Sunday, 16 May 2010

Parisian Gems

During my degree, I was lucky enough to spend an amazing year living just outside Paris and got to know the city very well. I try to return as often as possible with the aim of feeling like a true parisienne, if only for a few days. Here is a small selection of my favourite Parisian treats.

Canal St Martin

Made famous by the film Amelie, this area is blissful on a warm spring day. The streets are filled with independent boutiques and cafes perfect for people-watching. More neighbourhood haunt than tourist hotspot, the Canal St Martin area provides the perfect antidote to too much sightseeing.
For a real treat, try Le Valmy, a tiny restaurant facing onto the canal. You'll find an intimate yet relaxed atmosphere and delicious and unusual dishes.

The Canal St Martin is in the 10e arrondissement. Take the metro to Gare de l'Est and amble down towards the canal, exploring side streets along the way.
Le Valmy is at 145 Quai de Valmy. Reservations are recommended.

Bateaux Mouches

Definitely the most fun of Parisian tourist traps, the Bateaux Mouches travel up and down the Seine giving passengers a unique view of some of the most famous sights. With close-ups of the Eiffel Tower, Grand Palais, Notre Dame and the Radio France building, this river tour is not to be missed. What's more, at 10 euros per person, tickets are very affordable.

The Bateaux Mouches leave from Pont de l'Alma, metro Alma-Marceau or Franklin Roosevelt. Visit


Temple of Sybil, Parc des Buttes Chaumont

Paris has some wonderful open, green spaces that are equally as perfect for lazing around in on a warm afternoon as wandering around on a brisk winter day. Two of my favourites are Buttes Chaumont - a huge man-made park that was formerly a 19th century quarry - and Jardin de Luxembourg in the heart of the Latin Quarter. Although both very busy on sunny days, these parks are large enough to find a quiet spot to eat a picnic of baguette, cheese and wine.

Jardin de Luxembourg
The Parc de Buttes Chaumont is in the 19e arrondissement, metro Buttes Chaumont. The Jardin de Luxembourg is in the 6e arrondissement. Take the metro to Saint-Suplice and stop by the church, an architectural delight, before heading over to the park.