SHOPPING in Paris:
Welcome to the oversized storage box. You've got to fight through the fumes of mothballs. The reward could be a piece of clothing that you would have never dreamt of! So, hold your breath and start browsing. This second-hand store is packed to the ceiling with great pieces, you just have to rummage until you've found the right one. And that's before any of the other trendsetters, who flock here in big numbers, find it first! A few hours later and a stuffed nose, combined with a few new tasteful pieces for the wardrobe and you have to think to yourself: if Freep's'Star was bigger and more organised, it would've only been half as much fun!
Paris fashion just as you imagined it: fur doesn't even appear to be too extravagant here, just simply elegant. And that pulls in the celebrities and fashionistas in droves. This charming shop is modelled on an elegant bedroom and possesses beauties from the likes of Hermes Seidenschal, Chanel and Christian Dior. The sortiment here is completed with pieces from the owners own collection. Yukikos fashion is very feminine, with the dominating materials being fur and silk. This store is an absolute hotspot in the scene with the models in the showroom and the nearby café setting the perfect ambience.
The year: 1980. The idea: To bring new and interesting fashion to Paris. The scouts: Matine and Armand Hadida. The opening of the first boutique was over 30 years ago. And it wasn't the only one. A further 5 boutiques also came to the fashion scene. L'eclaireur stands for avant-garde fashion, that you simply cannot find anywhere else, and also for breathtaking interiors. The fashion comes from Ann Demeulemeester, Dries Van Noten and Junya Watanabe. Nobody und Fornasetti provided the furnishings. Each one of the L'Eclaireur stores stock basically the same lables, nonetheless you should take a look in all of them, as each store is so individual and impressive. Beginners should go to the boutique on Rue Boissy. You almost feel like you're in an art gallery there and you can digest your first impressions at the bar or restaurant.
SIGHTS in Paris:
Schauen & Shoppen
There are shops as far as the eye can see at the Boulevard Haussman, but you will find everything under one room at the elegant Galeries Lafayette. And if you're searching for a trendy garment, perfum, book or some exclusive souvenirs to take home, then you've found the right place. So marvel at the coloured-glass dome and the sheer convenience of it all. To enjoy the view, we recommend a break on the top floor, where there is solid French cuisine to be had at reasonable prices. You will dine well above the rooves of Paris; the Madeleine is over there, with the green roof, further in the background you will spot the Grand Palais and a bit further, the tower of all towers is right there - yes, the Eiffel Tower. You can even see the Sacré Coeur from up here! Enjoy!
A stroll over the Champs Elysées is not to be missed. There's countless noble boutiques and trendy people to be seen. Shiny eyes are on the cards, and once you've had enough of looking at the luxury on display, then you've probably already reached the Arc de Triomphe. Only a few take the time to ascend the arches, probably because of the 300 steps involved. However, the view from the Arc de Triomphe is almost better than the Eiffel Tower. The city doesn't seem so far away from the 50 metre height and you can still spot all the sights with ease. Inside the arch, there's a museum dedicated to the city's history and a changing historical exhibition.
A walk up a little alley way and you're at the stairs of the Sacré Coeur. Be careful here. Amongst the souvenir dealers there are also dodgy games of luck and tricky theives out there to make a quick buck. To the right of the Sacré Coeur park is the museum of more naive art. The Basilique de Sacré Coeur is positioned 130m above the city and was built out of brilliant white limestone. The Saint-Pierre-de-Montmartre church is unjustifiably found in the shadow of the Sacré Coeur. Founded in the year 1133, the building is an absolute gem. The Place de Tertre is the former town square turn meeting point for artists and tourists alike. Just around the corner, you will find the Musée Dalí, which pays homage to the artist who, just like Toulouse Lautrec, Pablo Picasso and Pierre-Auguste de Renoir, spent time in the artist's quarter of Montmarte. Further down the road is the Rue des Saules, where the Au Lapin Agile is to be found - the most famous cabaret in the city. World-famous artists like Apollinaire and Lautrec used to regularly come here for a drink. Even Picasso was a regular here, and once paid for his bill with a painting, that is worth millions today. Take the time to stroll through the steep alleyways surrounding the Montmarte and soak in the atmosphere of this enchanting quarter.
STAY in Paris:
It doesn't get more central than this! The location of the Duo in the heart of the Marais quarter, surrounded by restaurants, bars and boutiques, is not to be beaten. As hard as it is to leave this feelgood-hotel, go out and explore the very urban and unmistakably French Marais district. Out of the once cool design hotel, renovation has turned the Duo into a stylish feelgood hotel. Modern decorations meet old frames and practical furnishings on wood-parquett floors out of the 18th century set the scene here at the Duo. The rooms are fantastic, but the most comfortable thing about this hotel is that shopaholics can drop off their shopping bags before heading off into the next boutique. Well, at least when you are in Marais to go shopping. Double rooms from ?200 a night.
Book a room with a terrace here, and you will get an imposing view of the Eiffel Tower. Everyone else has to settle for the shared panorama terrasse, which also offers a great view of the city. This is exactly why Le Raphael hotel is a favourite for film settings. If you can pry yourself away from the wonderful ambience here, the Raphael is in close proximity to the Champs-Elysées and the Arc de Triumphe. After a city tour, you can relax under the massage shower, which is a standard fitting in all rooms. Double rooms are available from ?505 per night.
Villa St. Germain
Wengé wood, marble and precious materials. Those who place value in sophisticated and exclusive design will be spellbound in the Villa Saint Germain, established by Marie Christine Dorner. This dame learnt from one of the best: she was a pupil of Philippe Starck, the most famous French designer of all time. The Villa is fantastic and exudes an elegance of excellence. Harmonie and simplicity, clear lines and soft colours set the tone here. And it's all found in the picturesque Saint Germain des Prés, right next to the Louvre and the Museum d'Orsay. As a tip, order a glass of champagne or a whisky and soak in the ambience at the hotel Jazz bar, even if you're not staying overnight. Double rooms from 270 euros per night.
EAT in Paris:
If you've had enough of the pomp and flamboyancy of culinary glamour then you should drop by here. It's Le Clou: from the outside you wouldn't guess what culinary delights lie in wait. This bistro is inconspicuous and ordinarily furnished, even a bit retro, but really cosy in any case. Chef Christian Le Clou has evolved from an industry secret to a star that receives praise in many magazines. The master offers specialties from the Poitou-Charentes region and every dish is a pleasure. The three course set menus start at 35 euros and are worth every penny.
If you've had enough of haute cuisine and endless courses, then maybe it's high time for a pizza. The Pink Flamingo is brightly coloured, kitschy and has the ambience of a neighbourhood snackbar. Even if you're not well known in the local area, you are always welcome here. The pizzas are tasty and creative and are named after well-known personalities like; La Basquiat, La Bjork and La Che. A nice idea is the picnick service. Just order your pizza and wine and the counter. Then take your pink balloon outside and find yourself a spot in the sun. The only restriction: you have to pick somewhere within sight of the pizzeria. But that shouldn't be a problem, as there are plenty of great places o the Canal Saint-Martin. As long as your balloon doesn't pop, your pizza should come to you. Hmmm!
The Kong polarises at the highest niveau: Whilst some love it and simply can't get enough, there are others that hate it because it is simply too snobby. Those who do like the Kong can spend their entire evening in posh ambience; there's fantastic food in the restaurant, and great drinks at the bar. After a while, it's only a few steps to the dance floor. Whether you find the music so good that you want to buy the CD to take home is purely a matter of taste. Indisputable however, is the fact that the Kong possesses this finest view of the Parisian night sky that you will ever experience. So head high, there's no ceiling above you, but a glass dome.