Despite the cliches describing Paris as ‘the city of light’ or ‘the city of romance’, I don’t think Paris can be described in a hurried phrase, paragraph or post. I am therefore not going to attempt to fully describe it, though I will share some of my Parisian food experiences with you.
Here are some of my food highlights:
A spontaneous breakfast
Rob and I were walking down from Dolphine towards the Eiffel Tower on a clear, crisp Saturday morning. We walked past a typically French ‘Fromager’ (cheese shop) and a cute bakery, far removed from the La Durees of this world. Tummies rumbling, we went in and ordered ‘deux croissants et cafés’, to take away. Maybe it was because I was hungry or maybe because I was excited about the prospect of a full weekend in Paris ahead of me, but that simple, warm butter croissant en route to the sights of Paris was a breakfast I will never forget.
The cheese shop
Lunch in the Tuilleries Gardens
Paris is already quite cold in late November. The idea of lunch in the park may not have appealed to everyone. But, after a long walk from the Tour d’Eiffel, past Musee D’Orsay and around the Louvre, a rest on a park bench sounded ideal. We were put off by the high prices of the Rue du Rivoli and, while tempted by Café Marley (see EAT), decided this time to settle with a baguette from a simple stand. I love the fact that there is an abundance of benches and chairs dotted around the Tuilleries Gardens. Sitting on a cold bench with a fresh baguette in hand, overlooking the Place du Concorde to our right, the Seine in the distance and the gardens and the Louvre to our left was a lovely way to take a breather before heading towards the Orangerie for more artistic Parisian delights.
Lunch with a view
A unique dinner
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.
Our dinner started with some slap-stick humour when Rob had a real Pretty Woman experience, having chosen Escargots (snails) as a starter. They arrived, six innocent little snails in a delightful garlic butter sauce. But like Julia Robert’s Vivian, Rob struggled to get the slippery delicacies out of their shells and so one made a nifty escape. It wasn’t a pretty sight and Rob ended up splattered by garlic sauce, but it made us roar with laughter. Our neighbours, an Asian-French couple, joined in. Especially when one of them faced the same challenge. An obviously more experienced escargot eater on their other side had to step in and show her the easiest way to extract the snails. The lamb steak was much easier to eat…
En fin, Chartier’s food may not be Michelin starred, but nor are the prices, and the experience was so much better than that. Don’t miss it…
Travel to Paris
Euro star train
Price: From £66 return (if travel off-peak)
On average between £80-£100 return
From where: Takes you straight from Kings Cross St Pancreas, London to Gare du Nord, Paris
Tip: If 25 or under, don’t forget to tick that box on the website when booking. Will give you better discount
Warning: Book early to avoid disappointment. Sunday evening return trains get booked up quickly.
From London Luton to Paris Charles de Gaulle
Price: From £70 – £120/30 (summer more expensive, though August cheaper than July)
Air France and British Airways
From City Airport and London Heathrow to Paris Orly
Price: On average minimum 110 pounds return if booked in advance
From the airports to the City Centre:
From Paris Orly to Central Paris:
Rail link between Paris (Denfert-Rochereau, Saint-Michel-Notre-Dame, Gare du Nord) and Paris-Orly
NB A free Orlyval shuttle connects the stations with the airport terminals.
Fréquency: Every 20 minutes.
Journey time: 25 minutes
From or to Paris Notre Dame: €38/€45 Sunday/holidays
From Paris CDG to Central Paris
Les Cars Air France: Line 2, 3 or 4 (coach)
Single: €15 (pay on the bus, so have cash)
Frequency: 20-40 mins depending on line
Journey time: approx 45 mins
Three stops in central Paris: Arc de Triomphe, Gare de Lyon and Montparnasse
Verdict: Clean, pleasant and comfortable.
Roissybus (Paris city bus)
From CDG Airport Terminals 1, 2 or 3 to central Paris location of Opéra (corner of rue Scribe & rue Auber)
Journey Time: 45 mins – 1 hr
Buy tickets from: Bus driver or within the glass enclosed bus stop via the vending machine or from the ticket window
Cheapest (and a little grittier)
Take the RER B suburban city train
From Roissy – Charles de Gaulle Airport. Terminal 2 or 3 (take shuttle there if arrive at terminal 1)
Arrive: Gare du Nord, Chatelet les Halles, Notre Dame, Luxembourgh, Port Royal
Buy ‘Billet Ile-de-France’ from blue vending machines
Costs: €9.10 single
Journey time: 30 mins
From or to Paris centre: €40 – €50
For further information see:
Travel within Paris:
The Metro can be a little run-down and dirty, however they run frequently and efficiently and are a
good way to travel from place to place in Paris.
Price: 1 ticket: €1.70 / 10 tickets: €12
Paris Visite Pass
If you’re going to be travelling around Paris a lot, consider the Paris Visite Pass.
This gives you unlimited travel on all Metros, buses etc and discounts on certain attractions such as
Seine River Cruises and the Arc Du Triomphe
Prices: 1 day, zone 1-3: €9
2 days, zone 1-3: €14.70
Buy: at one of the Metro stands. Don’t buy from the automatic ticket machines
Rent a bike: Velib
After that: €4 every half hour
Fantastic way to see the city, and cycle distances which are perhaps to far to walk. Same concept as
the Boris bike.
How it works: no need to book, just go to a Velib stand and follow the instructions on the machines.
Plenty of bike stands all around the city. Visit their website to research specific stand locations.
Best way to take in as much of the city as possible, and make sure you don’t miss any gems.
Accommodation in Paris is expensive. City Turtle recommends renting an apartment from AirBnB or House Trip. If you must stay in a hotel and want something affordable, perhaps consider the following:
Hotel des Arts €
With perfect location in the Montmartre, within easy reach of the Sacre Couer and Place du Terte and surrounded by fun bars and restaurants, this is a good place for a very good price. Rooms are small but clean and comfortable. Ask for Room 42, which has a little balcony.
Hotel Opera Vivaldi €€
Great location, close to the Opera, Louvre etc. Tiny rooms and bathrooms but clean. Friendly staff. Breakfast not included in the price. It’s no 5 star hotel but its good value for your money, considering your location and that you are in Paris.
Mama Shelter Paris €€
109 rue de Bagnolet, Paris 75020
Metro: Porte de Bagnolet, Alexandre Dumas or Maraichers
Price: from 100 euros for a double (standard room)
This old multiple storey car park has been transformed into a quirky design hotel, and, while the location is not great, there are plenty of metro stations near by to take you to ‘centre ville’. The cheapest rooms, called ‘Mama’, are small and a little on the dark side but immaculate and comfortable. Fitted out with IMacs and lovely Kiehls products, you’ll find everything you need here and with more than a hint of luxury. The general interior screams cool (thank you Philippe Starck), and the bar and restaurant do not disappoint. Keep an eye out for deals on the internet for this one.
Hotel du 7e Art €€
Brilliantly located in the Marais and close to the Notredame and the Seine, this old cinema has 23 charming, unique rooms. The cinema theme has stuck; with fun old movie posters adorning the walls and with the black carpets still in place. Some of the rooms are on the small side but remember this is Paris, and this is definitely very good value for money. There’s air-conditioning for the hot summer months.
The city with perhaps the most recognisable sights world-wide? Due to the immense volume of sights to see in Paris, I have picked my favourites. I’ve listed other must-sees at the end.
Champ de Mars Metro: Trocadero or Ecole Militairs or Champ de Mars
Prices: Elevator to 2nd Level: €8.20, Top Level: €13.40
Price for taking the stairs to the 2nd level: €4.70
ore than just an impressive mark on the Parisian skyline, this truly is the symbol of Paris. La Grande Dame en Fer, or the Grand Iron Lady as it is often known, was built in 1889 in order to celebrate the French Revolution in 1789 and to show off the industrial strength of France. Built in only two years and standing 300 metres tall, the very size and magnitude of it is awe-inspiring and cannot be missed.
Tip: Rather than take the lift up to the first level, take the stairs. Queues are much shorter and it’s
cheaper. While all the queues look very long, they move quickly.
Warning: You will have to stand in numerous queues going up and coming down. From level one
onwards, the lift is the only way up and it can get very crowded. The views from the top, especially
at night-time, make it worth it though.
Did you know?
Gustav Eiffel, the architect of this world-famous sight, went on to build the Statue of
Liberty and a student of his Lisbon’s Escalator.
Located in between the Place de la Concorde and the Louvre, these gardens are heavenly to walk through, no matter what season.
There are plenty of benches and chairs dotted around the gardens, to sit and take in the surroundings and the views of Paris.
And, while in the centre of Paris, it’s always nice to be able to escape the traffic, noise and crowds, and have a moment for yourself.
The world-famous Arc de Triompfe
Translated it means the ‘Elyssian fields’ and indeed this principal tourist destination used to be made up of fields and market gardens until the early 17th century. Now a prestigious avenue, it connects the place de Concorde to the Place Charles de Gaulle (and the famous Arc de Triomphe). Lined with expensive designer shops, cinemas and restaurants at its lower end, the prettiest bit is where you can find the Grande Palais and is bordered by greenery.
If you want to avoid the crowds, give this a miss. But if you appreciate history then perhaps it is worth seeing, if only to imagine the Nazi military parade here celebrating the fall of France in June 1940 and the subsequent two parades of the Free French and the American troops in August 1944, after the liberation of the city.
1 Rue de la Legion d’honneur 75007 Paris
Metro: Musee D’Orsay www.musee-orsay.fr
Opening hours: 9.30am-6pm Tue, Wed & Fri-Sun, 9.30am-9.45pm Thu
Price: €9 For 25 and under: €6.50
Musee D’Orsay, a stunning old train station which sits comfortably on the banks of the Seine, is a favourite of
many. It holds France’s national collection of paintings and sculptures, from Impressionist to art nouveau wonders. Most visitors will head straight to the top level to admire the extensive impressionist and post-impressionist collections, and this is where I too became enchanted by the works of the likes of Manet, Degas, van Gogh and Cezanne. Less intimidating than the Louvre, Musee D’Orsay is spacious and light, with towering ceilings and a welcoming atmosphere. Well worth an afternoon.
Warning: Beware of the queues. Peak queuing times are on the weekends and on Tuesdays. Buy online for a small extra fee for access through Door C: http://www.musee-orsay.fr/en/visit/admission/tickets.html
Musee du Louvre
34 Quai du Louvre 75001
Metro: Palais Royale – Musee du Louvre
Entry: €7.50. €5 after 3pm and on Sunday.
Free the first Sunday of the month.
Of course, Le Louvre. One could not go to Paris and miss the Louvre. It can take you days to see the entire museum, which houses a collection of ancient and Western art (including the famous Mona Lisa) worth seeing if you have the time.
But even if you just admire it from the outside, this former royal palace is one of the largest in the world and its size alone, along with its beauty, is astounding.
Tip: Best to avoid the Pyramids entrance on Cour Napolean. Instead go down to the Carousel du Louvre entrances below the Richelieu Wing to avoid queues.
Also, go early.
Jardin des Tuileries, 75001 Paris
Opening times: 9:45am – 5.15pm
Entrance: €7.50 or free if 25 and under (with ID)
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 through the rooms and enjoy the beautiful and varied Impressionist and post-Impressionist works from Cezanne to Picasso.
Centre Pompidou – Cultural Centre
Place Georges Pompidou 75004 Paris
Come here for (modern) art/culture/exhibitions/cinema. Or simply to see this extraordinary building with its novel structure, arguably a representation of ‘modern’ Paris. The architects moved the functional parts of the building, such as the escalators and water pipes, to the outside of the building, so as to free up space on the inside for art and exhibitions.
Tip: the panoramic views of Paris from Restaurant Georges on the 6th level are amazing. Definitely have a drink here.
Metro: Montmarte or Abesse Station
The ‘last village of Paris’, to the north of the centre, is lovely to stroll through. Its charming cobbled streets lead you from the Sacre Couer Basillica (the views make the climb worth-while) to the famous Place de Tertre, the old artist’s Mecca. Where once Picasso used to live, now dozens of artists come and sell over-priced unflattering caricatures or clichéd pictures of Paris. Despite this, there is something special about this place; the contrast to Paris’ grand 8th arrondissement so stark, yet still so very French in its own way. Creperies are on every corner, along with piano bars and more tourist traps and of course, the Moulin Rouge.
Tip: Since many famous artists used to live and work here, like Van Gogh, Picasso, and Modigliani, keep an eye out for interesting wall plaques identifying buildings and cafes as historic. Some are quite fun such as, “Hemmingway once peed in our bathroom…”.
Place des Voges
Rue de Veille du Temple
Metro: Bastille or Saint Paul
Spreading across the 3rd and 4th arrondissements, it is no wonder that from the 13th until the end of the 17th century the Marais was French nobility’s favourite place of residence.
Place du Voges, or the ‘Royal Square’, is a clear reminder of this. Build by King Henry 4th, this true ‘square’ (140 x 140m) made of striking red brick with steep blue slate roofs, is beautiful for its simplicity and understated class.
Rest on a park bench and admire Place du Voges or amble down Rue de Veille du Temple, always bustling with life. On a Saturday it is the heart of the Marais nightlife, on a Sunday people come here to enjoy a gentle brunch and to find some epic bargains in one of the many vintage shops.
Tip: For the vintage-lovers out there, don’t miss Free ‘p’ star, the most famous shop for (cheap) second-hand shopping in Paris.
8 Rue Sainte-Croix de la Bretonnerie. http://www.freepstar.com/
For something off the beaten track
Wander around the streets of Canal St Martin in the east of the city. It’s quite charming. Previously a working-class area, this is quickly becoming a hip place to be. Especially in the summer, locals will head here with picnics to bask in the sun along the canal. Don’t miss Cafe Chez Prune (see DRINK).
- Gare de L’Est (Lines 4 & 7
- République (Lines 3, 5, 8, 9 and 11)
- Goncourt (Line 11)
- Jacques-Bonsergent (Line 5)
* A good walk along the Seine
* Picasso Museum
5, rue de Thorigny, Paris 75003
* Rodin Museum
79 Rue de Varenne 75007 Paris
Paris is of course THE place to shop. I won’t start listing the usual suspects. I will list these three very contrasting places worth going to.
213 rue St Honore
A must-go to cult store. Everything is just so cool, so fashionable, so Paris. Its not just clothes and shoes, its anything really – trendy gadgets, beauty products and almost 100 different types of water bottles..
18th arrondissement, Saturday and Sunday all day.
Huge market. Amazing furniture, antiques, some lovely fashion ‘stalls’. Worth an afternoon pottering around.
19, avenue de Clichy, 75017 Paris
Yes it is in the 17th arrondissement, so a bit of a trek. However, in a city like Paris, where even secondhand shopping is still uber expensive, this place is an exception. Its a little grimy but if you look properly, you’ll find some superb bargains.
Where to SEE:
View Paris See in a larger map
French bakeries are all pretty good, and perfect for a cheap breakfast pick-up. Try your local bakery (usual price for a croissant about 1 euro/1.50), or otherwise here are some of the best (may be pricier):
Pierre Hermé Paris
72 Rue Bonaparte, Saint Germaine de Pres
10, rue Saint Antoine
63 Avenue Bosquet
Around the corner from the Eiffel Tower
Metro: Ecole Militaire
Les Philosophes €€
28 Rue Vieille du Temple 75004 Paris
Tel: 01 48 87 49 64
Metro: St Paul
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 is delicious or, if you prefer
some wine, the Sancerre is only 4 euros a glass.
Le Petit Vendome €
8 Rue Capucines 75002 Paris, France
Tel: 42 61 05 88
Metro: Opera or Pyramides
This place makes it quite clear that Parisians are always happy to stand in line for great food. So
queue up with the Parisian office workers, for this Auvergnat Cafe is the perfect place for a take-
away baguette. Grab one of Le Petit Vendome’s legendary sandwiches (the simple ‘jambon-beurre’,
ham and butter baguette, is to die for) and then wander towards the Tuilleries gardens or take in
Baguette: around 3.80
Warning: closed on weekends
L’as du Fallafel €
34 Rue des Rosiers 75004 PARIS
Tel: 01 48 87 63 60
Metro: Saint Paul
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. Again, the long queues are so worth it and go quicker than you think.
And the reward…to die for. And just for 5 euros.
Le Tire Bouchon €€
9 Rue Norvins
Metro: Anvers or Lamarck-Caulaincourt
A stroll from Place du Tertre
After a walk up to the Sacre Couer and just off the Place de Tertre, this little piano bar (the ‘Wine
Opener’) is one of the many places in Montmartre to sit and enjoy a crepe. Plenty of atmosphere,
the crepes were good and reasonably priced (”Fromage & Epaule’ – ham and cheese: 6.50). Problem
is, as with so many of these cafes, that buying a drink is obligatory and they don’t come cheap (Coca
Cola, Coffee and Wine all 5 euros). This is perhaps not the best creperie in Montmartre, but its quite
fun and cosy none the less.
A beautiful view
Cafe Marley – Splash out
This luxury cafe/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.
93 Rue de Rivoli
Telephone: 1 49 26 06 60
Metro: Palais Royal – Musee du Louvre
A TEA TREAT
La Duree €€€
75 Avenue des Champs-Elysées
The most exquisite tea you will get. Founded in 1862, this cafe/shop/restaurant is expensive of
course, but worth the luxurious experience.
Recommended: the macaroons in any colour you desire
226 Rue de Rivoli 75001 Paris
Only the very 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.
7 rue du Faubourg Montmartre 75009 PARIS
Tel: 01 47 70 86 29
Metro: Grandes Boulevards
Dinner here is an unforgettable Parisian experience. The queues (made of a mixture of tourists and
locals) outside prove its popularity, so do not be put off by them. The atmosphere of this 1890s
dining hall is vibrant, the service is quick and good. Eat very reasonably priced typical French food,
from escargots to steak haché et pommes frites while taking in your surroundings. Dont expect
anything luxe or Michelin starred food. But you will leave smiling, as will your wallet.
2 rue Laplace, 75005 Paris, France
Tel: 01 46 33 68 49
Metro: Cardinal Lemoine
Area: Opera/Latin Quarter
Meat lovers on a budget will make a bee-line to this place. You can tell why it is called ‘the stables’
- it feels like you have stepped back in time upon walking into to this cramped but authentic corner
bistro. You will promptly be handed a glass of sangria on the house as you as you sit down at a
higgledy-piggledy table and ponder over which sauce to choose with your steak (the roquefort was
delicious). Steaks are char-grilled right next to you. Service is fast, and while the owner can seem
a little gruff at first, you will warm to him. In the summer you can sit outside and take in the Latin
Quarter’s bustling vibe, but I’d recommend you go in the winter and soak up the cosy atmosphere
There is a 3 course menu for €17 which is an absolute bargain. The wine is €9.50 for a 75cl karaf.
Booking recommendable but be warned, the owner only really speaks French.
Warning: Avoid the loos to all extent.
Au Petit Fer a Cheval €€
30, rue Vieille du Temple, Paris
Tel: +33 1 42-72-47-47
Metro: St Paul
Known by many as a great little horseshoe-shaped bar in the Marais, Au Petit Fer a Cheval actually
hides a restaurant, which unless you knew about it, you’d miss. So while this is a fun
chilled place to come for a pre-dinner aperitif, there is no need to leave, for you’d do yourself an
injustice. The food is hearty and traditional, with classic French dishes such as duck and lamb. And
it’s very well priced. Don’t expect anything upmarket, but this is a good place to come to mingle with
a young, fun and noisy crowd or simply enjoy a crème brulee and people watch.
Cafe Hugo €€
22, Place des Vosges 75004 Paris
Metro: St Paul
Fantastic setting on one of the most beautiful 17th century squares of Paris. Sit here on their
expansive terrace (heated in the winter) and watch the world go by, while enjoying a simple
sandwich for lunch or lamb chops for dinner. Prices are very reasonable for such an expensive area.
A Kir Royale (champagne and cassis), apt given your royal location, is only 5 euros.
Restaurant Le Coupe Chou – Splash out
9&11, rue de Lanneau 75005 Paris
Tel: 01 46 33 68 69
2 Courses: 26.50 euros – so really, not even that much of a splash out
Tucked away behind a blanket of ivy, this is an ideal place to spend a romantic evening, or celebrate
a special occasion. The food is traditional french at its best and the wine list more than adequate.
The decor is old-school and charming; think fireplaces, heavy red curtains and low ceilings. What
makes people come back time and time again however, is the atmosphere: warm and cosy, with
friendly and helpful service. Prices are on the higher side of mid-budget but worth every cent.
Must tries: the Escargots and the Beef Bourguignon
La Perle €
78 Rue Vieille du Temple 75003 Paris
Metro: St Paul
A Parisian neighbourhood hang-out, famous in the Marais and loved for its mix of people – old,
young, trendy locals, culture-hungry tourists. A place filled with energy, this place transforms itself
from a languid cafe, perfect for a relaxing afternoon drink, to hip-hop-and-happening night time
haunt. On top of that, it’s ultra-cheap for Paris.
Le Baron Rouge €
1, rue Theophile-Roussel
Or get off at Bastille and walk 10 mins max
Le Baron Rouge took me by surprise; so different to any place I had yet encountered in Paris. Slightly
out of the way, but totally worth it. This lively wine bar oozes charm, originality and perhaps
represents down-to-earth France at its best. Don’t expect a seat – the huge barrels of wine clearly
take preference over tables and chairs – but this doesn’t matter. After choosing from the vast
selection of wines available, rest your glass on a barrel, enjoy some saucisson-sec and take in the
great variance of people enjoying their Friday night there. This rustic place is far from prim and
proper, but the service and quick and good and you can even take home 2L of wine in a plastic
container for 6.50.
A decent Bordeaux will set you back 2.50 a glass, a large charcuterie platter to share costs 12 euros.
Chez Prune €€ - Off the beaten track
36,rue Beaurepaire, 75010 Paris
Opening hour: 8am-2am Mon-Sat; 10am-2am Sun
Metro: Jacques Bonsergent
While the Canal St Martin area of Paris used to be a working class neighbourhood, it is slowly
transforming itself into a hip and trendy area. Chez Prune is a pretty seductive place. Sit outside by the canal or enjoy the vibrant atmosphere inside. It is no wonder that it is also popular among the Parisian young
professionals to come and drink in the evening. Go for the meat or cheese platters if you get
hungry, they’re good value for money.
Lochness Tavern €€
11 rue de la Montagne Sainte Geneviève
Metro: Cardinal Lemoine
A bar to perhaps end the night, after a good dinner in the Latin Quarter. Affordable drinks, a range
of board games to choose from (though, unless your French is impeccable, Trivial Pursuit is out).
Play pool for 2 euros a game or, if you’re lucky, enjoy the live music. The Irish bar/club opposite is
open till later and has a dance floor and is popular with the students from the Sorbonne.
Cafe Benjamin €€
53 Rue de Rivoli 75001 Paris
Considering you’re in the 1st arrondissement and around the corner from the Louvre, this typically
French cafe actually has very good value cocktails, but only during Happy Hour (5-8pm). Instead
of being set back €22, share a ‘cocktail for two’ with a friend and you’ll only spend around €5 each.
Bargain. But avoid the food if you can.
Cafe de Flore – splash out
172 Boulevard Saint-Germain 75006 Paris
Renowned historic cafe in the trendy area of Saint-Germain; join ladies of leisure lunching in the sun
and sip champagne cocktails while watching the creme de la creme walk by. Famous writers Jean-
Paul Sartre, Albert Camus and Pablo Picasso used to gather here in their day and discuss literature
and art, making it even centuries on, a very special place to have a drink.
Le Pompon – for a hip night
39, rue des Petites Ecuries, 75010 Paris
Metro: Bonne Nouvelle or Poissonniere
A former synagogue, this is a new hipster place-to-be. Great cocktails at the wood-panelled bar on
the ground floor, with the basement (rather like an NYC speak-easy) being the place to head to hear
DJs do their thing and join good looking Parisians working their moves on the crowded dance floor.
Showcase – for a ‘showy’ night
Sous le pont Alexandre III – Port des Champs-Elysées 75008
Entrance fee: €20
Hidden in the shadows of the stunning Alexandre III bridge, this club is as known for its wonderful
setting as it is for its clubbing potential. Remarkably unpretentious considering the area it is in, this
huge cave-like club (largest dance floor in town) is super fun and the electro music keeps playing till
the early hours.
Warning: get here early or expect to wait for hours or be rejected
Batofar – for the alternative night
Port de la Gare 75013 Paris
This lighthouse boat set off the ‘nightclub on a boat’ trend in Paris. It’s more than an original
place for a club: yes it is slightly grimy, but when will you ever party on the Seine like this
again? The atmosphere is laid back, the dress is casual and while the music is quite
hardcore (the dance floor is massive) there are plenty of places to lounge around with a
Social Club – for an electro-loving night
142, Rue Montmarte, 75002 Paris
Entrance fee: €15. Wednesday and Thursday sometimes free.
Vast, popular basement club, with good electronic music, a vibrant atmosphere and often famous
DJs performing. Always check online for events before going, you may have to pre-book to avoid
disappointment. Drinks are pretty normal for Paris, ranging from 7-10 euros. There is a smoking
area inside. Its open till 6am on the weekends. Buy your tickets online (click here
) to avoid long queues or not getting in.
*The prices are a guideline and are subject to availability and change.