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2 days in Paris


Visit the capital

Day 1, Right Bank 

1st Arr. (Musée du Louvre/Les Halles), 2nd Arr. (La Bourse), 3rd Arr. (Le Marais), 4th Arr. (Île de la Cité/Île St-Louis & Beaubourg), 4th Arr. (Île de la Cité/Île St-Louis & Beaubourg), 9th Arr. (Opéra Garnier/Pigalle), 18th Arr.

Morning

Plan to wake up in a hotel right in the heart of Paris so you can make the most of this first day right from the start. The Edgar & Achille boutique hotel overlooks the picturesque Sentier Square in a neighbourhood steeped in the charm of old-fashioned Paris thanks to its glass-covered arcades. The hotel’s offbeat, stylish interior, by designers inspired by Pierre Frey, is a favourite with urban travelers looking for accommodations with character.

If you’re considering a more upmarket establishment, book a room at the Hôtel Madame Rêve, located in the former Louvre Post Office, a spectacular 19C edifice painstakingly refurbished by Dominique Perrault. The spacious rooms sport a contemporary vibe, despite the odd nod to the premises’ former vocation as a post office—note the mail art hanging on the walls. The panoramic restaurant and rooftop both command jaw-dropping views over the capital.

© Edgar & Achille

© Edgar & Achille

Excited to get out and explore Paris and its gourmet delights? Kick off the day in true Parisian style with a coffee boost on Rue Saint Martin at Partisan, which roasts its own blends with beans imported from the world’s top plantations. Bare brick walls, steel pillars and a slate grey counter set the neo-industrial interior, reminiscent of Brooklyn.

After strolling past the piazza of the Pompidou Centre, heaven for modern art lovers, head for the Marais district and its aristocratic mansions. The Marché des Enfants Rouges, the oldest market of Paris and also its hippest, is a treasure trove of delicatessen stalls with goodies to nibble on site or take home.

Lunch

The area between Les Halles and the Louvre is an Aladdin’s Cave of culinary gems. Those in search of a bistro that celebrates tradition should make a beeline for La Poule au Pot, founded in 1935. Now in the talented hands of chef Jean-François Piège, it has retained its magnificent 1930’s interior. The menu is similarly bourgeois and generous, starring family favourites such as onion soup au gratin, blanquette of calf’s sweetbread and île flottante with pink pralines.

If you’re in the mood for something less traditionally French, head to Lai’Tcha, run by chef Adeline Grattard, who is also at the helm of the starred Yam’Tcha. Using only meticulously sourced ingredients, her Chinese-inspired score plays an appetising melody ranging from piping hot dim sum and giant shrimp in breadcrumbs to a fresh salad of Galician beef with pleurote mushrooms.

© Edouard Caupeil/Yam'Tcha

© Edouard Caupeil/Yam’Tcha

Afternoon

After lunch, stroll through the stunning Galerie Véro Dodat (covered passageway) to the Palais Royal arcades. The nearby Caves Legrand wine merchant (founded in 1880) proudly claims to have created the profession of cellarman, as well as boasting extremely rare vintage wines.

Now, head for the Louvre courtyard and its stunning glass pyramid by I.M. Pei. Fine art afficionados will no doubt want to spend a few hours visiting part of the world’s greatest museum before heading to the Petit Palais on the Champs-Élysées. Nestled in a lush green patio, its cafe is ideal for a cup of tea or an iced drink. Fans of macarons will probably want to walk up the avenue to pay homage to Ladurée, famous for its meringue-based almond delights.

© Constantin Mirbach/Caves Legrand

© Constantin Mirbach/Caves Legrand

Dinner and a night out

For a completely different picture of Paris, hop over to Pigalle and the Moulin Rouge. In the hip SoPi (South Pigalle) district, which has given birth to a plethora of good food establishments of late, you have two choices. If you’re in the mood for time-honoured bistro classics, albeit with a cheeky wholesome edge, book a table at Le Pantruche. In a modern interior, the menu may include delicacies such as shellfish and ricotta ravioles, confit of chuck beef with miso or a Grand Marnier soufflé.

Alternatively, head for Grégory Marchand’s Frenchie Pigalle in the same neighbourhood. Tucked away on the ground-floor of the Grand Pigalle Hotel, this trendy eatery is the epitome of friendly. It is ideal to share (or not) a lineup of flawlessly crafted, occasionally unorthodox dishes. The Iberic rib of pork washed down with a fine Roanne wine is a favorite.

© Grand Pigalle

© Grand Pigalle

It’s now time to make your way up the mythical Montmartre hill. Come nightfall, its mood becomes more mysterious, particularly on the steps leading up to this iconic Parisian landmark. Follow your GPS to Avenue Junot and Le Très Particulier, a chic cocktail bar set in a handsome mansion with a private garden. Booking is essential.

When you find yourself nodding off, we have two suggestions . First, the Grand Pigalle Hotel, opened by the owners of some of the capital’s most popular cocktail bars and decorated by Dorothée Meilichzon, the new High Priestess of hip hotel interior decoration. Some forty rooms, dripping in bohemian chic, are ideal for romantic getaways. Each minibar is stocked with cocktails prepared by the house mixologist.

Or, book yourself into the Hôtel Pulitzer, which now sports the same (winning) formula as its sibling in Barcelona. A friendly, yet smart-not-stuffy vibe invites guests to relax and enjoy themselves. The modern rooms all feature a Parisian architectural theme, depicted by rooms under the eaves and wrought-iron balconies.

© Hôtel Pulitzer Paris

© Hôtel Pulitzer Paris

Day 2, Left Bank

5th Arr. (Quartier Latin), 6th Arr. (St-Germain/Luxembourg), 7th Arr. (Tour Eiffel/Musée D’Orsay), 15th Arr. (Gare Montparnasse/Institut Pasteur),16th Arr. (Trocadéro)

Morning

Paris has no lack of historic cafes and you just can’t leave the city without trying a few! What could be more quintessentially Parisian than leisurely sampling a café-croissant at Café de Flore or the Deux Magots, both of which are landmarks of Saint-Germain-des-Prés?

Those in favour of a more 21C coffee shop should make a detour to Rue de Babylone and the Café Coutume, specialising in exceptional coffees, prepared either on a gleaming Marzocco espresso machine or filtered.

Just a short walk away, La Grande Épicerie is an exclusive grocery store-cum-delicatessen and a favourite haunt of Parisian foodies. It is, in fact, the food department of the upmarket Bon Marché department store founded in 1838 and boasts an emporium of exquisite produce, from bread and pastries to cheese, wine and other spirits. It is the place to unearth delicacies of great rarity, thanks to famous partnerships with prestigious brands and producers.

© TheTravelbudsxLaGrandeEpicerie

© TheTravelbudsxLaGrandeEpicerie

Now walk down Rue de Seine as far as the Seine embankment and the Académie Française. From the Pont des Arts, admire the view over the Île de la Cité and the recently reinstalled spire of Notre Dame Cathedral. Behind you is the magnificent, Musée d’Orsay set in a former 19C railway station, while the long façade of the Louvre stretches out on the Right Bank opposite.

Lunch

Semilla isa buzzy, hip bistro that serves delicious, fully vegetarian food in the zeitgeist, crafted from produce sourced from all over France (fish from Vendée, vegetables from Val de Loire, poultry from Dombes).
For a more traditional meal, book a table at Allard, a historic establishment now in the hands of master chef Alain Ducasse. Open since 1932, it continues to uphold the legacy of Parisian bistros as much by its gilded interior and plush vibe as by its classical menu. It is the perfect place to sample an emblematic dish like snails in garlic butter, sole meunière or chocolate profiteroles.

© itsalltomfoolery/Instagram

© itsalltomfoolery/Instagram

Afternoon

We suggest a short postprandial promenade after lunch. Saunter over to the mythical Quartier Latin, a haunt of students since the Middle Ages, whose narrow winding lanes provide a glimpse of what Paris looked like in centuries past. Then make your way up Montagne Sainte-Geneviève to the Panthéon, a former church where all the famous figures of French history are buried.

At teatime, set your sights on the lovely Luxembourg Gardens, bordered by Angelina’s tearoom, famous for its hot chocolate. You will very probably have to queue as it remains a firm hit with the city’s chocolate lovers.

Dinner and a night out

Hémicycle, one of the most popular eateries of the capital, is just a stone’s throw from the nearby Assemblée Nationale (Houses of Parliament). Crafted by chef Flavio Lucarini, the food is refreshingly bold, underscored by flawless technique and a sprinkling of Italian notes. The superlative setting invites you to take your time. The desserts are the work of virtuoso pastry chef, Aurora Storari, the chef’s companion.

Céleri-rave et pomme, ganache montée au céleri-rave rôti, compote pomme redlove et poivre rouge ©Thomas Dhellemme

Céleri-rave et pomme, ganache montée au céleri-rave rôti, compote pomme redlove et poivre rouge ©Thomas Dhellemme

Almost next door, the Café des Ministères is packed noon and evening with diners eager to do justice to its hearty bourgeois repertory. The calf sweetbread and lobster vol-au-vent is a favourite with the regulars, while the stuffed cabbage finds favour with more adventurous diners. The knockout wine list is rich in little-known wines that you will be tempted to try.

Finish your evening in style with a cocktail or cognac at Cravan on Boulevard Saint-Germain. This immense cocktail bar, which sprawls over four stories of an 18C edifice, sports a modern interior and is popular with the night owls of Paris, lured by its extensive beverage menu.

When it’s time for bed, the Left Bank is rich in possibilities. Hôtel Monge has nestled within an elegant 19C private mansion. Forty velvety cocooned guestrooms with parquet floors, high ceilings and mouldings are inviting, and the hotel is dotted with works of art and artistic wallpaper that lend it further cachet. A small hammam is available to wind down after a day of sightseeing.

Villa M unfolds its striking modern architecture near Montparnasse Railway Station. The work of star designer, Philippe Starck, the incredible interior features a vibrant compliation of designer furnishings and works of art. A lush alfresco patio, a trendy-looking bar and a rooftop: what’s not to like?

© Villa M

© Villa M

Adress book : 
Partisan, 36 r Turbigo, 75003 Paris
Pompidou 4 r Aubry le Boucher, 75004 Paris
Marchés des enfants rouges 37 r Bretagne, 75003 Paris
Caves Legrand 1 r Banque, 75002 Paris
Petit palais Av Winston Churchill, 75008 Paris
Ladurée 75 av Champs Elysées, 75008 Paris
Le très particulier Pavillon D 23 avenue Junot, 75018
Café de Flore, 172 bd St Germain, 75006 Paris
Les Deux Magots, 6 pl St Germain des Prés, 75006 Paris
Coutume 47 r de Babylone, 75007 Paris
La Grande épicerie80 r Passy, 75016 Paris
Cravan 165 bd St Germain, 75006 Paris



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