meats - you name it. All with 'Produit de Corse' in big, bold letters. It's a feast for the taste buds. Save some room in your baggage to take it all home.
The Bibliotheque Nationale is France's national library. It was designed to resemble four open books, each facing another. It is one of the most imposing features along the banks of the River Seine. The archives are in each of the glass towers and the library is underground.
It's a bit of a hike to get to but well worth a visit if you're tired of seeing more obvious sites like the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Sacre Coeur etc.
Tel: 01 53 79 59 59
Closest Metro: Quai de la Gare
Paris' largest pizza (so large that waiters need to rest it on two plates) - you could almost say two for the price of one. Just round the corner from Moulin Rouge with the added-value of a terrace, this combines great value and great character.
6 square de l'Opera, 75009: 00 33 (1) 40079256: Metro Havre-Caumartin
A small yet perfectly-formed company for anyone interesting in mountaineering in the French Alps. They offer a wide number of courses to suit everyone from absolute beginners to experts. Bloody good at what they do, and a terrific laugh too.
90 Via d'Aoste, Chamonix Sud
+33 (0) 67 55 621 55
A stunning modern building with Arab influences. Built in two sections, the roof garden can be accessed by a high-speed glass lift and metal walkway on the ninth floor. Not for the faint hearted but the views are fantastic and it's free. There is a cafe/restaurant at the top, but I didn't feel up to it after using the lift and seeing the prices.
1, rue des Fossés Saint-Bernard
Restaurant: Rene-style waiters scribble your order onto the tablecloth, simple but delicious food and wine which is extremely good value - less than £40 for three courses inc wine for three people. Fabulous mirrors and atmosphere. No bookings taken so get there early and they will seat a lone diner at any spare place!
Tucked away on the left at 7 rue du Faubourg-Monmartre, 75009 (off Bvd Monmarte)
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
Lively place to eat in shadow of Porte St Martin [mini Arc de Triomphe] and close to several theatres. Menu presented hidden in a French novel! Good French country dishes served with speed and panache by friendly waiters. Busy atmosphere but quieter after 8.15 when theatre goers leave for their shows.
19 Rue Rene Boulanger 75010 Paris Tel 01 42 06 05 27. Metro: Strasbourg St Denis
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