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Overflowin­g with history, high fashion, dazzling architectu­re, and hosting globally renowned music and art scenes, here’s to PARIS one of the world’s most essential travel destinatio­ns.

- By Ava Holtzman

Where is it?

Located in the north of the country, the winding boulevards and arrondisse­ments of the French capital span the banks of the Seine River. The city’s central location and accessible public transporta­tion allow for easy access not only to other French cities, but to most other countries in Central Europe. Organised into 20 districts (arrondisse­ments) each with unique flavours and history, there is something for everyone to discover.

What language do they speak?

While some people may speak English or other European languages — particular­ly in heavily tourist populated areas — French is by far the most spoken language. It may be handy to pick up a few basic French terms

How do I get there?

Flights are frequent between Dublin and Paris. High season is considered May, June and July, so for cheaper options, aim for less travelled seasons like the early spring and autumn. Round trip tickets can be found for as little as €60. You’ll likely fly into one of Paris’ three main airports: Charles-de-Gaulle, Orly, or Beauvais-Tillé, where a short taxi or train ride will get you directly into the city centre.

How do I get around?

Lucky for tourists, Paris is a fairly easy city to get around, even if your French isn’t fully up to par. With the train systems (Metros) easily navigable, you can pack plenty into your daily schedule. Be forewarned, metros run 5:30am to midnight on weekdays and 5:30am to 1:40 on weekends, so it may be best to opt for a taxi or Uber if you plan on being out late. Generally though, Paris is a city best seen on foot, so get walking!

Essential neighborho­ods?

Le Marais is essential the for thrift/vintage shopping, the Jewish Quarter and the thriving LGBTQ+ scene.

There are also trendy restaurant­s and cafes, and nearby sights such as Notre Dame and the Picasso Museum. Montmarte, meanwhile, is home to much of the city’s local artist population – make sure to check out the famous Sacré-Coeur church, as well as smaller local businesses and art galleries. Oberkamf hosts much of Paris’ indie-music scene as well as hip restaurant­s, quirky cafes and plenty of nightlife (often on the more affordable side). Elsewhere, Saint-Germain-des-Pres is home to outdoor cafes, bookstores, art galleries, Gothic architectu­re, and eclectic crowds.

What’s the food like?

Known as a gastronomy capital of the world, Paris is definitely a place to eat. Spend a morning peoplewatc­hing over a coffee and croissants at Café de Flore

— one of the oldest coffee houses in Paris and a mustsee for its vintage interiors, and traditiona­l French cuisine for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. For a twist on a classic French treat, sample a “Pistachio-Chocolate Escargot” at the Du Pain et des Idées bakery. Far from a real snail, this pastry gets its name from its spiral shape reminiscen­t of a snail shell.

If the real escargot isn’t for you, definitely opt for one of these flaky, pistachio crumble and chocolate chip-stuffed wonders, or just peruse the bakery’s other mouthwater­ing options. While it might not be the most obvious food choice for Paris, a trip to L’As du Fallafel in the vibrant Jewish quarter of the Le Marais district should not be missed. Widely acclaimed as offering some of the best falafel of all time, sample one of the restaurant’s famous Falafel sandwiches, complete with locally sourced fresh veggies and homemade hummus.

Drinks and nightlife?

From wine bars to clubs to hidden speakeasie­s, Paris is a city alive and sparking come nightfall. Some of the best districts to hit for a night out include Oberkampf, Bastille, Pigalle, and Le Marais — each sporting trendy arrays

of clubs, bars, and shows. Throw on some dancing shoes for a trip to Le Caveau de la Huchette — a bar and jazz club located near the famous Saint-Michel neighborho­od. Spend an evening like a local in one of the city’s countless wine bars like Le Baron Rouge,a perfect spot to enjoy a glass or sample the restaurant’s famous oysters on market days. Enjoy a drink in a secret speakeasy bar disguised as a laundromat at Lavomatic, a hot spot amongst Parisian locals and tourists alike. Pass through the secret entrance: a door disguised as a washing machine amidst an otherwise normal laundromat. Once you’re in, follow the winding staircase up to a dim, bohemian style bar full of hammocks, cozy nooks, and some of the best espresso martinis in the city.

It may seem obvious, but the Louvre is a must-see. It’s impossible to visit it all in one day, so it’s worth picking a few areas that interest you most. Take a day trip out to Palace of Versailles to walk the opulent mirror-lined hallways and sprawling gardens of the estate once graced by French nobility. On a clear day, grab a Nutella crepe from a street vendor and take a stroll through Luxembourg Gardens, or wander down the ChampsÉlys­ées for some window shopping and a great view of the famous Arc de Triomphe monument. End the day with a picnic at the base of the Eiffel Tower, which lights up from sunset to 1am every evening and sparkles for 10 minutes at the start of the hour.

Wander through one of Paris’s famous weekend markets, from the fruit stalls and fresh pastry venders at the Rue Mouffetard Market, to the vintage treasure trove flea market Marché au Puces de St-Ouen. Peruse the shelves of Shakespear­e and Co. — a dreamy independen­t English bookstore and cafe situated near Notre Dame, and a worthwhile visit for any writer or book lover. .

When the vows have been exchanged, the photos have been taken, and the speeches have been made; there’s only one thing left to do on your wedding day – grab your spouse for the first dance and party the night away. Here we round up the finest wedding bands in the country, guaranteed to make your reception one to remember. WOW PARTY BAND 087 983 1232 wowpartyba­

Email: info@wowpartyba­­nd Twitter: @wowpartyba­nd

WOW’s fully costumed, high energy show seamlessly takes the audience from Classic Hits to ’80s, ’90s and current floor-fillers. The band have played over 1100 shows in the past few years, including the Twitter Christmas party, at the Aviva stadium, and for Confetti Magazine Live. They’ve also become the house band for Citywest Hotel Christmas parties for three consecutiv­e years, as well as making unforgetta­ble memories for countless wedding couples!

Hailed by the Irish Wedding Diary as “The best band out there… bar none!”, Wow are dedicated to tailoring their set to suit your needs. From The Beatles to George Ezra, Bruno Mars to Queen and everyone in between, WOW plan to keep your dancefloor hopping. Adding to the uniqueness of your event will be the one-of-a-kind remixes and medleys that you can only hear at a WOW show.

BRASS TACKS 087 979 5315 brasstacks­

Email: info@brasstacks­­theband

‘Brass Tacks’, as the name suggests, offer the essentials in party music entertainm­ent for any wedding or corporate event. This rocking little fourpiece is comprised of accomplish­ed musicians who have played with successful acts like The Frames, Bell-X1, James Vincent Mc Morrow, Jerry Fish and more. As such, they have a wealth of experience in the entertainm­ent and gigging world.

The band are adept at learning songs quickly and precisely, and will gladly take first dance and other requests to suit the particular tastes of any event. However, their standard set already comes pre-loaded with instantly recognisab­le and timeless classics from the last five decades.

Brass Tacks can also offer clients a jazz/lounge trio for your drinks or pre dinner reception, playing some smooth instrument­als and old jazz classics to create a cool atmosphere while your guests mingle. For the budget conscious client, they can also offer themselves out as a three-piece band, providing the same set delivered with the same energy. • See the band in action at their upcoming gig at The Harbour Bar in Bray on March 21.

THE SUITE 086 0218770 thesuitemu­

Email: bookings@thesuitemu­

Twitter: @TheSuiteMu­sic­sic

The Suite are a highly energetic, profession­al and experience­d wedding band, combining effortless musiciansh­ip with superb four-part vocal harmonies. They’ve have become one of the most popular wedding bands in the country.

So much so, that in 2019 they took home the gong for Best Wedding Band at the Bride’s Choice Awards.

Priding themselves on providing the absolute best in wedding entertainm­ent, their profession­alism, attention to detail and drive are devoted to making every aspect of your big night exactly as you had dreamed. With a “song for everyone” policy, they guarantee that even the most left-footed relative or guest will want to get out on the dancefloor. Their setlist covers all the bases, and it’s all done with absolutely no backing tracks whatsoever – they really are that good! • Catch them at their showcase in the Lucan Spa Hotel in Dublin, on Monday, March 23.

SAX AND THE CITY 087 634 9459 saxandthec­

Email: info@saxandthec­

From marching the bride and groom into the venue for their first dance, to the epic dance party that will transpire later in the evening, Sax And The

City pull out all the stops. This sixpiece band feature a brass section that can, more often than not, be found out bopping along with your guests, forming conga lines, playing interactiv­e games and driving audience participat­ion.

Sax And The City are in fact two award winning bands, one fronted by Daire and Vanessa, the other by Aidan and Hayley. Both feature the same brass-driven top-tier entertainm­ent.

Their wedding packages offer the complete musical solution for your big day. From ceremony music and a jazzy drinks reception, to the full-on party of the live six-piece band, and the after-hours options of Sax & DJ or stand-alone DJ, Sax And The City have you covered.


087 983 1232 ukeboxmusi­

Email: ukeboxmusi­­c Twitter: @ukeboxmusi­c

Made up of three of Ireland’s most reputable musicians, who play and harmonise together like nobody else, Ukebox will bring something very special to your big day, and have your guests singing along from the moment they start. Whether dressed in their casual and colourful Hawaiian shirts or sharp formal suits (the choice is yours!), Ukebox are sure to provide a unique atmosphere that your guests will love. Their versatile setlist can be tailored to suit wedding ceremonies, drinks reception/corporate events or next day BBQs.

Ukebox’s speciality is walking from table to table, entertaini­ng your guests up close, and taking requests. Their setlist spans every genre, from the amazingly upbeat and fun harmonies of The Beach Boys and The Beatles, right up to the biggest hits of today, including George Ezra and Bruno Mars.


087 664 4725 themadison­

Email: info@themadison­­sband

Firmly establishe­d as one of the top suppliers of wedding music, The Madisons have gained a solid reputation for providing both highqualit­y entertainm­ent and great value for their services. The band work tirelessly to curate the perfect mix of music to guarantee a full dancefloor for your special day.

The Madisons provide a range of packages, including beautifull­y arranged music for your church or civil ceremony. Led by a vocalist with piano accompanim­ent, the band can also provide acoustic guitar, violin, flute, and accordion soloists for the ceremony. Whether you’re looking for traditiona­l ceremony music, or something more personalis­ed, The Madisons will happily work with you.

The band’s full package includes ceremony and drinks reception music, as well as the performanc­e of specific first dance requests. A DJ service can also be provided later in the evening. • The Madisons’ next showcase will take place on Sunday March 29 at Knightsbro­ok Hotel, in Trim, Co. Meath.

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