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6 February 2024

Heavenly Weekend Getaway In Paris

There is nothing quite like Paris in the spring/early summer and particularly the 6th and 7th arrondissements. These two marvellous “Quartiers” lie on the Left Bank and are famous for the numerous painters, writers, photographers, sculptors and philosophers who called them home. The perfect spot for a romantic weekend “a Deux”.

Take the Eurostar and you’re in Paris in under two hours and a half. Or if you want to be totally Covid safe, drive and put the car on the Euroshuttle, it is most convenient and you can go from London to Paris without bumping into anyone. The drive from Calais to Paris takes a mere three hours and there are plenty of underground car parks close to all the best areas. Many of the best hotels will even park your car for you.

The Latin Quartier was home to Salvador Dali, Bertholt Brecht, James Joyce Simone de Beauvoir, Anaïs Nin, Eugene Delacroix, Pablo Picasso, Jean-Paul Sartre, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and many others who frequented its famous cafes. Sit and enjoy a good book and sumptuous pastries in the Café de Flore, Les Deux Magots, La Closerie des Lilas, or wander around the Jardins de Luxembourg and the Jardins de Tuileries.

You will also discover some of the finest bookshops Paris has to offer, everything from rare classics to art tomes to Bandes dessinées (French comics). If you love books then don’t miss the most famous English bookshop in France, Shakespeare and Company, that even takes lodgers upstairs.

The Musee D’Orsay and the Louvre are a few minutes away and if you are into military history I highly recommend popping into the famous Musée de l’Armée at Les Invalides which also houses Napolean’s tomb. Another artistic gem is the “Musée national Eugène Delacroix” in the Rue Furstemburg in the sixth.

The centre of Paris is quite small so walking or cycling is the best way to get around and see everything up close and personal. And of course, there is always the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe, the latter has a marvellous view over the Champs Elysees, with its cafes, restaurants, fashion stores and people watching.

If you are looking for somewhere to stay I highly recommend The Hotel Montalembert, a charming and sumptuous hotel just off the Rue du Bac. Perhaps you’d like to catch Johnny Depp when he’s in town, then try L’Hotel in the 6th. You get your own Parisian apartment with full concierge service. One of the most exclusive celebrity hangouts in a city used to famous actors and pop stars on every corner.

The Boulevard Saint-Germain-des-Prés is a shoppers paradise, just wander along and pop into any fashion store that takes your fancy and bring a little Parisian chic to your wardrobe back home. This area also has plenty of street markets where you can buy the latest fresh produce brought in that morning and take advice from the sellers as to the finest cheese and wine from different regions.

If you want to hang out with “Eurotrash” then try the Bar du Marché or La Palette both in the Rue de Seine, one of the prettiest streets in Paris that runs straight down to the Pont Des Art. The pedestrian-only “bridge of lovers” over the Seine takes you to the luxury mall “La Samaritaine” on the right bank and the Louvre. Or just sit and watch the beautiful people go by in the Rue de Buci with all its marvellous outdoor bistros. The trendy place to sit and admire the bustling market. Not to mention the wonderful patisseries on every corner.

Buy an “Eclair Au Chocolate” or a “Religieuse” and a “baguette Jambon/Fromage and have a picnic on the Isle St Louis in the “Square de Vert Galant” overlooking the Seine as it splits two ways, with Notre Dame behind you, and watch the beautiful barges drift by.

Here you’ll also find the Palais des Beaux-Arts and the famous school of the same name. Check out the Maison de Serge Gainsbourg in the nearby Rue de Verneuil, a museum devoted to the great French singer, poet, drinker and cynical wit who spoke truth to power and counted many of the leading beauties of France as lovers, including Brigitte Bardot.

Odeon, at the heart of the 6th arrondissement, is a short stroll up the Boulevard St Germain, with its famous theatre, Théâtre de l’Europe, and its extensive programme of events, experimental cinemas, art galleries, bookshops, cafes, restaurants and shops.

Montparnasse cemetery is just short walk, where you will find a slew of famous names, such as Guy de Maupassant, Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, Charles Baudelaire, Samuel Beckett and Serge Gainsbourg. You’d never be short of a decent conversation or anecdote in their company. Opposite the cemetery, you have the prestigious Fondation Cartier for contemporary art, a must-see for art lovers. Designed by the architect Jean Nouvel, it’s a creative space for artists, where artists and art lovers can meet.

For dinner just amble along around the indoor market the “Marche-Saint-Germain” and pick from a selection of intimate and cosy family-run oak-beamed restaurants or go glam and dine in the plethora of stunningly gorgeous Art Deco marvels for which the area is justly famed.

Paris is heavenly and ideal for a romantic getaway, just make yourself at home and act like a Parisian, shrug often, dress chic (but like you don’t care), drink fine wines and eat everything you’ve not tried before.

Category: Travel