A love let­ter to Paris

When Aus­tralian fash­ion il­lus­tra­tor Ker­rie Hess moved to Paris, she fell in love with the artis­tic city. Here she gives her guide to what to do if you have just 24 hours in the French cap­i­tal.

Australian Women’s Weekly NZ - - TRAVEL - AWW

Avisit to the City of Love is at the fore­front of many mid­week fan­tasies – but what if you only had a 24-hour stopover to see it all? My must-sees for a fleet­ing one-day Parisian ad­ven­ture range from the tra­di­tional gal­leries to the more mod­ern and lesser known cul­tural hubs – there is beauty and charm around ev­ery cor­ner.

8am: Break­fast on the Left Bank

The Left Bank is eas­ily my favourite part of Paris! Start­ing here, you will in­stantly feel the bo­hemian vibe as the cob­ble­stone streets wrap around cafés and bou­tiques. I love this area for the lit­tle streets off the main av­enue – such as Rue de Buci, which is filled with pa­per shops, crêperies and book stores. The fa­mous L’Ho­tel, where Os­car Wilde once lived, is nearby, as well as the renowned Sor­bonne Uni­ver­sity. This beau­ti­ful build­ing is where writ­ers Honoré de Balzac and Si­mone de Beau­voir stud­ied phi­los­o­phy, and Vera Wang and Chris­tian Lacroix learned de­sign.

9:30am: Visit Venus de Milo at the

Lou­vre I en­joy the out­side of the Lou­vre just as much as the in­side. If you have al­ways dreamed of see­ing the Venus de Milo or Mona Lisa, then this is a must-visit, but en­joy­ing the beau­ti­ful ar­chi­tec­ture of the build­ing it­self can be just as in­spir­ing as the nearly 400,000 pieces of art in­side.

12pm: Pont Neuf Take in gor­geous views of Paris from Pont Neuf, the oldest stand­ing bridge across the River Seine. Two of the city’s most beau­ti­ful hid­den se­crets – Île de la Cité and Île Saint-Louis – are nearby. These is­lands in the river in the cen­tre of Paris are home to some of the oldest cafés, restau­rants and bou­tiques. I love to wan­der down the quiet streets, which have hardly changed for hun­dreds of years.

1pm: Lunch on the Right Bank If you didn’t grab a bite to eat near Pont Neuf, head to the Right Bank for lunch. This is the home of the Eif­fel

Tower, chic Rue de Rivoli and Av­enue Mon­taigne, and some of the most beau­ti­ful ho­tels. My favourite spot on the Right Bank is Tui­leries Gar­den, which is dot­ted with large foun­tains, stat­ues and foot­paths to ex­plore.

3pm: Place des Vos­ges Paris’ oldest square and my favourite park, Place des Vos­ges in the Marais area, is a small but in­cred­i­bly charm­ing square cen­tred around a large foun­tain and flanked with beau­ti­ful build­ings. Pop­u­lar with the French no­bil­ity be­fore the Rev­o­lu­tion, it is now one of the few parks in cen­tral Paris where you can perch di­rectly on the grass.

Watch the city’s elite come and go from the ex­clu­sive Ho­tel Le Pav­il­lon de la Reine next to the square. Known as one of the most pri­vate ho­tels in Paris, Queen Anne of Aus­tria once lived there in her own pri­vate wing.

If you’re peck­ish, head to nearby Les Philosophes café for a bite to eat and Au Pe­tit Fer à Che­val for an aper­i­tif.

5pm: Arc de Tri­om­phe Wan­der down the Champs-Élysées and be greeted by the mag­nif­i­cent Arc de Tri­om­phe. Try walk­ing to the top for a breath­tak­ing view of the city and the Eif­fel Tower, be­fore go­ing down to the Grand Palais, Place de la Con­corde and along the river.

7pm: Din­ner at Le Meurice Eas­ily my favourite ho­tel in Paris, Le Meurice was once a 19th-cen­tury palace for French roy­alty. This el­e­gant ho­tel – in­clud­ing be­spoke fur­ni­ture by Philippe Starck

– is dec­o­rated with a fu­sion of Louis XIV-style and mod­ern in­te­rior de­sign. The ho­tel is home to the restau­rant Le Dalí, per­fect for af­ter­noon tea, and Restau­rant Le Meurice Alain Du­casse for an ex­trav­a­gant din­ner. This ho­tel has a spe­cial place in my heart. Its beau­ti­ful Salon Pom­padour was the set­ting of my first solo ex­hi­bi­tion in Paris, in 2013. A col­lec­tion of mini art prints from this ex­hi­bi­tion is now fea­tured in ev­ery suite of the ho­tel.

9pm: Palais Garnier A “has to be seen to be be­lieved” opera house, the Palais Garnier’s spec­tac­u­lar gold fin­ish­ings and Beaux-Arts façade are just breath­tak­ing. Steeped in his­tory and in the cen­tre of Paris, this is the per­fect spot to visit if you don’t have time for the likes of the Palace of Ver­sailles. I love how this area is full of bou­tique the­atres, cin­e­mas and bistros. Visit the fa­mous Café de la Paix, where the poem The Ab­sinthe Drinkers is set. As the in­spi­ra­tion for many other po­ems, paint­ings and songs, the café has since been de­clared a his­toric site by the French gov­ern­ment.

10pm: Eif­fel Tower A must-see on your brief trip to Paris is ar­guably one of the world’s most recog­nis­able build­ings, the Eif­fel Tower. When I in­spected my apart­ment to rent in Paris, the let­ting agent never men­tioned the spec­tac­u­lar view of it from my frosted bath­room win­dow.

Two weeks later, I had moved in, opened this win­dow and there was a sur­prise view of the Eif­fel Tower! Al­though some­times taken for granted by Parisians, I al­ways felt a sense of beauty in this struc­ture each time I saw it. View the tower at night when it’s at its most mag­i­cal, glim­mer­ing by the hour.

En­joy the full-scale view of the tower from be­low in the park, the Champ de Mars. I rec­om­mend tak­ing Cham­pagne, straw­ber­ries and your love for the per­fect fi­nale to your 24 hours in Paris. The il­lus­tra­tions on these pages were cre­ated by Ker­rie Hess es­pe­cially for The Aus­tralian Women’s Weekly and per­fectly cap­ture her ad­mi­ra­tion for the city of Paris.

LEFT: Ker­rie Hess pho­tographed out­side her favourite ho­tel in Paris, Le Meurice. BE­LOW: The glass pyra­mid in the court­yard of the Lou­vre.

LEFT: En­joy­ing the sun in the Tui­leries Gar­den, with the Arc de Tri­om­phe du Car­rousel to the right and the Lou­vre glass pyra­mid to the left. The nearby Rue de Rivoli is a mecca for shop­pers.

TOP: Ker­rie on the Right Bank with the Eif­fel Tower be­hind her. RIGHT: The en­trance to Le Pav­il­lon de la Reine ho­tel, as seen from Place des Vos­ges, which is a pretty spot to re­lax and peo­ple-watch.

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