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France, Paris

Chartier, Paris – EAT

June 18, 2015
Chartier, an 18th century dining hall just off Montmartre, is not an unknown restaurant.  It is perhaps as popular with tourists as it is with locals.  The mixture of people, of languages and of harried waiters all add to the extraordinary atmosphere this place has.  Queues can be long but after you get rushed to a table, and you’ve settled on a narrow bench, you’ll fully appreciate what’s going on around you.  Waiters dart around the place, scribbling food choices on tablecloths, narrowly avoiding crashing into large trays of fois gras and chocolat chaud which float through the hall at a top pace.  You’ll make friends with your neighbour, even if you’re the anti-social type. Don’t expect anything luxe or Michelin starred food. But you will leave smiling, as will your wallet.
7 Rue du Faubourg Montmartre
France, Paris

Angelina, Paris – EAT/DRINK [NON ALC]

June 18, 2015
Angelina, Paris

Only the highly disciplined will pass this traditional Parisian cafe without being tempted in. A look through the window will make your mouth water. The hot chocolate, or ‘chocolate soup’ is the best in the city, though their ‘Mont Blanc’ desert is perhaps even more sought after. I wouldn’t come here for lunch since it is very expensive and it has become very touristy, but it is still worth a visit for a well-deserved tea-time rest after a day of sight-seeing or a walk in the Tuileries Gardens.

 Warning: Expect to queue.
226 Rue de Rivoli
France, Paris

Cafe Marley, Paris – EAT

June 18, 2015

This top restaurant, overlooking the Louvre and its famous glass pyramid, may well be your treat of the weekend. And it would be totally worth it. Sit here and people watch in prime position, while sipping a delicious white wine or tasting Cafe Marley’s heavenly Foie Gras. All the cafes on the Rue de Rivoli are extraordinarily expensive, so if you have to choose one, make it this one. Also a hip place to come for an early evening drink.

Cafe Marley
93 Rue de Rivoli
France, Paris

L’as du Fallafel, Paris – EAT

June 18, 2015

Walking around the lively Marais on a Sunday afternoon I noticed a lot of people clutching kebabs in yellow napkins. Odd, perhaps, in a city of croissants and crepes. After following the kebab trail I ended up in the Jewish quarter of the Marais, at L’as du Fallafel: apparently the best fallafel stand in the city, perhaps the country.

The long queues are so worth it and go quicker than you think.  And the reward is to die for. And just for 5 euros.


L’as du Fallafel 

34 Rue des Rosiers
Metro: Saint Paul
France, Paris

Les Philosophes, Paris – EAT

June 18, 2015

In the heart of the Marais, this is the place to come for Sunday brunch. Sit outside and observe locals and tourists a like stroll down cobbled streets, window-shopping in cute boutiques or picking up bargain finds in one of the many vintage shops.

While the experience itself is more recommendable than the food, the food is prepared on the premises, sourced locally and is as organic as possible. The hot chocolate (it is, literally, melted chocolate) is delicious or, if you prefer some wine, the Sancerre is only 4 euros a glass.  That’s how they roll in France.

Les Philosophes 

28 Rue Vieille du Temple

Tel: 01 48 87 49 64

Metro: St Paul

Photo from

France, Paris

Colette, Paris – SHOP

June 18, 2015
A must-go to cult store, you can’t go to Paris without visiting Colette. Everything is just so cool, so fashionable, so Paris. It’s not just clothes and shoes, its anything really – trendy gadgets, beauty products and almost 100 different types of water bottles.  Located on one of Paris’ most iconic streets, bien sur.


213 rue St Honore

75001 Paris

France, Paris

Musee de L’Orangerie, Paris – SEE

June 18, 2015

 I adore this small (for Paris) museum, located in the old orangery of the Tuilerries palace and recently exquisitely renovated.  The queues are short and there is this tranquillity about the place that completely relaxes you upon entering.  Sit in the airy curved white rooms and take in Monet’s Nympheaus (Waterlillies) or amble from room to room enjoying the beautiful and varied Impressionist and post-Impressionist works from Cezanne to Picasso.


Jardin des Tuileries

Opening times: 9:45 – 5:15pm

Entrance: €7.50 or free if 25 and under (with ID)

France, Paris

What I love about Paris

May 12, 2013

Last weekend I returned to Paris with my father, again on the speedy Eurostar, but this time in Standard Premium.  Definitely worth paying the extra for – lots of leg room, a better than expected meal (big step up from aeroplane food) and a glass of wine.  The perfect way to zip to Paris, in just 2.5 hours.

This is what I loved about my last visit:

Discovering new affordable Bistros

We were staying at the Mandarin Oriental – as luxurious as it gets – so going for dinner at down to earth French bistros was just what we needed.

A la Biche au Bois is a short walk from Bastille Metro.  It is small and unassuming, but the decor is nicely done.  A large mirror covers one side, giving the impression the place is larger than it is, and it has a cosy feel.  It is a little cramped, but by chatty locals, making the experience all the more French.  They have a great 4 Course offer for €29.  And we are talking huge portions of hearty French food.  For starters expect duck terrine and onion soup.  For the main the special was Coq au Vin but I had steak with pepper sauce and a huge pile of fries.  The cheese board was delightful.  And for pudding you could have chocolate mouse, creme brûlée, creme caramel or chocolate ‘gateaux’.  I went for the latter and could barely get up afterwards.  Definitely will return.  Book at least a week ahead.

A la Biche au Bois, Paris

A la Biche au Bois

Cheeseboard at La Biche au Bois

Cheeseboard at La Biche au Bois

L’Ange 20 is also a charming French Bistro.  I found it on Trip Adviser and was curious because of its exceptionally high rating (I think No. 7 of all the restaurants in Paris).  None of the reviews had a bad word to say.  And it was again very reasonably priced – 2 courses for €22, 3 courses for €28.  Situated right by the Pompidou centre (not my favourite building but always quite fun to see) in a small, quiet side street, but surrounded by a few other tempting looking restaurants, Le Ange 20 is a very welcoming place.  It is TINY, with an open kitchen and as many tables squashed in as possible. The waiter was charming, spoke perfect English and was very attentive.  The food was a bit more refined than A la Biche au Bisous, I had gambas with guacamole and salad to start and slow-cooked lamb with fresh veg and pumpkin puree to follow.  I skipped pudding.  The only bad thing was the other guests.  All decidedly not French.  We had a Russian family next to us who unapologetically spilt wine all over us. And a lot of Americans.  I was obviously not the only one who read Trip Adviser.  Still, recommended.  Book at least a week ahead.

Lunch in a flowery side-street in the Marais

Sunday is the day to go to Marais.  Much of Paris shuts its door on this day but the Marais is in full swing.  Buzzing with locals and tourists a like, the winding cobbled streets of vintage shops, cute cafes and antique shops are full of life.  Place des Vosges remains one of my favourite squares and is worth a wander around.

Place des Vosges

Place des Vosges – Please do not sit on the grass

For brunch/lunch there are plenty of places but we wanted somewhere which was peaceful and preferably in the sun.  We didn’t get a place in the sun but we did find the perfect flowery side-street with a few lovely restaurants/cafes.  We choose TresOr and enjoyed a healthy and tasty salad and white wine amongst the flowers.  Food itself was nothing that special and not cheap but the location really made it for us.

Rue du Tresor, Marais

Rue du Tresor, Marais

TresOr, Paris



Sunbathing in the Tuilleries Gardens

My past visits to Paris have all been in the autumn/winter, when the weather was quite chilly.  This time the sun was out most of the time and it gave Paris the added beauty of a warm glow.  We were like a broken record, constantly commenting on how beautiful Paris was.  The Tuilleries Gardens can’t real be compared to the royal parks of London.  People don’t sit on the grass drinking beer or Pimms.  You don’t really have the gloriously imposing Louvre as a view from Hyde Park.  But the Tuilleries Gardens are, like the London parks, the place locals and tourists come to bask in the late-spring sun.  Not so much on benches but on green metal chairs with slanted backs which are surprisingly comfy.  Wonderful to sit and watch the world go by.  We even spotted a girl walking with a big sign which said ‘FREE HUGS’.  You’d think Parisians wouldn’t really appreciate that too much.  But she got a few hugs from randomers.  Pretty amusing.

Tuilleries Gardens

Tuilleries Gardens

A sunny statue, Tuilleries Gardens

A sunny statue

The view from Le Meurice Penthouse Suite

There are certainly perks of working in the luxury travel industry.  I was curious to see the famous Le Meurice (Dorchester Collection) – one of the top Paris palace hotels.  And so we were given a guided tour by ‘Guillaume’.  I found some of the rooms a bit stuffy and dowdy, but the main lobby and their English-style bar very comfortable and cool.  But the highlight by far was the terrace of the Penthouse Suite which we were lucky to see.  The views of Paris were the best I had ever seen.  So good it gave me goosebumps.  I still think they should make the terrace a restaurant, there wouldn’t be a restaurant in town that would beat that view (plus they have a 3* Michelin cook).

View Meurice with Dad

View Meurice with Dad

The view of Paris

The view of Paris

Brunch at Raffles The Royal Monceau

Such a cool hotel!  Interior designer and architect Philip Starck has cleverly thought out the ‘look’ behind this hotel.  Its quirky and fun but retains the highest standard of luxury.  Some may think it a bit OTT, but I loved it.  Best bit was their main restaurant and bar.  The buffet offers everything you want.  The puddings are all made by Pierre Herme.  Enough said.   Go there as a treat because it does not come cheap.

Raffles Royal Monceau staircase

Raffles Royal Monceau staircase

Raffles Royal Monceau

Raffles Royal Monceau

Stumbling across hidden gems

With a city like Paris you are bound to stumble across new places/streets/buildings which make you stand still and think ‘wow, how did I not know about this?’.  One of those places was Rue des Barres, on the edge of the Marais/Hotel de Ville, close to the Seine.  On a sunny Sunday afternoon it was totally rammed with everyone sitting outside, and I got the feeling this was not one of those tourist traps.  Beautiful views of St. Gervais-et-St.-Protais Church and very peaceful as it is set back form the main road.  The restaurant/’cafe du thé’ which looked most appealing was l’Ebouillante, with a reasonably priced menu and a bright terrace.

Lunch in the sun, Paris

Lunch in the sun


L'Ebouillante, Paris



Finding a cool Book Shop

Shakespeare & Company is the cutest bookshop you will ever come across.   Right opposite the Notre Dame, on the river Seine, you will find this small, higgledy piggledy book shop, first opened in 1919.  It’s friendly and welcoming. I love the fact that the staff there put their own reviews on their favourite books.  Sadly it has become a victim of its own success – it was so overcrowded when we went that I struggled to walk around.  This may have been because it was a Saturday afternoon but I think also simply because it is so famous and everyone wants to have a  look.  They also do a few cool literary events in the shop every month.

Shakespeare & Company, Paris

Shakespeare & Company, Paris

La Biche au Bois

45 Avenue Ledru-Rollin


Metro: La Bastille or Ledru-Rollin


L’Ange 20

6 Rue Geofrroy L’Angevin

Metro: Rambuteau


Raffles Le Royal Monceau

37 Avenue Hoche

Metro: Champs Elysees
Le Meurice, Dorchester Collection

228 Rue de Rivoli

Metro: Tuilleries or Louvre



7, Rue du Tresor, 75004 Paris

Metro: St Paul


Shakespeare & Company

37 Rue de la Bûcherie, 75005 Paris

Metro: Notre Dame


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