There’s something for everyone in this romantic city. Visit in August and you’ll have the city to yourself, as most locals will be on holiday for the month.
Where to stay
Le Lionceau — Simple, cheap (40 euros for a double room), this hotel is located in a very nice neighbourhood. Cable and English. 22 rue Daguerre 75014. Metro: Denfert.
Hotel du Pantheon — Part of a family-run chain of charming, affordable two- and three-star hotels in the heart of upmarket Saint Germain. The Hotel du Pantheon has a particularly cosy atmosphere and luxurious interiors offering traditional Louis XVI with a twist and a stunning view, making it an exceptionally romantic place to stay. From €90 per room, with up to 50 per cent discount for online advance bookings. 19 place du Panthéon, 75005. Metro: Cluny-La Sorbonne. www.hotels-paris-rive-gauche.com.
George V — This gorgeous five-star hotel offers — for an expensive price — luxury and comfort. 245 rooms, swimming room, jacuzzi, massages... 31 avenue George V, 75008, Metro: Georges V; www.fourseasons.com/paris.
What to see
Les Quais de Seine — The quays of the Seine are a wonderful place to stroll and observe Paris. Buy cheap second-hand books, have a little picnic with a view of Notre-Dame, or take a taxi-boat along the river. Metro: Saint Michel to Gare d’Austerlitz.
Montmartre — One of the most romantic areas in Paris, this picturesque neighbourhood on a hill is best known as the artist’s “quartier,” full of cute, traditional bars and cafes. At the top of the hill is the Sacré-Coeur, a huge white basilica in the Roman-Byzantine style, with pretty gardens and great views over the city. Metro: Abesses.
The catacombs — A fun and original trip beneath the city, this underground maze of tombs dating from the late 18th century opened two years ago. It might be a bit sinister but it gives you an insight into a secret Paris and a piece of history. 1, Avenue du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, 75014. Metro: Denfert. catacombes-de-paris.fr.
Viaduc des Arts — A 4.5-km floral promenade that runs from Bastille to Reuilly, built on a former viaduct. Walk along the viaduct, look over the roofs of Paris and smell the perfume of lavender, or check out the artists’ studios based in the vaults underneath. Avenue Daumesnil. Metro: Bastille. viaduc-des-arts.com.
Musée du Quai Branly —Don’t miss the new Musée du Quai Branly, designed by architect Jean Nouvel, which opened in 2006, dedicated to non-European cultures, showcasing treasures including Vietnamese costumes and Aborigine paintings. 37 quai Branly, 75007. Metro: Alma-Marceau. quaibranly.fr.
What to buy
La Grande Epicerie de Paris — If you want to take back some local specialities, you’ll find them at this upmarket food shop: Foie gras, salmon, pasta, teas, chocolates and cheese. 5000 product, French and international. 36 rue de Sèvres 75007. Metro: Vavin. lebonmarche.fr.
Galeries Lafayette — If you have limited time in Paris, you’ll find everything you need on the seven floors of this historic department store, from French fashion, to shoes and perfumes. 40 boulevard Haussmann, 75009. RER: Auber. galerieslafayette.com.
Gibert Joseph — This big shop in the Quartier Latin is the rendez-vous for music fans, selling classical, rock, jazz. Helpful staff, reasonable prices and very cheap second-hand CDs. 34 boulevard Saint Michel 75006. Metro: Odéon. gibertjoseph.com.
Paris Design Market — Every Sunday, more than 100 painters, photographers, sculptors and jewellers, display their work at the Paris Design Market. Metro: Edgar Quinet.
Where to drink
Bar Ourcq — A small bar, cosy and cheap. As soon as the sun is back choose between sunlounger or petanque. You can take a mojito or a beer in a plastic glass and have a walk along the canal of l’Ourcq. 68 quai de la Loire 75019, Metro: Laumière. barourcq.free.fr.
Le Pantalon — This tiny atmospheric bar draws in students with a mix of cheap drinks, loud music and eccentric interior decorations including paving stones, a traffic light and a balcony. 7 rue Royer-Collard 75005. RER: Luxembourg.
Les Deux Magots — One of the most famous cafés of Paris, Les Deux Magots has attracted writers, philosophers and poets including Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir and André Gide since it opened in 1933. Old-fashioned waiters dressed in black and white serve a traditional menu, with a coffee at 4 euros and salads from 8 euros to 17. 6 place Saint Germain des Près. Metro: Saint Germain des Près. lesdeuxmagots.fr.
Where to Party
Truskel — Rock rules, and there’s a club in Paris that knows it. From outside, the Truskel looks like an Irish pub, but inside indie concerts and DJ sets will take you to the end of the night. Entrance is free and the drinks are quite cheap. 10-12 rue Feydeau. Metro: Bourse. truskel.com.
le Showcase — It didn’t take long for the Showcase to become the place to be last summer in Paris. If not for the great number of VIPs, you have to go there for the beautiful dancehall and the view on the Seine river, under the magnificent Alexandre III bridge, near Concorde. But don’t forget — you’ll have to dress up to get in. Port des Champs-Elysées. Metro: Champs-Elysées-Clémenceau. showcase.fr.