Reassurringly chilled-out and accidentally trendy but purposefully original cafe. Daliesque decor with seats in just about every design and shape possible, stools, bean-bags, sofas - the owners must have hounded the poshest skip in the world. As you wander down the cafe you go from grandmother style cafe to Arabian nights. A jolly old messy mix of art, people and selection of aromatic teas and affordable cocktails. Only real cafe in the quartier with some proper character - a true local.
7, rue Quincampoix, 75004: 00 33 (0)142782350L Metro Châtelet
Between a Kubrick cycle and the latest Sofia Coppola, you can taste unpretentious food that won't overshadow the high quality or originality of the films, but mean you can chill out (on the patio if you're lucky) for just over the price of a ticket to the cinema (French prices!).
7-9 rue Francis-de-Pressense, 75014: 00 33 (1) 45 40 60 70: Metro Pernety
Hidden away from the Left-Bank snobbery of le Cafe Flore is this intellectual but cool cafe, home to eclectic music and simple but good quality snacks, but more importantly sitcom-alike waiters and cheap beer. Probably why it's the base for the students from the politics school next door. Rare good-value cafe in St German and just maybe the 21st-century Cafe de Flore.
34 rue de Grenelle, 75007: 00 33 (1) 42225946: Metro Rue du Bac
A paradox of a restaurant, hidden in the tranquil villagey part of the 14th arrondissement and very "vieille France", it is known by students who populate its cobbly streets as the ideal casse-croute. Why? Cheap-as-chips grub and free eye-candy as local beauties escape the neighbouring model agency.
34 rue des Plantes, 75014: 00 33 (0) 1 45404336: Metro Alesia
A welcoming canteen in the new quartier to be. Run by twinz, Slim and Sami, backed-up by cutting edge of French cinema, Matthieu Kassovitz and Vincent Cassel, everything seems to be home-grown: (try the melting tuna steak with mango), the staff, the customers. Locals we met said it was more a place for the St Maur posse to hang out rather than a people-watching spot, although we did encounter a few fashion-victims probably on the look out for Vincent Cassel or Monica Belucci.
101 rue Saint Maur, 75011: 00 (0) 1 40 21 03 37: Metro Saint Maur
Not really a restaurant, but much more than a simple gastro-boutique, this eat-and-buy charcuterie means you sample some of the best ham I've ever tried before wondering how I could afford let alone carry back one of the pata negra hanging proudly above the counter. Don't expect to get a free slice of jabugo with your rioja, they wouldn't even offer it in deepest Andalucia, but what you can expect is Spanish ham maybe better than anywhere in Spain itself.
18 rue Jean Nicot, 75007: 00 33 (0) 153599696: RER Pont de L'Alma
Take the right-hand chair when arriving at Grands Montets mid-station (or ski down from L'Index) and head for the trees. A variety of routes down (and the occasional surprise!).
Cut right at track to make bottom chairlift, otherwise it's a long walk. If you reach Argentiere you know you've gone too far.
It's worth noting that you can only do this if there's enough snow, and it's for capable skiers only.
A small hotel (31 rooms), tucked away on a quiet side street close to the Palais du Luxembourg gardens and in the heart of St Germain. It has good sized, individually decorated rooms. Prices around €150-165 per night.
This restaurant has been described as the Parisian St. John. The environment and atmosphere are different but the chef takes a simple and confident approach to robust French country foods. Oysters, sardines and steak, terrine, pig's cheek. I would recommend booking as it is popular. They staff are very patient with non-French speaking customers.
22 rue Butte-aux-Cailles, 13th
Metro Place d’Italie
Relatively unknown to tourists this beautiful tree-lined passageway splits the Seine in two, making it the perfect location for a summer evening promenade for romantic couples. The allee provides an up close and personal view of the Statue of Liberty at one end - photos that will undoubtedly confuse the relatives back home - and a magnificant vantage point for the Eiffel Tower at the other.
The Pont de Bir Hakeim, recognisable from all the major anglophone movies that epitomise Paris, gives you the perfect exit strategy with Passy metro on one side and Bir Hakeim tourist central at the other.
allee des cygnes, 75015
Metro: Passy, Bir Hakeim
RER C: Avenue du President Kennedy, Maison de la Radio France
A tantalising array of fine chocolates and ornate cakes greets you as you enter this bustling town centre hub. It's quite an assault on the senses, but you can recover with a coffee and a freshly baked croissant in the cafe at the back.
Rue du Docteur Paccard, Chamonix. Tel: +33(0)450530159
There's much heated debate as to which of Chamonix's three late-night snack bars is best, but for me it's Belouga all the way. A small takeaway selling toasted sandwiches and chips, it's open all day but really comes into its own when the pubs shut.
Av Ravanel le Rouge, Chamonix.
Accessed from the 'top tickets' lift at Grand Montets, you skit nervously across the glacier before dropping into one of the longest and most satisfying couloirs in the valley. It's both dangerous and very reliant on snow conditions, so it's best to go with a guide. From the bottom it's a short hike up to the Montenvers train, which takes you back down to the centre of Chamonix, or - snow allowing - you can take the trail through the woods.
Les Grands Montets, Chamonix
The run from the top of the Bochard right down to the car park is steep, challenging, and, at over 2,000m of vertical, a real leg burner. Make sure you get it first thing in the morning before it gets too bumpy.
Les Grands Montets, Chamonix
Bistro in the 6th arrondisement, St Germain, metro Odeon.
Very good food, reasonable prices and friendly service for this bistro that attracts mostly locals. Main courses 14 Eur; starters and desserts, 6 Eur.
Strongly recommend the 'Morceau du Boucher' for main meal and the cheese cake for dessert.
You should book in advance.
7 rue Lobineau, 75006, Paris.
Metro Odeon (line 4) or Mabillon (line 10). It's situated on one side of the Marché St Germain.
Phone: 00 33 1 4046.0688.
You'll find this piste right by the car park at the bottom of Le Tour. It's a wide and mellow piste serviced by a pair of easy draglifts, making it the ideal place to take to the slopes for the first time. The lift pass is cheap, and there's a good cafe ideally situated for when you're fed up of falling over.
Le Tour, Chamonix
Charming and unique Basque restaurant in Paris. They serve these great salads in giant bowls for around 50 Francs. Other specialities include confit de canard. It's a small space and a case of finding a spare table and sitting down, rather than reserving in advance. It's rough and ready and a very lively atmosphere, incredibly friendly and great value.
30 Rue Cinq Diamantes (13th)
M: Place d’Italie
A modern park, very architectural and different from traditional parks. Lots of fountains and greenhouses and a good place to spend a quiet Sunday morning with the family.
Metro Balard. Near Quai Andre Citroen, west of the Tour Eiffel
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