Paris for first-timers or old hands
YOUR FIRST TIME
The plan to demolish the Eiffel Tower after the 1889 World Fair was, thankfully, abandoned and the Art Nouveau spire is now the defining fixture of the Paris skyline. Come at dusk for views best enjoyed with a glass of champagne from the top floor (toureiffel.paris). Retro styling and hearty French dishes, like roasted duck breast (left), make Bistrot Paul Bert a food critics’ favourite (18 Rue Paul Bert). Only a city like Paris could have its own designer line of souvenirs, sold in its own concept store. Pick up Paris-themed clothing, homewares, accessories – and even signature Jardin du Luxembourg Fermob (rendezvous.paris.fr). Au Sauvignon is a wonderfully authentic ‘bar à vin’. Established in the 1950s, it has a pavement terrace, original zinc bar, tightly packed tables and handpainted ceiling celebrating French wine culture (ausauvignon.com). Designed by fashion royalty Christian Lacroix and close to the the Louvre, the Hotel du Continent is a great deal. Expect themed floors and haute-couture styling in the rooms (from £135; hotelcontinent com).
BEEN THERE, DONE THAT
For a truly local experience, join Meeting the French and try... learning petanque, making baguettes at a boulangerie, heading (en.meetingthefrench.com). At Semilla, exposed pipes and an open kitchen create a factory-style setting for a modern, dailychanging menu that might include the likes of pork ribs with cinnamon. Leave room for the outstanding desserts (semillaparis.com). The Marché aux Puces de St-Ouen is Europe’s largest flea market, with over 2,500 stalls each with its own speciality, from 17th-century furniture to vintage toys. Get here early for the best bargains (marcheauxpuces-saintouen.com). Pale woodwork and bare-bulb lights create a pared-back setting for quality gins and craft beer at Tiger Bar; it sits on bar-heavy rue Princesse, making it the ideal starting point for (tiger-paris.com). Vintage décor and flea-market finds throughout: check. Personal iPads loaded with music in the bedrooms: check. DJs playing at the bar: check. As one of the leading characters in Paris’ new breed of ‘lifestyle hotels’, Le Pigalle has all the boxes ticked (from £160; lepigalle.paris).
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