Paris Travel Guide.

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This travel guide – in all its quintessential Haussman glory – has been a year in the making, if not more.

There was always one more thing to add, half a dozen things I’ve forgotten to share, or one more trip to make before I could really feel ready to share my personal take on Paris. My laptop crashed three times today finishing this off. So those of you who have emailed me countless times, I’m sorry to have kept you waiting this long! As you know, I do nothing by halves but I hope the wait was somewhat worth it as you read on. Having said that, this guide – as with all my other ones – is by no means definitive. It’s essentially based on my own personal recommendations as well as those of others. It’s a bit less touristy than other itineraries (you’ll notice I’ve left out obligatory must-sees like Notre-Dame) so it’s best to take what you’d like from it and add to your other research.

Lastly, I can’t sign off on this without thanking Hannah (who’s earliest memory of Paris probably coincided with the same time she could pick up a book), Alex (who has just finished up a 6 month exchange in Paris), and Grace (who threw caution to the wind, left everything behind, and spent a year immersing herself in Paris) for graciously and selflessly sharing their own tips and itineraries with me without even me having to ask (or beg!). I hope with this guide I’m paying it forward and sharing a random act of kindness with you all, as they have done with me. Enjoy.

SEE

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Best view of the Eiffel Tower

Champ de Mars – this gets you to the base of the Eiffel. 2 Allée Adrienne Lecouvreur, 75007.

Trocadéro – a large square that overlooks the Seine, opposite the Eiffel Tower. Metro: Trocadéro

Avenue des Camoens – where Abdu’l-Baha delivered many speeches and also a really photogenic spot!

Rooftop of Galeries Lafayette – it’s free and a good resting spot from all the shopping. 40 Boulevard Haussmann, 75009.

Arc de Triomphe – buy a ticket to climb the 284 spiral steps to the top. There’s no elevator and you’d probably need to be reasonably fit, but the view alone will be worth the trek, especially as you can stay for as long you like. Place Charles de Gaulle, 75008.

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Museums

Palais de Tokyo. 13 Avenue du Président Wilson, 75116

Musée de la Vie romantique. 16 rue Chaptal, 9e (metro: Blanche)

Musée du Louvre (metro: Palais Royal – Musée du Louvre)

Centre Pompidou. Place Georges-Pompidou, 75004

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Gardens & beautiful open spaces

Jardin des Tuileries. 113 Rue de Rivoli, 75001

Jardin du Luxembourg. 6e Arrondissement, 75006

Jardin du Palais Royal. 6 rue de Montpensier, 75001

Place des Vosges. Place des Vosges, 75004

Parc Monceau. 35 Boulevard de Courcelles, 75008

Palace of Versailles – this one’s best done as a day trip. Place d’Armes, 78000

Monet’s Gardens – Giverny. If you’re a fan of Impressionism and, in particular, beautiful French gardens, a visit to Claude Monet’s house and garden is a must. It’s a 45 minute train ride out of Paris. From the train station, you can either catch a bus or ride a bike to the gardens (you can rent them cheaply from the corner shop opposite the station entrance/exit, and along a good proportion of the route, there are safe, dedicated bike paths). My friends and I cycled – it’s a roughly 20-30 mins ride depending on how fast you can peddle!

Walk along the Seine at sunset – one of my favourite things to do is exploring Paris on foot and seeing all the bridges and the architecture bathed in the soft afternoon glow. I love taking my Instax with me and documenting the afternoon with all the sights along the way. Remember to wear comfy walking shoes – it’s all cobblestones along most of the route! I particularly love starting from the Eiffel Tower to just past Notre Dame. If you’re not into walking, I also recommend hopping onto a ferry (I think there’s a few that dock in on the left bank, near St Germain way). It goes all the way from the 1st to the Eiffel Tower. You don’t usually have to book tickets in advance as the boats and ticket booths run all day.

 

EAT/DRINK

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Coffee:

Telescope – hands down, best coffee I’ve had in Paris. 5 Rue Villedo, 75001

Recommended:

Maison Kitsuné

Ten Belles

Cafe Coutume – they roast their own beans here and is Hannah’s favourite!

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Patisseries/Boulangeries/Sweets:

Rosa Kiwi – frozen yoghurt! Quite similar to Pink Berry. Rue Mouffetard is also one of my favourite streets to stroll in Paris. 4 Rue Mouffetard, 75005

Rose Bakery – this goes without saying but you cannot leave without having their carrot cake. This English-style cafe is dotted around Paris – 46 rue des Martyrs or at Le Bon Marché (which is the most spacious) or in the Marais (30 rue Debelleyme 75003). They have really delicious, vegetarian options, too, which is a nice change from all the meat, cheese and decadent cream sauces!

Plan B – If you happen to drop into Rose Bakery on rue Debelleyme, it’s worth popping into the little organic juicery and canteen next door for a quick pick-me-up. Claudia, who runs it, previously worked at Candelaria (so it must be good). I ordered the most refreshing freshly squeezed organic orange juice with a French tart/quiche to go. 32 rue Debelleyme 75003.

Les Marquis de Ladurée – Ladurée’s newest venture, entirely dedicated to chocolate. 14 rue Castiglione 75001

Du Pain et des Idées Kristy says the fig tart is AMAZING. 34 Rue Yves Toudic, 75010

Pierre Hermé – you haven’t done Paris if you haven’t done Pierre Hermé. 72 Rue Bonaparte, 75006

Recommended

Patisserie Ciel

Poliane (famed sourdough)

Patisserie des Reves (a hop, skip and jump from Trocadéro. Hannah says it’s like Zumbo on crack).

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Room with a view:

Le Café Marly. People watching at the Louvre. 93 Rue de Rivoli, 75001

Top of Pompidou – Georges. Amazing at dusk. Place Georges-Pompidou, 75004

Le Ciel de Paris. Tour Maine Montparnasse, 33 avenue du Maine 75015

 

Drinks (I don’t drink much so these are Alex/Hannah’s recommendations!):

Hotel Costes. 239-241 Rue Saint-Honoré, 75001

Le Prescription Cocktail Club. 23 rue Mazarine, 75006

Club Silencio. David Lynch’s boutique nightclub in Paris. Make sure you go before midnight to avoid hefty fees. 142 Rue Montmartre, 75002

Bar du Marche. Open til super late. 75 Rue de Seine, 75006

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Restaurants/Cafes:

Café de Flore. For Caesar salad and people watching, obviously. 172 Boulevard Saint-Germain, 75006.

Crêperie Brocéliande. Cute place in the middle of Montmartre with the most delightful, highly coveted crepes! Be prepared to queue a little bit. 15 Rue des 3 Frères, 75018

Café des Deux Moulins. Obviously a bit touristy due to Amélie but surprisingly really good value for money. Grab the breakfast set here. 15 Rue Lepic, 75018

Bob’s Kitchen. A bit pricey but the smoothies and juices live up to the hype. Great pitstop whilst exploring Canal St Martin. 74 Rue des Gravilliers, 75003

Claus. Breakfast/brunch here is a must (they open from 10am). Christian Louboutin’s flagship store is literally across the road too. 14 Rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau, 75001

Merci Café. My favourite place in Paris. 111 Boulevard Beaumarchais 75003

Chez Omar. Sofia Coppola eats here and so does Clemence Poesy apparently. Amazing and well-priced Moroccan food (really generous portions!) but the longest queue you’ll ever see in Paris. 47 Rue de Bretagne, 75003

La Maison Mère. Best fried chicken. Ever. Thanks, Alex! 4 Rue de Navarin, 75009

La Rughetta. Went here with friends (we were all staying in Montmartre) and enjoyed the most delicious Italian food with the most gracious, personable service. 41 Rue Lepic, 75018.

Chez Hannah. Falafel, falafel, falafel. Cheap and cheerful food. Muji is nearby and so is a host of other amazing shopping in the Marais. 54 Rue des Rosiers, 75004

L’Ardoise. We chanced upon this as it was conveniently located next to our hotel in the 1st. Excellent French food and a real crowd-pleaser amongst tourists, funnily enough. 28 Rue du Mont Thabor, 75001

Le Castiglione. I went here for the cheeseburgers (if it’s good enough for Sofia Coppola…) and it was quite pricey but great for people watching and the burger was decent. 235 Rue Saint Honoré, 75001

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Recommended (restaurants/cafes)

La Favorite

Aki

Frenchie To Go

Nanashi

Da Rosa

Bar du Marche

Candelaria

Mamie Gateaux

Tuckshop

The Broken Arm

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SHOP

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Favourite areas to shop:

Jardin du Palais Royal (Acne, Stella McCartney, vintage shopping)

Saint Germain (Celine, COS, Acne, Dries et al)

Le Marais (Isabel Marant, Merci, COS, A.P.C. et al)

Rue Saint Honore (everything all on the one winding street – Christian Louboutin, Hermes, Chanel shoe boutique, as well as Zara and & Other Stories)

Avenue Montgaine (as above but super high-end)

Montmartre (best for small French boutiques)

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Department stores:

Galeries Lafayette – best place to make those designer purchases as you can claim the VAT back downstairs. 40, boulevard Haussmann, 75009.

Le Bon Marché  – beautifully curated and merchandised. Pit stop at Rose Bakery is a must. They also have their own VAT office upstairs which is really convenient. 24 Rue de Sèvres, 75007.

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Homewares/Bookshops:

Fleux – jaw droppingly beautiful and such a vast range of homewares and furniture. Even if you can’t take most of it back in your suitcase, it’s a great way to while away an afternoon in the Marais. 39 Rue Sainte-Croix de la Bretonnerie, 75004.

Zara Home – this is on another level. 2 Boulevard de la Madeleine, 75009.

Shakespeare & Co. – I couldn’t not include this even though after three trips to Paris I still haven’t been! One day. 37 Rue de la Bûcherie, 75005.

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Lifestyle/Fashion/Concept stores:

Colette. It’s always packed to the rafters here. Try to go on a week day (though even then there’s probably some event happening!). 213 Rue Saint Honoré, 75001.

& Other Stories. Such a beautiful store and the only one that hasn’t made it to Australian shores yet. I love the one on  277 Rue Saint Honoré, 75008.

Chanel – 31 Rue Cambon. Okay so even if you don’t buy anything here, it’s worth a visit and a window shop!

Merci. Aesop, Church’s boots, Isabel Marant and Maison Michel hats all under the one (pretty) roof. 111 Boulevard Beaumarchais, 75003.

Espace Kiliwatch. For vintage aficionados. I haven’t been but I really want to. 64 rue Tiquetonne 75002.

shpping

French beauty buys:

City Pharma. 26 Rue du Four, 75006

Parisian markets (thanks to Grace for this!)

These two markets offer something a little bit different from the (what Grace and myself believe to be muchly over-hyped) Rue Montorgueil. They are a lot more local food/produce-oriented, if that’s your jam (see what I did there?).

Marché Raspail. Boulevard Raspail 75006

Marché Maubert. Place Maubert, 75005

In terms of flea markets, I visited Les Puces de Saint-Ouen (metro: Porte de Clignancourt) with friends. It’s huge – set aside a whole morning for this – and it’s filled with the most incredible treasures. It’s very, very, pricey though, but if anything, it’s worth having a gander if you have time.

 

STAY

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A brief overview of where I’ve stayed in Paris and the pros/cons:

1st: Louvre/Tuileries/Vendome et al. Location is amazing if you want to be close to the prettier parts of Paris. Cons: Ruinously expensive.

3rd: Marais. More quaint, slightly less frenetic and you’re close to a lot of the most amazing shopping and parks in Paris. Cons: Still quite expensive.

11th: Bastille. Right next to Marais but probably slightly cheaper. Great area to find an airbnb and it’s still quite centrally located.

18th: Montmartre. One of my favourite areas to stay in Paris. It’s out of the way but that’s the beauty of it. It’s become a little touristy in parts, but it’s still got that quaint, village, local feel that other parts of Paris have lost.

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6th: Saint-Germain-des-Prés. Would love to stay here as Saint Germain is my favourite area of Paris but it’s on the expensive side!

10th: Canal Saint-Martin. Very hipster but still quite affordable especially if you book an airbnb.

 

All photographs by Jamie and myself.

FURTHER READING:

My past Paris/France travel posts

My travel tips and tricks – Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Sofia Coppola’s Paris – NY Times

Paris in Four Months – Carin’s beautiful blog was practically my Paris bible when I was planning!

Paris City Guide – Trotter Mag (don’t miss the curated section on sweets!)

A Cartier Fairytale in Paris.

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Nothing worth it ever came easy, and none more so than my recent collaboration with Cartier and Vogue.

Whilst in Paris last month, I had the opportunity to look to some of the most fabled (and my favourite) parts of the city to serve as the backdrop for the centenary celebration of Cartier’s iconic panther jewel with its new ‘Panthère de Cartier’ collection – the biggest in the French maison’s history.

But there is always a stormy undercurrent to fairytales. Haughty princesses are kissed by frogs; tales are riddled with runaway slaves and lions with thorns in their paw, and sleeping beauties and a cursed eternal slumber; fables tell of lost slippers and wicked step-mothers; there is a story of a mermaid who gave up everything for love but lost her beautiful voice; and Aesop’s tales that teach us that although it’s tempting to envy another person’s life, their life is rarely as great as it seems from a distance.

Though I can’t quite begin to describe how much of an honour it was to work with such an iconic brand so steeped in a fabled and bejewelled history, it was our most challenging assignment yet for various reasons. We ended up with only fifteen minutes to shoot the entire editorial (when usually we set aside an hour or two) and I’m sure most photographers can emphathise when I say I feared these photos would be confiscated from us at one point!

But like all fairytales, mine had a happily ever after, so it goes without saying that I’m so pleased (and relieved!) to be able to share my latest Spy Style editorial with you. It’s not every day I’m in working in Paris, alongside Cartier (and my husband!), and wearing a bracelet with a price tag equivalent to a small apartment.

See the full post on Vogue.com.au here.

Photography by Jamie and Michelle; post-processing by Michelle.

Paris Photo Diary.

Not only did I save the most photogenic ‘til last, but also the longest, it seems. A mere five days in Paris resulted in close to a thousand images – not even including the ones that I captured through the lens of my Instax. I’ve narrowed it down as best I could and, although, I haven’t included everything I wanted to, these 30 snapshots of the City of Light paint a clear enough picture of me falling in love with Paris madly, wildly, unsparingly.

From its sepia-toned sunlight that washes over the buildings at dusk; and the winding cobblestoned alleys that take you to a part of St Germain that no one’s been before; to the twinkling pyramids at the Louvre and the view (oh, the view!) from the top of the Arc de Triomphe that makes you realise that no matter how many times you go, no two trips to Paris are the same.

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Paris.

One last glimpse of Paris before we leave for London tomorrow morning.

Though we haven’t spent nearly enough time to do this city justice, I have loved every single second of our week here.

I’ve been happily caught between enjoying two kind of pleasures since we jumped on the plane last weekend: the pleasure that’s derived from a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see and do things that only dreams are made of; and the very simple pleasure of being able to finally switch off from work after the most hectic year of my career thus far.

All of these things have propelled us even more to make every moment count in Paris. Feeling so lucky and blessed right now.

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Love/hate.

The view from the Arc de Triomphe yesterday.

I have a love/hate relationship with a few of the world’s most photographed landmarks. I always love coming home with personal photos like these but it’s a pity that I’m always elbow to elbow with someone with the exact same idea. It kind of kills the buzz.

One of the best things I’ve learnt on my trip so far, to overcome this, is to get up when the sun does to beat the crowds and the inevitable tour buses (any time before 9am is ideal). It’s such a simple thing to do and you’d be amazed at how much more you can fit into a day by doing so.

It’s just past half-past seven in the morning in Paris now and we’re about to leave for Trocadéro – also my first time! 

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In Louvre with Paris.

We spent our first day getting up bright and early to beat the tourist buses. We explored the Louvre (my first time!) then strolled through the Jardin du Tuileries before having breakfast at Claus, which was conveniently nearby. The afternoon was spent climbing to the top of Arc de Triomphe (not for the faint of heart) and then, finally, queuing for a dinner table at Chez Omar (it was fantastic). A perfect first day in Paris.

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