Paris is well known for being one of the most romantic cities in Europe and makes the perfect location for a short break. However, if you want to experience Paris like a local, rather than stay in a hotel consider renting an apartment for the weekend. Avenue Story, Guest Apartment Services and Haven in Paris, each have a collection of stunning holiday apartments and offer a full concierge service to ensure that you make the most of your time in this enchanting city.
Even if you’ve already seen the major tourist attractions, museums and art galleries that Paris is well known, there is always more to discover in Paris. Stroll through her streets and before long you’ll almost certainly stumble across a great wine bar, a charming café or an interesting boutique.
If you love shopping a visit to Les Galeries Lafayette’s flagship store on boulevard Haussmann in the 9th arrondissement is a must. It’s actually housed in a number of buildings but be sure not to miss seeing the magnificent glass dome in ” Lafayette Coupole” on the corner with the Rue de la Chaussée d’Antin.
If you are after a more unusual shopping experience visit the Les Passages Couverts de Paris which were built in the nineteenth century to give pedestrians protection from mud and horse-drawn carriages. Today these covered arcades make the perfect place to visit on a rainy day in Paris. Off boulevard Montmartre you’ll find Passages Jouffroy and Panoramas, full of interesting cafés, art galleries, a wonderful variety of curiosity and collectors’ shops.
In the beautiful Galerie Colbert, one of two very upmarket passages, between Rue Vivienne and Rue des Petits-Champs, you’ll find Le Grand Colbert, an 1830s-style brasserie, known for its great service, fine wine and of course, excellent food. The nearby Galerie Vivienne is the grandest and most elegant of the passages lined with chic boutiques, including the Jean-Paul Gaultier, and fashionable restaurants.
Guided tours of Paris
If your short of time and you don’t know Paris that well, private guided tours are a great way to discover more about the city and local life. Tours By Locals can organise tailor-made tours on foot or by bicycle with your private local guide who will show you Paris as only a local can. A more novel way to explore Paris is in a 2CV, with your own driver and guide, with 4 Roues Sous 1 Parapluie. If you prefer the luxury of a private limousine, this too can easily be arranged through Luxury Paris.
Cheese and wine, the perfect souvenirs
What better way to remember your weekend than to take home some fine wines and cheeses. Lavinia, on boulevard de la Madeleine, is the place to go for wine. They have a huge variety and offer helpful advice.
One of the best fromageries is La Fermette on rue Montorguei, established in 1895, there are hundreds of cheeses to choose from, mainly French but also Dutch, Italian and English. The service is very friendly and the advice, like the cheese, is superb. Be sure to ask for your cheese to be vacuum packed for the journey home!
Kathryn Burrington is Author of Travel with Kat.