After a good look round one of the best galleries in Paris, have lunch at the brasserie. The food's good and the room's décor transports back you back to the days of the libertines of 'Les Liaisons Dangereuses'. A real treat that's very affordable.
Two Bistros within a bone marrows throw of each other and the latter more like Jean-Luc's living room with an attached kitchen with a dining experience like one of the family. If you like unpretentious, traditional, wholesome, fresh and well prepared food combined with a shoulder to shoulder great atmosphere this is the place. I could go to either of these every day.
16 Rue Princesse & 8 Rue Guisarde 6er Metro - Mabillon
In a serene atmosphere, the musée Guimet offers a wonderful exploration of 5000 years of Asian art, covering Afghanistan to Cambodia, Japan to India. It offers a huge variety of collections: colorful Tibetan thangka, sculptures of deities from the Brahmanic pantheon, Korean folding screens, Buddhist art from Japan... A truly impressive experience. Open every day 10:00 to 18:00, closed on tuesdays.
www.museeguimet.fr/gb/index.html 6, place d'Iéna 75016 Paris Métro : Iéna, Boissière
This fabulous family-run creperie in a street FULL of creperies is by far the best - and always the busiest. Tables are squashed together so don't expect to stretch your legs out but do expect delicious fillings like roquefort and walnut or ratatouille and egg, and if you're REALLY hungry, go for a double. Cheap and perfect with some dry Breton cider after seeing a film in the area or before a wander in the nearby cemetery, where amongst many others, you'll find Samuel Beckett, Simone de Beauvoir, Jean-Paul Sartre and Serge Gainsbourg buried.
67 rue du Montparnasse
This unassuming place on a street corner near Bastille has been here for years and can always be relied upon to provide the best peppered steak in Paris, and anything else I ever tasted in there has been simply delicious. Its interior isn't trendy, just old, in a "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" kind of way. Just be aware you may need to book - or wait and salivate as you watch everyone else being served...
Chez Paul, 13 rue de Charonne, Bastille area tel: 01 47 00 34 57
Throughout Nice, along the Promenade des Anglais and all the gardens are chairs. They're all royal blue - the colour of the sky on a glorious summer day - and best of all they're free to sit on!
Ideal for relaxing and people-watching; perfect for soaking up the atmosphere. And in one of the little galleries they even sell tiny souvenir versions for the mantelpiece!
Promenade des Anglais, and any other gardens
Renamed Maison Collignon after its role in the fabulous film Amelie - the sign above the awning has remained since filming - the grocery shop Marche de la Butte and it's owner, Ali, have found themselves local celebrities. He's really run with the fame the film brought him, and the shop is decorated with film memorabilia. Fending off hordes of dreaming Amelie-philes could have been too much for a small shop, and the Cafe des Moulins round the corner has certainly gone downhill since filming, but that's not the case at the Marche de la Butte. It's fun to visit - and also a great grocers!
Rue des Trois Freres, Montmartre, Metro: Abbesses
After enjying the array of impressionist masterpieces, go up to drink a lovely viennese hot chocolate in the Musée d'Orsay's cafe, and look out across to the Sacré Coeur through the huge glass clock face of the old railway station. Magic!
The most magical hours of a glorious, fun-filled trip to the City of Lights were spent on the terrace of Pizza Milano with my boyfriend, Martin. We drank in the magical night time atmosphere of the latin quarter, eating good food, well prepared and very reasonably priced. Service was attentive and friendly and there was no wait for a table. To turn unexpectedly to find the stunning view of Notre Dame across the square, its gothic stature lit against the late summer sky, was a 'Can you believe it - you and me - we're really here...' moment.
Place St Michel, Metro Saint Michel,RER B et C, opposite Notre Dame cathedral.
English bookshop in the heart of the latin quarter, Shakespeare & Co. is an "icontournable" for English speakers. Having lived in Paris for over a year, I spent many hours in the bookshop, reviving my love for English and American novels. Like a small cave with walls built with unending stacks of books, it has a spirit of its own. Photographs of great writers, and literary classics surround a well in the centre of the shop's ground floor. If you miss speaking English, S. & Co. customers are mainly English and American tourists, most of them too amazed by the beauty and wealth of the place to buy anything. You can find almost any book you've dreamt to read, and even write a few lines about the place, on the typewriter on the first floor, also surrounded by books of all sorts. Guarded by a black cat, the place also has a children's book section, as well as German, Russian, and some French literature, stuffed under the staircase. Many photographs recall the visit of some famous writers; Lawrence Ferlinghetti, among others. It is a passionate trip through time and literature. I've spent many rainy Sunday afternoons, just reading through this goldmine of knowledge and great minds. It's not too expensive, so you can come back from Paris with more English books than mini Eiffel Towers!
Another amusing fact, in the time I was there: one of the employees looked somewhat strangely like the great William himself!
37, rue de la Bûcherie, 5th district. Metro stations: St Michel, or Cluny-Sorbonne. Phone: +33 (0) 143 254 093.
A visit to the Musee d'Art et d'Histoire Du Judaisme is an excellent way to spend a couple of hours, the museum has a wide variety of exhibitions and you needn't worry about your rubbish French as everything is multi -lingual.
Nearest Metro; Rambuteau or Hotel De Ville.
A charming family run english bookstore in the heart of the latin quarter. I found it whilst in paris in late september and spent an afternoon rifling through a huge selection of new and used books. There is a wonderful message written by the former owner - the 'don quixote' of the latin quarter - on a chalkboard outside which is worth the visit alone. I cannot recommend it highly enough for any lover of literature, particularly those who are a bit tired of the ubiquitous chain-stores. A one off delight.
37, rue de la bucherie - 75005 PARIS
This is a very famous restaurant in Paris, with a stunning art deco interior (and linen tablecloths) and good food, in a hearty French way. However it’s always very busy, you have to queue to get in and it’s very noisy inside. And you are expected to speak French as many waiters do not speak English. And it’s packed with tourists and you will be seated on a shared table and rushed when the place is full. To make things easier it does not take bookings or credit cards either. All this withstanding, the food is quite good and not expensive and service is quick, and it opens early and on Sundays which it can be very handy.
Le Chatier 7 rue de Faubourg Montmartre Métro: Grands Boulevards Tel: 33 01-47-70-86-29 Opens: (daily) 11:30am-3pm and 6-10pm
This is my favourite club in Paris. It is an old fashioned disco, with seats, a tiny wooden dance floor and an eighties retro look. Fridays and Saturdays starts as a bal-musette with couples dancing, but nearer to closing time you can dance to anything from French pop oldies to Kylie and Dalida.
It's all very French, but not in the English meaning of the word, friendly, definitively hetero friendly and although a bit studenty sometimes it's a great place to go out and dance to your heart's content without the hassle of trendier places. They also run a busy programme of activities during the week, and a bar next door (Rue des Virtus)
13, rue au Maire 75003 Paris
Metro: Arts et Métiers
Tel. (33-1) 01 42 72 17 78
A beautiful ornimental park to take a run in along with many chic (and often skinny) Parisien runners, before breakfast.
A wonderful place to walk, do tai chi, sunbathe and picnic on the many metal chairs. I can spend hours in this park it's also great for children with sand pits, toy sailing boats for hire and a huge (pay-in) playground. Not to mention a couple of reasonably good cafes to take coffee or lunch.
Jardin du Luxembourg, boulevard Saint-Michel, 75006 Paris, France
Directions for Visiting: Rue de Vaugirard, Metro Luxembourg
It's always thrilling to open the 'Pariscope' on a rainy night and see what films are showing. You get the feeling that any film you could possibly want to see, from 'Modern Times' to 'Mad Max' is on somewhere. If you're in Paris on a rainy night and fancy going to the cinema, then I thoroughly recommend 'La Pagode'. Not for lovers of the latest surround sound technology and the latest Computer Generated Images, this cinema is built in the style of an authentic Japanese pagoda. The house was commissioned by a rich French businessman for his wife in 1895 and was transformed into a cinema in the 1930s. It is fabulously decorated in oriental style, inside and out. The actual cinema itself is, I think, the ballroom with a stunningly ornate ceiling. You'll not get the latest Hollywood blockbusters on this screen. They're more likely to be showing a Woody Allen retrospective or the latest Kusturica. But it's not impossible to see familiar faces of the French cinema creeping out of the cinema unnoticed (I saw you, Mr Léaud!). It is in real need of rennovation, apparently, but still a stunningly beautiful place to spend a rainy evening in Paris.
Cinema 'La Pagode' 57Bis r Babylone 75007 Paris Metro : Saint François Xavier Tel: 01.45.55.48.48
If you don't have much time (and let's face it, who does when visiting Paris), take a bus tour, open-top during the warm weather. Getting around above ground as opposed to the metro means you can get a taste of 'street life' as you go and you can get off and on almost wherever you like. See (the main bits of) Paris in a day - or a couple of hours if you really, really have to return the same day...
Via the Web or tourist leaflets in your hotel and most bus stops in the centre of Paris on the main tourist routes e.g all the way up the Champs Elysee.
This restaurant is on the very top floor of the Tour de Montparnasse (the Montparnasse Tower) - one of the tallest buildings in Paris - and offers one of the most stunning views of the city possible. You look directly out onto the Eiffel Tower. Go there for an aperitif to enjoy the view or why not treat yourself to dinner - the cuisine's very good. Just been on their website and they say it's 'the highest restaurant in Europe.' They do a three course set menu at £37.27 per person. Not the cheapest place to eat in Paris but the view and the pleasant welcome make it worth it. You won't see a better view than this from a Parisien dinner table.
This cobble stone street has easily the best window - and actual - food shopping anywhere in the world. The tiny shops, many of them with street stalls out in front all seem to have different specialities. Quite the most delicious street I know
Rue Cler, nearest Metro, nearest metro is Ecole Militaire
Much more than a cemetary. This restful place has beautiful tree-lined lanes, benches on which to rest and remember the permanent guests; Simone Signoret and Yves Montand, lovers buried together, or watch the pilgrims to Jim Morrison's grave. This must be the best place to visit on a quiet winter Sunday.
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