Lastly, we chose France because Gill is married to a French guy, and has a big French family that made us feel welcome during our time in Paris.
Here are few insider secrets for your short trip to Paris. Squeeze a few of these activities into your itinerary and you will feel as Parisian as can be.
In either St Germain or the Marais
South Pigalle. Once a hotel for prostitutes, this hotel is now full of hip everything – people, music, food and art.
It’s built within the façade of a 17th-century former boulangerie. The interiors are by Christian Lacroix – each room just the right side of kitsch.
There are grocery stores and
A bistro in the Marais that is decorated with wooden seats from the old Metro stations.
Our friend owns this chain of restaurants and there is nothing quite like it anywhere in the world. The name translates to ‘Mummy’s Boys’ and the fare is exactly the type of food a mummy would make (in Paris of course). Think deep fried Babybel Cheese and Cordon Bleu.
Rue de Charonne
Behind the busy Bastille. Find independent labels sharing the sidewalk with well-loved French names such as Isabel Marant and Repetto.
Canal St Martin
Not well known for it’s shopping but if you stick to Rue de Marseille and Rue Beaurepaire you will find hip young brands and concept boutiques that you won’t find anywhere else in Paris. You can also find a few end-of-season outlets for Sandro and Maje which is always a bonus.
Not the touristy Marias. Navigate to Rue Charlot and make your way through the web of tiny streets behind Rue de Bretagne. You will find up and coming French designers, concept boutiques for some of the well known designers – and you must visit the Merci Concept store.
In the morning – expect French Café tunes, kitsch boutiques and offbeat art galleries – and the view from the Sacre Coeur steps is breathtaking.
Jardin de Luxembourg
Take a book, or a friend, and a coffee. Sit down and do nothing. It’s magical.
These are the pedestrian roads along the river Seine. Our favourite spot is outside of the Musee d’Orsay, open a bottle of wine and enjoy the river away from the noisy streets.
In the area around the Grands Boulevards. Our favourite, Passage du Grand-Cerf, a 12-metre-high structure made of metal and wrought iron, is one of the most spectacular arcades in Paris.