Claire, Rembrandtplein 17
Looking for an authentic slice of Amsterdam’s nightlife? Just 20 minutes walk from Centraal Station is Claire, a clandestine club tucked into historic Rembrandtplein. Don’t let its touristic coordinates put you off, as the house and techno programme at this compact gem is killer, with the likes of Tama Sumo and Worldwide FM on the bill in the next month. If partying is your MO, the Eurostar also stops at Rotterdam, where you can stay up until sunrise at Maassilo, a former grain silo turned techno temple.
NewWerkTheater, Oostenburgergracht 75, 1018 NC
Brunch is the name of the game at this dazzling former theatre, with a sublime shakshuka and three variations on eggs Benedict taking centre stage. Headed up by a former bar manager of London’s Ace Hotel, it excels in the booze and coffee arena, and is one of two establishments to serve Bonanza Coffee from the Berlin-based roasters. Marry the two and supercharge your Sunday with an espresso yuzu tonic.
Huis Marseille, Keizersgracht 401, 1016 EK
There’s something beguiling about seeing ultra-modern photography in a 17th century canal house. Admire talent from around the world, like Dutch-born Dana Lixenberg and British fashion photographer Jamie Hawkesworth. Gawp at the interior stucco work and take a moment in Huis Marseille’s serene ornamental garden, before immersing yourself in the boutiques of De 9 Straatjes (‘Nine Little Streets’).
Les Maquereaux, Quai de l'Hôtel de ville, 75004
Capitalise on an Indian summer at this seafood-focused barge bar and restaurant. Between Hôtel de Ville and Île Saint-Louis, Les Maquereaux is Alain Ducasse-trained chef Alexandre Furtado’s love letter to the ocean. Expect sumptuous (but not overpriced) oyster platters and market fish cooked to perfection, with an eye-popping view of the Seine. Glass of Loire white in hand, it’s a Cap Ferret holiday via the Right Bank.
Louie Louie, 78 Rue de Charonne, 75011
The team behind the perennially packed pizzeria-cum-speakeasy Moonshiner launched this chic joint on rue de Charonne. Order the nightly-changing cocktail special (think bacon-infused mezcal and cumin syrup) and settle in for the pillowy-crusted Margherita, with Fior di Latte and San Marzano tomatoes. While one of our other French destinations, Marseille, has long been a mecca for pizza-lovers, Paris’s pizza scene is only just blossoming. Louie Louie is opting for quality over gimmicks, so reservations are a must – even on weeknights.
La Mouette Rieuse, 17bis Rue Pavée, 75004
Paris is best enjoyed on foot – but all that walking demands suitably luxe pit-stops. With its ‘this is not a bookshop’ motto, La Mouette Rieuse takes a Swiss army knife approach to self-care in style. As well as an inspiring selection of literature, the Marais’ cutest concept store is replete with Taschen titles and modish sketchbooks. There’s no weight restriction on luggage on Eurostar trains, so seize the day and stock up on gorgeous coffee table tomes. The highlight? A pint-sized terrace, perfect for savouring a pistachio Paris-Brest from the café’s collaboration with La Pâtisserie des Rêves.
The Eurostar emits 80% less carbon dioxide than the equivalent short haul flight, so go for green and book now to travel from the heart of London into the centre of Paris (2 hours 12 minutes) or Amsterdam (3 hours 41 minutes). Discover endless French bistros and cafés or lose yourself among Dutch tulip fields, canals and windmills. Check fares here.