24 hours in Paris
Paris may have 455 parks and gardens, 141 museums and 200 churches, but with just 24 hours, you're best off exploring her charming neighbourhoods and soaking up their vibe.
Start your tour at the Arc de Triomphe, where the marvellous Champs Elysees spreads out before you, and you’ll no doubt feel like you have just arrived, in more ways than one. Begin your trek down early, but keep an eye out for tony Avenue Montaigne, a quieter strip where you can window-shop the likes of Louis Vuitton, Marni, Gucci and the rest.
Next veer off to Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honore, which is lined with luxe boutiques like Missoni and La Perla. Around Rue Royale (Gerard Darel, Chanel, Dior), the strip turns into Rue Saint-Honore. This is the perfect time to catch your breath with a stop at the uber-chic Hotel Costes, followed by a thorough browse to see what’s hep at the trend-leading concept boutique Colette.
Take a detour through the Jardin des Tuileries, the park that stretches along the Seine, all the way to the Louvre Museum, the city’s ground zero. Now you have to choose: Right bank or left bank?
If you’re peckish, skip over to the right bank and head straight for the Marais, the increasingly fashionable Jewish and gay quarter along Rue des Rosiers and surrounding streets, for your choice of culinary treats. The colonial Mariage Freres (Rue du Bourg-Tibourg) serves up an impressive menu of teas from around the world as well as delicacies like “Snob Salad” (with foie gras and smoked salmon). Afterwards, work it off browsing the Places des Vosges, a small, nearby park surrounded by pavilions and arcades dating from the 17th century and lined with gorgeous art galleries.
Now you’re ready for the left bank. But first, stroll around the adorable shops and visit the renowned ice cream parlour Berthillon of Ile Saint-Louis as well as the historic Notre Dame on Ile de la Cite as you cross over the Seine. Once you reach les grands boulevards of St-Germain and St-Michel, home to the Sorbonne and legendary cafes Les Deux Magots and Café de Flore, explore the exquisite coins of St-Germain des Pres and Saint-Andre des Arts.
Before you head out for the night, stop in for a rest in your room at the smart boutique hotel Marceau in the Bastille quarter, the symbol of the French Revolution. Once you’ve freshened up, catch your reservation (book a table on the glass-roofed top floor) at the Philippe Starck-designed, where Asian fusion and jet setters alike collide over views of Paris and the LVMH headquarters. (Recognize the resto from Sex and the City?) Later, party at the swank Cabaret – but be sure to be on guest list to avoid the chronic lineups – and Le Baron, another hard-to-get-into celeb hot spot.
For more information, visit www.parisinfo.com