I Paris
On trend: left, pastry at Bistro
Buvette; Lockwood bar;
Le Rocketship. Opposite,
clockwise from top left:
Le Carmen; Hôtel Paradis;
Rue des Martyrs; the bar of
the Edgar hotel; Hôtel Fabric;
Arnaud Delmontel; the Edgar
hotel; Hôtel Amour; Rue des
Petites Ecuries
Access cool areas
You’ve done the star attractions, now it’s time to nose out the districts
on the up. Alessia Horwich knows where to hang with your gang
The stylish one: SoPi
SoPi (aka south of Pigalle), in the 9th arrondissement, is
gradually trading sleaze for style, as former hostess bars
become cocktail lounges, and sex shops emerge as
coffee stops serving spectacled hipsters and bohemians.
By day: With Sacré Coeur’s alabaster domes behind
you, graze your way down Rue des Martyrs. Stop for
lip-smacking cakes at Pâtisserie des Martyrs (No. 22;
about £4), bronzed Viennoiseries at Maison Lendemaine
(No. 26; about 75p), and an official ‘best baguette in Paris’
at Arnaud Delmontel (No. 39; about £4). Buy edgy enamel
tableware and funky light fixtures as you sip espresso
at Le Rocketship cafe (13 Rue Henry Monnier), then pick
up local designers’ vintage-style jewellery and fashion
at Juju s’amuse (15 Rue Hippolyte Lebas) and Sept Cinq
(54 Rue Notre-Dame de Lorette).
By night: Share mini coq au vin and other tweaked classics
in the exposed-brick, white-marble surrounds of Bistro
Buvette (28 Rue Henry Monnier; plates about £7). Make
your digestif a fruit-piled Tiki cocktail at Polynesianmuralled Dirty Dick (10 Rue Frochot; about £6). Dance
it off under the chandeliers and moulded frescoes at
Le Carmen, formerly Georges Bizet’s home, now
a club with live DJ sets (34 Rue Duperré).
Sleep: Bold colours, flashes of pop art and erotic photos
jazz up the snug rooms at Hôtel Amour, where the
restaurant is packed at night. Doubles from £127, room
only; hotelamourparis.fr.
The foodie one: 11th and north
Furniture-makers have now given way to students and
artists and the buzzing bars and boutiques that serve
them, but among the grunge are some of the city’s most
exciting chefs, such as Inaki Aizpitarte and Bertrand
Grébaut. Expect inventive and sophisticated dining.
By day: Regrette rien at Edith Piaf’s tiny apartment —
now a shrine to the singer, with photos and that black
dress (5 Rue Crespin du Gast; 00 33 1 4355 5272;
Mon-Wed, by appointment, no English spoken; free). To
kill time before it opens at 1pm, join the food-savvy folk
shopping for gourmet sausages, Comté cheese and wine
at Epicerie Verre Volé (54 Rue de la Folie-Méricourt).
Unearth, too, bargain vintage cowboy boots and
gingham shirts around the corner in La Petite Fripe
(118 Rue Oberkampf). Your caffeine stop-off is Clint,
a chipboard-banquette cafe selling Eastwood-slogan
T-shirts (174 Rue de la Roquette; espresso £1.80).
By night: Excellent wine bars abound. Start early at
Septime Cave (80 Rue de Charonne), in a shabby former
cobbler’s, where nibbles include fennel sausage. North
next, to Aizpitarte’s Le Dauphin — among mirrored walls,
try the tandoori octopus (131 Ave Parmentier; plates from
£4). Finish with a gin, peach and rosemary l’Eau Fraiche at
A La Française, a new drinking den serving 19th-century
cocktails (50 Rue Léon Frot).
Sleep: After hammam time at Hôtel Fabric’s spa, bed
down in the former textiles factory, where rooms have
huge, brightly coloured beds. Doubles from £114, room
only; hotelfabric.com.
The gritty one: Strasbourg
An influx of innovative and cheap neo-bistros have
brought this rough patch of the 10th to the attention
of older, dedicated culturists willing to seek out new
openings among spice stalls and ethnic produce shops.
I Paris
By Anna Brooke
l A short train ride from
Gare de Lyon gets you
to royal palace Château
de Fontainebleau. Stroll
through the grounds,
where the Sun King
built Europe’s largest
formal garden
(musee-chateaufontainebleau.fr; £8).
l You’ll need at least a
day for Disneyland Paris
(45 mins on the RER A
train line): half in the Walt
Disney Studios park (try
the new Ratatouille
ride); half in the main
park. End with fireworks
at nightfall (disneyland
paris.co.uk; from £45).
l An hour from
Gare Montparnasse,
you’re in Chartres, the
Medieval home of one
of France’s loveliest
Gothic cathedrals,
with its 13th-century
stained glass (chartrestourisme.com; free).
l Arrive at Monet’s
garden in Giverny by
9.30am (leave GareSt-Lazare around 8am)
and you’ll have the
artist’s lily ponds almost
to yourself (fondationmonet.com; £7).
l Châteaux and
chevaux await at
Domaine de Chantilly,
25 minutes from Gare
du Nord. Follow a look in
the treasure-filled castle
with dressage shows in
the stables (domainede
chantilly.com; from £12).
Bar gazing: a peek
through the window
at the wine bar of
Bistro Buvette
By day: Get set to spend on Rue de Paradis: impeccable
leather brogues sell for close-to-wholesale prices (about
£210) at Markowski (No. 46). Find rare first-edition art
books and classic children’s titles at gallery-shop Rouge
58 (No. 51). On parallel Rue des Petites Ecuries, sharp
French fashion gets an emo twist from small-name brands
such as Des Petits Hauts at Les Voltigeuses (No. 45);
vintage finds and house-music LPs await at boutique
Thanx God I’m a VIP (12 Rue de Lancry), towards the canal.
By night: Order egg-yolk ravioli and duck with cocoa
beans in the Scandi-minimalist former butcher’s that
is chef Charles Compagnon’s third neo-bistro, Le 52
Faubourg Saint-Denis (mains about £11). Too packed?
Try creative canteen Le Ratapoil du Faubourg, and leave
room for the salted caramel pud (72 Rue de Faubourg
Poissonnière; three courses £30). Round things off
10 minutes east at Le Syndicat, a low-lit cocktail
hideout where the crystal-glass drinks only use
French ingredients — Armagnac, Maquis bitters
and Calvados (51 Rue du Faubourg-Saint-Denis).
Sleep: Opened last year, Hôtel Paradis has striped,
cloud-shaped headboards, bird-print wallpaper,
high-backed sofas and a ’30s shabby-chic vibe.
Doubles from £63, room only; hotelparadisparis.com.
The pioneer one:
Home to some of Paris’s original hip hang-outs, such
as the late-2000s Experimental Cocktail Club, this
2nd-arrondissement sliver is often dismissed as being
too mainstream. Don’t listen to that kind of talk — you
just need to know where to look…
By day: The rum baba was invented at Stohrer, Paris’s
oldest patisserie (51 Rue Montorgueil). Get a takeaway
(£3) to gobble en route to Le Corner (2 Rue Tiquetonne),
for emerging accessory designers such as Mila Louise,
and tongue-in-cheek jewellery from Félicie Aussi.
Huge second-hand shop Espace Kiliwatch (64 Rue
Tiquetonne) has all the cool kit — checked shirt,
distressed jeans. At Nose (20 Rue Bachaumont),
they’ll diagnose your perfect scent, then make it for
you from rare perfumes.
By night: Influential bar Lockwood (73 Rue d’Aboukir)
knows its caffeine (check out the coffee-filter
lampshades), but join the city’s in-the-know urban
professionals for apéritif hour, where spritz comes
alongside mounds of charcuterie. Head on to Frenchie
(5-6 Rue du Nil; plates about £10), a trendy wine-bar that
goes back all the way to 2009, with mandatory filament
bulbs, industrial stools and Brittany blue-lobster rolls.
Finish up at Mabel (58 Rue d’Aboukir), a new rum-focused
dive with distressed decor and a grilled-cheese counter.
Sleep: A former garment factory dragged into the now
with bright blues, rich brown leather and copper lamps,
hip hotel Edgar has 12 wackily decorated rooms — Dream
has action-figure light fittings. Doubles from £127, room
only; edgarparis.com.