Caviar by the Eiffel Tower? Fine coffee on the Canal St Martin? Offal in the Latin Quarter? We've grouped our favourite restaurants in Paris by area so that you can browse photos and reviews and choose the perfect place for your meal.
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Our recommendations for the best restaurants near Opéra and the Grands Boulevards Related Opéra Garnier: An insider's guide The Opéra Garnier is a mini-city unto itself, with a museum, gourmet restaurant, one of the world's lovliest theatres and even an underground lake (the inspiration for Gaston Leroux's 'Phantom of the Opera') now used for specialised underwater fireman training. Its location between department stores Galeries Lafayette and Printemps, the Louvre and the Japanese quarter by rue St-Anne, makes it one of the city's most visited monuments, so if you want to escape the tourists, you have to be inventive. We recommend heading ten-minutes eastwards on foot towards Grands Boulevards, or northwards into the heart of the 9th arrondissement where young crowds of Parisians are setting up shop, bringing with them a trail of cool boutiques, bars, cafés and attractions. Here's our pick of the bunch.... For more information on the Palais Garnier, click on the following links: the Musée de l'Opéra - programme and reservations - the Restaurant de l'Opéra - the Palais Garnier Around Opéra Garnier... Attractions: Les Passages Couverts In 18th and 19th century Paris, the areas around today’s Grands Boulevards donned themselves with glass-roofed shopping galleries known as les passages couverts (covered passages). These forerunners to modern-day malls simultaneously allowed you to take a shortcut through the city, shelter from the rain, shop, dine, and (for many men) spend a debaucherous hour in the arms of a lady. Who knows, Paris’s reputation for its ubiquitous merde may even have roots in this era, as most passages were equipped with a salon de décrottage – literally a de-pooping room, in which punters had their shoes scraped clean! Nowadays these passages are real architectural gems – olde-worlde galleries perfect for tantric browsing. Galerie Vivienne (4 rue des Petits Champs, 5 rue de la Banque, 6 rue Vivienne, 2nd) is one of the prettiest with ochre paintwork and mythology-themed mosaics. It also has a tearoom. While Passage des Panoramas (11–13 bd. Montmartre, 151 rue Montmartre, 2nd) built in 1800, takes the credit for being the first public area in Paris to be lit by gas in 1817. Best for a mooch though, are Passage Jouffroy (10–12 bd. Montmartre and 9 rue de la Grange Batelière, 9th) and its continuation, Passage Verdeau (6 rue de la Grange Batelière and 31bis rue du Faubourg Montmartre, 9th) both built around 1847. Here you’ll find the Musée Grévin waxwork museum and dinky boutiques that flaunt everything from precious stones, stamps and jewellery to antique cameras and furniture. Tea Room: Zenzoo Between 2.30pm and 7pm this tiny Taiwanese restaurant doubles as a 'tea bar', the only place in Paris that serves China's famous tapioca cocktails - sometimes known as 'bubble tea', they are served with an extra-wide straw to suck up the little tapioca balls at the bottom. The sensation may seem strange at first, but the tastes are great; among the flavours are mango, coconut and kumquat. Up the road at No.2, a spin-off boutique sells excellent oolong flower teas. Restaurant: Chez Miki There are plenty of Japanese restaurants to choose from along nearby rue Ste-Anne, but none is as original - nor as friendly - as this tiny bistro run entirely by women, next to the square Louvois. The speciality here is bento boxes, which you compose yourself from a scribbled blackboard list (in Japanese and French). For €15 you can choose two small dishes - marinated sardines and fried chicken wings are especially popular - and a larger dish, such as grilled pork with ginger. Don't miss the inventive desserts, which might include lime jelly spiked with alcohol. Restaurant: Les Fils à Maman In the up-and-coming neighbourhood near the Folies Bergère a band of five ‘mothers’ boys’ has created a restaurant evoking their mums’ home cooking. Even the mums themselves get into the kitchen on the first Tuesday of the month to turn out blanquette de veau, chicken cordon bleu with beaufort cheese and Nutella-flavoured puddings. Whether or not you think Babybel has a place in Gallic cuisine, it’s a chance to relive the school French exchange or 1980s après-ski in the company of an ebullient crowd. Restaurant: Supernature Who said eating healthily was boring? Certainly not the many regulars who flock each afternoon (and on Sunday for brunch) to this tiny canteen in the 9th arrondissement. There’s no overriding organic or vegetarian concept, just well-cooked, daily-changing healthy dishes. There’s at least one delicious vegetarian dish each day, and they often have an ‘Assiette vitalité’ which brings together fresh vegetables goat’s cheese and organic galettes in a wondrous combination. Burger Bar: Big Fernand A brilliant little burger joint, which takes the traditional American burger and gives it the French terroir treatment. Nowhere’s been left out, with regional specialities from all over France wedged between delicious sesame seed buns from the bakery next door. There’s fourme cheese from Ambert, tomme cheese from Savoie, Saint-Nectaire cheese, Charolais and Blonde d’Aquitaine beef and more.The menu lists five house burgers, but you can also build your own. Choose from beef, chicken, lamb and veal and then add cheese, grilled vegetables, streaky bacon, sauces, herbs or spices. You order at the counter and then try and find a seat, which isn’t always easy – but if all else fails you can get it to go. Chips (known here as ‘fernandines’) come with, and the concept even extends to the drinks and desserts, with homemade soda, organic lemonade, and traditional puddings.Quick and friendly service comes from moustachioed men in checked shirts, all part of why Big Fernand has shot to the top of Paris’s burger ranks. The only slight quibble is the price – about €15 without dessert. The quality of the ingredients is high, but the portions aren’t huge and it feels a little much to pay for what is still fast food. Bar: Les 36 Corneil Note the address well, because there’s no other sign to indicate the whereabouts of this tapas bar, opened at the end of 2010 by a chap called Cornélius (whence the name). But once you do find your way inside, to the room with its big windows and warm atmosphere, it’s easy to settle in. No pretentious clientele here, but rather the neighbourhood regulars drinking a glass of wine or a bottle à la ficelle (you only pay for what you drink) chosen with the wise counsel of the proprietor. You can also eat very well here, snacking on canailles [‘rogues’], a sort of French tapas, from a regularly changing menu. At three top quality canailles for €12, or five for €15, the prices are really very good for what you get. Beneath the gaze of the enormous scarecrow installed behind the bar, you can also spend your weekends dancing to disco and rock. Overall, a great find in the 9th arrondissement. Club: Rex Club The Rex's new sound system puts over 40 different sound configurations at the DJ's fingertips, and has proved to be a magnet for top turntable stars. Once associated with iconic techno pioneer Laurent Garnier, the Rex has stayed at the top of the Paris techno scene, and occupies an unassailable position as the city's serious club music venue. Club: Le Social Club Set right in the hub of the city's club activity around Grands Boulevards, this electro venue has some of the hippest acts from the French and international scene, thanks to its owner's multidisciplinary career as a producer and founder of the record label Uncivilized World. Recent refurbishment should make it even better. Shop: Gabrielle Geppert If Didier Ludot is too intimidating, visit Gabrielle Geppert's shop, where much fun can be had rummaging in the back room or trying on the outrageous collection of '70s sunglasses (about €380 a pop, but they will get you into any party worth going to). A new exclusive room dedicated to accessories by the likes of Hermès and Manolo Blahnik can be opened on request, and she also carries a range of original costume jewellery by Elisabeth Ramuz. The best hotel rooms in Paris Luxurious, avant-garde and eccentric hotel rooms in the French capital For more hotel reviews and information, click here. More hotel selections... Luxury hotels Romantic hotels Boutique hotels Budget hotels B&Bs Apartments Explore Paris by area Butte-aux-Cailles & Bercy Saint-Germain-des-Prés & Saint-Michel Marais & Beaubourg Opéra & Grands Boulevards Bastille & Oberkampf Canal Saint-Martin, Ourcq & Villette Belleville & Ménilmontant Montmartre & Pigalle Area guide: Opéra & Grands Boulevards The livliest quarters of the Right Bank (2nd, 8th, 9th and 10th) Night owls know this part of the Right Bank well: Grands Boulevards and Opéra are the quartiers where clubs, theatres and bars have reeled in pleasure-seekers for centuries. The area got its look when Baron Haussmann carved his iconic boulevards through Paris’ old centre during the Second Empire. Charles Garnier’s wedding cake (Palais Garnier) is there as a gilded centre-piece, but this is also where you’ll find the Rex Club (temple to electronica), David Lynch’s much talked about Silencio club, numerous Irish pubs and comedy theatres. History-wise the district’s got a lot going for it too - it was near today’s Hôtel Scribe that the Lumière brothers held the world’s first public film screening in 1895. Further down the boulevard towards Place de la Madeleine, the Olympia concert hall was the a legendary venue for Piaf, the Beatles and anyone in chanson. And just opposite at N° 35, pioneering portrait photographer Nadar opened a studio in the 1860s, frequented by Offenbach and Doré. In 1874 it even hosted the very first Impressionist exhibition. While you’re in the area, don’t miss the Opéra Garnier’s ceiling, painted by Chagall in 1964 and don’t forget to free your inner shopaholic in the Grands Magasins (department stores) Galeries Lafayette and Printemps, which line boulevard Haussmann just behind. At Christmas the crowds line up to admire the sparking window displays, so sharpen your elbows. Restaurants in Opéra & Grands Boulevards Les Noces de Jeannette Fun, friendly and value for money, Les Noces de Jeannette’s is a buzzy, sociable place popular with groups of friends and wonderfully French. Stood opposite Opera Comique and near the Grands Boulevards, it’s very central andeasy to find. Five rooms over two floors begin with a cosy entrance bistro adjoining a 30 to 50s cinema-themed dining room, both serving seasonal, brasserie-style daily specials and plenty of atmosphere. Upstairs Les Noces de Jeannette houses three attractive private event spaces, biggest of which is Haussman-inspired Salon Imperial for 80 guests. With the a la carte comes a generous choice of cheaper fixed price menus and a big drinks list. Happy Days Happy Days restaurant and cabaret in Paris is living proof that the music and telly of the sixties, seventies and eighties never died. In fact, we've found the exact location in Paris where you can hear nightly renditions of the great sounds of the era -- soul, blues, r'n'b, rock, disco -- and view scenes from classic tv shows in an atmosphere that's warm and welcoming and most of all fun. This place will take you back, and if you didn't get to be there the first time around, you will discover some of the best sounds on earth. The menu is modern French. Choose your main course and a constellation of starters and desserts arrive as well. The show will get you jumping, so carry on getting down until 2 in the morning. Happy Days, happy nights too. L'Ami Georges L'Ami Georges is known for its traditional French food. It fits the image of a classic Parisian bistro too, with its wicker chairs grouped outside beneath a burgundy awning on the corner of Rue Quatre Septembre across the river from Ile de la Cite. Inside is all softly-lit cosiness. Confit de canard, cassoulet, cheese burger, terrines, mussels in white wine, steak frites – everything is fresh and homemade or bought that day, with specialties being Normandy oysters, snails and silken foie gras. L'Ami Georges is open every day and has a non-stop service, so there’s no fear of being shown the door because you turned up at the wrong time. Hotels in Opéra & Grands Boulevards Hotel Icône Ideally located in Paris’ stylish 2nd district, Hotel Icône is just a 10-minute walk from Opera Garnier and 200 metres from Richelieu-Drouot Metro Station. It features stylish, air-conditioned rooms.Each soundproofed room is individually decorated and pays tribute to different cinema icons. A flat-screen TV with satellite channels and a minibar are provided in each room.Every morning, breakfast can be delivered to guests’ rooms or selected from the buffet. The dining room features black and white decor and an open fireplace. Room service is available throughout the day.The front desk is open 24-hour and the staffare able to help organise car and bicycle rental. A ticket service for local shows and excursions is provided on site. Airport shuttles can also be arranged from the hotel.The famous Galeries Lafayette department store is 650 metres from Hotel Icone. The Louvre Museum is a 15-minute walk away. Lautrec Opera Housed in the former home of the painter Toulouse Lautrec, this hotel is a 3-minute walk from Richelieu Drouot Metro Station, which leads directly to the Opera Garnier. It offers free Wi-Fi in the entire building.All the air-conditioned rooms at Lautrec Opera include a flat-screen TV with cable channels and a bathroom with a hairdryer and a bath or shower. A desk and a safe are also featured.Guests can enjoy a buffet breakfast every morning at Lautrec Opera. Restaurants and cafés can be found within 300 metres of the hotel.The property is a 15-minute walk from the Louvre Museum and Galeries Lafayette department store is just an 8-minute walk away. Public parking is available nearby at an additional cost. Mercure Paris Opera Cusset Located in central Paris, near the Grands Boulevards and the famous department stores, Mercure Paris Opera Cusset features stylish air-conditioned rooms and free Wi-Fi access.Each room is equipped with a flat-screen TV with satellite channels, tea and coffee making facilities and a private bathroom. All rooms are accessible by a lift.A buffet breakfast and traditional French cuisine is served in the 18th-century dining room. Enjoy a selection of snacks and drinks in the comfort of your own room using the room service, available 23 hours a day.Mercure Paris Opera Cusset is within walking distance to the Opera, the Louvre and Jardin de Tuileries. Metro station Richelieu - Drouot is 150 metres from the hotel, which gives direct access to the Eiffel Tower and the Invalides. Shopping in Opéra & Grands Boulevards Village Joué Club This is one of Time Out's 100 best shops in Paris. Click here to see the full list.Village Joué Club, the largest toy store in Paris, is spread out in and around passage des Princes. The rabbit warren kiddie complex totals nearly 22,000 square feet with fifteen individual storefronts. Parents could lose days being dragged from the Playmobil section to the costume room via shelves laden with dolls, wooden toys and action figures. There's even a children's hairdresser and room for birthday parties. Les Passages Couverts In 18th and 19th century Paris, the areas around today’s Grands Boulevards donned themselves with glass-roofed shopping galleries known as les passages couverts (covered passages). These forerunners to modern-day malls simultaneously allowed you to take a shortcut through the city, shelter from the rain, shop, dine, and (for many men) spend a debaucherous hour in the arms of a lady. Who knows, Paris’s reputation for its ubiquitous merde may even have roots in this era, as most passages were equipped with a salon de décrottage – literally a de-pooping room, in which punters had their shoes scraped clean! Nowadays these passages are real architectural gems – olde-worlde galleries perfect for tantric browsing. Galerie Vivienne (4 rue des Petits Champs, 5 rue de la Banque, 6 rue Vivienne, 2nd) is one of the prettiest with ochre paintwork and mythology-themed mosaics. It also has a tearoom. While Passage des Panoramas (11–13 bd. Montmartre, 151 rue Montmartre, 2nd) built in 1800, takes the credit for being the first public area in Paris to be lit by gas in 1817. Best for a mooch though, are Passage Jouffroy (10–12 bd. Montmartre and 9 rue de la Grange Batelière, 9th) and its continuation, Passage Verdeau (6 rue de la Grange Batelière and 31bis rue du Faubourg Montmartre, 9th) both built around 1847. Here you’ll find the Musée Grévin waxwork museum and dinky boutiques that flaunt everything from precious stones, stamps and jewellery to antique cameras and furniture. Hôtel Drouot This is one of Time Out's 100 best shops in Paris. Click here to see the full list. A spiky aluminium-and-marble concoction is the unlikely location for France's second largest art market - though it is now rivalled by Sotheby's and Christie's. Inside, escalators take you up to a number of small salerooms, where everything from medieval manuscripts and antique furniture to oriental arts, modern paintings, posters, jewellery and fine wines might be up for sale. Details of forthcoming auctions are published in the weekly Gazette de l'Hôtel Drouot, sold at various newsstands around the city. Music & Nightlife in Opéra & Grands Boulevards Cafés & Bars in Opéra & Grands Boulevards Le Truskel The formula is quite simple at this pub-cum-club: an excellent selection of beers slakes your thirst, while an extensive repertoire of Britpop - sometimes live (ex-Pulp man and Paris resident Jarvis Cocker has been known to splice the night here, as has Pete Doherty and Franz Ferdinand) - assaults your ears. As a cheeky touch, a bar bell rings for no reason whatsoever, causing first-time visitors from the UK to down their drinks in one and dive for the bar. Racines The 19th-century passage des Panoramas contains an eclectic collection of shops and restaurants - among them this wildly popular wine bar opened by the former owners of La Crèmerie in St-Germain. The menu is limited to superb-quality cheese and charcuterie plates, plus a couple of hot dishes, perhaps pork cheeks stewed in red wine or braised lamb, and a few comforting desserts. Many of the intense-tasting wines are biodynamic, and despite the rather hectic atmosphere lingering over an extra glass or two is cheerfully tolerated. Dédé la Frite Suits from the nearby Bourse flock here for after-work cocktails (€7) and beers (€4), before giving in to the tempting aromas emanating from the kitchen: Dédé's frites at just €3 a tray are legendary and the rest of the food, reminiscent of an American diner (burgers, fries, ketchup on the bar), is an absolute bargain too. The place looks cool as well, with distressed walls, long bar, bright colours. After hours, when the alcohol flows and the munchies have been satisfied, the music is cranked up and the party really starts. Things to see & do in Opéra & Grands Boulevards Le Grand Rex La Bourse - Palais Brongniart Eglise de la Madeleine Bibliothèque Nationale de France - Richelieu & Musée du Cabinet des Médailles Paris's best food shops Whether you're tasting cheeses for a dinner party, looking for wine for your cellar, in need of a chocolate fix, or just feeling joyfully indulgent, Paris' gourmet food shops are a sensual pleasure based around quality. Give your taste buds a treat at some of these places. Fromagerie Quatrehomme Marie Quatrehomme runs this fromagerie. Justly famous for her beaufort and st-marcellin, she also sells specialities such as goat's cheese with pesto. Pierre Hermé Pastry superstar Pierre Hermé attracts connoisseurs from St-Germain and afar with his seasonal collections. His vanilla slice (mille-feuille) is legendary, as are his macaroons - easily the best in Paris, if not France. Prices are high but your taste buds will thank you. Ladurée Decadence permeates this elegant tearoom, from the 19th century-style interior and service to the labyrinthine corridors that lead to the toilets. While you bask in the warm glow of bygone wealth, indulge in tea, pastries (the pistachio pain au chocolat is heavenly) and, above all, the hot chocolate. It's a rich, bitter, velvety tar that will leave you in the requisite stupor for any lazy afternoon. La Tête dans les Olives Tête dans les Olives on place St-Marthe (just north of Canal St-Martin) entices foodies with the promise of fruity olive oil fit for the finest of restaurants. Sicilian owner Cédric knows his oils like a sommelier knows his wines and can recommend types to match what you’re cooking. You’ll also find delicacies like sun-dried tomatoes made from beefy “patataro” Italian tomatoes, top-grade pasta, herbs and deliciously tangy capers. For an all out treat book the table d’hôtes (lunchtime or evening) and dine inside the shop on fresh sun-kissed products. Only six people are permitted at a time, making the experience feel like a well-kept Parisian secret. You only get details of what the menu will include when you book, which is part of the fun too. Christian Constant A master chocolate-maker and traiteur, Constant scours the globe for new ideas. His ganaches are subtly flavoured with verbena, jasmine or cardamom. Poilâne Apollonia Poilâne runs the family shop, where locals queue for fresh country miches, flaky-crusted apple tarts and buttery shortbread biscuits. Saxe-Breteuil Saxe-Breteuil has an unrivalled setting facing the Eiffel Tower, as well as the city's most chic produce. Look for farmer's goat's cheese, rare apple varieties, Armenian specialities, abundant oysters and a handful of dedicated small producers. Ryst Dupeyron The Dupeyrons have been selling armagnac for four generations, and still have bottles from 1868. Treasures here include 200 fine Bordeaux wines and an extensive range of vintage port. Maison de la Truffe Sliced, grated, chopped up in a sauce or in a crème-brûlée, the diamond of French gastronomy has taken pride of place in this chic eatery on Place de la Madeleine since 1932. Eighty years on, tubers of all kinds (Black truffles, White Alba truffles, Summer, Winter and Burgundy truffles) are still so adulated here that they’ve influenced the décor, which comes in shades of truffle brown, cream and beige. Not that the diners notice: Aficionados are far more interested in what’s on their plates, which is understandable once tasted the delicacies leaving the kitchen. Start with lip-smacking dishes like chestnut cream with black truffle and smoked bacon, followed by succulent Rossini beef in creamy truffle sauce, and a dessert of chocolate fondant with vanilla-truffle ice-cream. Then raise your glass to the dog who sniffed out the fungi you’re digesting.You can also buy truffles to take away. Lavinia Lavinia stocks a broad selection of French alongside many non-French wines; its glassed-in cave has everything from a 1945 Mouton-Rothschild at €22,000 to trendy and 'fragile' wines for under €10.Have fun tasting wine with the dégustation machines on the ground floor, which allow customers to taste a sip of up to ten different wines each week for €10. Fauchon The city's most famous food shop is worth a visit, particularly for the beautifully packaged gift items and the stunning pastries and cakes - or, as Fauchon likes to call them, 'le snacking chic'.
Our recommendations for the best restaurants near Ile de la Cité Notre-Dame: An insider's guide Paris's twin-towered lady, Notre-Dame, took 200-years to build, between 1163 and 1334. The west front remains a high point of Gothic art for the balanced proportions of its twin towers and rose window, and the Treasury contains ornate bishops' copes and reliquaries of Jesus's Crown of Thorns (which long sat in Sainte-Chapelle, see below). Needless to say, Notre-Dame throngs with tourists all year round, but you don't need to cling to the crowds to find the best places to eat and drink nearby - or indeed visit other decent attractions. Follow this guide to find out where the locals go; and click here for more information on Notre-Dame Cathedral. Around Notre-Dame... Attraction: La Crypte Archéologique Unbeknown to most visitors, immediate respite from Notre-Dame's queues can be found in the forecourt in front of the cathedral, where the underground Crtpte Archéologique reveals the city's past in layers of vestiges. You'll find bits of Roman quaysides, ramparts and hypocausts, medieval cellars, shops and pavements, the foundations of the Eglise Ste-Geneviève-des-Ardens (the church where Geneviève's remains were stored during the Norman invasions), an 18th-century foundling hospital and a 19th-century sewer, all excavated since the 1960s. It's not always easy to work out exactly which wall, column or staircase is which - but you do get a vivid sense of the layers of history piled one atop another during 16 centuries. Attraction: Sainte-Chapelle You certainly won't avoid tourists at the Sainte-Chapelle or the Conciergerie (below; dual tickets can be bought for both), but it's worth grinning and bearing it for access to such breathtaking architectural teasures. Devout King Louis IX (St Louis, 1226-70) had a hobby of accumulating holy relics. In the 1240s, he bought what was advertised as the Crown of Thorns, and ordered Pierre de Montreuil to design a shrine. The result was Sainte-Chapelle - a veritable medieval show of light. With 15m (49ft) windows, the upper level appears to consist almost entirely of stained glass. The windows depict hundreds of scenes from the Old and New Testaments, culminating with the Apocalypse in the rose window. Attraction: La Conciergerie The Conciergerie looks every inch the forbidding medieval fortress. However, much of the façade was added in the 1850s, long after Marie-Antoinette, Danton and Robespierre had been imprisoned here. The 13th-century Bonbec tower, built during the reign of St Louis, the 14th-century twin towers, César and Argent, and the Tour de l'Horloge all survive from the Capetian palace.The visit takes you through the Salle des Gardes, the medieval kitchens with their four huge chimneys, and the Salle des Gens d'Armes, an impressive vaulted Gothic hall built between 1301 and 1315 for Philippe 'le Bel'. After the royals moved to the Louvre, the fortress became a prison under the watch of the Concierge.The wealthy had private cells with their own furniture, which they paid for; others crowded on beds of straw. A list of Revolutionary prisoners, including a hairdresser, shows that not all victims were nobles. In Marie-Antoinette's cell, the Chapelle des Girondins, are her crucifix, some portraits and a guillotine blade. Museum: Musée National du Moyen Age - Thermes de Cluny Crowd avoidance lies a ten-minute walk from Notre-Dame in the national museum of medieval art, best known for the beautiful, allegorical Lady and the Unicorn tapestry cycle. There is also a worthy programme of medieval concerts in which troubadours reflect the museum's collection and occasional 45- minute heures musicales in a similar style. The building itself, commonly known as Cluny, is also a rare example of 15th-century secular Gothic architecture, with its foliate Gothic doorways, hexagonal staircase jutting out of the façade and vaulted chapel. It was built from 1485 to 1498 - on top of a Gallo-Roman baths complex. The baths, built in characteristic Roman bands of stone and brick masonry, are the finest Roman remains in Paris. The vaulted frigidarium (cold bath), tepidarium (warm bath), caldarium (hot bath) and part of the hypocaust heating system are all still visible. A themed garden fronts the whole complex. Recent acquisitions include the illuminated manuscript L'Ascension du Christ from the Abbey of Cluny, dating back to the 12th century, and the 16th-century triptych Assomption de la Vierge by Adrien Isenbrant of Bruges. Bar: Le Teddy's Bar A ten-minute walk from Notre-Dame and you're in rue Mouffetard district, which seethes with Sorbonne students, college kids and tourists who pounce on anything beer-shaped after or between classes. Among the many bars strewn around here, we particularly like Teddy’s for its choice of beers and cocktails, its interminable happy hours (from 3.30pm til 8pm) and for its welcoming, low-key atmosphere. It’s good to curl up in the sofas and have one’s back tickled by the leopard-skin-covered walls while sipping the beer of the month, be it a cold Bavaroise or a Trappist Belgian variety. While you’re doing that, the student regulars will be seeking out the pub cat, René, who’s possessed of his own Facebook page, René Miaou, with 230 friends. René used to hang out at the bar next door, the Descartes, but he moved to Teddy’s and we know why – it’s hard to beat as a venue for being caressed and pampered by pretty girls. You could always try and give him a run for his money. Pub: Moose Bar & Grill For those bored of overpriced cafés and unfriendly waiters, the Moose is a great alternative. This Canadian sports bar serves a vast selection of beers and even some organic Australian wines. A friendly atmosphere and delicious burgers make the Moose a great place to kick off the evening. And if you fancy freeing your inner French-Canadian, order a 'poutine', Quebec's national dish of fries dowsed in gravy, melted cheese and smoked meat. Now loosen your belt! Restaurant: Ribouldingue This bistro facing St-Julien-le-Pauvre church is the creation of Nadège Varigny, who spent ten years working with Yves Camdeborde before opening a restaurant inspired by the food of her childhood in Grenoble. It's usually full of people, including critics and chefs, who love simple, honest bistro fare, such as daube de boeuf or seared tuna on a bed of melting aubergine. And if you have an appetite for offal, go for the gently sautéed brains with new potatoes or veal kidneys with a perfectly prepared potato gratin. For dessert, try the fresh ewe's cheese with bitter honey. Shop: The Abbey Bookshop Celebrating 20 years in business, the tiny Abbey Bookshop is the domain of Canadian renaissance man Brian Spence, who organises weekend hikes as well as dressing up in doublet and hose for a spot of 17th-century dancing.The tiny, narrow shop stocks old and new works, a specialised Canadian section, and highbrow subjects down the rickety staircase. Several thousand more books are in storage, and he can normally order titles for collection within two days. BHV (Bazar de l'Hôtel de Ville) A five-minute walk from Notre-Dame and you're in homeware heaven: BHV even has a Bricolage Café with internet access. Upper floors also have a good range of men's outdoor wear, upmarket bed linen, toys, books, household appliances, women's clothes - and a large space devoted to every type of storage utility. Romantic Restaurants For some "oh la la" on (and off) the plate... Whether you want to impress, re-light the fire, or simply treat your heart's desire to a meal somewhere intimate, this pick or five romantic restaurants should have you lip-locked by dessert... Taillevent Taillevent’s first room, with its round, evenly spread tables, is gorgeous, but it lacks the intimacy required for a seductive tête-à-tête. We prefer the second dining room, which makes you feel like you’re in a secret club. La Tour d'Argent The views from La Tour d’Argent over Notre-Dame and Montmartre wow your eyes, while the food woos your stomach. This year, patissier Guillaume Caron has created a special Valentine’s dessert, “Mon ange chocolat-passion” (my chocolate passion angel). Delicieux! Restaurant Le Meurice In a sumptuous dining room, inspired by the Château de Versailles and reworked by Philippe Starck, you’re in for a sophisticated meal. Yannick Alléno’s subtle, refined cuisine is utterly inspiring and the setting is enough to make anyone go starry-eyed. Le Moulin de la Galette The Moulin de la Galette is set in one of two remaining windmills in Montmartre - both of which were immortalised by Renoir. After a meal signed chef Antoine Heerah (known for his fresh, minimalist cooking), take a stroll around the Butte’s romantic cobbled lanes. Angelina Angelina tea-room has two ways of inspiring love: A Mont Blanc meringue with chestnut cream and the most velvetine and naughty hot chocolate in Paris. Paris walks: Dead famous A walk past some grisly Parisian relics View Time Out Paris walks: Dead famous in a larger map Paris has some of history's most influential characters buried on its soil; the Père-Lachaise cemetery alone shelters hundreds of writers, artists and politicians. But these are the lucky ones. Other famous figures did not always get to their final resting place in one piece. This itinerary uncovers some of the city's more macabre relics... Start on the Place du Palais-Royal in the 1st arrondissement. Turn your back on the Louvre and walk into the Comédie Française (2 Rue de Richelieu). In the foyer, look out for an old armchair inside a glass cage. It is believed to be the one from which Molière delivered his last lines at a performance of Le Malade Imaginaire in 1673. He died shortly after the curtain fell. In the same room, the statue of an old man regards theatregoers with a sarcastic smile. You may recognise Voltaire, the Enlightenment philosopher, immortalised here by sculptor Jean-Antoine Houdon. But this statue also serves as reliquary for the philosopher's brain, sealed inside its pedestal. After Voltaire's death in 1778, his brain and heart were put in boiling alcohol to solidify them. His brain finally ended up at the Comédie in 1924. In 1791, his heart was given to Napoleon III, who decided to keep it at the Imperial Library, now the Bibliothèque Nationale-Richelieu. So next, walk to the entrance of the Bibliothèque Nationale at 58 Rue de Richelieu, around the corner from the Comédie, and ask to see the salon d'honneur, an impressive oak-panelled room presided over by a statue of Voltaire identical to the one at the Comédie. The heart is enclosed in its wooden pedestal. The next destination is on the Left Bank – and gives you an opportunity to test out the Vélib municipal bike scheme, if you don't fancy a really long walk. There is a borne (bike docking station) opposite the library, at 71 Rue de Richelieu. From here, head south, first going along the Rue des Petits Champs. Cycle across Place des Victoires and turn right into Rue du Louvre. Follow the traffic down to the river, and then turn left on to Quai du Louvre. Carry on to Pont au Change. Once on the island, keep going south, and turn left on to Quai du Marché Neuf. Go straight ahead until you're facing Notre-Dame cathedral. Drop your bike at the borne beside the square, on Rue d'Arcole. Next, head south across Pont au Double. On quai de Montebello, walk around the small park in front of you and take Rue de la Bûcherie. Find rue St-Jacques at the end of Rue de la Bûcherie and walk down to rue Soufflot. The columns of the Panthéon should be clear to see on your left. The crypt gathers the shrines of over 70 illustrious Frenchmen, including Victor Hugo, Alexandre Dumas and our old friend Voltaire, whose carcass – or what remains of it – can finally rest in peace here. A somewhat more sensational relic can be found in the Eglise St-Etienne-du-Mont, just around the corner from the Panthéon: a finger bone belonging to Sainte Geneviève, patron saint of Paris, in a glass reliquary next to her sarcophagus.Now retrace your steps towards Boulevard St-Michel for a particularly creepy rendezvous. You can pick up a Vélib from the borne at 174 Rue St-Jacques, or cross the Jardin du Luxembourg. From Boulevard St-Michel, take Rue de Médicis, then Rue de Vaugirard. After passing the Sénat, turn right into rue Garancière, then left into Rue St-Sulpice. Carry on along Rue du Vieux Colombier until you reach Rue de Sèvres. Here, find the Chapelle des Lazaristes, identifiable by its tall green doors next to no.95 Rue de Sèvres, and climb up the stairs to the side of the altar. Here lies the fresh-looking corpse of Saint Vincent de Paul, patron saint of the poor. While his skeleton was preserved in its entirety, his face and hands were covered in wax and moulded to resemble the deceased, giving the disturbing impression that he passed away only minutes ago. Back out into the fresh air, pick up a Vélib at the borne on Rue Vaneau and head north. Turn left into Rue de Babylone and then right into Boulevard des Invalides. Keep cycling towards the Seine, with the golden dome of Les Invalides on your left – it's the last resting place of Napoleon Bonaparte. The emperor could easily win the title of most scattered cadaver in history. While his heart and innards are in Austria, you will need to travel to New York to get near his penis, bought at auction by a urologist for $3,800 in 1977. Next, from Quai d'Orsay, cross the Pont Alexandre III and turn left on to Cours Albert I. At Place de l'Alma, take Avenue du Président Wilson on your right. Carry on to Place du Trocadéro. You can dispose of your bike at the Vélib borne on avenue d'Eylau, third right on the roundabout.The Musée de l'Homme (17 Place du Trocadéro, 16th, currently closed for refurbishment) is home to philosopher René Descartes' skull. The rest of his body is buried on the Left Bank, at the Église de Saint-Germain-des-Prés, which makes the perfect start to another trek. For now, take a pew on the steps of the Trocadéro and enjoy one of the best views there is of the city. Chances are you've never felt more alive. Guided walks around Paris Culinary walk Think Parisian dining is just about snooty waiters and haute cuisine? Think again. John-Paul Fortney's Culinary Tours of Paris are designed to introduce you to the living, local and greedy reality of eating and drinking in Paris.His Montmartre tour includes three restaurant stops within a broader walking tour that explains the history of the area, famed for its artists and writers and their spectacular partying in the early 20th century. The tour price includes charcuterie, main course and dessert, and their matching wines. A walk through Arab Paris Though this fascinating and unusual tour might not be first on everybody's list of things to do in Paris, it should be. Culture from the Arab world has been a key element of Parisian life for centuries, a fact celebrated by the brilliant Institut du Monde Arabe by the Pont de Sully. Their weekly guided walks (every Saturday at 3pm, reservation advised) introduce you to some of the 5th arrondissement haunts of key figures in the cultural exchange between East and West in Paris.Starting with the first Arabic lessons at the Sorbonne in the 18th century, the tour then takes in the ancient sites of worship of Christian Arabs, and some of the major Arabic-language printers and publishers in Paris. It then finishes up with an exploration of the Grande Mosquée, with its tea room and domed hammam. Free guided walks One of the best ways to see a city is on foot; even better, let a local show you around. The guides at Discover Walks will show you Paris for nothing more than tips, a brilliant opportunity to get intimate with the city.The (English language) walks run every day except for 24 and 25 December, and there are several themes to choose from: Paris landmarks, Montmartre, the Marais, Notre Dame and the heart of Paris, the Left Bank, and a romantic evening river walk. For a fee, they can also arrange private tours and selected 'Paris Adventures', including a spell at a flea market and a boat cruise, games of boules and photo workshops. A chocolate walk through Paris The long-term expats at Paris Walks have been guiding visitors to the city since 1994. Their inspired 'Chocolate Walks' introduce the history of dark chocolate in Paris, complete with tastings, through visits to some of the city's finest chocolatiers.The tour runs several times a month. Visit the Paris Walks monthly programme for full details. Top 10 Paris Monuments Everyone knows what the Eiffel Tower and Notre-Dame look like, but have you seen the classics that hide beyond the city's traditional tourist circuits? Try some of these... Cimetière du Père-Lachaise Père-Lachaise is the celebrity cemetery - it has almost anyone French, talented and dead that you care to mention. Not even French, for that matter. Creed and nationality have never prevented entry: you just had to have lived or died in Paris or have an allotted space in a family tomb. Sainte-Chapelle Devout King Louis IX (St Louis, 1226-70) had a hobby of accumulating holy relics. In the 1240s, he bought what was advertised as the Crown of Thorns, and ordered Pierre de Montreuil to design a shrine. The result was Sainte-Chapelle. With 15m (49ft) windows, the upper level appears to consist almost entirely of stained glass. The windows depict hundreds of scenes from the Old and New Testaments, culminating with the Apocalypse in the rose window. Palais de Chaillot This immense pseudo-classical building was constructed by Azéma, Boileau and Carlu for the 1937 international exhibition, with giant sculptures of Apollo by Henri Bouchard, and inscriptions by Paul Valéry. The Palais houses the Musée National de la Marine and the Musée de l'Homme (closed for renovation until 2012). In the east wing are the Théâtre National de Chaillot and the Cité de l'Architecture et du Patrimoine. Tour St-Jacques Loved by the Surrealists, this solitary Flamboyant Gothic belltower with its leering gargoyles is all that remains of St-Jacques-La-Boucherie church, built for the powerful Butchers' Guild in 1508-22. The statue of Blaise Pascal at the base commemorates his experiments on atmospheric pressure, carried out here in the 17th century. A weather station now crowns the 52m (171ft) tower. La Conciergerie The Conciergerie looks every inch medieval. However, much of the façade was added in the 1850s, long after Marie-Antoinette, Danton and Robespierre were imprisoned here during the Revolution. The 13th-century Bonbec tower, the 14th-century César and Argent towers, and the Tour de l'Horloge all survive from the Capetian palace.The visit takes you through the Salle des Gardes and the Salle des Gens d'Armes, an impressive vaulted Gothic hall built between 1301 and 1315 for Philippe 'le Bel'. Petit Palais Despite it’s elegant, Belle Époque allure the ‘Little Palace’ is overshadowed by its big brother, Le Grand Palais, just across the road. But ignore it and you’ll miss out on one of Paris’s loveliest fine arts museums, with an extensive mish-mash of works by Poussin, Doré, Courbet and the impressionists, as well as other paintings and sculptures from the Antiquity to 1900. The building, built by Charles Girault for the 1900 for the World Fair, is lit entirely by natural light and sits around a pretty little garden - a plum spot for coffee and cakes. Place des Vosges Paris's first planned square was commissioned in 1605 by Henri IV and inaugurated by his son Louis XIII in 1612. With harmonious red-brick and stone arcaded façades and steeply pitched slate roofs, it differs from the later pomp of the Bourbons. Laid out symmetrically with carriageways through Pavillon de la Reine on the north side and Pavillon du Roi on the south, the other lots were sold off as concessions to officials and nobles (some façades are imitation brick). It was called place Royale prior to the Napoleonic Wars, when the Vosges was the first region to pay its war taxes. 104 (Centquatre) 104, described as a 'space for artistic creation', occupies a vast 19th-century building on the rue d'Aubervilliers that used to house Paris's municipal undertakers. The site was saved from developers by Roger Madec, the mayor of the 19th, who's made its renovation the centrepiece of a massive project of cultural and urban renewal.There aren't any constraints on the kind of work the resident artists do: 104 is open to 'all the arts', but finished pieces have to shown in one of 104's annual 'festivals'. La Grande Mosquée de Paris Some distance removed from the Arabic-speaking inner-city enclaves of Barbès and Belleville, this vast Hispano-Moorish construct is nevertheless the spiritual heart of France's Algerian-dominated Muslim population. Built from 1922 to 1926 with elements inspired by the Alhambra and the Bou Inania Medersa in Fès, the Paris mosque is dominated by a stunning green-and-white tiled square minaret. On la rue Geoffroy-St-Hilaire, La Mosquée café (open 9am-midnight daily) is delightful - a modest courtyard with blue-and-white mosaic-topped tables shaded beneath green foliage. Observatoire de Paris The Paris observatory was founded by Louis XIV's finance minister, Colbert, in 1667; it was designed by Claude Perrault (who also worked on the Louvre), with labs and an observation tower. The French meridian line drawn by François Arago in 1806 (which was used here before the Greenwich meridian was adopted as standard) runs north-south through the centre of the building. You'll need to apply for an appointment at the Observatoire by letter, but it's also worth checking the website for openings linked to astronomical happenings - or visit on the Journées du Patrimoine.
Our recommendations for the best restaurants in the Latin Quarter Related The Panthéon: An insider's guide The Panthéon, the Latin Quarter's all-white beacon to France's defunct intelligentsia, is a neo-classical gem that was commissioned by Louis XV and completed in 1790. It nestles on Sainte-Geneviève's knoll like a bijou version of Washington's White House, and tourists come from far and wide to see the tombs of Voltaire, Rousseau, Dumas, Marie Curie and more. You can also climb the colonnade encircling the dome for sweeping views of the city, which is one way to escape the inevitable crowds. But to get fully away from the tourist route, head for these hand-picked local delights...For more information on the Panthéon, click here. Around the Panthéon... Museum: Musée d'Histoire de la Médecine The history of medicine is the subject of the medical faculty collection. There are ancient Egyptian embalming tools, a 1960s electrocardiograph and a gruesome array of saws used for amputations. You'll also find the instruments of Dr Antommarchi, who performed the autopsy on Napoleon, and the scalpel of Dr Félix, who operated on Louis XIV. Park: Jardin des Plantes Less touristy than Jardin de Luxembourg (south of the Panthéon), Paris's botanical garden - which contains more than 10,000 species and includes tropical greenhouses and rose, winter and Alpine gardens - is an enchanting place. Begun by Louis XIII's doctor as the royal medicinal plant garden in 1626, it opened to the public in 1640. The formal garden, which runs between two dead-straight avenues of trees parallel to rue Buffon, is like something out of Alice in Wonderland. There's also the Ménagerie (a small zoo) and the terrific Grande Galerie de l'Evolution, part of the Natural History Museum. Ancient trees on view include a false acacia planted in 1636 and a cedar from 1734. A plaque on the old laboratory declares that this is where Henri Becquerel discovered radioactivity in 1896. Restaurant: Aux Verres de Contact The name of his new restaurant, Aux Verres de Contact (‘contact lenses’) might lead one to suspect that Guillaume Delage, the former chef at Jadis, is getting short sighted. In fact, it’s a reference to the famed writer, journalist and bon vivant Antoine Blondin, who used to write off his bar receipts as ‘verres de contact’ on expenses claims forms. Just down the hill from the Panthéon, the restaurant has a modern yet welcoming décor, with deep red and cream walls and dark wooden furniture.On the starter menu, there’s a good selection of charcuterie and high-quality cheeses, but also some more original things that really show off the talent of the young chef. For instance, an innovative croque-monsieur composed of layers of bread in cuttlefish sauce, mozzarella fondue and grilled vegetable. It’s a surprisingly effective reinterpretation, though the balance of bread to cheese could have been more generous to the cheese. Then there was a fresh and crunchy celeriac remoulade with whelks, followed by an exotic fruit jelly baba. It’s all just about right for a light lunch.For bigger appetites, there are also lunch menus (€22 or €29) that depend on the chef’s whim of the day. On our visit, it was a duck fillet salad and a shellfish soup with a quenelle of horseradish mousse, followed by a fillet of cod in a lemongrass sauce and an assortment of satisfying mini-desserts, especially the creamy rice pudding.The service was perfect – though we were there on a slow day. However, in a touristy district where good restaurants are few and far between, this friendly bistro will soon find a loyal clientele. Restaurant: Breakfast in America Even in Paris, the city of haute cuisine and knock-your-socks-off Brasserie fare, there comes a time when nothing but bacon, fried eggs, juicy burgers and fluffy pancakes drizzled in maple syrup will do. For those moments, Breakfast in America (known lovingly amongst regulars as B.I.A) offers bona fide American diner surroundings, all-day breakfasts and artery clogging delights like sticky pecan pie, washed down with bottomless mugs o’ Joe. Needless to say it’s a hit with the brunch crowd who come in droves so large they queue up outside, rain or shine. Fortunately turn over is quite fast, so you rarely have to wait more than half-an-hour. The €15.95 brunch menu gets you comfort staples like sausages and eggs (over-easy, sunny-side up or scrambled) with toast and fries or a generous Connecticut ham and cheese omelet and a squidgy chocolate muffin. B.I.A won’t take reservations, but there’s a second branch in the Marais, so if Latin Quarter students have hogged all the tables, you can try your luck on the Right Bank. Café: Le Rostand Le Rostand has a truly wonderful view of the Jardins du Luxembourg from its classy interior, decked out with Oriental paintings, a long mahogany bar and wall-length mirrors. It's a terribly well-behaved place and you should definitely consider arriving in fur or designer sunglasses if you want to fit in with the regulars. The drinks list is lined with whiskies and cocktails, pricey but not as steep as the brasserie menu. Still, with a heated terrace in winter, it's perfect for a civilised drink after a quick spin round the gardens. Bar: Le Requin Chagrin ‘Requin Chagrin’, or the ‘narked shark’, actually comes from Réunion creole slang, meaning ‘old prostitute’. At the Requin Chagrin, broke students laugh with pleasure as, unlike at the other bars in the area, having a few drinks here won’t break the bank. The cosy wooden bar is filled with tall round tables where students sip on pints of Guinness, Hoegaarden or Grimberger from a wide selection – a ‘tasting platter’ of a dozen beers is only €12. One could also opt for a whiskey, house cocktail, or rum punch (another nod to the West Indies?). On game nights, large screens are set up throughout the bar, and the atmosphere instantly changes, hoots and hollers filling the air. A second room in the basement houses a U-shaped bar, which encourages spontaneous conversation and making new friends. The décor is constantly changing based on the night’s festivities, such as sports games, parties, etc. On weekends, the Requin Chagrin welcomes after-hours drinkers with a 4am closing time. In the summer, there’s a small, pleasant terrace that overlooks the charming pedestrian square, Place de la Contrescarpe, and its bubbling fountain. Bar: Le Pantalon A local café that seems familiar yet is utterly surreal. It has the standard fixtures, including the old soaks at the bar - but the regulars and staff are enough to tip the balance firmly into eccentricity. Friendly and funny French grown-ups and foreign students chat in a variety of languages; drinks are cheap enough to make you tipsy without the worry of a cash hangover. Market: Marché Monge This pretty, compact market is set on a leafy square. It has a high proportion of producers and is much less touristy than nearby rue Mouffetard. If you're on a budget (or just fancy a picnic) buy some fresh bread and cheese and tuck in on a bench in Jardin des Plantes. Shop: The Abbey Bookshop Celebrating 20 years in business, the tiny Abbey Bookshop is the domain of Canadian renaissance man Brian Spence, who organises weekend hikes as well as dressing up in doublet and hose for a spot of 17th-century dancing.The tiny, narrow shop stocks old and new works, a specialised Canadian section, and highbrow subjects down the rickety staircase. Several thousand more books are in storage, and he can normally order titles for collection within two days. Paris cabaret guide There's more to Paris cabaret than the get-your-glitz-out-for-the-boys genre with frilly drawers, fishnet stockings and lingerie that twangs to the rhythm of the music. There's the art, the synchronization, the wild costumes and, bien-sur, the inter-act performers who do interesting things with animals and ventriloquist dummies (rarely at the same time)! Cabaret in Paris is traditionally served with champers and a meal, turning the four 'B's (boobs, bums, boas and bubbly) into an all-evening extravaganza. Make a night of it with our Paris cabaret guide... Recommended cabaret venues in Paris Le Crazy Horse More risqué than the other cabarets, Le Crazy Horse, whose art du nu was invented in 1951 by Alain Bernadin, is an ode to feminine beauty: lookalike dancers with provocative names like Flamma Rosa and Nooka Caramel, and identical body statistics (when standing, the girls' nipples and hips are all the same height) move around the stage, clad only in rainbow light and strategic strips of black tape. In their latest show, Désirs, the girls put on some tantalising numbers, with titles such as 'God Save Our Bare Skin' (a sexy take on the Changing of the Guards) and the sensual 'Legmania', for anyone with a leg fetish. The Crazy Horse doesn’t have a restaurant, so if you want to dine, reserve via the website where you’ll find a list of participating eateries. Le Lido This is the largest cabaret of all: high-tech touches optimise visibility, and chef Philippe Lacroix provides fabulous gourmet nosh. On stage, 60 Bluebell Girls and a set of hunky dancers slink around, shaking their bodies with sequinned panache in breathtaking scenes. For a special treat, choose the brand new 'behind the scenes' tour which, before the show, takes you into the heart of the action. For a glam night, opt for premier service (€280) with free cloakroom, the best tables in the house and free water and coffee with your meal. Moulin Rouge Toulouse-Lautrec posters, glittery lamp-posts and fake trees lend guilty charm to this revue. On stage, 60 Doriss dancers cavort with faultless synchronisation. Costumes are flamboyant and the entr'acte acts funny. One daring number even takes place inside a giant tank of underwater boa constrictors.The downer is the space, with tables packed in like sardines. There's also an occasional matinée. Paradis Latin This is the most authentic (and cheesy) of the cabarets, not only because it's family-run (the men run the cabaret, the daughter does the costumes), but also because the clientele is mostly French, something which has a direct effect on the prices (this is the cheapest revue) and the cuisine, which tends to be high quality. Show-wise you can expect the usual fare: glitter, live singing and kitsch entr'acte acts performed in a stunning belle époque room. There's also a thrice-monthly matinée: lunch and show from €65. Jazz in Paris From traditional to avant garde, and from hot new talent to big visiting names – Paris is one of the best cities in the world for listening to live jazz. Here's our guide to the best venues and upcoming gigs. Upcoming jazz gigs in Paris Melody Gardot Philadelphia singer Melody Gardot launched her music career while recovering from a life-threatening injury, and has since become one of that city’s notables; the smoky-voiced singer is capable of conveying real longing and subtlety. Her latest, 'The Absence', contains notable bossa nova influences, the result of an inspiring stay in Portugal. Roberto Fonseca The rightful heir to the Buena Vista Social Club legacy, pianist Fonseca had the daunting job of filling his hero Ruben Gonzalez's shoes after the great man passed away. He ended up becoming the star of the show. Now a solo artist in his own right, he is known for the confidence he exudes on his vibrant live shows where traditional African, Brazilian and Cuban sounds find a place in his panoramic mix of whistle-able tunes and euphoric improvising. Joe Jackson The erstwhile post-punk hitmaker behind 'It's Different For Girls' and 'Is She Really Going Out For Him' consciously dropped out of the pop limelight in the mid-'80s, moving to New York to record a series of soundtracks, chamber works and jazz-inflected big-band workouts. Here with the simple backing of long-term cohorts Graham Maby on bass and vocals and Dave Houghton (drums and vocals), expect to hear a selection with a good helping of the classics - which in Jackson's case comprise anything from reggae, jazz and jump-blues to Latin rhythms. Mulatu Astatke + Tonny Allen Ethiopian vibes maestro Astatke here whips up a simmering blend of Afro-beat grooves, melodic modal jazz and skanking brass via dirty funk and swing. Building from psychedelic Sun Ra-ish textures to molten James Brown jams, this is a rare chance to sample this heady brew first hand. Ibrahim Maalouf Born in Lebanon in 1980 and currently residing in France, trumpeter Ibrahim Maaloufis distinguished by his ability to play quarter-tones, an Arabic modal system, on his instrument. His father, also a trumpet player, invented a special microtonal trumpet that’s able to play the maqams Maalouf uses in his music. Trained in classical music at two conservatories in Paris, he studied with famous classical trumpeter Maurice André, and went on to win many international competitions. His own compositions, recorded in three studio albums, are flavoured with eastern sounds and styles, but with a western approach. His latest is the 2011 release, ‘Diagnostic’. Recommended jazz venues Au Duc des Lombards This venerable jazz spot goes from strength to strength, attracting a high class of performer and a savvy crowd. Check out the 'bon plans' section of the website, which offers reduced-price tickets for certain concerts. New Morning Jazz fans crowd into this hip, no-frills joint to natter, drink and boogie to the consistently excellent live music. Low key it may be but it's still worth looking out for the occasional A-lister - the likes of Spike Lee and Prince have been known to grace the New Morning with their presence as have Stan Getz, Chet Baker, Dizzy Gillespie, and Miles Davis. Even when there's no star draw things rarely laps into MOR territory, New Morning plows a rather more specialised groove: think free jazz, fusion and funk. Salle Pleyel Home to the Orchestre de Paris and Orchestre Philharmonique Radio France, the restored concert hall looks splendid. If the improved acoustics are only partially successful, the venue has nevertheless regained its status as the capital's leading concert hall for large-scale symphonic concerts, and should keep it until the completion of the city's new concert hall in 2012. Soloists read like a who's who of classical music, and this season includes an interesting series entitled Pollini Perspectives, which gives the great pianist free musical rein. La Fusée This is one of Time Out's 100 best bars in Paris. Click here to see the full list. Good bars are hard to find in this corner of Beaubourg, but Le Fusée attracts plenty of young people with its warm atmosphere, charming little terrace and reasonable prices for the area. Its hangings of coloured garlands go well with the ambiance, which includes live concerts of gypsy jazz, swing and chanson Française on Sundays. Inside, this ancient literary café has kept a quirky décor of kitsch old posters. You feel like you’re in a market café with the constant flow of people between the tables, the waitresses shouting orders while performing acrobatics to deliver the drinks. Bundles of sausages hang above the bar, cut into generous slices to order and best matched with a pitcher or a bottle of red chosen from the enormous list. Against the background of cult music (Beatles Pink Floyd, Johnny Cash), you’ll naturally fall into conversation with your neighbours at the next table. Autour de Midi-Minuit The Tuesday night boeuf (jam session) is always free, as are many other concerts - some by big names like Laurent Epstein, Yoni Zelnik and Bruno Casties. The upstairs restaurant serves reasonably priced French classic cuisine. Péniche Antipode This is one of Time Out's 100 best bars in Paris. Click here to see the full list. In 2002, the Abricadabra theatre company transformed this boat moored on the Canal de l’Ourcq into a floating café, with shows for youngsters during the day and plays and concerts for adults in the evenings. In this enchanting Peniche (houseboat), kids 3-8 years old are entertained and educated by screenings, mimes, songs, comedies, shadow puppets and more – and the actors’ antics contain many a nod and a wink for the adults’ amusement. In the evenings, the Peniche alternates gypsy jazz, rock, reggae, blues or funk concerts with improv or theatre sketch nights, and from time to time DJs will spin roots, dub, electro or breakbeat. The bar is well supplied, but you won’t find coca-cola – the products are all artisanal and fair trade. Les Disquaires This is one of Time Out's 100 best bars in Paris. Click here to see the full list. In its newly-renovated, shiny red interior, Les Disquaires’s little stage directly faces the dancefloor and the decks, and temporary exhibitions by Parisian artists decorate the walls around the bar. The venue is a good Bastille quarter bet for enjoying a quality gig over a cocktail or a beer during happy hour, and even music novices will always find something to enjoy in the programme of live jazz, funk, hip-hop and soul. For those who want to press on until the early hours (2am), the organisers always have a DJ set or two up their sleeve. It’s always a good idea to look in here to get an idea of what’s setting Parisian pulses racing – for the programme details, take a look at their website (French only). Le Sunset/Sunside A split-personality venue, with Sunset dealing in electric groups and Sunside hosting acoustic performances. Their renown pulls in big jazz names. Onze Bar This is one of Time Out's 100 best bars in Paris. Click here to see the full list. A little boho bar that’s just the way we like them, Le Onze seethes with people day and night. Very hip and popular right now, its been done up in (very) shabby chic – the stuffing of the big sofas is oozing out, witness to many wild parties. Daily concerts range from Balkan folk to rock’n’roll, via via jazz, blues, funk or afrobeat (see the program on the (French) website here), and the music never fails to produce a fantastic atmosphere, with people getting up to dance wherever they can find room between the tables and chairs. Even during the week, the bar teems with regulars topping themselves up with the very well priced beers or house rum cocktails. There’s also a menu with things like roasted Camembert with garlic, duck pie, herby beef skewers and cheesecake, all at reasonable prices. Le Baiser Salé The 'Salty Kiss' divides its time between passing chanson merchants, world artists and jazzmen of every stripe, from trad to fusion. Caveau de la Huchette This medieval cellar has been a mainstay for over 60 years. Jazz shows are followed by early-hours performances in a swing, rock, soul or disco vein. Cité de la Musique This Villette museum/concert complex welcomes prestigious names from all over the globe, and also does a fine line in contemporary classical, avant-jazz and electronica. Caveau des Oubliettes A foot-tapping frenzy echoes in this medieval dungeon, complete with instruments of torture, a guillotine and underground passages. Mondays are Pop Rock Jam nights with the JB Manis Trio, Tuesdays are Jazz Jam Boogaloo nights with Jeff Hoffman, and there are various other jam sessions during the rest of the week. Ateliers de Charonne This spanking new jazz club is the place to see the rising stars of gypsy jazz (jazz manouche). If you want to grab a good spot near the front of the stage, reserve for dinner and the show. Café Universel Café Universel’s owner Azou has an eye for spotting talent, with musicians playing every night in his unpretentious jazz café. Amongst the array of American memorabilia and jazz accessories, Azou’s window also displays posters of groups playing modern jazz, swing, blues, bossa and soul. Every Tuesday, guitars, doublebass, trumpets and keyboards set the pace for amateur singers who come to try their luck at the Jam Vocal. Don’t be put off by the big plastic American-Indian who guards the entrance, nor the kitsch neon lights above the door: a little kitsch doesn’t detract from the venue’s genuine friendliness. Entrance is free: prices are a little high (a demi for €4.90), but not indecent for the area. Le Petit Journal Montparnasse A two-level jazz brasserie with New Orleans sound, big bands, Latin and soul-gospel. The best Asian cuisine Decades of immigration have left the French capital with a wealth of Asian cuisine – largely condensed in the Chinese quarters in the 13th (click here for our guide to Chinatown), and the Japanese quarter between Opera and the Louvre in the 2nd. Head to these areas for a serendipitous meal, or plan ahead with this guide to the best Asian restaurants in Paris, whether you’re looking for steaming Japanese gyozas, Vietnamese pho noodle soup, Peking duck or a sizzling Korean barbecue... The best Asian restaurants Myung Ka This small but sleek Korean canteen opposite the Cambronne metro boasts a generous €15 lunch menu. The food is authentic, refined and balanced in flavours and textures. DIY diners can cook their raw selections (including beef, pork belly, organic vegetables) on the table-top barbecues before rolling them in lettuce leaves with spices and herbs. The a la carte menu is extensive and includes 'bibimbap', a piping hot bowl of rice, with vegetables and sautéed beef; soybean cakes; and 'kim chi' soup, which comes with delicious ravioli stuffed with fermented cabbage. Service is attentive and the room welcoming. Chez Miki There are plenty of Japanese restaurants to choose from along nearby rue Ste-Anne, but none is as original - nor as friendly - as this tiny bistro run entirely by women, next to the square Louvois. The speciality here is bento boxes, which you compose yourself from a scribbled blackboard list (in Japanese and French). For €15 you can choose two small dishes - marinated sardines and fried chicken wings are especially popular - and a larger dish, such as grilled pork with ginger. Don't miss the inventive desserts, which might include lime jelly spiked with alcohol. Lengué Squirrelled away in a tiny street in the Latin quarter, Lengué is a real slice of Tokyo. There are huge bottles of sake lined up on the bar, dishes of the day pinned on the walls – in Japanese – and the service is polite, cordial and discreet. In the early evenings you'll find a few knowledgeable Japanese enjoying a glass of sake or sh?ch? and some tasting dishes. From 9pm, they make way for a younger, cosmopolitan crowd, who handle the unfamiliar menu etiquette with rather less sang-froid.But they needn’t worry, really. Lengué is an izakaya, which are millions-strong in Japan, and positively defined by lack of etiquette. They are neither bars nor restaurants, but your visit will always kick off with a drink – sake, beer, sh?ch? (a potato-based alcohol very popular in Japan), Japanese whisky or French wines. Then you order a selection of little dishes as often as you feel like it, and share them around the table so that everyone gets a taste. There are things like a spoonful of aubergine soup with dashi (Japanese cooking stock), green beans with sesame, fried pumpkin croquettes, or kinpira-gobô, a typical home dish of burdock and julienne carrots, sautéed and cooked with sweet and sour seasoning. So don’t come here if you want a classic starter-main-dessert combination – the izakaya way is to share everything, and graze your way gently through the evening.Langué doesn’t entirely escape the Parisian influence though, so the cooking is a little more controlled than you might find at a local izakaya in Japan. There’s the tuna salad dotted with little cucumber flowers, or the gyoza, not simply grilled but fried and dressed with a sweet ankakéau sauce. It’s difficult to give an idea of the prices, as it depends so much how much you order, but for example, mizuna salad with lotus root chips goes for €7 and edamame €4 (allow €25-30 if you want a proper meal). At lunchtime, you can get bento boxes for €18. Chez Vong The staff at this cosy Chinese restaurant take pride in its excellent cooking. From the greeting at the door to the knowledgeable, trilingual service (Cantonese, Mandarin and French), each part of the experience is thoughtfully orchestrated. Any doubts about authenticity are extinguished with the arrival of the beautifully presented dishes. Expertly cooked spicy shrimp glistens in a smooth, characterful sauce of onions and ginger, and ma po tofu melts in the mouth, its spicy and peppery flavours melding with those of the fine pork mince. Zen There's no shortage of Japanese restaurants in this neighbourhood, but the recently opened Zen is refreshing in a couple of ways. First, there is no pale wood in sight; the colour scheme here is sharp white, green and yellow for a cheerful effect. Second, the menu has a lot to choose from - bowls of ramen, sushi and chirashi, hearty dishes such as chicken with egg on rice or tonkatsu - yet no detail is neglected. A perfect choice if you're spending a day at the Louvre - you can be in and out in 30 minutes. Pho 14 Look beyond the cheap furniture and the waiters’ grumpy faces: Vietnamese canteen Pho 14 is the place to come for delicious Pho soups, filled with noodles, meat-balls, beef, and prawns, all served with fresh mint and basil. Other specialties worth testing are the crispy pork spring rolls (nems) and squidgy ravioli vapeur (steamed dumplings). There’s take-out too, if you don’t want to wait for a table (there are usually queues). Japonese bistro Karaoke restaurants seem passé next to Japanese Bistro near the Ritz Paris Opera in the 2nd. This place should come with an extreme kookiness warning! Big, bright, bold and buzzing with energy, this is a cutting-edge temple to manga disguised as a hip restaurant and lounge bar. Cute ‘n’ quirky cartoon characters are everywhere – moving around on 25 plasma screens, staring at you bug-eyed from the menu; even the waitresses – meticulous in their work – are dressed up manga-style in provocative outfits. Munch on a slick mix of Japanese favourites - maki, sushi, gyoza, sashimi, yakitori skewers - plus wok cooking, then go crazy at karaoke or on the big dance floor. Japanese Bistro is not a place to show control. Dernier bar avant la fin du monde The cult of the geek in Paris received a well-oiled boost with the opening of the ‘Dernier bar avant la fin du monde’ (presumably a reference to Douglas Adams’ ‘Restaurant at the End of the Universe’ from ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’). Medieval and steampunk dominate the décor, with plenty of other bonkers sci-fi touches: as you walk in, a replica of the Millennium Falcon overlooks a timer counting down the minutes to the apocalypse predicted by the Mayans next to a window full of Star Wars memorabilia, World of Warcraft collectables and retro video games.Inside, a big friendly bar is as much about alternative and popular culture as it is about drinking. A library, board games and science fiction books rub shoulders with the holy grail from ‘Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade’ and other philtres, potions and skeletons. Downstairs, those with an interest in the undead can hang out in a windowless cellar. Naturally, the menu continues the theme: The Japanese-inspired selection offers a choice between ‘yodagiri’ and ‘kirbygiri’, three pieces of ‘onigiri’ (€5), and the ‘ponyo’ (salmon chirashizushi, €14). The prevailing atmosphere of heroic collaboration also keeps prices low, with a pint of Kronenbourg at €5 and a half at €3. Tang Tang restaurant in Paris sited between the Trocadero and the Bois de Boulogne is one of the capital’s best and best-loved Chinese restaurants. The scene of countless business lunches, romantic dinners and every other kind of charming meal, Tang’s décor is traditional, with cream walls decorated with Chinese motifs, smart upholstery and banquettes, gleaming mirrors, smiling buddhas and the confident air of a restaurant that knows what it’s about. Tang has earned accolades for its Chinese cuisine that encompasses both authentic and westernised dishes, like five-spice pigeon, Szechuan turbot and the two kinds of Cantonese rice. The service is admirable, the ambience very welcoming. Higuma Higuma's no-nonsense food and service makes it one of the area's most popular destinations. On entering, customers are greeted by plumes of aromatic steam emanating from the open kitchen-cum-bar, where a small team of chefs ladle out giant bowls of noodle soup piled with meat, vegetables or seafood. You can slurp at the counter or sit at a plastic-topped table.
Our recommendations for the best restaurants near Saint-Germain Related Saint-Germain-des-Prés & Saint-Michel You’re not a Parisian until you’ve met up with friends in front of Saint-Michel’s fountain or wandered through its labyrinthine streets, past cheap Greek restaurants and tiny shops. Veer off towards Saint-Germain-des-Prés and you’ll find, sandwiched between the postcard-perfect Jardin de Luxembourg and the Seine, the Paris of Hemingway, Orwell and Miller (not to mention the seedbed of the 1968 student revolt). Expect crooked streets, great eateries and architectural glories - especially ecclesiastical ones. The Flore and Deux Magots cafés at Saint-Germain-des-Prés were where Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir philosophised over bursts of caffeine. It’s here that the very cliché of café terrace intellectualising was coined; but nowadays it’s all more sartorial than Sartrian, with many patrons coming from the fashion world, or at least the designer boutiques (Rykiel, Cartier, Mont-Blanc, Joseph…) that line the streets all around. The literati haven’t entirely fled for pastures new, though. The quartier still harbours a vast number of bookshops. And as the hotspot for the post-war Jazz boom it’s also still the place in which to tap your toes during May’s Jazz à Saint-Germain festival. You can also rub shoulders with film buffs at the area’s numerous independent art-house cinemas. Anyone for a Jerzy Skolimowski? Restaurants in Saint-Germain-des-Prés & Saint-Michel La Boussole La Boussole has a posh Paris address in Saint Germain des Pres yet it’s anything but formal and pricey. The friendship among the young and happy team that runs it inspires the warm atmosphere of a neighbourhood restaurant. Old stone walls, well worn floor, and bistro-style tables very much add to the cosiness. Yet for all this rustic-ness, La Boussole excels at giving a modern Spice Route-inspired twist to French cooking. Separate lunch and dinner menus generally share the same starters, but different mains. So, a top midday meal might be a lamb and dry fruits tagine, followed by a honey and soft spice magret de canard in the evening. Mouthwatering stuff. La Bastide d'Opio Paris is not short of bistros, yet La Bastide d'Opio near Saint Germain market in the 6th stands out. Real food cooked brilliantly and priced well is just the beginning of this success story. Trees outside hint at the rural heart of this inviting little rusty-coloured restaurant that specialises in Provencal cooking - light, healthy and very tasty dishes like poulet à la crème de langoustines, that exclusively use olive oil (Provence is the only region in France that doesn’t cook with butter). Portions are well sized so that you can easily enjoy three courses. Between the rustic décor and young, kind-faced team in charge, eating at La Bastide d'Opio feels like being in someone’s home. Séraphin Inspired by a traditional grocery store, long before the days of the hypermarche, Seraphin has an old world charm which will delight and intrigue diners. Just 100m from the famous Place Saint Sulpice and opposite St Germain des Pres’ market the Café makes the most of its location with huge bay windows looking out to the street. The wood panelled and stone interior is lined with shelves piled high with produce and antique kitchenalia, giving the impression that the café has stood for years. When it comes to food the kitchen not only looks to the past for inspiration but embraces the present, using modern creativity to improve on French recipes which make up a menu which takes Seraphin from traditional comptoir in the morning to elegant restaurant at night. Hotels in Saint-Germain-des-Prés and Saint-Michel Hôtel de l'Abbaye Saint-Germain A monumental entrance opens the way through a courtyard into this tranquil hotel, originally part of a convent. Wood panelling, well-stuffed sofas and an open fireplace in the drawing room make for a relaxed atmosphere, but, best of all, there's a surprisingly large garden where breakfast is served in the warmer months. The 43 rooms and duplex apartment are tasteful and luxurious. Hôtel Atlantis Please note that the air conditioning will not be available from 30 July to 30 August 2012. Into Paris - Appartement Saint Germain des Près Bonaparte Located in the elegant 6thdistrict in the heart of Paris, Appartement Saint Germain des Près proposes a self-catering apartment just a 1-minute walk from Place Saint-Sulpice. It is a 4-minute walk from the Luxembourg Gardens.Decorated in a modern style, this apartment features a TV, washing machine and private bathroom with a bathtub and slippers. The fully equipped kitchen includes a stove, microwave and refrigerator.Saint-Sulpice Metro Station is just 170 metres away and allows direct access to Saint-Michel Fountain, Gare du Nord and Montparnasse Tower. Free Wi-Fi access is available in the entire apartment. Bars in Saint-Germain-des-Prés and Saint-Michel Chez Georges This is one of Time Out's 100 best bars in Paris. Click here to see the full list. Don’t expect to get out of here without splashes of wine on your shirt. Hidden in the heart of the snooty neighbourhood of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, evenings in this vaulted stone wine cellar mix hip students with the hoi polloi in a glorious jumble. Everyone dances up close, getting up on the tables when there’s no room on the floor, and they drink, they clink glasses, and they sing at the top of their voices.Chez Georges has been an institution since 1952. Few wine cellars like this are left today – Georges keeps the charm of old with nicotine-stained photos of forgotten celebrities and a promotional Raphaël Quinquina clock, as outmoded as the spirit it advertises, which was in fashion some time in the last century. In the torpor of the afternoon, its ‘tick-tock’ punctuates the silence of the regulars’ chess games. When evening comes, don’t be discouraged by the crowds – sometimes you just have to wait a little to get down into the cellar. The Frog & Princess The Frog & Princess (part of Paris' famous Frog Pubs chain) draws an international, Anglophone crowd to Saint-Germain-des-Près for luscious cocktails and house-brewed beers (especially Tuesdays when all beers are sold at happy hour prices all night). During important football, rugby and NFL matches, the place heaves with supporters who usually spill out onto the cobbled street in front. Brunch is popular here (Sat-Sun noon-4pm), providing staples like eggs Benedict, traditional English breakfasts and juicy burgers. Other branches at: 116 rue t-Denis, 2e; 25 cours St-Emilion, 12e; 114 avenue de France, 13e; 110bis avenue Kléber, 16e. J'Go As its name suggests, J'Go (pronounced gigot) is all about lamb - well, meat of various kinds, actually: a buzzing Toulouse-style wine bar in the Marché St-Germain by day, it becomes a rôtisserie at meal times, serving its speciality spit-roasted lamb from Quercy, black pig from Bigorre, and whole roasted chickens. The €36 set menu is well worth the splurge, offering a whole jar of pâté, a giant bowl of salad, and lamb with creamy stewed haricots blancs. If you'd rather stick to wine and tapas, sidle up to one of the great wooden barrels, choose your poison (blindly if necessary - at €4 a glass all wines are good) and share a plate of charcuterie or foie gras tartines (€10). Moose Bar & Grill For those bored of overpriced cafés and unfriendly waiters, the Moose is a great alternative. This Canadian sports bar serves a vast selection of beers and even some organic Australian wines. A friendly atmosphere and delicious burgers make the Moose a great place to kick off the evening. Café de Flore Bourgeois locals crowd the terrace tables at lunch, eating club sandwiches with knives and forks as anxious waiters frown at couples with pushchairs or single diners occupying tables for four. This historic café, former HQ of the Lost Generation intelligentsia, attracts tourists and, yes, celebrities from time to time. But a café crème is €4.60, and the omelettes and croque-monsieurs are best eschewed in favour of the better dishes on the menu (€15-€25). There are play readings on Mondays and philosophy debates on the first Wednesday of the month, at 8pm, in English. Le Montana It's hard to believe any place could out-hype Le Baron, and yet this exclusive club manages it. Revamped by über-cool graphic artist André, Le Montana is a VIP magnet - Lenny Kravitz, Vanessa Bruno and Kate Moss have all hit the floor here since the relaunch. The biggest challenge is getting through the door. Le Bar Dix This is one of Time Out's 100 best bars in Paris. Click here to see the full list. This local dive has been miraculously preserved (in sangria) since 1955. You’d be hard put to find something more ‘real’ than this tiny venue – more of a musty-smelling cave covered with posters and a patina of nicotine. Its clients occupy their time slipping Euros into the slot of the collector’s jukebox, awakening it to play tunes from the era of Goldman, Brassens and Ferré. The moustachioed barmen are frequently gruff but always charming, mostly there to rein in clients whose carousing threatens to compete with the music, and to mop up spillages of the house sangria as the evening wears on. The menu is much as you’d expect: apart from a few bottled beers and chorizo and cheese sandwiches, you’ll mostly be ordering sangria or sangria. But it’s good and fruity and cheap, and we all keep coming back for more. Le Bar du Marché The market in question is the Cours des Halles, the bar a convivial corner café opening on to the pleasing bustle of St-Germain-des-Prés. Simple dishes like a ham omelette or a plate of herrings are in the €7 range, and Brouilly or muscadet is €4-€5 a glass - all proffered by waiters dressed in matching dungarees. It couldn't be anywhere else in the world. Locals easily outnumber tourists, confirming Rod Stewart's unusually astute observation that Paris gives the impression that no one is ever working. Le Rostand Le Rostand has a truly wonderful view of the Jardins du Luxembourg from its classy interior, decked out with Oriental paintings, a long mahogany bar and wall-length mirrors. It's a terribly well-behaved place and you should definitely consider arriving in fur or designer sunglasses if you want to fit in with the regulars. The drinks list is lined with whiskies and cocktails, pricey but not as steep as the brasserie menu. Still, with a heated terrace in winter, it's perfect for a civilised drink after a quick spin round the gardens. La Mezzanine de l'Alcazar The stylish, Conran-owned Mezzanine is the upstairs posher sister of the Wagg, which is intended to be a clubbier venue. Naturally, both have become well-heeled hangouts, but the Mezzanine remains the venue of choice for the suited and booted. Wagg Refurbished as part of the Conran makeover of the Mezzanine upstairs, Wagg went through a period of attracting big-name DJs, but has settled down as home to a well-to-do Left Bank crowd. Expect funk, house and disco, plus salsa lessons on Sundays. La Palette This is one of Time Out's 100 best bars in Paris. Click here to see the full list. La Palette is the café-bar of choice for the beau-est of the Beaux-Arts students who study at the venerable institution around the corner. Don’t be surprised if you stumble across young couples stealing kisses in the wonderfully preserved art deco back room, perhaps overcome by the art on the walls and the sprit of decadence. And perhaps trying to distract themselves from the prices: a glass of Chablis here sets you back €6, a demi €4.50. But you’re paying for the vintage of the place as much as the drinks; these premises were once frequented by Jim Morrison, Picasso and Ernest Hemingway. Grab a spot on the leafy terrace if you can – there's formidable competition for seats. Prescription Cocktails Club This stylish 1930s-style speakeasy has a retro Prohibition feel but remains severely Left Bank, with crowds of well-dressed people sipping on cocktails by candlelight. It's always busy and almost impossible to navigate on weekends. But come at the start of the night for a relaxing vibe. Le Lucernaire Three theatres, three cinemas, a restaurant and a bar make up this versatile cultural centre. Theatre-wise, Molière and other classic playwrights get a good thrashing, but so do up-and-coming authors. Le Pantalon A local café that seems familiar yet is utterly surreal. It has the standard fixtures, including the old soaks at the bar - but the regulars and staff are enough to tip the balance firmly into eccentricity. Friendly and funny French grown-ups and foreign students chat in a variety of languages; drinks are cheap enough to make you tipsy without the worry of a cash hangover. Le Crocodile This is one of Time Out's 100 best bars in Paris. Click here to see the full list. Prepare yourselves to hesitate at the moment of ordering your cocktail: the menu offers nearly 300, each odder than the last: Galéjade [The Tall Story], Tartempion [The What’s-His-Name], Va nu pied [The Go Barefoot], Traîne-savate [The At A Loose End], Rond de cuir [The Pencil Pusher]… how to choose? We’d advise you to check out the happy hour (6pm-8pm) so as to not break the bank – you’ll still have to rub shoulders with your neighbour to get hold of your glass (the bar is always packed), but that’s just part of the rambunctious atmosphere. In this slightly cramped tavern, we like the vintage posters and the crowded tables. And so what if we’re squeezed? The music is good, the service decent and the laughter free. The crowd is very mixed, from students to tourists to bohos – everyone comes to test out the Crocodile’s cocktails. Charlie Birdy - Montparnasse On the chic Left Bank, in the artistic centre of early twentieth century Paris is Charlie Birdy, a cool hangout which would no doubt have pleased the likes of Modigliani, Picasso and Matisse, as it does now today's equally hip locals . Sitting somewhere between New York loft and traditional London hotel, Charlie Birdy has that distinctive sprinkling of Parisian styling which makes it just that little more gorgeous. Sweeping pink banquettes lay underneath quaintly mixed and matched chandeliers, large Chesterfield sofas sit in a street-scene window and touches of black and velvet hint at a possible past life as a movie star's boudoir. With eclectic music playing, enjoy fabulous cocktails and simple European and American dishes in a bar giving new meaning to the words glam rock. Shopping in Saint-Germain-des-Prés and Saint-Michel Milk on the Rocks An American brand, Milk on the Rocks children’s clothing boutique for kids from 0-14 years old opened its Paris branch in 2005. The seven stylists (and mothers) behind the brand put plenty of pep and colour into the boutique’s wardrobes, giving the garments interesting textures with crochet and other materials. The modern designs were originally created mostly for boys who, a bit like their older counterparts, generally have less of a choice than girls in clothing. But over time, the brand has started to cater to little girls as well.The brand has a practical side, and the knitted clothes can be machine-washed. The prices aren’t exorbitant (€39 for a playsuit, T-shirts between €33 and €44) but only if you ignore the fact that children grow so quickly. So you wouldn’t come here to dress them head to toe, but why not a little dinosaur jumper here or a rabbit coat there? Games and cute gadgets from Japan and the Netherlands are also on sale. APC This is one of Time Out's 100 best shops in Paris. Click here to see the full list.The look here is simple but stylish: think perfectly cut basics in muted tones. Hip without trying too hard, its jeans are a big hit with denim aficionados - the skinny version nearly caused a stampede when they came out.Other locations throughout the city. Hervé Chapelier Bag yourself a classic, chic, hard-wearing, bicoloured tote at Hervé Chapelier. Sizes and prices range from a dinky purse at €22 to a weekend bag at €130. Things to see & do in Saint-Germain-des-Prés & Saint-Michel Museums in Saint-Germain-des-Prés Attractions in Saint-Michel Saint-Germain-des-Prés Art Galleries Arthouse Cinemas in Saint-Michel Saint-Germain-des-Prés Art Galleries Galerie Lara Vincy Liliane Vincy, daughter of the founder, is one of the few characters to retain something of the old St-Germain spirit and a sense of 1970s Fluxus-style happenings. Interesting theme and solo shows include master of the epigram Ben, as well as text-, music- and performance-related pieces. Galerie G-P et N Vallois Interesting conceptual work in all media includes the likes of American provocateur Paul McCarthy, Turner Prize winner Keith Tyson and a clutch of French thirty- and fortysomethings, including Alain Bublex and Gilles Barbier, as well as veteran affichiste Jacques Villeglé. Galerie Kamel Mennour After bursting on to the St-Germain art scene with shows by fashion photography crossovers David LaChapelle and Ellen von Unwerth and filmmaker Larry Clark, and introducing emerging artists Kader Attia and Adel Abdessemed, Mennour has confirmed his presence on the gallery scene with a move to these grand new premises in a hôtel particulier. Recent shows by an impressive cross-generational stable have included Daniel Buren, Claude Lévêque, France's representative at the 2009 Venice Biennale, and Huang Yong-Ping. Galerie Loevenbruck Loevenbruck has injected a dose of humour into St-Germain with artists - Virginie Barré, Bruno Peinado and Olivier Blankaert, and Philippe Mayaux - who treat conceptual concerns with a light touch and graphic talent. The gallery moved to new, larger premises at the end of 2010. Museums in Saint-Germain-des-Prés Espace Fondation EDF This former electricity substation, converted by Electricité de France for PR purposes, is now used for varied, well-presented exhibitions. Musée d'Histoire de la Médecine The history of medicine is the subject of the medical faculty collection. There are ancient Egyptian embalming tools, a 1960s electrocardiograph and a gruesome array of saws used for amputations. You'll also find the instruments of Dr Antommarchi, who performed the autopsy on Napoleon, and the scalpel of Dr Félix, who operated on Louis XIV. Musée Maillol Dina Vierny was 15 when she met Aristide Maillol and became his principal model for the next decade, idealised in such sculptures as Spring, Air and Harmony. In 1995 she opened this delightful museum, exhibiting Maillol's drawings, engravings, pastels, tapestry panels, ceramics and early Nabis-related paintings, as well as the sculptures and terracottas that epitomise his calm, modern classicism.Vierny also set up a Maillol Museum in the Pyrenean village of Banyuls-sur-Mer. This Paris venue also has works by Picasso, Rodin, Gauguin, Degas and Cézanne, a whole room of Matisse drawings, rare Surrealist documents and works by naïve artists.Vierny has also championed Kandinsky and Ilya Kabakov, whose Communal Kitchen installation recreates the atmosphere of Soviet domesticity. Monographic exhibitions are devoted to modern and contemporary artists. Last year saw a fascinating exhibition of death's heads from Caravaggio to Damien Hirst. Musée Zadkine Works by the Russian-born Cubist sculptor Ossip Zadkine are displayed around this tiny house and garden near the Jardin du Luxembourg. Zadkine's works cover musical, mythological and religious subjects, and his style varies with his materials. There are drawings and poems by Zadkine and paintings by his wife, Valentine Prax. Musée National du Moyen Age - Thermes de Cluny The national museum of medieval art is best known for the beautiful, allegorical Lady and the Unicorn tapestry cycle, but it also has important collections of medieval sculpture and enamels. There is also a worthy programme of medieval concerts in which troubadours reflect the museum's collection and occasional 45- minute heures musicales in a similar style. The building itself, commonly known as Cluny, is also a rare example of 15th-century secular Gothic architecture, with its foliate Gothic doorways, hexagonal staircase jutting out of the façade and vaulted chapel. It was built from 1485 to 1498 - on top of a Gallo-Roman baths complex. The baths, built in characteristic Roman bands of stone and brick masonry, are the finest Roman remains in Paris. The vaulted frigidarium (cold bath), tepidarium (warm bath), caldarium (hot bath) and part of the hypocaust heating system are all still visible. A themed garden fronts the whole complex. Recent acquisitions include the illuminated manuscript L'Ascension du Christ from the Abbey of Cluny, dating back to the 12th century, and the 16th-century triptych Assomption de la Vierge by Adrien Isenbrant of Bruges. Wines and spirits shops Red, white or rosé? Shaken, stirred or just plain on the rocks? Whatever your favourite tipple, Paris will be able to provide the best, and surprise you with a few new concoctions along the way... Lavinia Lavinia stocks a broad selection of French alongside many non-French wines; its glassed-in cave has everything from a 1945 Mouton-Rothschild at €22,000 to trendy and 'fragile' wines for under €10.Have fun tasting wine with the dégustation machines on the ground floor, which allow customers to taste a sip of up to ten different wines each week for €10. Les Caves Augé If you want history served with your wine head to Les Caves Augé, which (open since 1850) was where Proust used to go to stock up his cellar. The décor, awash in mouldings and panelling, has little changed since then. Chose between thousands of bottles; the savvy cavistes (wine sellers) will give you titbits about any grape variety or château you see, and there’s an ever-increasing accent on ‘natural’ wines. If you fancy a degustation, Les Caves Augé offer a tasting day one Saturday each month. Le Vin en Tête Great wines, fine wines, organic wines, whiskies and champagnes – thus goes the list of what you’ll find at Le Vin en Tête. If you’re not sure what to buy, tell the 'cavistes' what you’ll be eating and your price range, and they’ll suggest a bottle or two. You can also sign up for wine-tasting lessons. Or if you want to try before you buy, head to the Vin en Tête’s own wine bar, Le Garde-Robe Batignolles (2 rue Lamandé, 17e, 01 44 90 05 04), where you can test the varieties by the glass while tucking into hearty cheese and charcuterie platters. LMDW Three whole floors of this sleek and modern booze shop are filled with wine, whisky, rum, cognac, calvados, Armagnac, tequila, vodka, gin, fruit liqueurs, grappa, vermouths, saké and almost anything else that takes on a liquid form, including teas and coffees. LMDW (La Maison de la Whisky) started life in 1968 as a whisky specialist, but has since branched out into other alcoholic drinks with over 1500 varieties of spirits and wines to choose between. It’s worth visiting the boutique even if you don’t plan to buy as some of the bottles (and their packaging) are veritable works of art. Ryst Dupeyron The Dupeyrons have been selling armagnac for five generations, and still have bottles from the 19th-century. Treasures here include 200 fine Bordeaux wines and an extensive range of vintage port and eaux de vie. The shop itself is one of the most atmospheric in Paris with a beautiful wooden façade and shelves lined with shiny bottles - some of which (though thankfully not all) cost over €2000.
Our recommendations for the best restaurants near the Eiffel Tower Related Eiffel Tower: An insider's guide No building better symbolises Paris than the Tour Eiffel. Maupassant claimed he left Paris because of it, William Morris visited daily to avoid having to see it from afar - and it was originally meant to be a temporary structure. The radical cast-iron tower was built for the 1889 World Fair and the centenary of the 1789 Revolution by engineer Gustave Eiffel. Today it stands proud as one of the world's most famous monuments and draws the crowds to match: Avoid them with our handpicked list of locals' haunts and quirky things do around the Eiffel Tower, in the 7th and 15th arrondissements... Click here for more information on the Eiffel Tower. Around the Eiffel Tower... Attraction: Musée du Quai Branly Surrounded by trees on the banks of the Seine, this museum, housed in an extraordinary building by Jean Nouvel, is a vast showcase for non-European cultures. Dedicated to the ethnic art of Africa, Oceania, Asia and the Americas, it joins together the collections of the Musée des Arts d'Afrique et d'Océanie and the Laboratoire d'Ethnologie du Musée de l'Homme, as well as contemporary indigenous art. Treasures include a tenth-century anthropomorphic Dogon statue from Mali, Vietnamese costumes, Gabonese masks, Aztec statues, Peruvian feather tunics, and rare frescoes from Ethiopia. Attraction: Musée Valentin Haüy The tiny Musée Valentin Haüy is devoted to the history of braille, a story intimately connected with the French Enlightenment just before the Revolution. Valentin Haüy, whose statue you will see as you pass the gates of the Institut National des Jeunes Aveugles, was an 18th-century linguist and philanthropist. He established France's first school for the blind, and it was here that Louis Braille became a star pupil some 34 years later. The one-room museum is hidden at the end of the nondescript corridors of the Valentin Haüy Association, which offers educational services to the blind. The door opens on to glass-fronted cases of exhibits with, in the centre, a huge braille globe. You can explore on your own with the aid of French, English or braille explanatory texts, or allow the curator, Noêle Roy, to show you round. She will give a tour in English if preferred.The first exhibit is a shocking print, depicting the fairground freak show that inspired Valentin Haüy to devote his life to educating not only the blind, but also the backward public who came to laugh at the likes of this blind orchestra forced to perform in dunce's hats. He wanted to prove that blind people had as great a capacity for learning and feeling as anyone else - in short, that they were human beings.Next begins the tactile tour, with a chance to touch books printed by Haüy in embossed letters. After the Revolution, another philanthopist, Charles Barbier, tried to develop a universal writing system using raised dots, but it was difficult to read. Braille, the son of a harness-maker, arrived at the school as a ten-year-old in 1819, having been blind since the age of four after he accidentally stabbed himself in the eye with a stitching awl.He spent his years at the school developing and perfecting his six-dot fingertip system. He was only 16 when he completed it, and went on to teach, write a treatise on arithmetic, and play the organ in two Paris churches. He died from tuberculosis at the age of 43. If it hadn't been for his childhood accident, this genius may never have had access to the education that led to his gift to humanity and his admission to the Pantheon. Café: Le Café du Marché This well-loved address is frequented by trendy locals, shoppers hunting down a particular type of cheese and tourists who've managed to make it this far (10-minutes) from the Eiffel Tower. Le Café du Marché really is a hub of neighbourhood activity. Its pichets of decent house plonk always go down a treat, and mention must be made of the food - such as the huge house salad featuring lashings of foie gras and parma ham. Restaurant: Myung Ka This small but sleek Korean canteen opposite the Cambronne metro boasts a generous 15-euro lunch menu. The food is authentic, refined and balanced in flavours and textures. DIY diners can cook their raw selections (including beef, pork belly, organic vegetables) on the table-top barbecues before rolling them in lettuce leaves with spices and herbs. The a la carte menu is extensive and includes 'bibimbap', a piping hot bowl of rice, with vegetables and sautéed beef; soybean cakes; and 'kim chi' soup, which comes with delicious ravioli stuffed with fermented cabbage. Service is attentive and the room welcoming. Restaurant: Il Vino A ten-minute walk from the Eiffel is Il Vino: Enrico Bernardo, youngest-ever winner of the World's Best Sommelier award, runs this restaurant where, for once, food plays second fiddle to wine. You are presented with nothing more than a wine list. Each of 15 wines by the glass is matched with a surprise dish, or the chef can build a meal around the bottle of your choice. Best for a first visit is one of the blind tasting menus for €75, €100 or (why not?) €1,000. The impeccably prepared food shows a strong Italian influence. Shop: Jean-Paul Hévin His creations are as much art as they are confection. Chocolate shoes, guitars, and diamond rings decorate the dark wooden counters, prompting dropped jaws among passersby. And they taste as good as they look, which is remarkable. For the adventurous, Hévin specialises in the beguiling combination of chocolate with potent cheese fillings, which loyal customers serve with wine as an aperitif. Market: Saxe-Breteuil Saxe-Breteuil has an unrivalled setting facing the Eiffel Tower, as well as the city's most chic produce. Join the locals looking for farmer's goat's cheese, rare apple varieties, Armenian specialities, abundant oysters and a handful of dedicated small producers. Paris's sexiest hotels For a night of steamy passion, or romantic snuggles and cuddles, we share our list of where to stay in the city of love...whatever your budget! Hôtel Particulier Montmartre Visitors lucky (and wealthy) enough to manage to book a suite at the Hôtel Particulier Montmartre will find themselves in one of the city's hidden gems. Nestled in a quiet passage off rue Lepic, in the heart of Montmartre and opposite a mysterious rock known as the Rocher de la Sorcière (witch's rock), this sumptuous Directoire-style house is dedicated to art, with each of the five luxurious suites personalised by an avant-garde artist. The private garden conceived by Louis Bénech (famous for the Tuileries renovation) adds the finishing touch to this charming hideaway. Hôtel Daniel A romantic hideaway close to the monoliths of the Champs-Elysées, the city's new Relais & Châteaux property is decorated in chinoiserie and a palette of rich colours, with 26 rooms cosily appointed in toile de Jouy and an intricately hand-painted restaurant that feels like a courtyard. With meals at around €50 a head, the gastronomic restaurant Le Lounge is a good deal for this neighbourhood; the bar menu is served at all hours. Hôtel Banke If sleeping in a bank sounds weird, don't worry - there are no carpet tiles or pens screwed to the table at the Hôtel Banke. This swish establishment in the Opéra district occupies the former HQ of the CCF bank, a magnificent early 20th-century building designed by Paul Friesse and Cassien Bernard in the 'Eiffel style' - under the pastiche of its Pompeian red galleries and soaring glass ceiling there is actually an iron frame.The Banke is owned by the Spanish Derby Hotels chain, and Catalan design flair comes through in a just-this-side-of-kitsch approach to dressing up the splendid lobby, with gold leather chesterfields and Swarovski-studded armchairs by Bretz, as well as Starck Perspex bar stools and transparent tables in the circular Lolabar.Some of the executive rooms seem rather small for the price tag, but all is quality here, with parquet flooring, green Bizazza mosaics in the bathroom and luxurious burgundy taffeta on the bed. The lighting is particularly well done, with huge black pendulum lights either side of the bed, and a walk-in closet that lights up when you approach. The deluxe rooms are significantly bigger with a Jacuzzi bath, and there is also a romantic circular suite on the first floor complete with marble fireplace and gilded mouldings.The Josefin restaurant serves fine Catalan food with a small choice of excellent Spanish wines. Stand-out dishes include carpaccio of lobster, artichokes with Iberian ham, and line-caught sea bass with broad beans.It's just a shame that they haven't sorted out the music. Tinny pop echoes around the cavernous space when sultry lounge music would be a better match for the designer setting. Food, design and location are all pretty much spot on, but the ultimate treat here is the sleep you'll have. Perfect black-out curtains, perfect soundproofing and imperceptible air conditioning mean that you can bank on a decent night's slumber. Le Petit Paris This brand new Latin Quarter venture is a dynamic exercise in taste and colour. The 20 rooms, designed by Sybille de Margerie, are arranged by era, running from the puce and purple of the medieval rooms to the wildly decadent orange, yellow and pink of the swinging '60s rooms, replete with specially commissioned sensual photographs of Paris monuments. Luxury abounds with finest silks, velvets and taffetas. Some of the rooms have small terraces, and those with baths have a TV you can watch while soaking. An honesty bar in the lounge and ultra-modern jukebox encourage conviviality. Hôtel de la Sorbonne It's out with the old at this charming, freshly renovated hotel, whose new look is very much a modern take on art nouveau, with bold, designer wallpapers, floral prints, lush fabrics and quotes from French literature woven into the carpets. Rooms are all equipped with iMac computers. Terrass Hotel For people willing to pay top euro for the best views in town, the Terrass calls. Ask for room 704 and you can lie in the bath and look at the Eiffel Tower. Julien Rocheteau, trained by Ducasse, is at the helm of gastronomic restaurant Diapason; in fine weather, opt for a table on the seventh-floor terrace, open from June to September. Five Hôtel The rooms in this stunning boutique hotel may be small, but they're all exquisitely designed, with Chinese lacquer and velvety fabrics. Fibre optics built into the walls create the illusion of sleeping under a starry sky, and you can choose from four different fragrances to subtly perfume your room (the hotel is entirely non-smoking). Guests staying in the suite have access to a private garden with a jacuzzi. Royal Monceau This new Starck-designed incarnation of the legendary old grande dame opened to the public (or at least those who could afford it) in October 2010, offering everything from cosy studio rooms to the 190 sq m Royal Monceau suite, a snip at €10,000 a night. With no fewer than three restaurants, desserts from star pastry chef Pierre Hermé and an indoor pool and spa, the Royal Monceau is firmly back in the big league. Hôtel Chopin Handsomely set in a historic, glass-roofed arcade next door to the Grévin museum, the Chopin's original 1846 façade adds to its old-fashioned appeal. The 36 rooms are quiet and functional, done out in either salmon and green or blue. Familia Hôtel This old-fashioned Latin Quarter hotel has balconies hung with tumbling plants and walls draped with replica French tapestries. Owner Eric Gaucheron extends a warm welcome, and the 30 rooms have personalised touches such as sepia murals, cherry-wood furniture and stone walls. The Gaucherons also own the Hôtel Minerve next door - book in advance for both. Hôtel des Saints-Pères Built in 1658 by one of Louis XIV's architects, this hotel has an enviable location near St-Germain- des-Prés's designer boutiques. It boasts a charming garden and a sophisticated, if small, bar. The most coveted room is no.100, with its fine 17th-century ceiling by painters from the Versailles School; it also has an open bathroom, so you can gaze at scenes from the myth of Leda and the Swan while you scrub. Hôtel Amour Opened back in 2006, this boutique hotel is a real hit with the in crowd. Each of the 20 rooms is unique, decorated on the theme of love or eroticism by a coterie of contemporary artists and designers such as Marc Newson, M&M, Stak, Pierre Le Tan and Sophie Calle. Seven of the rooms contain artists' installations, and two others have their own private bar and a large terrace on which to hold your own party. The late-night brasserie has a coveted outdoor garden, and the crowd is young and beautiful and loves to entertain. Sublim Eiffel Some Barry White on your iPod is essential for this luuurve hotel not far from the Eiffel Tower. Carpets printed with paving stones and manhole covers lead to the rooms, where everything has been put in place for steamy nights. It's all to do with the lighting effects, which include a starry Eiffel Tower or street-scene lights above the bed and sparkling LEDs in the showers, filtered by coloured glass doors. Lovers should head for the suite, with its jacuzzi, huge shower, bathrobes and DVDs, and book the Romance package (rose petals on the bed and champagne). All guests get the use of the mini-gym and hammam, and there is a massage room too. The bar adds a bit of jazz to a neighbourhood in need of some action. Hôtel Eldorado This eccentric hotel is decorated with flea market finds. The Eldorado's winning features include a wine bar, one of the best garden patios in town and a loyal fashionista following. The cheapest rooms have shared bathrooms and toilets. Michelin starred restaurants in Paris Paris currently boasts over 70 Michelin-starred restaurants, making it one of most foodie-friendly capitals in the world. Sieving through the list can be daunting (especially when you see the menu prices, which frequently ride over the €150 mark), so here's our list of the best Michelin eateries, whether you fancy food that has been awarded one, two or three (very dramatic) stars... Tip: It is usually cheaper to eat in Michelin-starred restaurants at lunchtime, so if you're on a budget, make an afternoon of it. 3 Michelin stars Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée The sheer glamour factor would be enough to recommend this restaurant, Alain Ducasse's most lofty Paris undertaking. The dining room ceiling drips with 10,000 crystals. An amuse-bouche of a single langoustine in a lemon cream with a touch of Iranian caviar starts the meal off beautifully, but other dishes can be inconsistent: a part-raw/part-cooked salad of autumn fruit and veg in a red, Chinese-style sweet-and-sour dressing, or Breton lobster in an overwhelming sauce of apple, quince and spiced wine. Cheese is predictably delicious, as is the rum baba comme à Monte-Carlo. L'Arpège Assuming you can swallow an exceptionally high bill - it's €42 for a potato starter, for example - chances are you'll have a spectacular time at chef Alain Passard's Left Bank establishment. His attempt to plane down and simplify the haute experience - the chrome-armed chairs look like something from the former DDR - seems a misstep; but then something edible comes to the table, such as tiny smoked potatoes served with a horseradish mousseline. A main course of sautéed free-range chicken with a roasted shallot, an onion, potato mousseline and pan juices is the apotheosis of comfort food. Desserts are elegant. Le Meurice With its extravagant Louis XVI decor, mosaic tiled floors and modish restyling by Philippe Starck, Le Meurice is looking grander than ever. All 160 rooms (kitted out with iPod-ready radio alarms) are done up in distinct historical styles; the Belle Etoile suite on the seventh floor provides panoramic views of Paris from its terrace and you can relax in the Winter Garden to the strains of regular jazz performances. For more intensive intervention, head over to the lavishly appointed spa with treatments by Valmont; or give your taste buds a whirl on chef Yannick Alléno's refined 3-star Michelin cuisine. Hotel le Bristol Set on the exclusive rue du Faubourg St-Honoré, near luxury boutiques such as Christian Lacroix, Azzaro, Salvatore Ferragamo, Givenchy and Dolce & Gabbana, the Bristol is a supremely luxurious 'palace' hotel with a loyal following of fashionistas and millionaires drawn by the location, impeccable service, larger than average rooms and a three Michelin-starred restaurant with Eric Fréchon at the helm. The Bristol's new seven-storey wing opened in late 2009, with 22 new rooms and four suites, all with views of the Eiffel Tower. Pierre Gagnaire At Pierre Gagnaire most starters alone cost over €90, which seems to be the price of culinary experimentation. The €90 lunch menu is far from the experience of the carte: the former is presented in three courses, whereas the latter involves four or five plates for each course. Even the amuse-bouches fill the table: an egg 'raviole', ricotta with apple, fish in a cauliflower jelly, and glazed monkfish. The best thing about the lunch menu is that it includes four very indulgent desserts: clementine, raspberry and vanilla, chocolate, and passion fruit. 2 Michelin stars Lasserre Lasserre’s rich history is definitely a part of the dining experience: notables like Audrey Hepburn, André Malraux and Salvador Dali were regulars; it harboured Resistance fighters during the war; and it was while dining with Malraux that Marc Chagall decided to paint the ceiling for the Opera Garnier. But its illustrious past is nothing next to the food: chef Christophe Moret (ex-Plaza Athénée) and his pastry chef Claire Heitzler (ex-Ritz) create lip-smacking delicacies to die for. The upstairs dining room, accessed by a bellboy-operated lift, is a sumptuous affair in taupe and white, with solid silver table decorations, and a retracting roof, which at night opens just enough for you to see the stars. Senderens Alain Senderens reinvented his art nouveau institution (formerly Lucas Carton) a few years ago with a Star Trek interior and a mind-boggling fusion menu. Now, you might find dishes such as roast duck foie gras with a warm salad of black figs and liquorice powder, or monkfish steak with Spanish mussels and green curry sauce. Each dish comes with a suggested wine, whisky, sherry or punch (to match a rum-doused savarin with slivers of ten-flavour pear), and although these are perfectly chosen, the mix of flavours and alcohols can prove overwhelming at times. 1 Michelin star La Tour d'Argent This Paris institution is regaining its lustre following the death of aged owner Claude Terrail in 2006. In the kitchen, Breton-born Stéphane Haissant has brought a welcome creative touch to the menu, bringing in unique dishes such as a giant langoustine dabbed with kumquat purée and surrounded by lightly scented coffee foam. But he also shows restraint, as in duck (the house speciality) with cherry sauce and a broad bean flan. Following in his father's footsteps, Terrail's soft-spoken son André now does the rounds, making sure that the diners are happy. Antoine On the edge of the Seine, with tall bay windows overlooking the Eiffel Tower, and chic grey and mauve décor, Antoine is a shrine to the sea – albeit a posh one! Moneyed crowds from the nearby Triangle d’Or gather day and night to sample chef Mickaël Feval’s perfect-every-time oysters and extravagant dishes like whole roasted lobster served with winter vegetable en cocotte, plump St-Jacques scallops, and thick, fish-rich Bouillabaisse (fish soup) served with saffron tinted rouille (garlicky mayonnaise). Dessert wise, expect all sorts of chocolate creations and a delicious vanilla mille-feuille with crispy layers that crunch into lashings of vanilla cream. If you’re not out for the whole splurge, try the more reasonable fixed-price lunch menu. At night the price tag rides over €100 per person but you won’t be disappointed – especially when the Eiffel tower sparkles just beyond your dinner plate. Cobéa Cobéa is a slick new restaurant by friends Jerome Cobou and Philippe Bellissent, who won a Michelin star when he cooked at the L'Hôtel. It opened in Montparnasse in the Paris’s 14th district to excellent reviews. Cobéa epitomises contemporary French fine dining - a kind of casual chic that celebrates gastronomy without the snobbery. Set in a renovated 1920s house with big windows overlooking a green space, it feels peaceful and cosy, while the muted décor and little touches like silverware and Bernardaud porcelain are very much luxury. Cobéa’s menus are a treasure chest of reworked classics featuring a new and popular ‘chef’s surprise’ every day. Each dish is accompanied by a recommendation by Jerome from hundreds of well-priced fine wines made up of classics and new discoveries. Gaya Rive Gauche Superchef Pierre Gagnaire runs this comparatively affordable fish restaurant. The menu enumerates ingredients without much clue as to how they are put together, though the helpful waiters will explain if you don't like a surprise. But then surprises are what Gagnaire is famous for. The Fats Waller, for instance, turns out to be a soup of grilled red peppers with a bloody mary sorbet in the centre and daubs of quinoa, basmati rice and Chinese spinach. For the mains, diners are treated like sophisticated children - everything has been detached from the bone or carapace. Light desserts complete the successful formula. The best markets in Paris Packing a picnic? Fancy vintage clothes? Or knick-knacks? Dive into one of these fine Parisian markets. Marché Bastille The Marché Bastille, held on Sundays, is one of the biggest markets in Paris, lining the Boulevard Richard Lenoir. A favourite of political campaigners, it's also a great source of local cheeses, farmers' chicken, foie-gras and excellent fish. Come on the right day and you might even see street performers entertaining the crowds in between the stalls. Marché aux Puces de St-Ouen Covering seven hectares, 3,000 traders and up to 180,000 visitors each weekend, the Marché aux Puces de St-Ouen is generally thought to be the biggest flea market in the world. If this conjures up images of a sprawling field filled with broken bed frames, faded curtains and sofas with the stuffing coming out, you're in for a surprise (and are better off going to the Vanves version). The fleas left long ago, and since 1885 what started as a rag-and-bone shantytown outside the city limits has been organised into a series of enclosed villages, some entirely covered and others with open-air streets and covered boutiques for the antiques dealers. Marché Beauvau This market is proudly working class. Stallholders do their utmost to out-shout each other, and price-conscious shoppers don't compromise on quality. Along rue d'Aligre, you'll find some of the cheapest food market stands in the city, all of which lead to the Beauvau covered market, where luscious cheese, fish and meat stalls are coveted by foodies, many of whom cross the city to come here. Les Puces de Montreuil Less famous (and charming) than its older brother up north in ‘t’ St-Ouen, Montreuil’s flea market is where real folk rifle for antiques nowadays; mostly because it’s off the beaten tourist track so you can still get a bargain and find the occasional treasure. You’ll find pretty much everything, from vintage clothes and toys to old cutlery, 1940s light-fittings, furniture and antique glassware. Just be patient: you have to walk past stands selling arrays of junk before you get to the little square where the best dealers are (at the end of the alley alongside the periphérique). Haggling is par for the course bien-sur, so put on your best French accent and don’t give up until the price is right! Saxe-Breteuil Saxe-Breteuil has an unrivalled setting facing the Eiffel Tower, as well as the city's most chic produce. Look for farmer's goat's cheese, rare apple varieties, Armenian specialities, abundant oysters and a handful of dedicated small producers.
Our recommendations for the best restaurants near the Champs-Elysées Related Shopping on the Champs-Elysées In 1969, hoary French crooner Joe Dassin released 'Les Champs-Elysées', a perfect piece of cheesy French chanson with the lyrics 'in the sunshine, in the rain, in the dark or in the day, all you need's on the Champs-Elysées'. The song captured the role of the avenue at the time as one of the most fashionable and eclectic streets in Paris. But during the '90s the 'Champs' lost its magic, becoming smothered in offices, car showrooms, overpriced eateries, run-of-the-mill shops and fume-pumping traffic jams. Novelty megastores FNAC and Virgin failed to overcome its new déclassé status, leaving the formerly glamorous avenue to the mercy of tourists and businessmen.Since 2011, however, things have been looking up. The congestion, the tourists, the showrooms and the daylight robbery restaurants are all still there, of course. But several mainstream fashion brands – Banana Republic, Levi's, Hugo Boss, Abercrombie & Fitch and even Marks & Spencer's – have chosen to locate exciting new flagship stores on the Champs, luring Parisians back to their long-neglected capital of consumer chic. More than just high street shops, these brands are promising unique shopping experiences: cutting-edge art installations at Levi's, daytime clubbing at Abercrombie & Fitch or free personalised shopping at Banana Republic. So now that the Champs-Elysées are calling fashionable Parisian shoppers back again, we've put together a guide to help you stay ahead of the curve... Five recommended Champs-Elysées shops Banana Republic The American megabrand’s grown-up preppy style has finally arrived in Paris. Its neo-Art Déco style, 1,500 square metre, Champs-Elysées flagship features a multitude of mini-boutiques within the larger store. Themed sections include Weekend (casual separates), the eco-friendly Heritage collection and the higher-end Monogram range. One big draw is the free personal shopping service, with absolutely no requirement to buy. Reserve in advance, and Magali or Lee (who head the service) will take you round the shop to help tailor your look. This also gives you access to your own (and rather lovely) 1930s-style dressing room away from the throng. For extra fizz and sparkle, they'll even serve you champagne and coffee. Abercrombie & Fitch This is a case of having to be seen to be believed. The US clothing brand's flagship store has been causing a stir on the Champs-Elysées since it opened in 2011, with banging tunes and topless male models standing in the doorway at all times. Like its sister stores in London and NYC, the aristocratic box-hedged garden, dimmed lighting and lingering aftershave scent make the place feel more like a bizarre club than a shop. There are even bouncers ready to tell you off should you dare whip out your camera for a photo op. A shame, because the décor is positively museum-worthy, with beautifully painted 1930s-style frescoes depicting male deities in hunting scenes, athletic poses and boxing rings.Things get even sillier with the Barbie-and-Ken-like shop attendants. Veritable A&F clones, they all dress the same – coloured jeans or shorts and chequered shirts for the boys, and strapless mini-dresses for the girls – and dance on the spot, on autopilot, to the clubbing music. Still, whether you’re into Abercombie & Fitch’s rah-rah schoolboy ranges or not, the shop is well worth a detour – if only to admire the frescoes. Just be prepared to queue to get in! Marks & Spencer People queuing in the rain for Marks and Spencer’s? Has the world gone mad? Or is George Clooney giving away free luxury hampers? As odd as it may seem to Brits (for whom M&S is as about as exotic as its signature multi-packs of pants) queuing outside is business as usual for M&S since the chain opened its new flagship Paris store in November 2011. Paradoxically, while the majority of the French love nothing more than criticizing British food, give them a Marks and Spencer’s chicken-tikka sarnie, a pack of scones or a treacle pudding and the superlatives flow like wine from a barrel. They’re also secret admirers of British fashion, and M&S has always fulfilled a French need for classicism whilst offering them cuts, colours and fabric types you don’t readily find in France. So much so that when Marks closed down its first Paris stores ten years ago (including a huge shop on Boulevard Haussmann, a location the chain would now kill for), many Parisians practically went into mourning.As the queues suggest, this Champs-Elysées address (which opened in November 2011 and offers clothes and food ranges) is perhaps too small. But it's still the only M&S in central Paris, and therefore an address for fans of the chain to cherish – at least until a vast 7000m2 store is opens in Levallois-Perret before the end of 2012. Hugo Boss Hugo Boss’ new flagship store on the Champs Elysées is all straight lines and steely greys – rather like the signature Boss suits worn by the sales assistants. It feels like businessman territory here, with minimalist décor, the occasional wooden sculpture and big screens flashing images of Hugo Boss catwalk shows – inspiration for your shopping as you browse the minimalist rows of the brand’s smart, designer garb. Boss has other outlets dotted around town, but this is its biggest store and perhaps the most relaxing, thanks to its large and airy proportions. Personal shoppers are on hand too, ready to guide you through the ranges and advise on style. Levi's Levi's has always had good marketing strategies: the campaigns that included the Motown classic 'I Heard it through the Grapevine', Steve Miller Band's 'The Joker' and Mr Oizo's 'Flat Beat' (performed by the yellow puppet Flat Eric) are undoubtedly some of the most memorable ads of our time. So it should come as no surprise that the chain is using music and art to draw the crowds into its brand spanking new (in May 2012) flagship store on the Champs-Elysées.The campaign, which goes by the name of 'Vive les Friends', offers shoppers an ever-changing multi-disciplinary in-shop experience, courtesy of different French and American artists and musicians (kick-starting the campaign in May were Ed Banger’s Pedro Winter and LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy). It makes shopping wholly more entertaining and gives folk a reason to keep coming back – not only to discover the new artworks, but to see the limited-edition clothes: each Franco-American duo featured creates a series of funky, limited-edition t-shirts and personalised Levi’s 1967 Trucker’s jackets.If it's just jeans your after, head straight downstairs, where floor to celing walls are filled with perfectly folded 501s, skinnys and bootleg models, like a many-hued blue sweet shop for denim lovers. Arc de Triomphe: An insider's guide The Arc de Triomphe is the iconic centrepiece of traffic-heavy place de l'Etoile (the meeting point of twelve, elegant, Haussmannian avenues including the Champs Elysées) and a must-see for first-time visitors. But that doesn't mean you have to sightsee like a fresher. The area is both a heaving business and residential district, frequented by well-healed Parisians who love nothing more than avoiding the tourist crowds. Follow in their footsteps with our list of the best places to shop, eat, drink and sightsee around the Arc de Triomphe. Click here for more information on the arch. Around the Arc de Triomphe... Museum: Musée Jacquemart-André Long terrace steps and a pair of stone lions usher visitors into this grand 19th-century mansion, home to a collection of objets d'art and fine paintings. The collection was assembled by Edouard André and his artist wife Nélie Jacquemart, using money inherited from his rich banking family. The mansion was built to order to house their art hoard, which includes Rembrandts, Tiepolo frescoes and various paintings by Italian masters Uccello, Mantegna and Carpaccio.The adjacent tearoom, with its fabulous tottering cakes, is a favourite with the smart, Champs Elysées lunch set. Museum: Musée Cernuschi From the Arc de Triomphe, head down avenue de Wagram to Ternes, then take boulevard de Courcelles to the beautiful, neo-classical Parc Monceau. On it's east side lies one of the city's best kept secrets, the Musée Cernuschi: Since the banker Henri Cernuschi built a hôtel particulier by the Parc Monceau for the treasures he found in the Far East in 1871, this collection of Chinese art has grown steadily. The fabulous displays range from legions of Han and Wei dynasty funeral statues to refined Tang celadon wares and Sung porcelain. Restaurant: La Fermette Marbeuf La Fermette Marbeuf 1900 restaurant in Paris just a few steps from the Avenue George V and the Champs-Elysees is also the shortest route into Belle Epoque Paris of a century ago. This jewel of a restaurant, dating from 1898, was rediscovered in the course of renovation thirty years ago and it must have been like opening King Tut’s tomb. There are wonderful things here: Art Nouveau mosaic and stained glass sunflowers, peacocks, dragonflies, beautiful women, cast iron pillars, and a soaring glass ceiling. Chef Gilbert Isaac mainly sticks to French classic dishes, like chicken liver pate with onion marmalade, whole grilled seabass flamed in anise, and rhum babas. This is a hotspot for celebrity France to see and be seen. Restaurant: Philippe et Jean Pierre If you're looking for a decently-priced, semi-gastronomic meal just off the Champs Elysées follow the suits and high-heels to Philippe et Jean Pierre, a beautiful art deco restaurant with a very local clientele. Orchestrated by Philippe Garon, the service is elegant and attentive, while Jean Pierre Brault creates generous plates of sunny, Mediterranean food in the kitchen - think roast langoustine ravioli, fresh anchovy tart with parmesan ‘lacing’, and oysters salted with Avruga caviar in raspberry vinegar. Heavenly! Pub: Sir Winston Sir Winston is one of the oldest English pubs in Paris, ensconced just around the corner from the Arc de Triomphe. Though the Champs Elysees professionals who pack this chicly eccentric bar are too young to recall the place's namesake, they clearly appreciate the delicious colonial-style refit: deep leather Chesterfields in the Indian smoke lounge, cigar smoke in the red-walled smoking room, and a leopard skin rug in the darkwood bar. Sir Winston’s faux-fur covered basement booths are the kind of place James Bond would take a date at 3am for martinis and seduction to the sound of chill-out tunes. There are outside pavement café tables to sip hot chocolate and look cool at, too. And the fine food is Indian-based. Bar: Charlie Birdy Not a reference to Charlie Parker, but to Winston Churchill’s parrot. A stone’s throw from the Arc de Triomphe, this enormous pub is a cross between a New York loft and a colonial gentleman’s club, attracting many a tourist and ex-pat. There’s a regular programme of jazz, blues, folk and funk gigs with reasonable prices for the area, and it has the distinct advantage of staying open until 5am daily. For live concerts, or to follow football and rugby matches on giant screens, you hang out on comfortable Chesterfield sofas. On the menu, the unmatched burger is always good value – huge, impossibly tender and served with fantastic chips – but it’s best to give the fajitas and tapas a miss. For drinks, try something from the huge cocktail menu, preferably during happy hour – 4pm to 8pm Monday to Friday – though if you’re in a hurry come back another time, as the service can be slow.Charlie Birdy is famous for its enormous if unrefined Gospel & Soul brunch at €19. With the menu ‘à l'américaine’, you’ll get a hot drink, fruit juice, pastries, bread, butter and jam, followed by a main course: hash browns, boiled eggs and bacon, a salmon and cream cheese bagel or a Caesar salad. Then a sterling dessert menu: cheesecake, pancake, chocolate cake or – more original – a fresh fruit minestrone.There are two other branches of this bar in Paris: Charlie Birdy Montparnasse and Charlie Birdy Commerce, which only stays open until 5 on the weekends. Shop: Alléosse If you're a fan of walk-off-your plate cheese do not miss Alléosse (10-minutes from the Arc de Triomphe on foot), where varieties from almost every French region are represented. People cross town for these cheeses - wonderful farmhouse camemberts, delicate st-marcellins, a choice of chèvres and several rarities. Alléosse is also in a handy spot for exploring the covered market near Ternes (head up rue Bayen). Shop: Byzance Champs-Élysées A place to go piggy in: Spanish hams here have the Bellota-Bellota label, meaning that the pigs have been allowed to feast on acorns. Manager Philippe Poulachon compares his cured hams (€98 a kilo) to the delicacy of truffles. Restaurant Bellota-Bellota (18 rue Jean-Nicot, 7th, 01.53.59.96.96) also sells the hams at its adjoining épicerie. Brunches for gourmands CHEZ CASIMIRWhere? In the 10th arrondissement, next to Gare du Nord. When? Saturdays and Sundays, 10am-7pm. How much? €26. In brief: Delicious and plentiful – a must. Thierry Breton, owner of Chez Michel and of this bistrot next door, takes the idea of generous servings to extremes. Here, this doesn’t mean an American brunch experience – instead Chez Casimir lays on ‘le Traou Mad’ (meaning ‘good things’ in Breton), served continually from 10am to 7pm. You can fill your plate with delicious fare from Brittany and elsewhere, starting in simple fashion, with salted butter on exceptional country bread, and moving on to just about everything else: charcuterie, seafood, boudin, smoked salmon, salads, omelettes… Then come the casseroles of flaked cod, the beef bourguignon or similarly hearty dishes. Still hungry? Head towards the ‘grandmother-style’ dessert buffet. The atmosphere is noisy but convivial and the price (€26) is incredible in light of the quality. Not hard, then, to understand the place’s success. AW 6 rue de Belzunce, 10e – 01.48.78.28.80 • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • LES BONNES SOEURSWhere? In the 3rd arrondissement, next to the Place des Vosges. When? Saturdays and Sundays, noon-6pm (from 11am on Sunday). How much? €23. In brief: Generous portions, good quality-to-price ratio. This is a tiny, noisy room, which regularly has people queuing down the Place des Vosges on a Sunday morning. It’s worth getting there early on weekends so you’ll be in pole position to sample the succulent scrambled eggs served as part of the legendary brunch. There are no reservations, but they do operate a waiting list – so be prepared to take a long walk around the block before you’re able to enjoy your breakfast. But it’s probably worth it to work up your appetite. The décor is restrained – wooden tables, leather benches and black and white photos of nuns (the titular ‘good sisters’) – but the meals are a merciful blessing for the famished. To kick off, a basket of fresh bread and brioches with chocolate sprinkles arrives with a delicious but meagre fresh fruit juice. Then come the pancakes with maple syrup and scrambled eggs accompanied by crunchy chips, salmon and grilled bacon. And to satisfy really big appetites, for around €4 more gourmands can add the sumptuous eggs Benedict, after which they can take the rest of the day off food – and most of the following one too. EP 8 Rue du Pas de la Mule, 3e - 01.42.74.55.80 • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • NOLITA Where? In the 8th arrondissement, on the Champs-Elysées roundabout. When? Sundays, 11am-4pm. How much? €39. In brief: Italian-style brunch, delicious buffet, generous portions – but expensive. Diehard devotees of scrambled eggs and bacon will search in vain for British comfort food here. Nolita’s unrivalled ‘brunch à l’italienne’ is a lavish, Latin buffet that’s a world away from a London fry-up: melting mozzarella, carpaccio of swordfish, Parmesan shavings on a bed of bresaola, soft sliced octopus, subtly marinated vegetables, sundried tomatoes… The freshness and refinement will delight anyone who’s keeping an eye on their calorie intake. But those with a hankering for something heavier need not worry: Nolita also offers breaded saffron rice dumplings, stuffed focaccia and the choice of two hot dishes (moist lasagne or steaming cannelloni). To complete the Italian experience, there is a healthy spread of desserts: tiramisu, panna cotta, walnut pie, fresh fruit and cornetti (croissants filled with cream or jam). So, enough here to satisfy even the most gargantuan of appetites. Unfortunately, your €39 only covers a sole glass of freshly squeezed fruit juice (orange, lemon or grapefruit) and one hot drink €39 – barely enough to keep you going. Drink some water in between trips to the buffet, or out on to the balcony which looks out over the Grand Palais – you are, after all, in the middle of the Champs-Elysees roundabout. Space is limited and the tables are sought after, so don’t forget to book. TB 2 rond-point des Champs-Elysées, 8e - 01.53.75.78.78• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • UN DIMANCHE A PARIS Where? In the 6th arrondissement, next to Odéon. When? Sundays, two servings: 11.00am and 12.30pm. How much? €38. In brief: Delicious and refined. Chocoholics will be in paradise in this concept store dedicated to cocoa, where an upscale brunch is served on Sundays. Here only premium products are on offer: Poilane bread, Bordier butter and slices of Iberian loin. As part of the €55 menu, you also get a foie gras with pear and crème de cassis (in autumn) and a glass of Champagne instead of juice. There are no muffins, but rather a madeleine, a mini-éclair and a slice of cake – all of which go perfectly with one of the best hot chocolates in Paris, made with real melted chocolate, milk, a little cream and a touch of cinnamon and vanilla. Naturally, this is not cheap (the basic menu will set you back €35), but the level of refinement justifies the price. And you can always dial up the decadence to the maximum while you’re there, with a cheeky visit to the chocolate shop next-door. 4-6-8 Cour du Commerce Saint André, 6e - 01.56.81.18.18 Bookable brunches KUBE HOTEL Where? In the 18th arrondissement, near La Chapelle. When? Sundays, 11.30am-4pm. How much? €34. In brief: Futuristic design, with an arty atmosphere. Of course, you could brunch at the Ritz for €120. But why would you when you can go to the Kube Hotel for a much more fun morning meal at €34 per head? Animated by a jazzy DJ and an artist providing commentary on his works, this is a decidedly arty affair. On the menu are two buffets consisting of delights both sweet and savoury: tuna tartare, foie gras, prawn skewers, crème brûlée or tiramisu with strawberries. You can decorate these with: muffins, waffles, rum babas and even sweets. To complete the meal you might choose eggs à la carte or a daily special – such as veal stew or chicken curry. The décor and jazzy ambiance invite you to linger in this unique venue. RJ 1-5 passage Ruelle, 18e - 01.42.05.20.00 • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • CASA LOLA Where? In the 18th arrondissement, at Lamarck. When? Saturdays and Sundays, 11am-4pm. How much ? €19.50 (€23.50 with a glass of wine). In brief : Sweet and savoury, and generous, delicious portions. At Casa Lola, you’ve hardly even sat down before everything is on the table. It starts sweet, with jars of jam, butter, lemon curd, chocolate spread and caramel with salted butter – everything arriving quickly in a barrage of spreadable goodness. Before you know it hot drinks, orange or freshly squeezed grapefruit juice follow, then fresh bread and slice of cake (lemon or carrot). If that all sounds a little high in saccharine, you can also order from a savoury selection, each dish accompanied by the house coleslaw and onion rings. The bagels (with pastrami or salmon) are served with bacon and scrambled eggs; the fried egg on toast is accompanied by an assortment of Italian and Spanish charcuterie – or try the pastry with egg and beef tartare with fresh herbs. Whether riding the sugar rush or sated and salted, your experience here will leave you with a full stomach and the urge to come back. 12 rue Francœur, 18e - 01.42.55.42.41 • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • LE 37M2 Cuisine: Asian. Where? In the 9th arrondissement, next to the Square d’Anvers. When? Sundays, 11am-4pm How much? €25. Two years ago Aurélien Jegou (an actor and director) and Costya Chen (a painter) embarked on a culinary adventure, supported by Yi Lin Leballeur a pastry chef of Taiwanese ancestry who had previously worked with Guy Savoy. Only two years since its opening, Le 37m2 is already demonstrating some impressive culinary expertise, boasts a loyal customer base and has enjoyed good reviews in the press. Despite the restaurant’s growing reputation and a rather modest space (alluded to in the name), you won’t have to endure a half-hour queue to enjoy an exceptional Franco-Taiwanese brunch here. The décor is smart and airy, and complements the food – starting with an unsalted bun served piping hot with homemade jams (blackberry, raspberry, mango), accompanied by a perfect oolong tea from Taiwan. (The restaurant styles itself as a tea room; other welcome surprises include green or black bubble-tea flavoured with black tapioca that forms spongy bubbles that you need a straw to try to catch.) The dishes themselves are creative and well balanced – like the beef sautéed with vegetables, basil and green pepper, or prawns on a bed of tofu and stuffed zucchini served with tasty rice, mixed salad seasoned with peanuts, a few slices of perfectly runny omelette and a fresh fruit salad. The desserts are equally accomplished and include a gourmet coffee that we can’t recommend highly enough (never mind the extra €2). And all without risking indigestion from this generous, but never stodgy, brunch. NH 66-68 rue Rodier, 9e - 01.48.78.03.20 • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • CHEZ CASIMIR Where? In the 10th arrondissement, next to Gare du Nord. When? Saturdays and Sundays, 10am-7pm. How much? €26. In brief: Delicious and plentiful – a must. Thierry Breton, owner of Chez Michel and of this bistrot next door, takes the idea of generous servings to extremes. Here, this doesn’t mean an American brunch experience – instead Chez Casimir lays on ‘le Traou Mad’ (meaning ‘good things’ in Breton), served continually from 10am to 7pm. You can fill your plate with delicious fare from Brittany and elsewhere, starting in simple fashion, with salted butter on exceptional country bread, and moving on to just about everything else: charcuterie, seafood, boudin, smoked salmon, salads, omelettes… Then come the casseroles of flaked cod, the beef bourguignon or similarly hearty dishes. Still hungry? Head towards the ‘grandmother-style’ dessert buffet. The atmosphere is noisy but convivial and the price (€26) is incredible in light of the quality. Not hard, then, to understand the place’s success. AW 6 rue de Belzunce, 10e – 01.48.78.28.80 • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • L’ECHAPPEE Where? Rue de la Folie Méricourt, between Oberkampf and Parmentier. When? Saturdays and Sundays, noon-3pm. How much? €25. In brief: A light, stylish and comfortable space – and you can hit the spa while you’re at it. L’Echappée is primarily a lovely spa, whose stark modern façade hides stands out amid the dishevelled grandeur of the rue de la Folie Méricourt. But regulars know you can also come here for brunch on weekends from noon to 3pm in the bright upstairs rooms. Make sure you arrive early to grab the armchairs at one of the big coffee tables – they’re criminally comfy. Once you’re settled in, for €25 per person you can have a buffet of your choice consisting of orange juice, coffee or tea and a variety of small dishes which change regularly, including strained muesli, fruit salad, chocolate cake, cheesecake, carrot cake… All followed by a plate of ‘friendly vegetables’, scrambled eggs and potatoes, vegetarian lasagne or leek pie. The food is delicious and the variety is second to none. Also make sure that you leave room one of their famous desserts: go for pancakes or French toast. After a morning at the spa, a L’Echappée brunch is probably the best way to continue the day on a high. EC 64 rue de la Folie Méricourt, 11e - 01.58.30.12.50 • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • LES ENFANTS PERDUS Where? In the 10th arrondissement, next to Canal Saint-Martin. When? Sundays, 12-4pm. How much? €25. In brief: Generous portions, varied dishes, quality produce. Les Enfants Perdus is a discreet and really rather chic fine-dining restaurant frequented by the bobos of the Canal Saint-Martin, and overspill from the bars L’Atmosphère and Café Bonnie. The interior is sombre but at the back, a light and airy room has been kitted out with comfortable benches strewn with white cushions – ideal for plonking yourself down on a Saturday or Sunday morning at brunch hour. And the dishes are exceptional. The best approach here is to fast for a day beforehand, in order to take full advantage of the gigantic, delicious brunch prepared by a Michelin-starred chef who is passionate about both style and substance – even when it comes to brunch. The menu is unique, and changes every six months. For €25 no fewer than three platters are brought to you. The first comprises delicious mini-viennoiseries, house orange juice and hot drinks of your choosing; the second features shirred eggs, cake, a beautiful slice of organic salmon on a bed of salad and a cup of cucumbers in white cheese with mint. After loosening your belt you will receive a final, enormous platter with vegetable soup, faisselle au miel, grapes, ham and cheese. Oof (in the best sense possible). CG 9 Rue des Récollets, 10e - 01.81.29.48.26 • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • NOLITA Where? In the 8th arrondissement, on the Champs-Elysées roundabout. When? Sundays, 11am-4pm. How much? €39. In brief: Italian-style brunch, delicious buffet, generous portions – but expensive. Diehard devotees of scrambled eggs and bacon will search in vain for British comfort food here. Nolita’s unrivalled ‘brunch à l’italienne’ is a lavish, Latin buffet that’s a world away from a London fry-up: melting mozzarella, carpaccio of swordfish, Parmesan shavings on a bed of bresaola, soft sliced octopus, subtly marinated vegetables, sundried tomatoes… The freshness and refinement will delight anyone who’s keeping an eye on their calorie intake. But those with a hankering for something heavier need not worry: Nolita also offers breaded saffron rice dumplings, stuffed focaccia and the choice of two hot dishes (moist lasagne or steaming cannelloni). To complete the Italian experience, there is a healthy spread of desserts: tiramisu, panna cotta, walnut pie, fresh fruit and cornetti (croissants filled with cream or jam). So, enough here to satisfy even the most gargantuan of appetites. Unfortunately, your €39 only covers a sole glass of freshly squeezed fruit juice (orange, lemon or grapefruit) and one hot drink €39 – barely enough to keep you going. Drink some water in between trips to the buffet, or out on to the balcony which looks out over the Grand Palais – you are, after all, in the middle of the Champs-Elysees roundabout. Space is limited and the tables are sought after, so don’t forget to book. TB 2 rond-point des Champs-Elysées, 8e - 01.53.75.78.78
Our recommendations for the best restaurants in Montparnasse Related Paris's best cheap eats Great food and good-value restaurants and cafés in the capital Dining out in the gourmet capital of the world needn't cost the earth. We reveal the best places in Paris for those with big appetites but small budgets. Le Bambou The Vietnamese fare here is a notch above what is normally served in Paris. Seating is elbow to elbow and, should you come on your own, the waiter will draw a line down the middle of the paper tablecloth and seat a stranger on the other side. That stranger might offer pointers on how to eat certain dishes, such as the no.42: grilled marinated pork to be wrapped in lettuce with beansprouts and herbs and eaten by hand, dipped into the accompanying sauce (no.43 is the same thing, but with pre-soaked rice paper wrappers). Le Baratin Star pastry chef Pierre Hermé visits this cheerful little bistro and wine bar high up in Belleville at least every two weeks to fill up on Raquel Carena's homely cooking with the occasional exotic twist. Typical of her style, which draws on her native Argentina, are tuna carpaccio with cherries, roast Basque lamb with new potatoes and spinach, and hazelnut pudding. If the food weren't so fantastic, it would still be worth coming for the mostly organic wines. Le Baratin attracts gourmands from all over Paris - so be sure to book. A la Biche au Bois However crowded it gets here, it doesn't matter because everyone always seems so happy with the food and the convivial atmosphere. It's impossible not to be enthusiastic about the more than generous portions offered with the €25.90 prix fixe menu. Mains might include tasty portions of wild duck in blackcurrant sauce, partridge with cabbage or wild venison stew. If you can still do dessert, go for one of the home-made tarts laden with seasonal fruits. The wine list has a reputation as one of the best-value selections in town. Book in advance, but expect to wait anyway. A la Bière A la Bière looks like one of those nondescript corner brasseries, but what makes it stand out is an amazingly good-value €14.50 prix fixefull of fine bistro favourites. White tablecloths and fine kirs set the tone; starters of thinly sliced pig's cheek with a nice French dressing on the salad, and a home-made rabbit terrine exceed expectations. The mains live up to what's served before: charcoal-grilled entrecôte with hand-cut chips, and juicy Lyonnais sausages with potatoes drenched in olive oil, garlic and parsley. This is one of the few bargains left in Paris. Bistrot Victoires Bistros with vintage decor serving no-nonsense food at generous prices are growing thin on the ground in Paris, so it's no surprise that this gem is packed to the gills with bargain-loving office workers and locals every day. The steak-frites are exemplary, featuring a slab of entrecôte topped with a smoking sprig of thyme, but plats du jour such as blanquette de veau (veal in cream sauce) are equally comforting. The wines by the glass can be rough, but the authentic buzz should make up for any flaws. Breizh Café With its modern interior of pale wood and its choice of 15 artisanal ciders, this outpost of a restaurant in Cancale, Brittany, is a world away from the average crêperie. For the complete faux-seaside experience, you might start with a plate of creuse oysters from Cancale before indulging in an inventive buckwheat galette such as the Cancalaise, made with potato, smoked herring from Brittany and herring roe. The choice of fillings is fairly limited, but the ingredients are of high quality - including the use of Valrhona chocolate with 70% cocoa solids in the dessert crêpes. Cantine Merci The new fairtrade concept store Merci is all about feeling virtuous even as you indulge, and its basement canteen is a perfect example. Fresh and colourful salads, soup and risotto of the day, an organic salmon plate, and the assiette merci (perhaps chicken kefta with two salads) make up the brief, Rose Bakery-esque menu, complete with invigorating teas and juices. Rustic desserts add just the right handmade touch. Chez Hanna By noon on a Sunday there is a queue outside every falafel shop along rue des Rosiers. The long-established L'As du Fallafel, a little further up the street, still reigns supreme, whereas Hanna remains something of a locals' secret, quietly serving up falafel and shawarma sandwiches to rival any in the world. A pitta sandwich bursting with crunchy chickpea-and-herb balls, tahini sauce and vegetables costs €4 if you order from the takeaway window, €8 if you sit at one of the tables in the buzzy dining room overlooking the street. Either way, you really can't lose. Chez Omar The once-fashionable Omar doesn't take reservations, and the queue can stretch the length of the zinc bar and through the door. Everyone is waiting for the same thing: couscous. Prices range from €11 (vegetarian) to €24 (royale); there are no tagines or other traditional Maghreb mains, only a handful of French classics (duck, fish, steak). Overstretched waiters slip through the crowds with mounds of semolina, vats of vegetable-laden broth and steel platters heaving with meat, including the stellar merguez. Even on packed nights, there's an offer of seconds - gratis - to encourage you to stay a little while longer. Dong Huong The excellent food at this Vietnamese noodle joint attracts a buzzy crowd. The delicious bành cuôn, steamed Vietnamese ravioli stuffed with minced meat, mushrooms, bean sprouts, spring onions and deep-fried onion, are served piping hot. Com ga lui, chicken kebabs with tasty lemongrass, though not as delicate, come with tasty rice. Bò bùn chà giò (noodles with beef and small nem topped with onion strips, spring onion and crushed peanuts) makes a meal in itself. For dessert, the mandarin, lychee and mango sorbets are tasty and authentic. Higuma Higuma's no-nonsense food and service makes it one of the area's most popular destinations. On entering, customers are greeted by plumes of aromatic steam emanating from the open kitchen-cum-bar, where a small team of chefs ladle out giant bowls of noodle soup piled with meat, vegetables or seafood. You can slurp at the counter or sit at a plastic-topped table. Le Hide Ever since it opened, this snug bistro has been packed with a happy crowd of bistro-lovers who appreciate Japanese-born chef Hide Kobayashi's superb cooking and good-value prices. Expect dishes such as duck foie gras terrine with pear-and-thyme compôte to start, followed by tender faux-filet steak in a light foie gras sauce or skate wing with a lemon-accented beurre noisette. Desserts are excellent: perfect tarte tatin comes with crème fraîche from Normandy. Good, affordable wines explain the merriment, including a glass of the day for €2. Josselin The star crêperie of the area, and the one with the longest queues, is the prettily decorated Josselin, where the speciality is the Couple - two layers of galette with the filling in the middle. The savoury galette is followed by the dessert Crêpe de Froment, which comes in three varieties: classic (honey and lemon or wonderful caramel beurre salé); flambéed with calvados; or a fantasy creation oozing with chocolate, banana, ice cream and whipped cream. Wash it all down with bowls of cider, of which the brut is far better than the sweet. You'll be surprised how full you feel at the end and the bill should come to no more than €20 a head, a buckwheat bargain by Paris standards. La Madonnina La Madonnina flirts with kitsch so skilfully that it ends up coming off as cool. With its candles, mustard yellow walls and red-checked tablecloths, it's the perfect place for a romantic night out. La Madonnina describes itself as a trattoria napoletana, but most of the dishes are pan-southern Italian. The short menu changes monthly; don't miss the home-made pastas, such as artichoke and ricotta ravioli. The cassata, an extremely sweet Sicilian version of cheesecake, is authentic and unusual to see on menus outside Italy. Pétrelle Jean-Luc André is as inspired a decorator as he is a cook, and the quirky charm of his dining room has made it popular with fashion designers and film stars. But behind the style there's some serious substance. André seeks out the best ingredients from local producers, and the quality shines through. The €29 no-choice menu is very good value for money (marinated sardines with tomato relish, rosemary-scented rabbit with roasted vegetables, deep purple poached figs) - or you can splash out with luxurious à la carte dishes such as tournedos Rossini. Rose Bakery This English-themed café run by a Franco-British couple stands out for the quality of its ingredients - organic or from small producers - as well as the too-good-to-be-true puddings: carrot cake, sticky toffee pudding and, in winter, a chocolate-chestnut tart. The DIY salad plate is crunchily satisfying, but the thin-crusted pizzettes, daily soups and occasional risottos are equally good choices. Don't expect much beyond scones in the morning except at weekends, when brunch is served to a packed-out house. The dining room is minimalist but welcoming. Rouammit & Huong Lan Fans of South-east Asian food eventually learn to seek out Laotian holes-in-the-wall in Paris rather than splurge on flashier Thai restaurants. A perfect example is this Chinatown joint, easy to spot thanks to the queue outside the door. The food is cheap and delicious, and the service friendly. Among the highlights are lap neua, a tongue-tickling, chilli-spiked salad made with slivers of beef and tripe; khao nom kroc, Laotian ravioli filled with shrimp; and sweet, juicy prawns stir-fried with Thai basil. Even the sticky rice is exceptional. The best hot chocolates in Paris The best hot chocolate will banish all memories of milky bedtime cocoa – it's rich, complex and made with quality raw ingredients. Paris is starting to wake up to the idea of hot chocolate as a serious drink – here's our pick of some of the best purveyors in the city. Parisian hot chocolates to die for Charles Chocolatier Created in 1910, this family-run chocolate shop only uses natural ingredients. The hot chocolate is divine: made from 100% cacao powder (from the Ivory Coast), pure cacao butter, half-fat milk and very little sugar, it thickens naturally in a copper cauldron. You can’t drink it in the shop, but on a cold winter’s day there’s nothing better than warming your hands (and soul) with a cup in the street. Berthillon This famed ice cream parlour is easily recognisable by the queue that forms year-round outside its doors – except at the height of summer, when the shop is closed! In winter, Berthillon doesn’t offer old-fashioned hot chocolate, but an even classier treat: chocolate affogato. At the bottom of a white cup is a dollop of vanilla ice cream, decorated with melted chocolate, frothy milk and hazelnut-flavoured whipped cream. Choose from either the intense, sundae style version, or the ‘long’ version which makes it more of a more classic, drinkable hot chocolate. Tip: it’s far easier to access the tea room here than the takeaway ice cream counter. Chloé Chocolat ‘Food taster’ Chloé Doutre-Roussel worked as a buyer for Fortnum & Mason’s in London before opening her chocolate showroom here in Paris, where you can sign up for chocolate tasting lessons or a chocolate-themed city tour. The chocolate she sells (both in the boutique and online) is from the Bolivian chocolate cooperative El Ceibo. Her hot chocolate, melted in hot milk and sugared to taste, is an 85% pure elixir that is both complex and refined – a real treat for connoisseurs. Visit are by appointment only so don’t be shy. Café de Flore According to some regulars, the Café de Flore serves the best hot chocolate in Paris – and for €6.80 it had better be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. There are more tourists than celebrities at this traditionally literary café these days, but there are few places where it is more fun watching the interaction between waiters and customers. The kitchen doesn’t mess with the classic hot chocolate recipe: it’s an intensely-flavoured jug, with a bowl of whipped cream for the greedy. Angelina Angelina is home to Paris's most lip-smackingly scrumptious desserts - all served in the faded grandeur of a belle époque salon just steps from the Louvre. The hot chocolate is pure decadence; try the speciality 'African', a velvety potion so thick that you need a spoon to consume it. Epicurean delights include the Mont Blanc dessert, a ball of meringue covered in whipped cream and sweet chestnut, and, for those with a waistline to watch, a brand new sugar- and butter-free brioche aux fruits rouges. The place heaves at weekends, so be prepared to queue. Jean-Paul Hévin A master of novel combinations, this young chocolatier spices things up at the 'chocolate bar' on the first floor of his flagship store. If you can't quite bring yourself to try the hot chocolate with oysters, iodized foam and strange jelly balls, try the energizing banana and chilli version or the subtle carrot hot chocolate. Hévin also offers more traditional hot chocolates, and three raw cocoa drinks. If you want something to take away, indulge in their chocolate spread – eat your heart out, Nutella. Ladurée Decadence permeates this elegant tearoom, from the 19th century-style interior and service to the labyrinthine corridors that lead to the toilets. While you bask in the warm glow of bygone wealth, indulge in tea, pastries (the pistachio pain au chocolat is heavenly) and, above all, the hot chocolate. It's a rich, bitter, velvety tar that will leave you in the requisite stupor for any lazy afternoon. Jacques Genin Jacques Genin has been providing major hotels and restaurants with chocolate and confectionery since well before opening this bright and modern shop/tea room with a laboratory upstairs. In winter it attracts crowds with its exquisite hot chocolate, made simply by melting Araguani de Valrhona chocolate in whole milk. It comes accompanied by small plate of ganaches and candied fruit, or the house specialty of caramel éclair. Don't miss the soft caramels, especially the famous mango-passion flavour. Mamie Gâteaux Created by a Japanese patissier trained at Dalloyau in Tokyo, this small tea room is reminiscent of a (French) grandmother’s kitchen with its chequered tablecloths, enamelled cast iron stove and resolutely simple, traditional cakes placed on the counter top. The old-fashioned hot chocolate is served in a large earthenware bowl, and you can help yourself to whipped cream. The boss also has a bric-a-brac shop and a grocery in the same street, both inspired by his nostalgia for his childhood. Un Dimanche à Paris This concept store dedicated to chocolate, opened by Pierre Cluizel, quickly won over the chocophiles who used to queue at Patrick Roger and Jean-Charles Rochoux. In the tearoom, which turns into a restaurant for lunch and dinner, you can stop by between 3pm and 6pm to warm up with a luxury hot chocolate enriched with a little cream and lightly flavoured with vanilla and cinnamon. To complete the experience, they bring you a plate of three Lilliputian cakes – true masterpieces. The best brasseries Paris is full of golden-era brasseries, dressed up to the nines in gilded, turn-of-the-century decor, as if stuck in a glorious time warp. The cuisine in these institutions is timeless too - specialities like Chateaubriand beef in Bearnaise sauce, sole meunière and rum baba with vanilla cream dot the menus, served by a ballet of black and white clad waiters. Tuck in and enjoy the show at the best brasseries in Paris, and expect to pay between €18 and €30 for a main course; €45-€90 for a 3-course meal - a worthy price for such an authentic Parisian experience... The top 10 brasseries... Brasserie Julien Undoubtedly one of Paris’ most beautiful restaurants, Brasserie Julien is filled with fabulous Art Nouveau charm. From the sensuous curves of the doors to the grandly carved mirrors, the spectacular muted jewel colours of the painstakingly painted walls to the mahogany topped bar and the wonderfully detailed mosaic floor, Brasserie Julien is a study in typically Parisian design. Harking back to a time long gone, this restaurant takes diners on a journey to the city’s heyday – one of jazz music, Hemingway, Dali and Picasso. It seems only fitting then that Brasserie Julien’s kitchen produces elegant food typical of Parisian style and flavour but with a modern, creative twist of international inspiration. Brasserie Flo Tucked away almost entirely out of sight on a paved courtyard off the Rue Faubourg Saint-Denis, chic restaurant, Brasserie Flo, is well worth hunting down. Here, under a shielding porch, you’ll find a world in which time has stood still. It comes as something of a surprise to find that Brasserie Flo is much less inspired by Parisian brasseries of years gone by than by the beer hall of the Alsace region, but for many years its interesting and beautiful combination of French and German dishes has delighted diners and drinkers. Equally surprising perhaps is Brasserie Flo’s very modern menu which seeks out the best international combinations to produce a creative selection of dishes with just a hint of classicism. La Coupole La Coupole in Montparnasse is the grandest of grand Parisian brasseries. An Art Deco triumph on an extraordinary scale, its famously vast dining room was once regularly graced by the top tiers of the artistic Rive Gauche set like Picasso, Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir. People still come here from all over the world, to marvel at its splendour - all 1000 square metres and 33 pillars of it - and to people watch, a timeless La Coupole pastime. The terrace tables in particular are perfect for watching life go by over a coffee and a crêpe Suzette. If you want an absolutely classic Parisian grand brasserie experience without spending too much, try La Couple. Bofinger Bofinger draws big crowds for its authentic art nouveau setting and its brasserie atmosphere. Downstairs is the prettiest place in which to eat, but the upstairs room is air-conditioned. An à la carte selection might start with plump, garlicky escargots or a well-made langoustine terrine, followed by an intensely seasoned salmon tartare, a generous (if unremarkable) cod steak, or calf's liver accompanied by cooked melon. Alternatively, you could have the foolproof brasserie meal of oysters and fillet steak, followed by a pungent plate of munster cheese and bowl of cumin, washed down by the fine Gigondas at €35.50 a bottle. Chez Jenny This charming and historic brasserie from the 1930's grew out of a foodstall owned by one Robert Jenny, a native of Strasbourg. Decorated with lovely marquetry and panelling, light bright windows, scarlet banquettes and antique details, Chez Jenny still offers the best of Alsatian cuisine to a loyal and ravenous clientele served by waitresses in regional costume. Try dishes like starter of Alsatian cervelas sausage in ravigote with warm potatoes, main course of roasted pork caramelised with honey on superb sauerkraut, and pudding of poached pears with pear sorbet and eau de vie. Terminus Nord Standing across the street from the international Gare du Nord, Terminus Nord – the epitome of the dream Parisian restaurant - welcomes visitors to the City of Light. Soaring decorative ceilings, deco style chandeliers, Mucha style prints and colourful stained glass give Terminus Nord that typically Art Nouveau style which will in turns charm and intrigue. Here a bustling, vibrant crowd of locals and visitors, businessmen and tourists come together to enjoy a typically French brasserie menu with Parisian style woven in to country and coastal dishes by head chef Pascal Boulogne. An introduction to French design and cuisine accompanied by fine regional wines, Terminus Nord is the ultimate Parisian experience. Le Rostand Le Rostand has a truly wonderful view of the Jardins du Luxembourg from its classy interior, decked out with Oriental paintings, a long mahogany bar and wall-length mirrors. It's a terribly well-behaved place and you should definitely consider arriving in fur or designer sunglasses if you want to fit in with the regulars. The drinks list is lined with whiskies and cocktails, pricey but not as steep as the brasserie menu. Still, with a heated terrace in winter, it's perfect for a civilised drink after a quick spin round the gardens. La Fermette Marbeuf La Fermette Marbeuf 1900 restaurant in Paris just a few steps from the Avenue George V and the Champs-Elysees is also the shortest route into Belle Epoque Paris of a century ago. This jewel of a restaurant, dating from 1898, was rediscovered in the course of renovation thirty years ago and it must have been like opening King Tut’s tomb. There are wonderful things here: Art Nouveau mosaic and stained glass sunflowers, peacocks, dragonflies, beautiful women, cast iron pillars, and a soaring glass ceiling. Chef Gilbert Isaac mainly sticks to French classic dishes, like chicken liver pate with onion marmalade, whole grilled seabass flamed in anise, and rhum babas. This is a hotspot for celebrity France to see and be seen. Le Vaudeville Le Vaudeville is one of the few remaining grand Parisian brasseries decorated in the Art Deco ‘Années Folles’ style by the Solvet brothers. With mirrors, mosaics, marble, flamboyant light shades and elegant etched-glass panels, its charms are far from lost by the locals from the nearby stock exchange and Agence France Presse. Lunchtimes at Le Vaudeville are filled with news and business discussions over the dish of the day. Whilst in the evening, conversation of the convivial crowd turns to theatre and the arts. Built in the 1800s, Le Vaudeville was originally the bar of the theatre with the same name, and a great Parisian dining experience. Le Train Bleu This listed dining room - with vintage frescoes and big oak benches - exudes a grand air of expectation. Don't expect cutting-edge cooking, but rather fine renderings of French classics. Lobster served on walnut oil-dressed salad leaves is a generous, beautifully prepared starter, as is the pistachio-studded saucisson de Lyon with a warm salad of small ratte potatoes. Mains of veal chop topped with a cap of cheese, and sandre (pike-perch) with a 'risotto' of crozettes are also pleasant. A few reasonably priced wines would be welcome. 10 healthy-eating restaurants In need of something fresh? Feel in the mood for purification? We’ve selected 10 healthy-eating restaurants which are organic, vegetarian or simply suppliers of a healthy and balanced diet. Cru Opening a raw-food restaurant is a gamble, so the owners of Cru cheat here and there, offering root vegetable 'chips' and a few plancha dishes. Still, the extensive menu has plenty for the crudivore, such as some unusual carpaccios (the veal with preserved lemon is particularly good) and intriguing 'red' and 'green' plates, variations on the tomato and cucumber. The food is perfectly good, but the real reason to come here is the gorgeous courtyard terrace lurking behind this quiet Marais street. Bioboa The fact that this place describes itself as a 'food spa' shows how it's embracing the organic ('bio' in French) revolution. There's a high-concept air about the place: white designer chairs and tables; a beautiful bird fresco that winds through it; and a mammoth fridge overflowing with expensive mineral waters, exotic smoothies and colourful takeaway salads for the fabulously busy. A healthy feast here might consist of soft-boiled eggs with sweet roasted autumn vegetables, or a juicy tofu burger with organic ketchup - one of Bioboa's staples. Bob's Kitchen At vegetarian canteen Bob's Kitchen, everything is organic, healthy and beautiful. This small cafe-restaurant offers salads, soups, bagels and futomakis as well as a trademark "veggie stew" – a big bowl of vitamins which combines a cunning mix of vegetables, seeds, rice and guacamole. The smoothies, made from veggie milks, are also delicious. The menu changes regularly according to the best ingredients available at the market, the decor is welcoming and the prices are pleasingly low. A winner. Nanashi People longer come to this neighborhood near the Gare de l'Est just to eat a curry. In a street where new trendy places are mushrooming you’ll find Nanashi, which offers healthy, fresh, Japanese cuisine. The large, bright room feels more like Brooklyn than Tokyo, with vintage chairs and chandeliers, painted metal beams and a large open kitchen. Here the specialty is the bento box: try the "vegetarian bento" which comprises two slices of grilled tofu on a bed of quinoa, garnished with mashed avocado and accompanied by three colourful salads. Locals appreciate the reasonable prices (15 to 20 euros for a meal), the wines that allegedly don’t leave you with a headache and the excellent matcha cheesecake. There is now a second address at 57 rue Charlot, in the third (01.44.61.45.49). Cantine Merci The new fairtrade concept store Merci is all about feeling virtuous even as you indulge, and its basement canteen is a perfect example. Fresh and colourful salads, soup and risotto of the day, an organic salmon plate, and the assiette merci (perhaps chicken kefta with two salads) make up the brief, Rose Bakery-esque menu, complete with invigorating teas and juices. Rustic desserts add just the right handmade touch. Rose Bakery This English-themed café run by a Franco-British couple stands out for the quality of its ingredients - organic or from small producers - as well as the too-good-to-be-true puddings: carrot cake, sticky toffee pudding and, in winter, a chocolate-chestnut tart. The DIY salad plate is crunchily satisfying, but the thin-crusted pizzettes, daily soups and occasional risottos are equally good choices. Don't expect much beyond scones in the morning except at weekends, when brunch is served to a packed-out house. The dining room is minimalist but welcoming. Zen There's no shortage of Japanese restaurants in this neighbourhood, but the recently opened Zen is refreshing in a couple of ways. First, there is no pale wood in sight; the colour scheme here is sharp white, green and yellow for a cheerful effect. Second, the menu has a lot to choose from - bowls of ramen, sushi and chirashi, hearty dishes such as chicken with egg on rice or tonkatsu - yet no detail is neglected. A perfect choice if you're spending a day at the Louvre - you can be in and out in 30 minutes. Le Potager du Marais This organic vegetarian eatery near Beaubourg is proof that you can fit an entire restaurant into a shoebox: You will be fighting for elbowroom with strangers on tables crammed in along one wall, but what the Potager du Marais lacks in space, it makes up for on the plate with luscious, homemade dishes brimming with pulses, tofu, fresh, crunchy vegetables and beans. The mushroom terrine, served with gherkins and salad is a real winner; and mains like tofu and sweet pumpkin hachis parmentier (a veggie Shepherd’s pie) are genuinely filling and yummy. Dessert - perhaps less gourmand than the rest - might include a bowl of tasty apple and green tea purée, or a fruit tart. If you require gluten free, the Potager gets brownie points for its multiple choice of dishes – a real rarity in Paris. Le Bar des Artisans (Voy Alimento) If ‘veganism’ sounds like a bland and tasteless proposition to you, beware: the Bar des Artisans may just change your mind. This jolly spot is home to a happy and good humoured veganism, which makes good use of super foods – those natural ingredients (copaiba, urucum, acai, acerola, purple corn, etc..) which are crammed with vitamins and minerals. These are also sold in the grocery store under the brand ‘Alimento Voy’. On the restaurant side, they toss salads, create colourful dishes, spice juices, spoon out delicious soups and produce amazing healthy desserts. Supernature Who said eating healthily was boring? Certainly not the many regulars who flock each afternoon (and on Sunday for brunch) to this tiny canteen in the 9th arrondissement. There’s no overriding organic or vegetarian concept, just well-cooked, daily-changing healthy dishes. There’s at least one delicious vegetarian dish each day, and they often have an ‘Assiette vitalité’ which brings together fresh vegetables goat’s cheese and organic galettes in a wondrous combination.
Our recommendations for the best restaurants in Montmartre and Pigalle Related Area guide: Montmartre & Pigalle Alas, gone are the days when Montmartre was a tranquil village packed with vines and windmills, although two 'moulins' (windmills) and a small patch of vines do still subsist. Today, perched high on the 'Butte' (Paris' highest and most northerly hill), the area is tightly packed with houses, spiraling round the mound below the sugary-white dome of the Sacré-Coeur like cubist mushrooms. But despite the thronging tourists (chiefly around place du Tertre) it remains the most unabashedly romantic part of Paris - a place in which to climb quiet stairways, peer down narrow alleys onto ivy-clad houses, and watch the world go by in atmospheric cafés, especially along rue des Abbesses, rue des Trois Frères and rue des Martyrs. Artists have historically been attracted to Montmartre since Renoir and Toulouse-Lautrec immortalized the cabarets here in the late 19th-century; and even today an arty vibe lives on thanks to the upwardly-mobile film, music and media types that have moved in. At the foot of Montmartre, Pigalle has a reputation as Paris' centre for sleaze. Peep shows and sex shops still do line the boulevard, but a younger, hipper and resolutely more wholesome crew line the pavements nowadays, queuing to get into cool music clubs like the Boule Noire, La Cigale, and La Machine du Moulin Rouge - a hotbed of electro sound next door to the Moulin Rouge cabaret. Just south of Pigalle, you'll find the often overlooked quarter of New Athens (Nouvelle Athènes) - named after the neo-Classical mansions built by waves of artists, writers and composers in the early 19th-century. To glimpse at these miniature palaces, wonder along rue Ballu, rue St Lazare (painter Paul Delaroche lived at N° 58), rue de la Tour-des-Dames and rue de la Rochefoucauld. The Musée Gustave Moreau on rue de la Rochefoucauld is reason alone to come, featuring the artist's cluttered apartment and light-filled studio. Another wonderful museum is the Musée de la Vie Romantique, which displays mementoes of George Sand's life. It is especially lovely in summer when the rose garden turns into a tearoom. Nightlife in Montmartre & Pigalle La Boule Noire The 'Black Ball' (a former dance hall and cabaret run by the same team as La Cigale) is one of the best rooms for emerging rockers and confirmed groups looking to play an intimate venue. Metallica, The Kills, The Libertines and Cat Power have all graced the stage. Look out for the Boule Noire's Fallenfest music events throughout the year: they're a chance to get up close and personal with the hottest new acts on Paris' music scene. Autour de Midi-Minuit The Tuesday night boeuf (jam session) is always free, as are many other jazz concerts - some by big names like Laurent Epstein, Yoni Zelnik and Bruno Casties. The upstairs restaurant serves reasonably priced French classic cuisine. Le Trianon The Trianon concert hall adds a touch of class to boulevard de Rochechouart with its Belle Epoque architecture and enviable line-up of artists: Tricky, Raphael Saadiq, Moriarty and Macy Gray have all played here, following in the footsteps of French greats like Mistinguett and Jacques Brel. It also doubles as a venue for one-man shows, musicals and circus acts. Since May 2011 you can dine within the art deco surroundings of its adjacent café-bar ‘le Petit Trianon’, which serves good quality French staples like traditional jambon de Paris (Paris ham) served with artisanal mustard. The terrace, sandwiched between the wall and the pavement, also makes a prime spot for watching the local fauna – a Spritz (Campari, orange slices, white wine and fizzy water) in hand, of course. Le Bus Palladium This legendary rock venue, graced by the likes of Mick Jagger and The Beatles in its heyday, is back on the map after a 20-year spell out of the limelight with a vintage house vibe somewhere between retro rockabilly and punk psychedelia. While the new generation gets wild in the pit, former regulars are trying to catch their breath at the restaurant upstairs (8pm-5am Tue-Sat). Check the programme for concerts. Club nights on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays are a guaranteed riot, and diners get in for free. La Machine du Moulin Rouge So long La Loco, enter La Machine. This three-floor bar/club/live venue has had a substantial makeover and is now reborn with a dash of decadence. The main dancefloor, La Chaufferie, used to be the Moulin Rouge's boiler room and the old pipes remain, but the new Alice in Wonderland-style decor is a breath of fresh air. If you can't take the heat, head for the new terrace or switch to the bouncing Central, a concert hall showcasing new and established talent. Les Trois Baudets All dolled up in black and red, with a 250-seater theatre, an enviable sound system, two bars and a restaurant, this new concert hall encourages chanson française and other musical genres (rock, electro, folk and slam) - as long as they're in French. Hotels in Montmartre & Pigalle Hôtel Particulier Montmartre Visitors lucky (and wealthy) enough to manage to book a suite at the Hôtel Particulier Montmartre will find themselves in one of the city's hidden gems. Nestled in a quiet passage off rue Lepic, in the heart of Montmartre and opposite a mysterious rock known as the Rocher de la Sorcière (witch's rock), this sumptuous Directoire-style house is dedicated to art, with each of the five luxurious suites personalised by an avant-garde artist. The private garden conceived by Louis Bénech (famous for the Tuileries renovation) adds the finishing touch to this charming hideaway. Hôtel Amour Opened back in 2006, this boutique hotel is a real hit with the in crowd. Each of the 20 rooms is unique, decorated on the theme of love or eroticism by a coterie of contemporary artists and designers such as Marc Newson, M&M, Stak, Pierre Le Tan and Sophie Calle. Seven of the rooms contain artists' installations, and two others have their own private bar and a large terrace on which to hold your own party. The late-night brasserie has a coveted outdoor garden, and the crowd is young and beautiful and loves to entertain. Terrass Hotel There's nothing spectacular about this classic hotel, but for people willing to pay top euro for the best views in town, it fits the bill. Ask for room 704 and you can lie in the bath and look at the Eiffel Tower. Julien Rocheteau, trained by Ducasse, is at the helm of gastronomic restaurant Diapason; in fine weather, opt for a table on the seventh-floor terrace, open from June to September. What to see and do in Montmartre & Pigalle Musée de l'Erotisme Seven floors of erotic art and artefacts amassed by collectors Alain Plumey and Joseph Khalifa. The first three run from first-century Peruvian phallic pottery through Etruscan fertility symbols to Yoni sculptures from Nepal; the fourth gives a history of Paris brothels; and the recently refurbished top floors host exhibitions of modern erotic art. Musée National Gustave Moreau This wonderful museum combines the small private apartment of Symbolist painter Gustave Moreau (1826-98) with the vast gallery he built to display his work - set out as a museum by the painter himself, and opened in 1903. Downstairs shows his obsessive collector's nature with family portraits, Grand Tour souvenirs and a boudoir devoted to the object of his unrequited love, Alexandrine Dureux.Upstairs is Moreau's fantasy realm, which plunders Greek mythology and biblical scenes for canvases filled with writhing maidens, trance-like visages, mystical beasts and strange plants. Don't miss the trippy masterpiece Jupiter et Sémélé on the second floor.Printed on boards that you can carry around the museum are the artist's lengthy, rhetorical and mad commentaries. Musée de la Vie Romantique When Dutch artist Ary Scheffer lived in this small villa, the area teemed with composers, writers and artists. Aurore Dupin, Baronne Dudevant (George Sand) was a guest at Scheffer's soirées, along with great names such as Chopin and Liszt. The museum is devoted to Sand, although the watercolours, lockets, jewels and plastercast of her right arm that she left behind reveal little of her ideas or affairs. Venues to check out... La Fourmi Chez Michou Musée de Montmartre Musée d'Art Halle St-Pierre The 100 best bars in Paris Best bars by area Bastille Oberkampf Belleville & Ménilmontant Montmartre & Pigalle Saint-Martin, Ourcq & Villette Quartier Latin Saint Michel Le Marais Les Halles & Châtelet Culinary walk A moveable feast in Montmartre Think Parisian dining is just about snooty waiters and haute cuisine? Think again. John-Paul Fortney's Culinary Tours of Paris are designed to introduce you to the living, local and greedy reality of eating and drinking in Paris.His Montmartre tour includes three restaurant stops within a broader walking tour that explains the history of the area, famed for its artists and writers and their spectacular partying in the early 20th century. The tour price includes charcuterie, main course and dessert, and their matching wines. Nightlife in Montmartre and Pigalle La Machine du Moulin Rouge So long La Loco, enter La Machine. This three-floor bar/club/live venue has had a substantial makeover and is now reborn with a dash of decadence. The main dancefloor, La Chaufferie, used to be the Moulin Rouge's boiler room and the old pipes remain, but the new Alice in Wonderland-style decor is a breath of fresh air. If you can't take the heat, head for the new terrace or switch to the bouncing Central, a concert hall showcasing new and established talent. Les Trois Baudets All dolled up in black and red, with a 250-seater theatre, an enviable sound system, two bars and a restaurant, this new concert hall encourages chanson française and other musical genres (rock, electro, folk and slam) - as long as they're in French. Moulin Rouge Toulouse-Lautrec posters, glittery lamp-posts and fake trees lend guilty charm to this revue. On stage, 60 Doriss dancers cavort with faultless synchronisation. Costumes are flamboyant and the entr'acte acts funny. The only downer is the space, with tables packed in like sardines. There's also an occasional matinée. La Cigale Easily one of Paris's finest venues, the lovely, horseshoe-shaped theatre La Cigale is linked to more cosy venue La Boule Noire, good for catching cult-ish visiting indie and rock acts. Le Divan du Monde After a drink in the seriously cool Fourmi opposite, pop over to the Divan for one-off parties and regular events. The upstairs specialises in VJ events, and downstairs holds dub, reggae, funk and world music club nights. La Fourmi La Fourmi was a precursor to the industrial-design, informal, music-led bars that have sprung up around Paris - and it's still very much a style leader, attracting everyone from in-the-know tourists to fashionable Parisians. Great throughout the day for coffees or a beer, it has a small seating area outside and an always busy bar with DJ decks. You can stay into the early hours at weekends, but it's also a handy pre-club rendezvous and flyer supplier. La Boule Noire The 'Black Ball' (a former dance hall and cabaret run by the same team as La Cigale) is one of the best rooms for emerging rockers and confirmed groups looking to play an intimate venue. Metallica, The Kills, The Libertines and Cat Power have all graced the stage. Look out for the Boule Noire's Fallenfest events throughout the year: they're a chance to get up close and personal with the hottest new acts on Paris' music scene. Autour de Midi-Minuit The Tuesday night boeuf (jam session) is always free, as are many other concerts - some by big names like Laurent Epstein, Yoni Zelnik and Bruno Casties. The upstairs restaurant serves reasonably priced French classic cuisine. Le Trianon The Trianon concert hall adds a touch of class to boulevard de Rochechouart with its Belle Epoque architecture and enviable line-up of artists: Tricky, Raphael Saadiq, Moriarty and Macy Gray have all played here, following in the footsteps of French greats like Mistinguett and Jacques Brel. It also doubles as a venue for one-man shows, musicals and circus acts. Since May 2011 you can dine within the art deco surroundings of its adjacent café-bar ‘le Petit Trianon’, which serves good quality French staples like traditional jambon de Paris (Paris ham) served with artisanal mustard. The terrace, sandwiched between the wall and the pavement, also makes a prime spot for watching the local fauna – a Spritz (Campari, orange slices, white wine and fizzy water) in hand, 'bien-sur'. Le Bus Palladium This legendary rock venue, graced by the likes of Mick Jagger and The Beatles in its heyday, is back on the map after a 20-year spell out of the limelight with a vintage house vibe somewhere between retro rockabilly and punk psychedelia. While the new generation gets wild in the pit, former regulars are trying to catch their breath at the restaurant upstairs (8pm-5am Tue-Sat). Check the programme for concerts. Club nights on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays are a guaranteed riot, and diners get in for free.
Our recommendations for the best restaurants near Canal St-Martin, Ourcq and Villette Related Area guide: Canal Saint-Martin, Ourcq & Villette Hands up if you've seen 'Amélie', Jean-Pierre Jeunet's 2001 blockbuster. It was the Canal St-Martin's iron footbridges and tree-shaded quays that formed the backdrop for some of the film's most atmospheric scenes. Nowadays, this ever-gentrifying, 19th-century waterway draws a trendy crowd to its shabby-chic bars and appetizing bistros - starting with Chez Prune, the main magnet for bobo bière-drinkers. République, the point at which the Canal resurfaces after having travelled underground from Bastille, forms the frontier with the Marais. Its northern artery, rue du Faubourg-du-Temple is scruffy and cosmopolitan, lined with cheap grocers and discount stores, hidden courtyards and stalwarts of Paris nightlife like Le Gibus and vintage dancehall La Java. It leads to Belleville's Chinese quarter and provincial place Ste Marthe, with quirky boutiques and cafés. Heading north along the Canal, the must-see den of multidisciplinary artistic creation is Point Ephemère. From here the Canal widens into the Bassin de la Villette and Canal de l'Ourcq, famed for its twin MK2 cinemas, retro-futurist 70s tower blocks and watersports during August's Paris Plage. It's near here that you'll find the 104, Paris' flagship cultural centre, set in the city's eerie old 19th-century undertakers. Once you've crossed the quirky 1885 hydraulic lift bridge, pont de Crimée, you're in Parc de la Villette territory. Futuristic and cutting-edge, this is where you can visit major science and music museums, picnic on the lawns (especially during the summer open-air film festival) and take in concerts at big venues like Cité de la musique, the Cabaret Sauvage, Trabendo and the Zénith. Restaurants and Cafés in Canal St-Martin, Ourcq & Villette Favela Chic Past the usually steely-faced door attendants, the Brazilian-themed Favela Chic attracts an up-for-it, international and invariably dressy crowd for some serious samba and other full-on Latin dancing. There are decent DJs, live acts, and Brazilian food and drinks too. The opening of a sister bar in London's Shoreditch has seen the Favela Chic brand expand into other forms of music, such as disco punk and electro. L'Epicerie Musicale Ideally situated on the Canal Saint-Martin, L’Epicerie Musicale is a delightful hybrid of café-bar-restaurant-delicatessen-music store. The retro furniture gives the interior all the charm of an old Sicilian café, offset by graffiti art on the walls, a deli section with fish, wine, oils, hams fresh cheeses and more imported from Italy, and a jazz, soul, funk, tropical and retro-latino soundtrack from hundreds of vinyl records. Highly recommended. Chez Prune Chez Prune is an excellent lunch spot, and still one of the best places to spend an evening on the Canal St-Martin. The local bobo HQ, this traditional café, with high ceilings and low lighting, sticks to a simple formula: groups of friends crowd around the cosily ordered banquettes, picking at moderately priced cheese or meat platters. Mostly, though, they come for a few leisurely drinks or an apéro before heading to one of the late night venues in the area. Shopping in Canal St-Martin, Ourcq and Villette Epicerie Anglaise Ecossaise Irlandaise de Paris This tiny store, in an unlikely (if not austere) passageway in République has been providing expats with their weekly fixes of Cadbury’s chocolate, HP sauce and even Pop Tarts since 1993. The boutique is so packed, it's all a blur of brightly coloured packaging; but let your eyes settle, and you’ll find gems like Otter Vale chutneys, Heinz Picalilli, OXO cubes, Yorkshire and Barry's tea and Parsley sauce cooking mix. There’s even a fridge area with Beckett’s farm bacon, haggis and black pudding. Now sigh! Potemkine If you know what the name ‘Potemkine’ refers to (Russian cineaste Sergueï Eisenstein’s 1925 silent movie “The Battleship Potemkin”), chances are this boutique just off the Canal St-Martin is for you. Its orderly walls are lined with shelves laden with DVDs covering everything from Fellini classics to rare experimental films by Stan Brakhage, and docu-dramas by Peter Watkins. In this age of virtual downloads, Potemkine is the antidote for film buffs in need of something to hold: Pick up the DVDs, read their blurbs, sniff ‘em, caress them, and study the graphics on their covers without the flickering of a computer screen playing on your eyes. It makes a refreshing change to FNAC; and many of the films on sale aren’t even readily available on the high-street. Artazart Step through Artazart’s neo-70s orange façade and you’re in another world – an Ali Baba land of design-related coffee-table tomes (think photography, graphic design, fashion, illustration and children’s books) and Lomo cameras you can pick up for under 100€. Chances are you’ll pop in for a quick browse, but beware: Artazart has ways of making you stay! Aside from thousands of books with eye-catching covers and content, your peepers will be drawn to the small art gallery section where selected local talents get to display their works. Before you know it, your ten-minute look-around has turned into a 45-minute jaunt and you’re ready for a coffee somewhere along the Canal St-Martin, so you can show off the books you’ve just bought. Bars & Nightlife in Canal St-Martin, Ourcq and Villette What to see and do in Canal St-Martin, Ourcq and Villette Take in a concert at La Villette See a film along the Canal de l'Ourcq Walk or Cycle the old waterways Check out the art at 104 (Centquatre) Cinemas along the Canal de l'Ourcq Mk2 Quai de Loire & Quai de Seine The twin MK2 cinemas on either side of the Canal de l'Ourcq offer an all-in-one night out: multi-screens, restaurants, decent waterside cafés and two-person 'love seats'. A paragon of imaginative programming, MK2 is growing all the time, cleverly appealing to both art-house puritans and blockbuster lovers with an eclectic range of films from around the globe (usually in VO - version originale).If you find yourself on the wrong side of the canal, don't worry: a boat called Zéro de Conduite (after Jean Vigo’s 1933 film) carries passengers across the canal between the sites, so you don't have to walk all the way round. La Géode The IMAX cinema at the Cité des Sciences occupies a shiny geodesic sphere. The vast hemispheric screen lets you experience 3D plunges through natural scenery, and animated adventures where figures zoom out to grab you. Paris's Canals Canal Saint-Martin Before it harboured stalwarts of Paris’s nightlife, Point Ephémère and Chez Prune, the Canal St-Martin served an entirely different purpose: Built under Napoleon between 1805 and 1825, it brought drinking water and merchandise to the Imperial capital; then from the late 19th-century onwards it housed factories and industrial warehouses.Nowadays, many of the factories have become lofts for Paris’s ever-growing Bobo (Bohemian-Bourgeois) population, and dozens of bars, restaurants and shops line its quaysides, making its iron footbridges and locks coveted spots for weekend strolls and picnics – especially on Sundays and public holidays when the roads are reserved for walkers and cyclists.On the east edge of the canal, the Hôpital St-Louis was commissioned in 1607 by Henri IV to house plague victims, built in the same pink brick-and-stone style as Place des Vosges, far enough from the town to prevent infection. Behind the hospital (still working today), rue de la Granges-aux-Belles housed the Montfaucon gibbet in 1233, where victims were hanged and left to rot in the wind. Now that’s food for thought while you’re downing a quick bière on the water’s edge! Canal de l'Ourcq After a gentle, 100km journey from the river Ourcq in Picardie, through the northern Seine-St-Denis suburb and into Paris via Porte de la Villette, the 19th-century Canal de l’Ourcq ends its journey in front of the arty MK2 cinemas at Stalingrad’s Bassin de la Villette. It was originally created by Napoleon to provide Paris with drinking water, but largely used for freight haulage before its edges were bestowed with some of the worst 60s and 70s housing in Paris. Nowadays, like the Canal-St-Martin, further downstream, the Canal del’Ourcq draws a trendy crowd, from students to 30-somethings with young families, who come to play boules on the sandy stretches, picnic on the water’s edge, and even play ping-pong in the playground areas. At the northern edge of the Bassin is an unusual 1885 hydraulic lifting bridge, Pont de Crimée, which leads to place de Joinville, where a cheap market (on Thursdays and Sundays) sells the best Portuguese chicken in town. Canauxrama If hell is other people, Paris can be hell. Between jam-packed metros, long museum queues and hoards of sharp-elbowed tourists, the chaos can leave even the most fervent Paris fan in need of time out. Before you contemplate yet another trip to Versailles, captain of the canals, Canauxrama, offers an alternative escapade much nearer to home.It’s nostalgic cruises, angled at Paris old timers, glide along the Canal Saint-Martin and the Canal de l’Ourcq at a blissful snail pace, heading underground before resurfacing to go by four locks, and under the elegant footbridges Amélie sat on in Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s 2001 film Amélie Poulain.Film buffs might also recognize the names of the boats - Arletty and Marcel Carné - respectively named after the leading lady and the director of the 1938 French classic Hôtel du Nord, also filmed along the canal. If you can’t get enough of it all, sign up for a day’s cruise (May-Sept) along the sleepy River Marne to Guinguette capital Joinville-le-Pont where cheesy accordion music awaits in riverside cafés. Standard cruise departure is from either Bastille’s Port de l’Arsenal (opposite 50 bd de la Bastille) or Parc de la Villette. Best cheap bars in Paris Our guide to drinking in style on a budget Aux Folies A Belleville drinker’s institution, never empty of local youth imbibing black coffee with their afternoon papers or kicking off the evening with an aperitif or five. The Folies is named after an 18th-century watering hole at the gates of Paris, in then then-rural quarter of Courtille, famous for the annual debauches of the city carnival. Today, the outlook is a little less bucolic – the rows of vines have been replaced by winding streets, but the area still packs a distinct buzz. The packed terrace is the place to be winter and summer, as it’s heated and lit until the last rays of the sun have died away. Finding a chair and a spot to wedge it into is a challenge, but the satisfaction is worth it – and at €2.50 for a beer and €4.50 for a cocktail, it’s no trial to settle down and get in several rounds before closing time. In the evening, red lights go on beneath the bar, and the friendly, efficient staff remain cheerful despite the throng. In summer, the terrace crowds spill out on to the narrow Rue Dénoyez, and on weekends on the semi-pedestrianised street the art galleries set out stalls, bands strike up, and graffiti artists start tending to their frescoes. La Cordonnerie Loitering as it does in the shadows of peep shows and sex shops, for many years this little dive was merely the refuge of locals in search of pleasures less carnal and more alcoholic. Its happy hours offered probably the cheapest pints in Paris, as well as rums and cocktails at minimal prices, imported beers, and free couscous on Thursdays and Saturdays.Then, this old working-class tavern started to attract a younger clientele in search of a good deal – and today La Cordonnerie is an after-work drinks venue to be reckoned with. The terrace is crammed with students and arty types from 6pm right through the happy hour, and as the evening wears on the bar stays full of laughter and talk. Soul, rock and reggae sounds keep things going until 2am. Les Pères Populaires Ever get nostalgic for 70s youth hostel decor? Look no further – the trappings of table football, board games and musty old books have all been slavishly recreated at the Pères Populaires. One of the cheapest bars in the city, it’s also a local canteen, complete with sticky table-tops and the tenacious smell of stale beer that bears witness to many a debauched evening. The décor is an incoherent mixture of second-hand furniture with some good pieces, and of bent wood hat stands with peeling wallpaper. One perches uncomfortably on chairs or on a knackered old sofa, knocking back jugs of beer or rum mixers and mopping it all up with a cheap charcuterie board (€5 to €8). During the day the place is tranquil and full of light, thanks to a huge picture window – and the area’s students flock to its free Wi-Fi. Always full in the evenings, it gets busiest when the gigs start at 8pm, mostly local groups playing jazz or cheesy hits. A decidedly blue collar French venue, but none the worse for that. Bar Ourcq If chilling on a deckchair on the banks of a canal or playing pétanque gets you going, head to Bar Ourcq of an evening, where a flip-flop wearing, shorts-sporting clientele is welcomed with open arms. On summer days, crowds gather for open-air guitar jamming sessions or to picnic on the banks of the canal, refuelling at Bar Ourcq with plastic goblets of cold beer or bottles of wine. Things get pretty boozy as the day wears on, leading many a pétanque player to squint uncertainly at their target, and every throw draws ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ from the audience of fellow drinkers.It’s much less busy here than on the Canal Saint-Martin, with no passing cars to pollute the tranquil atmosphere. What’s more, you can eat and drink for next to nothing, with drinks from €2.5 and savoury snacks from €1.5. Apart from the busy summer terrace, the winter months offer many cosy corners in a cosy, pouf-strewn bar area where those in the know come to spend afternoons indulging in books, board games and free Wi-Fi. In sunnier months, DJs play electro from 5pm, the perfect soundtrack to celebratory after-work drinks in front of the sunset – and they spin on until midnight during the week, 2am at the weekends. La Fourmi The terrace of La Fourmi [the ant], whose name is a wink to the nearby concert hall La Cigale [the cicada], is a summer sun-trap for pretty girls with cute haircuts and skimpy dresses, attracting a throng of Pigalle street singers come to serenade their charms. As soon as they launch into song, the venue’s crowd of arty bohos take up position behind the big bay windows of the big main room with its high ceilings and post-industrial décor – an enormous, yet warm and friendly wood-panelled space, with a stunning chandelier made of glass bottles.Come here to sip cocktails, glasses of wine and beers (€2.80 a pale ale) – all very affordable when compared to the neighbouring Café de la Cigale or the Petit Trianon. The area is full of Parisians helping out at concerts at the Cigale, the Boule Noire, the Trianon and the Divan du Monde, so be prepared to fight your way through to get to the bar, and for the attention of the perfectly nice but overstretched staff. If, by a miracle, you get a table, there’s a menu of sandwiches, salads, charcuterie boards and some dishes of the day. Le Mauri7 Le Mauri7 is the perfect antidote to its rival over the road, the achingly hip Chez Jeanette. Where the one is always crammed with snooty drinkers, the other’s clientele are a delightfully mixed bag, its atmosphere an appealing sort of ugly sexy kitsch. The walls are plastered with out-dated vinyl sleeves and film posters, while behind the bar a tacky neon sign proudly spells out the name. We love le Mauri7 because the place oozes a human warmth lacking in its neighbours. The prices are reasonable, the waiters always available and helpful (something you can’t take for granted in Paris) – all in all, the perfect place to finish up a boozy evening in street style. La Caravane With all the wandering joie de vivre of its gypsy namesake, this lively little local bar just two steps from République specialises in slide shows, jam sessions, jazz and DJ sets against a backdrop of colourful, comfortable clutter, all poufs and window seats. Stop by for the entertainment, while sipping a few caipirinhas or beers at prices (€4 a pint) that are more than reasonable for the area. The fusion food is also a draw – it mixes Asian, French and Italian on a regularly changing menu, packing the rooms out for lunch and dinner. The staff are cool and relaxed, reflecting the vibe and the spirit of the local clientele. Rammed and raucous on weekends. Pili Pili As small and powerful as its name suggests, the sting in the tail is having to choose between numerous flavours of rum mixes or cocktails at unbeatable prices. There’s a ton of character in the décor too, with winks to African culture but also to British punk: a real red telephone box takes pride of place in one corner. Attracting both regulars and interested new faces, the atmosphere is relaxed and intimate and the music always well chosen and eclectic – funk, rock and hip-hop, with gypsy jazz gigs or DJs mixing electro-swing at the weekend. Theme nights – God Save the Queen, Western Saloon or Prohibition Era – attract a dedicated crowd of dressing up fans. Le Bar Dix This local dive has been miraculously preserved (in sangria) since 1955. You’d be hard put to find something more ‘real’ than this tiny venue – more of a musty-smelling cave covered with posters and a patina of nicotine. Its clients occupy their time slipping Euros into the slot of the collector’s jukebox, awakening it to play tunes from the era of Goldman, Brassens and Ferré. The moustachioed barmen are frequently drunk but always charming, mostly there to rein in clients whose carousing threatens to compete with the music, and to mop up spillages of the house sangria as the evening wears on. The menu is much as you’d expect: apart from a few bottled beers and chorizo and cheese sandwiches, you’ll mostly be ordering sangria or sangria. But it’s good and fruity and cheap, and we all keep coming back for more. Trucmush The front end of a Peugeot Twingo sheltering the DJ decks is only the first wacky design feature to grab your attention in this cool, lively, slightly trippy bar – the impression builds as you take in the stuffed flowers, the cheerful orange walls, and the car pressed into service as a table. The décor is a definite draw for this little bar hidden in a dead-end street near Bastille, almost as much as the rock-bottom prices. A word of warning – the clientele is very young (think freshers) and the mojitos aren’t great, but the Grimm on tap does the job and the music is eclectic without being commercial. The tiny dance floor and the back room get pretty rammed on the weekends, so come during the week if you want to be able to hear yourself think. Best bars by area Bastille Oberkampf Belleville & Ménilmontant Montmartre & Pigalle Saint-Martin, Ourcq & Villette Quartier Latin Saint Michel Le Marais Les Halles & Châtelet