Paris | City Break | My Swft City

Paris

 

The timeless French capital offers unrivalled opportunity for people watching, architectural wonder and no-filter conversation over the world’s best cuisine. Smaller than London but not as well connected, first-timers should stay somewhere central and close to the must-sees (1st, 8th or 9th arrondissement), whereas returning visitors might want a more residential area so they can live like a local.
 
The Louvre will be on most first timer hit lists, along with its pyramid and the Jardin des Tuileries. While in the area, stop at Angelina for a hot chocolate and a “Mont Blanc” to go. Likewise the Arc de Triomphe, the view from the top of which is quite spectacular, although the Champs-Elysées avenue is now dominated by international brands and chains, and is often packed with tourists. For stunning scenery and to tick off most of the major landmarks in one sitting, take a stroll along the Seine from the Eiffel Tower towards île Saint-Louis. If it’s raining, the best quick view of the Eiffel Tower is from across the Seine, at Trocadéro (métro Trocadéro).
 
A great way to pass the day is to wander around Le Marais (métro Saint-Paul) and its beautiful, narrow streets. Rue des Rosiers is the heart of the Jewish quarter and home to the best falafels and shawarmas (perfect on-the-go lunch). Meanwhile, head to South Pigalle (SoPi) to hang out with the cool kids. The former red light district, once known for its sex shops and prostitutes, is now bustling with traditional bistros, trendy hotels and independent shops. On Sunday mornings, walk down rue des Martyrs – a typical Parisian street with countless small shops and restaurants. Gentrification is already under way, so make sure to head there before it’s too late. And, of course, Montmarte is only a short walk away.
 
While there, head across the river to Saint-Germain-des-Près and Café de Flore or Les Deux Magots, two cult cafés that are great for a pit stop (une bière et un jambon-beurre, s'il vous plaît) before strolling down the meandering streets of the Latin quarter.
 
Paris is the world’s fashion as well as gastronomic capital, so for a taste of Parisian luxury, head to Le Bon Marché, a quintessentially “Rive Gauche” department store much less crowded than the Galeries Lafayette.
 

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