As written for Hip & Healthy in June
The French capital is a fascinating and beautiful centre to explore. Whether you visit it with the love of your life, your best friend or your mum, it is impossible not to fall into the fold of the French way of life and embrace your inner Parisian. With the ease of the Eurostar at your fingertips and long summer nights to tempt you, how can you say no to a cheeky rendezvous across the English Channel in the city of love?
Fabulously located in pretty Saint Germain, (or the 6th arrondissement) this area is ideal if you don’t have long in the city and want to be as close to the action as possible, while still paying a reasonable price. These pigeon pair hotels are also part of the Happy Culture initiative which is a fabulous idea that links hotels together allowing guests to pop into any in the chain to charge their phone, grab a Nespresso or duck to the bathroom for a freshen up. Doubles start at £159 for the Belloy and a slightly cheaper £125 for the Petit.
For something a little bit fancier, this 5 star hotel is right in the historical heart of Paris (the 1st arrondissement), and a mere two minutes away from the Louvre and Seine. The rooms are cozy but luxurious and the staff lovely and accommodating. Perfect for a weekend escape, rooms start at £304.
You can’t get more Parisian than a street facing table, at one of the oldest coffeehouses in Paris. When you first approach Café De Flor, it looks like every other scattered across the city, but from the moment you sit down you know you are onto something special. Artwork adjourned placemats are presented to you as your order arrives, and with divine coffee and a jockey to snack on (Flores with a fried egg) – it is the perfect spot to take a break and watch the world go by.
For amazing brunch and quality coffee on a pretty tree lined street just below the Sacre Coeur, this gorgeous spot is a delightful mix of Australia and France. A Melbourne duo are behind the alluring décor, and with a fusion menu – you get the best of two cuisines. We can highly recommend the baked eggs with ratatouille with a side of homemade chai latte.
This is an incredible find. The food is to die for, the ambiance romantic, and the wait staff fun and charismatic. It’s the Perfect date-night spot (especially if you follow our do advice below and head up Montparnasse Tower, as it’s located mere minutes away). Once you’ve filled up on cheese board starters and fish mains – treat yourself to a liquid heart chocolate cake with roasted peanuts and Madagascar vanilla ice cream.
EAT – SHOP
For all of your picnic needs….
In Saint Germain is one of our favourite places to peruse for all things cheese. It’s sandwiched between an incredible fruit shop with trays of strawberries for a fiver, a meat shop full of the best cuts money can buy and a fresh bread and pastry shop. All your picnic needs in one spot! It’s open all day Saturday, but if you were hoping for a Sunday laze in the sun – make sure you pick up all your bits and bobs before the 1pm closing time.
Is an independent supermarket not far from Moulin Rouge. It has bottle your own fresh orange juice, big vats of olives, nuts and vegetable chips and some of the most beautifully wrapped, packaged and presented produce in town. For all your gourmet picnic needs, this is your place.
For a to die for view of Paris you can’t go past the 56th floor. I personally think it’s an even better idea than climbing the Eiffel Tower for a birds eye view because this way you get to look back at the iconic building and watch it light up as the sun sets. Grab a glass of Rosé for 5 euro and settle in. Entry is well worth the €15.
Picnic under the Eiffel Tower
This is a must do on a sunny weekend in Paris. I’ve sussed out all of the vantage points, and have settled on a standout winner. Directly to the left of the Eiffel Tower, there is a small pretty patch of green right beside the water. Once you’ve stuffed yourself full of cheese and bread, you can lay down and literally look straight into the guts of the iconic monument for which Paris is famous. If you don’t feel like sourcing your own food (which, let’s be honest is part of the fun) Paris Picnic, deliver direct to you. If you’re looking to surprise someone special, this is a super cute option.
Ps, For a clean, well serviced bathroom – head behind the Tower and down to the water near where guests are docking for cruises. It costs 50p to use the loo and is by far the easiest and nicest public option around.
Crepes by the Seine
No sit-down restaurant will do this French speciality justice. Head to a hole-in-the-wall crêperie (preferably in the Saint Germain area) grab a savoury egg and cheese, and a sweet Nutella and strawberry to share and wander over to the edge of the Seine. I like the area just near Notre Dame Cathedral, dangle your legs over the edge and take in the view. Beautiful, cheap and oh so French.
Now let’s be honest, if you’re only in town for the weekend any sweat session needs to involve sightseeing! Channel your inner Tour De France, and pick up one of the 23,600 velib bikes scattered across the city. It is a cheap and fabulous way to explore, and the first 30 minutes is free. My favourite, is the hidden garden route starting at Place Stalingrad, cycling down the right hand side of Canal Saint Martin; this trip is made up entirely of bike lanes and is beautifully scenic.