Paris is one of those cities with endless opportunity and a new discovery around each and every corner. There are things to do for people of all tastes, but don’t just take my word for it. Today I’ve decided to share a very special guest post that will offer you a glimpse at Paris from another perspective…and add to your list of things to see when you get there!
Your aching feet have queued for the Eiffel Tower. They’ve queued so you can crane at a postage stamp-sized Mona Lisa. They’ve pounded the Champs Elysees and through the throngs at Collette and up into the cupola of the Sacre Coeur.
It’s time to give them a rest. Step off the tourist trail and make some time to indulge yourself like a local. Here are four ways we know how…
1. Macarons at Pierre Herme
Photo credit: Canon S3 IS in Paris, France
If Laudree’s the old-school macaron house, Pierre Herme’s the young upstart, turning the traditional macaron world on its head when it opened 1996 in with trend-settingly odd flavour combos like wasabi and grapefruit. Now, the more obscure your macaron ingredient mash-ups, the better – Pierre Herme started all that. Call in to one of the seven stores around Paris for a sweet pick-me-up – the newest shop’s a skip and a jump from the Opera Garnier.
39 avenue de l’Opéra
2. Cocktails at le Fumoir
Photo credit: daveyll
You’d expect a bar-brasserie next to the Louvre to be the worst combination of what’s on offer in tourist-heavy areas: overpriced, with unexceptional food and décor. This isn’t the case at le Fumoir. With an oak bar, Chesterfield sofas and a mean line in Martinis, the look’s distinctly clubby and old-Parisian, tempered by a young professional clientele. Watch the world go by from over the rim of your cocktail tumbler, then soak up the alcohol with bites from the appetiser menu – le Fumoir’s signature herring marinated in sherry goes down a treat.
6 rue de l’Amiral de Coligny
3. A film at La Pagode
Photo credit: Dorenrof Claudius **PARIS**
Stuck out on the quieter side of the Left Bank ten minutes from les Invalides, La Pagode’s worth a visit just for its Eastern fairy tale-style architecture and Japanese garden. Built in 1896 by the owner of Bon Marche as a ballroom for his wife, this extraordinary building has been used as a cinema-house since the 1940s, avoiding demolition in the 70s after a campaign from locals. You can take tea in the garden in summer, then catch art-house and independent film offerings in antique auditorium inside. A visual treat, in every sense.
57 rue de Babylone, 7e, Invalides
4. Pampering at Nuad Thaï Sabaï
This family-owned Thai spa has pampered many a French celeb, so follow in their footsteps and enter Nuad Thaï Sabaï’s temple of wellbeing – your cares will be massaged away. Sitting on the Left Bank between la Tour D’Argent and the Arab World Institute, the spa offers treatments in a network of stone chambers connected by tunnels – with generous use of swagged curtains, statues and lantern-light to complete the dreamy atmosphere. As well as a range of Thai massages, you can also get a full body scrub or take a reflexology session.
3 Quai de la Tournelle
Written by Isabel Clift of AnyTrip.com, the budget travel specialists. If you want to visit Paris yourself, check out AnyTrip’s selection of cheap hotels in Paris or like us on Facebook for a chance to win a trip to the City of Light (to 30th September 2011).