Paris is one of the world’s most beautiful cities.
Its stunning architecture, wide boulevards and iconic landmarks are well-known even to those who’ve never visited – but the city of love is also filled with enough grungy alleyways, hidden bars and cool shops to rival New York or Melbourne.
First things first, get yourself a stack of Metro tickets (a booklet of 10 should get you through a day and a bit) and explore some of the best food, drink, shopping and culture spots the city has to offer.
ALSO SEE: 24 hours in Los Angeles
Central Design Apartment
- Passage Saint Antoine, 11th arr
Hotels in Paris are often rather on the small side, so why not treat yourself to a stay in a stunning apartment where you can spread out.
Manuel Zublena’s apartment is listed on AirBNB, but it’s more like a hotel, with fluffy white towels and bathrobes, crisp sheets on the comfy bed and an all-important Nespresso machine – as Parisian coffee often leaves a little to be desired.
Nestled in Bastille, it’s just far enough away from the touristy area to give you the local experience, while still being close to some of the city’s best bars, restaurants and shopping.
The apartment also features a gorgeous courtyard, perfect to enjoy an afternoon drink or nightcap.
Tout Autour du Pain
You can’t walk for 10 metres in Paris without coming across a boulangerie.
The smell of baguettes, croissants and pain au chocolat is too enticing to ignore, so you wander in and attempt to order with a very un-French sounding “je voudrais un croissant sil vous plais”.
Tout Autour du Pain sells what has been voted Paris’s best croissant.
Pick one up on your way to your next destination – and bear in mind you don’t need a big breakfast in Paris – you’ll be eating again soon enough.
- 22, rue des Rosiers 4th arr
- + 33 01 44 61 45 23
Big department stores Galeries Lafayette and Printemps are certainly something to see, as is the famous Champs-Elysees, but for a more authentic Parisian shopping experience, head to Le Marais and hit Rue des franc Bourgeois, Rue de Rosiers and the streets in between.
There you’ll find French and international brands, along with some smaller independent boutiques.
While you’re there, pop into Suncoo Paris for women’s clothing in bold patterns and block colours with cool and flattering cuts.
Frenchie To Go
- 9 Rue Du Nil, 2nd arr
- +33 1 40 39 96 19
The Frenchie empire consists of a fine-dining restaurant (book weeks in advance if you hope to secure a table) a wine shop, a wine bar and the more casual cafe and takeaway food shop.
This little hole in the wall is perfect for an American-style sandwich (think Reubens and lobster rolls) but done in that oh-so-French way (think amazing bread and confit everything).
They do a pretty good coffee too –* almost up to Melbourne standards!
- 77 rue de Varenne, 7th arr
- +33 (0)1 44 18 61 10
There are a plethora of museums and galleries to choose from in Paris.
His most famous sculpture, The Thinker, sits among a host of others in stunning landscaped gardens that you can wander through at your leisure.
Inside the house there are smaller-scale sculptures for you to discover.
While you’re in the 7th, you can’t miss that most famous Paris landmark, Le Tour Eiffel.
Snap some pics on the Champs de Mars, walk right up to it and then over to the other side of the Seine to take in the view from the Trocadero Gardens.
- 4 rue Cambon, 1st arr
- +33 (0)1 43 54 47 77
Forget Ladurée (OK, well maybe don’t forget it, but, you know, don’t miss this one) Pierre Hermé macarons are the ones to try.
There are a number of boutiques around Paris, but this one in the 1st also does chocolates.
Make sure you try the signature flavour – Ispahan – which is raspberry, lychee and rose.
While you’re on Rue Cambon, check out the very first Chanel store at number 31, and try to resist the beautiful wares inside.
Terrass Hotel Rooftop Bar
- 12-14 Rue Joseph de Maistre, 18th arr
- +33 1 46 06 72 85
Rooftop bars are not common in Paris, but when they do them, they do them right.
This bar above The Terrass Hotel in Montmartre boasts breathtaking views of the city to the south – including the Eiffel Tower.
It’s mostly frequented by locals in the know and the odd guest from the hotel below, so you can feel like a true Parisian as you sip on a bellini and soak up the sun.
Arrive before 7pm to ensure you get a good spot.
- 1a Passage San Sebastian, 11th arr
- +33 01 85 15 23 13
This bohemian-esque restaurant is a little off the beaten track, but once found you’ll see that it’s super well-known to the local cool kids.
As you squeeze into your rustic table the waitstaff are already onto your wine order and bringing over a carafe.
The menu is based on what’s in season and what was at the market that day.
The plates are designed to be shared, bringing a bit of Spanish flair to your French fare.
Fleur de courgette stuffed with chevre cheese, honey coated spelt, flowering marjolaine and melisse. Merci #AnnieBertin @lefooding #lefooding #food #nourriture #mat #mad #courgette #zuchinni #epeautre #spelt #green #veggies #vegetables #biodynamic #legumes #legimesbio #grönt #grönsaker #healthy #ceramics #restaurant #paris #bistro
Little Red Door
- 60 Rue Charlot, 3rd arr
- +33 1 42 71 19 32
Not too far from Au Passage, you’ll find this little speakeasy-style bar, where the doorman shakes your hand as you enter through its namesake.
Inside you’ll find plush couches over two levels and a welcoming bar where you can pull up a swivel stool.
The cocktail menu is more like a illustrated book, and is organised by the feel of the drink rather than what’s in it – encouraging people to try something out of their comfort zone.