STAY in Paris:
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.
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.
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.
SHOPPING in Paris:
To browse through a fleamarket in Paris should be on your list of things to do. A fleamarket that consistently pulls a young and hip crowd is the fleamarket at the Porte de Vanves. With a bit of luck you might even find a few weird and wonderful items here. Rare items are less likely to be found, but small finds with the licence to become personal treasures are waiting to be found. Think art-deco tables, chairs from the 50's and old prints. And it continues around the corner at the Place des Artistes. Local heroes from the local art scene put their produce up for sale. Leave enough time for this Parisian diamond in the rough, as time flies when you're browsing in the sun.
No, it's not about one designer, but about a whole collective of artists, that also brings together designers, stylists and video artists. Making something new out of something old. Second-hand clothing is completely transformed and given a new life. What results os unique, creative and entertaining. In short: there's works of art to be worn here. Andrea Crews doesn't just design fashion, but also serves as a platform for everything. Also on the program are workshops in which clothes are tinkered with, quirky performances and musical projects. Basically anything unconvential. There's always the latest funny and inspiring mini-collection on display, too. Well worth a look!
They know each other from university: Anaïs Lafarge, Guillaume Steinmetz and Romain Joste. And pretty soon it was clear: when it comes to lifestyle and fashion they all agree with each other. That's why they founded the online magazine De Jeunes Gens Modernes in 2009 - along with five other friends. Four years later, it's time for giving their mutual taste its own space - Anaïs, Guillaume and Romain open their own concept store: The Borken Arm in the Marais, named after a piece of art by Marcel Duchamp. The goods are carefully selected: you'll find garments by Aurélie Bidermann, Christophe Lemaire, Kenzo, Isaac Reina, but also Nike, Our Legacy or Vans. The motto: Everything that catches their eyes during their work for the online magazine, everything that they personally like and that can be worn on a daily basis finds its way into the store. And it wouldn't be a concept store if there wasn't the attached café with little snacks and coffee from Norway (Solberg & Hansen). That's where the three friends cultivate their own friendship, and make new friends as well.
EAT in Paris:
The crystal room in the Baccarat building is simply breathtaking and the waiting list is as long as the grandiose dining table from Phillipe Starck. The villa in which the restaurant is found belongs to a certain Madame de Noailles, who is close friends with Luis Bunuel and also a heiress of Marquis de Sade. The chandeliers are the only thing here to remind guests of yesteryear. Otherwise, modern designers such as Yves Savinel and Gilles Rozé have been allowed to take the restaurant design in new directions. The décor, which is composed mainly of mirrors and glass, provides a perfect playground for incidental light. However, this restaurant doesn't just rely on the laurels of the designers, but boasts a fantastic menu from the kitchen-god Guy Martin.
Eating oysters in Paris is just as important as a visit to the Eiffel tower. It doesn't get anymore authentic than this. Francis Dubourg, the owner of La Cabane à Huitres, cultivates his own oysters and puts them fresh on the table. His son travels to the Atlantic coast three times a week and returns with the fresh huitres. 13 magnificent claire oysters can be yours for just 13 euros. Those who aren't cut out for the slimy consistency of an oyster can opt for foie gras, cheese specialties or cannelles (small caramel cakes). The restauarant is very spartan and ordinary, but the level of service given by Francis and his daughter well and truly make up for it. A small story accompanies every wine and every meal, which is always told with a hearty serving of Esprit.
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.
SIGHTS in Paris:
The yearly Fête de Ganesh is one of the most colourful events in Paris. Every year in August little India gets into party mode and showcases its culture in the French capital. The celebrations start after a religious ceremony at the Sri Manicka Vinayakar Alayam Temple. Parisians, commuters and tourists come from all corners of the city to witness this spectacle at the 18th Arrondissement. Active participants dance through the streets with figures of Ganesha decorated with colourful fruits and flowers and smash coconuts on the pavement. There's Indian music, dancers in traditional dress and street artists. The ceremony takes place annually in August.
In this park you can almost forget you are in the city. Maria die Medici founded the park as she retreated to her country manor following the death of her husband, Heinrich IV, in 1611. Today, it is just as loved by tourists as it is by the Parisians. The public here are very peaceful and take pleasure in the many forms of recreation here; tennis courts, carousels, puppet theaters, chess boards and pétanque pitches. For children and children at heart, the highlight of the park is the lake, where small paddleboats are available for rent. Paris is so romantic, especially here. It's as romantic as it was in the old days, and almost as peaceful, too.
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.