The day begins with croissants, bien sûr. The flakiest are found at Du Pain et des Idées in the 10th arrondissement (closed weekends). Make sure to try their famous ‘escargot’ Danish, a devilishly sweet pastry – don’t miss out on the chocolate with pistachio, and praline. For hearty farm-to-table fare, nearby brunch favourite Holybelly, steps from the arty Canal Saint-Martin, is the spot. The latest fashion-forward neighbourhood is the North Marais, home to French labels Barbara Bui, Isabel Marant and Sonia Rykiel. Here you’ll discover the recently-expanded mansion house, home to the Picasso Museum, showcasing the life and work of the Spanish master with a passionate affinity for France. Nearby, Place des Vosges is an elegant historic square, once called Place Royale. Nineteenth-century writer Victor Hugo’s home, now a museum, is hidden behind these stone façades. Carette, one of Paris’s most refined tea salons, sits beneath the regal arches, a perfect stop for lunch or a pastry before continuing to explore the Marais. To delve deeper into the history of Paris, visit the area’s Carnavalet Museum.
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One of the most picturesque spots in the city is Ile Saint-Louis. Overlooking this island is French brasserie Chez Julien, once a 19th-century boulangerie, now an elegant eatery. Enjoy a late lunch on the open-air terrace, before stopping at the original French ice-cream shop Berthillon. On Ile de la Cité, the second of Paris’s islands, you’ll encounter 854-yearold medieval treasure Notre-Dame Cathedral. Climbing the 387 steps to the top of the south tower is rewarded with breathtaking views of the city and a few picture-perfect gargoyles. Steps away, the blockbuster Louvre Museum holds the world’s largest art collection, surrounded by the well-manicured Tuileries Gardens where you’ll be in good company with Rodin and Giacometti, in sculpture form that is. A few noteworthy dining addresses close by in the Palais Royal neighbourhood are Chef Yannick Lahopgnou’s latest restaurant, Zébulon where he concocts exotic flavour combinations, and Verjus, boasting a seasonal tasting menu and cosy wine bar. For a taste of luxury shopping, head to Rue Saint-Honoré where iconic French brands including Hermès, Yves Saint Laurent and Goyard line this fashionable street. Stop by concept store Colette, to get up to date with all the latest fashion trends. And don’t miss nearby Place Vendôme, which ranks among Paris’s most elegant squares. To indulge your senses, head to the recently-opened Grand Musée du Parfum (perfume museum; see our feature in this issue) set in a 19th-century mansion. Another spectacular sight is the Musée d’Orsay. Formerly a train station built in 1900, this Left-Bank museum houses a rich of collection of works from the Impressionist, Post-Impressionist and Art Nouveau movements.
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Looking up, you’ll catch a glimpse of the iconic Eiffel Tower, erected for the 1889 World Expo. For an unforgettable experience and stellar views from inside the tower, dine on contemporary French cuisine at Le Jules Verne. End your day in the Left Bank’s most charming neighbourhood, Saint-Germain-des-Prés. Over an evening apéro, enjoy the Parisian pastime of people-watching at some of Paris’s oldest haunts. Café de Flore and Les Deux Magots are where the literary elite would often congregate, Hemingway included. Here you can experience 3-Michelin-starred Chef Guy Savoy’s cuisine at his namesake restaurant set within the Monnaie de Paris (Paris Mint). You’ll quickly understand why he is considered one of the best chefs in the world, and why he’s outwardly proud to call Paris his home.
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