So my best friend Diego and I went to Paris recently…
Paris is all about getting your culture and romance in. So the best things to do are checking out art exhibitions, going to the movies, eating delicious food, strolling through the skinny streets, and chasing Jarvis Cocker down train platforms. (Just kidding, I only did that ONCE.) If you’re all alone, you should read some melancholy French literature and cross bridges in the moonlight without throwing yourself into the Seine.
Another fantastic Parisian activities is le picnic. First, buy a baguette, some Brie, fresh fruit, a bottle of wine, and whatever else you fancy. Then head to the Père-Lachaise Cemetery (the first place I ever got drunk, how Romantic) or a grassy knoll, or if the weather is wet, enjoy your meal on the bed in your hotel room. If you’ve packed your ipod and speakers, put on some Serge Gainsbourg (Histoire de Melody Nelson) or Bridgitte Bardot (B.B.) to enhance your dining experience.
SLEEP: Good inexpensive hotels: Style Hotel, very cheap and cozy and quiet, though not the best location. 8, Rue Ganneron 75018 , 33 (0) 1 45 22 37 59. Or Hotel Tiquetonne, ace location near les Halles. 6, Rue Tiquetonne, 75002, 33 (0) 1 42 36 94 58
ART: Check out the view from the Centre Pompidou, the Delacroix paintings in the Louvre, the 60s floor of the Musée des Art Décoratifs (the design museum near the Louvre) and whatever looks good in Pariscope.
EAT: Go to Ladurée on the Champs Elysées (metro stop is Georges V) or in Saint Germaine. Buy a delicious pastry called La Religieuse and some macarons. If there’s someone you adore buy him or her a box of macarons-just make sure your love receives the gift within 2 or 3 days. Have French Onion soup at Le Pied au Couchon. Enjoy a croque monsieur if you’re not a vegetarian. Try a gallette. And Le Frommage! The Marais is full of tasty little restaurants too. Obviously, there are a million scrumptious places to go in Paris but I couldn’t afford to go on a gourmet tour on my most recent trip….
SHOP: You’ve surely heard it before, but check out Colette, and the vintage store on Rue Tiquetonne, around the corner from Rue Montmartre, by the Les Halles metro. The flea markets (Marché aux Puces) are hit or miss but I bought an old, faintly rusted dagger for two euros. Perfect for nestling between the antlers on my windowsill!
READ: Trax is a techno/electro magazine that also has listings of club nights in the back, so pick it up if you plan on going out, even if you can’t read French. Paris Vogue of course…Pariscope is like a low-budget Time Out, it has most listings for art exhibits and movies. Feeling moody? Bring some Camus or Sartre. (p.s. Les Jeux Sont Faits was the book that made me decide to learn French.)
EAT: Worst café I’ve ever been to: Café Habana in Place de Cliché (not to be confused with my favourite Cuban joint in New York.)
GOING OUT: Le Night Life in Paris is expensive and not as cool as London or New York or Berlin. Here are your options: private party at some amazing flat (hard to find), major DJ at a club like the Rex , get glam at PONYSTEP, go to the movies (Paris has the best selection of films from every era all the time), or go out for a drink. Have a mulled wine at a café in Abbesses.
A few things to pack; a bottle opener, a scarf, ipod and speakers or a violin (one time, when I was seventeen, I went to Paris with two fantastic people named Aaron and Dyresha, and they both played the violin and we had a magical time lounging on the balcony of our ancient hotel room with martinis and songs…) or a guitar, a sketchbook and charcoals, a camera, an umbrella, earplugs if you’re a light sleeper, and some chic warm clothes. Read The Beat Hotel by Barry Miles before you go, and the poem 'Ne Me Quitte Pas' by Jacques Brel (though he's actually Belgian.)
And a few youtube links for you:
And a few movies you can rent-feel free to add to this list: Jules et Jim, Amelie, The Dreamers and Paris Je T’aime and Les Amants Reguliers.