Paris: The Girlie Weekend GuideBy Lara Messer
“When good Americans die, they go to Paris.” – Oscar Wilde
Paris has a fantastic amount to offer the foodie, cultural traveller – here’s 7 places you simply must visit on your next visit to the romantic capital of the world:
1. For the Perfect Coffee: Boot Café
It’s well-known that Paris is behind with its coffee scene, with only a handful of cafes serving artisan coffees to satisfy our spoilt-for-choice British palettes. Boot cafe may be the smallest cafe in Paris, but is one of the most inspirational spots to visit. Situated in the hip and trendy Marais area, Boot offers top-notch coffee and delicious cakes, served to you by an incredibly talented barista. There are only a few seats in Boot, but grabbing a take-away cup (stamped with a boot) and wandering through the streets of the Marais is the perfect way to spend a morning.
19 Rue du Pont aux Choux
2. For Incredible Shopping: Merci
Bringing together the elite of fashion, design and chic homewares – Merci should be at the top of your hit list. Merci plays host to all our life-needs. And also those needs we didn’t even know we had. Everything from new-designer couture, glam gardening tools, luggage, stationary and art installations can be found hidden in itss many layers. I found myself dizzy with excitement and loading up my basket immediately. It was a wet day and it was the ideal place to take refuge, splurge and fall into a frenzy over liberty print luggage or hand-drawn hipster maps of Paris.
With floors and floors of things to see and fuss over, it’s only natural that you will be in need of a refreshment. Merci have thought of it all: after a few hours of shopping (trust me, it will be hours), settle down in the Merci cafes with a cold beer or tea. Or pop yourself down in the Canteen for a healthy, post-shopping lunch.
Note: Remember your baggage allowance as you let yourself loose in a world of independent designs and sleek fashion. It’s difficult to come out empty handed.
111 Boulevard Beaumarchais
3. For a Beer: Café Noir
When wandering the streets of Paris and taking in all its breathtaking views, you will be in need of a large, relaxing drink. Visit Cafe Noir, enjoy a beer (or three) and people watch from it’s open-window seating. The staff are friendly and help you find your tipple of choice from their cool and eclectic booze shelf.
15 Rue Saint-Blaise
4. For Culture: Galerie de Paléontologie et D’anatomie Comparée
For a cultured afternoon, and just a tad haunting, stop by the Palaeontology Museum. It’s palatial set up is breath-taking and it’s walls are crawling with history. Spread out over three floors, find yourself enthralled by unknown beasts and the evolution of the world. Photography is encouraged in this iconic place, so be sure to take that obligatory selfie with something scary.
€8 for adults. Free for students and children.
2 Rue Buffon
5. For Girlie Gadgets: Fleux
Just when you thought your bank balance couldn’t handle anymore, you stumble upon the cluster of shops known as Fleux. Laden with designer homewares and kitchen gadgets galore, it’s a dazzling feast for the eyes. It has a fun mix of quirky and contemporary, vintage and retro, industrial and shabby. With garden gnomes giving the finger to all who approach them, to elegant armchairs and old factory lighting. There’s something for every home, all over the world. Unique bits and bobs that would be admired by many if you brought them home. For cat lovers, there is a shop cat. Yes.
39+52 Rue Ste Croix de la Bretonnerie
6. For Beauty: Jardin des Plantes
If you catch Paris during a sunny spell, a beautiful way to spend an afternoon is at the Jardin des Plantes. Prepare a picnic of local cheeses and breads – because, really, it’s what you should eat in paris – and stroll through it’s depths for hours. For €2, visit the glass houses and for €15 you can get a day pass to the zoo! A zoo, in the heart of Paris, who knew.
57 Rue Cuvier
7. For Cake: Loustic Café
Another champion of delicious coffee, Loustic Cafe is a fellow gem of the Marais area. The coffee is well-rounded, well-made and is accompanied nicely by some sweet treats. Have some lunch too with their assemblage of quiche, tarts or hearty filled sandwiches. We sat for a while in their squishy arm chairs, reading glossy magazines and sipping our coffees. It’s chilled out, honest and a little shabby (in the best possible way).
40 Rue Chapon