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TOP TEN THINGS TO DO IN PARIS

Contrary to the well-worn myth, French food can be ropey, not all French women are très chic and the coffee is usually bad. And it's rather easy if you don't know a city (any city) to get drawn into sub-standard tourist traps. So to avoid disappointment, here are my top-ten suggestions of what to do if time is tight and you want to leave feeling as though you've experienced the romance and mystery of this great city. There are, of course, many more wonderful things to discover, but this is a good start.

Merci store, Paris Shopping

The Shop
MERCI

A philanthropic shade of chic; all profits go to charity. The clothes and homewares are beautifully curated and even if you don't want to buy anything, it is a pleasure to be there. It also has two good cafés and a canteen.

111 bd Beaumarchais
3rd Arrondissement

Métro: St Sébastian Froissart (line 8)

Website|Map
Raspail food market, Paris

The outdoor food market
MARCHÉ RASPAIL

Because what could be more French than visiting an open-air food market? 7am-2.30pm on Tuesday & Friday. There is an organic market on Sundays from 9am-3pm.

Boulevard Raspail
between rue de Rennes & rue du Cherche Midi
6th Arrondissement

Métro: Rennes (line 12)

Map
Cafe de Flore, Paris

The Café
CAFÉ de FLORE

The Flore, which opened in 1885, is the grande dame of St Germain and its Art Deco interior has changed little since World War II. It offers a variety of meals, snacks and drinks, from the break of day until the early hours.

172 bd St-Germain
6th Arrondissement

+ 33 1 45 48 55 26

Métro: St-Germain-des-Prés (line 4)

Website|Map
Bofinger restaurant, Paris

The Restaurant
BOFINGER

A grand, archetypal brasserie near the Bastille, it is the epitome of French dining. Try to book a table in the main room on the ground floor.

5-7 rue de la Bastille
4th Arrondissement

+ 33 1 42 72 87 82

Métro: Bastille (lines 1, 5 & 8)

Website|Map
Paris Guided Tours

A Guided Tour
(not the coach kind!)

Guided tours don't have to be a heaving mass of humanity. There are several companies that provide tours by bike or in a 2CV. If you want to go on a solo bike ride, hire a Velib (they are all over Paris) on a Sunday when some roads are closed off to cars, allowing you to cycle freely.

TAKE A TOUR IN A 2CV

Cedric's Paris

TAKE A BIKE TOUR

Bike About Tours

HAVE A LOCAL SHOW YOU AROUND

Cariboo
Sacre Coeur, Paris, Montmartre

The Monument
SACRÉ COEUR

Because even by Paris' unrivalled sense of romance, this place takes some beating. Plus you'll get to wander around the charming village of Montmartre. Word of warning, it can get crowded.

35 rue du Chevalier de la Barre
18th Arrondissement

Métro: Abbesses (line 12) + funicular to get you up the hill

Website|Map
Le Rose Bud bar, Paris

The Bar
LE ROSEBUD

Waiters in white jackets and a tureen of sangria on the bar.

11 bis rue Delambre
14th Arrondissement

+ 33 1 43 35 38 54

Métro: Vavin (line 4)

Map
Ile St Louis, Ile de la Cite, Paris

The Walk
ÎLE de la CITÉ & ÎLE St LOUIS

Islands in the Seine; île de la Cité is both the geographical centre of Paris and its place of birth, while the neighbouring île St Louis has come a long way from its origins as a cow pasture. It's wonderful to stroll round and through both the islands which are now home to Notre Dame (Cité) and some of the most ancient and elegant buildings in the city.

Métro: Cité (line 4)

Métro: Pont Marie (line 7)

Map
Luxembourg Gardens, Paris

The Park
JARDIN du LUXEMBOURG

The romantic gardens are one of the best things about Paris, whatever the weather. And for little people there is a toy boating pond, puppet shows, ponies and a fantastic playground.

6th Arrondissement

Métro: Saint-Sulpice (line 4)

RER: Luxembourg (line B)

Map
Rodin Museum, Paris

The Museum
MUSÉE RODIN

My favourite part of the museum is the garden. When the weather's good, it is bliss.

79 rue de Varenne
7th Arrondissement

Métro: Varenne (line 13)

Métro: Invalides (lines 13 & 8)

Website|Map
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