STAY in Paris:
The Chez Bertrand is a secret tip for families or friends, who like it colourful, original and a bit unusual. It is not often that you see an apartment that is so colourful, yet so tastefully styled as the Chez Bertrand. If you want to take a bit of olour back home with you, then visit the Marché aux Puces de la Porte de Clignancourt just around the corner, the biggest flea market in the world, where you will find all sorts of knick-knacks and décor. The loft for up to 5 people is particularly worth recommending, as it features a completely round bed and also a Citroen car-cum-bed. A recipe for an interesting night! With a seperate bathroom and a fully equipped kitchen, the loft is also ideal for families with children. The loft for 1 - 3 people is available from around ?120.
The Hotel Pavillon de la Reine, styled like a chateau, is blessed with a remarkably good location on the Place des Vosges. It is in the middle of Marais, which is the heart of historical Paris. Behind the façade of the Place des Vosges is a magnificient garden which hosts a royal pavillion. Gobelin tapestry, avenues of oak trees, wall panelling out of the most exquisite materials, striped antique furniture, oil paintings and open fireplaces evoke a unique atmosphere that permeates the entire house. Breakfast is served in the tastefully decorated cellar-vault, after which guests can make their way to the magnificient sights of Marais within short walking distance. Suites for 4 to 5 people are also available for families. Double rooms are available from ?330 a night
Wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony. These are the seven deadly sins. And have served as inspiration for the new project of interior designer Chantal Thomass. The result: a comprehensive redesign of the Vice Versa Hotel in Paris. Each and every flower ornament, butterfly pattern and lace ribbon has been conceived by the renowned designer herself. The same applies to the furniture, beds and fauteuils, wallpapers, fabrics and curtains. Afterwards Thomass has put everything into the rooms of the seven floors and painted them with matching colours: mellow in beige, sensual in black, or playful in sugar pink. In addition Thomass glued notes to the wall, painted oversized cutlery on the carpets and screwed tea pots to the ceiling as light fixtures. In order to avoid an explosion of colour there are cosy sofas in white in the entrance area. Parts of the hotel mutate into a Etruscan palace. That is inciting indeed - but not necessarily to sleep!
EAT in Paris:
You can't help but suspect that it's impossible to find a restaurant smaller than this on in Paris. More than 30 guests couldn't dine here, at least, not at the same time. It brings truth to the name and creates a very cosy atmosphere. As long as it doesn't distub you that private discussion might have to be saved for another night. We find that it's actually beneficial to be able to clearly see your neighbour's plate. That way you can get a good idea of what interesting creations are on offer, without having to order everything on the menu. How does the ocean perch in chocolate sauce look? 3 courses for ?35 is not to be missed. So put together your own set menu from a range of four entrées, four main meals and four desserts.
Affordable French cuisine? It does exist! The Chartier is a great example, even though you would never guess so at first sight. Entering through the door is like taking a step back in time. The Chartier was opened in 1896, with the mission of offering decent French cuisine at a decent price. Not much has changed since then, the furnishing and ambience included. Back in the day, this attracted both the rich and the poor, but these days the Parisians have to share this little gem with the tourists. A tip for those with a formidable hunger: expect to wait up to 30 minutes at any time of the day, so plan in a wait before the hunger pangs get the better of you.
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!
SIGHTS in Paris:
You've got to make it through the mass of tourists here: a visit to Paris is nothing without having seen the Cathédrale de Notre Dame.The proudly gothic construction is on the Ile de la Cité, begun in 1163 and was completed in 1345 and is one of the first gothic cathedrals in the world. We will let you decide for yourself, whether or not the Notre Dame is the house of God. At least this was the intention of Bishop Maurice de Sully as he commissed the cathedral. Many historical events have taken place within these holy halls. Would you like to be an emperor? The Notre Dame is particularly well suited, just as Napoleon once demonstrated. Afterwards, take the opportunity to once again look out on the city: the view from the steeples is breathtaking.
The Centre Pompidou is an absolute must! You have to witness this cultural centre at least from the outside. The fascinating blue stems from the pens of Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers and won the covetted 2007 Pritzker prize. If you take the time to visit the inner halls of the building, then you will be rewarded with the most innovative cultural program the city has to offer. It's all about contemporary art; encompassing theater, music, visual arts, film and literature. Access to the rooftop terrace is also included in the entry rpices. Through the transparent pipes, escalators take you all the way to the top level at a height of 35 metres. Sounds high? The view is well worth the trip!
As hard as it is, you have to ask your way to Rue Montorgueil. The unpronouncable district is the hippest in the whole city of Paris. Where the fish traders once did their business, those in the scene have now settled in and it's actually the same as it always has been: The houses are still yet to be renovated, the rental prices are still cheaper as elsewhere and the young and the creative are inevitably drawn here in droves. Sundays present a great opportunity to take a leisurely stroll through the area. The bars and cafés are full of people having a relaxed chat. Even the delicatessens are open on Sundays. Those that want to go home as a complete insider should come on a Saturday and visit the fashion boutiques in the golden shopping triangle between rue Montmartre and Rue du Jour. Even the lively Rue Tiquetonne boasts numerous stores, tattoo parlours, restaurants and bars. Head to one of the cafés or a bar to enjoy a comfortable end to your day. Ask around, because the top spots change quicker than you can drink a glass of wine. And don't leave without visitng the traditional Stohrer chocolate store. The quirky specialty here is La Réligieuse à l'ancienne, a church spire made from coffee and chocolate eclairs.
SHOPPING in Paris:
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.
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!
Jean Paul Gaultier is world-famous. Not jsut as a designer, but also as a guarantor for skew and deadly-trendy fashion collections. And his most well-known customer? Madonna. And she doesn't go shopping just anywhere. With his extravagant ideas, the Parisian caters for thrilling surprises each and every season. Those who like the designs will melt when they experience the asthetic in his boutique. So make good use of the in-store consultation and slip into a few hot pieces, such as a piece out ot the Prêt-à-Porter collection.