…Last week I gave you my top 5 things to see and do in and around Paris that aren’t normally mentioned in guidebooks. Here are my next few suggestions to complete your fabulous trip to the country’s capital.
5) Go to Poissy.
Maybe I’m just biased because I lived and worked here for a year, but I think this place is great. Most tourists wont have heard of this quaint little town 20 minutes to the left of Paris unless they’re fans of French architect Le Corbusier, as his masterpiece the Villa Savoye (pronounced Sav-wa) can be found here. This house is said to be his best piece of work as it perfectly incorporates the five points of new architecture that he developed during the 1920s. It can be a little difficult to find as it’s around a 20-30 minute walk from the train station, but is well worth searching for- alternatively take the 50 bus from the train station and ask for “la Villa Savoye s’il vous plait”. While you’re in Poissy, go to the town centre, find the Noyeau de Poissy shop and grab a sample of this amazing apricot based liquor. It’s really yummy and makes a great gift to take home for your friends and family.
Also to see: Just next to the train station is the Médiathèque Christine de Pizan- go in and tell my old colleagues I say Bonjour!
Poissy- RER A
The Villa Savoye, 82 rue de Villiers, 78300 Poissy, RER A, Bus 50 in the direction ‘La Coudraie’, Stop ‘Villa Savoye’.
The Noyeau de Poissy Boutique- 105, Rue du Général de Gaulle, 78300 Poissy, RER A
Médiathèque Christine de Pizan- 31, avenue Maurice-Berteaux, 78300 Poissy, RER A
6) Go for yummy affordable food in St. Michel
This is a difficult one, because St. Michel has so many good restaurants, it’d be impossible to name them all- here are two reliable and affordable cafés I went to whenever I got the chance.
Crêperie des Arts- I LOVE this restaurant. Love love love it. It’s just a crepe restaurant like any other, but the décor is really interesting, almost as if you’re sitting inside a light coloured cave. They usually have a cheap lunch menu (9-10 Euros per person) where you can get a savoury galette ( go for the spicy chicken) followed by a sweet crepe, with a glass of cidre or coca cola.
Snack time France- Again, there’s nothing amazingly special about this café, and it isn’t one where you’d want to sit for a few hours discussing Sartre or Voltaire. But the food is pretty decent and definitely quite affordable. Situated right next to the metro stop Odéon, it’s a great place to stop off and grab a quiet bite before wandering about St. Michel.
Also to see: If you want to push the boat out, cross over the road from Odéon and pop down the Cours du Commerce St. André for some deliciously expensive food and cocktails. Even if you don’t want to part with your holiday pennies, it’s a nice little street to walk down as it’s buzzing with atmosphere on a warm summer’s evening.
Crêperie des Arts- 27 Rue Saint André des Arts, 75006 Paris, (Metro St. Michel, M4)
Snack Time France- 97 Boulevard St Germain, 75006 Paris (Metro Odéon, M4, M10)
Cours du Commerce St. André- 75006 Paris (Metro Odéon, M4, M10)
7) Hop on the bus
It’s well known that the metro in Paris will get you from a-z quickly and without much hassle, but it’s mostly underground and can get quite stuffy in the summer. If you want to avoid this, buy a zone 1 ticket mobilis which will let you travel around Paris all day by bus, train and tram. The bus is a brilliant way of getting around Paris because you get to sightsee at the same time as travelling, without having to pay an extortionate price for a tour guide who’ll tell you lots of things you’ll forget in a minute. Take the #87 from the Eiffel tower, down the Boulevard St. Germain de Prés over to the Right Bank or the #28 to see the Ecole Militaire, the Assemblée Nationale, the Seine, le Grand Palais and the Champs-Elysées. And if you find yourself getting lost, you’re never too far from a metro stop to get back to the centre of the city.
Eiffel Tower- Parc du Champ de Mars, 5 Avenue Anatole France, 75007 Paris (Metro Champ de Mars- Tour Eiffel, RER C)
Boulevard St. Germain de Prés, 75006, Paris (Metro Saint Germain de Prés, M4)
Ecole Militaire- 1 Place Joffre, 75007 Paris (Metro Ecole Militaire, M8)
Assemblée Nationale- 126 Rue de l’Université, 75007 Paris (Metro Assemblée Nationale, M8)
le Grand Palais- 3 Avenue du Général Eisenhower, 75008 Paris (Metro champs Elysées, Clemenceau, M1, M13)
Avenue des Champs-Elysées, 75008, Paris (Metro George V, M1)
Where to stay: Blowout
“Hotel Concorde La Fayette is conveniently located close to the Champs-Elysées, between the La Défense business district and the Triangle d’Or shopping area. The hotel boasts some of the most spectacular views of Paris and the Eiffel Tower from its 33 floors and features an exceptional conference space and highly recommended restaurant. The Concorde La Fayette is an ideal choice for business and leisure travellers alike. With 950 rooms overlooking the city, two bars and a restaurant, as well as unrivalled meetings space, the hotel is a true Parisian landmark. In the impressive lobby guests are welcomed at white marble reception desks, enjoy drinks on the elevated terrace of the Bar Lafayette, or browse the fine selection of stylish collectable crystal at the Baccarat boutique. “
“Burgundy Hotel– This deluxe boutique hotel distinguishes itself through exquisite personalised service and just the right amount of warmth for those who wish to live à la parisienne. This luxurious guesthouse reflects the owner’s passion for art through the ground floor’s black marble Guy de Rougemont puzzle, through which a brass thread runs. The bar and restaurant is named Le Baudelaire because its ceiling bears a monumental fresco by Marco del Re bringing the verses of the Flowers of Evil to life. Built in 1870 and renovated in 2010, the air-conditioned city hotel offers 59 rooms in total and welcomes guests in a lobby with 24-hour reception and check-out services, a hotel safe, currency exchange facilities, a cloakroom and lift access. For an additional fee, guests may also make use of the room and laundry services. Ideally located between Place Vendôme and rue Saint Honoré, this luxurious boutique hotel is amidst the Golden Triangle of Champs-Elysées, Madeleine and Opéra. The spa complex is just 400 m from La Place de la Concorde and guests will find shops, as well as bus and metro stations within a 2-min walk. Saint Lazare train station and the Louvre Museum are approximately 10 minutes away on foot. The rooms offer a variety of ambiances and promote a modern, refined luxury. The soft armchairs blend with crystal lamps and contemporary half-glazed, half-chrome offices. Each room features an en suite bathroom with a shower and hairdryer, a double bed and individually regulated air conditioning and heating. Other in-room amenities include satellite TV, a radio, hifi, safe, minibar and Internet access.”
Where to stay: Budget
“Le Place Clichy is situated in one of Paris’s prime locations near Butte Montmarte, the area offers a lively Parisian atmosphere and close proximity to the rest of the city via public transport links leaving Paris yours to explore at will. The local bus and train stations are just one kilometre away. There is a real Moulin Rouge charisma about this area with its locale allowing for easy access to the shopping district and opera. The hotel offers good sized, clean, comfortable guest rooms equipped with everything you come to expect with a hotel in this class. Each room comprises central heating, satellite TV, telephone, tea and coffee. There is public parking available near to the hotel otherwise the hotel offers limited garage parking”
“The Hipotel Paris Nation is located a short walk away from the Place de la Nation, opposite the underground station Porte de Vincennes, on a large tree-lined avenue. The hotel has a garden where clients can enjoy breakfast on the fine days. Rooms are newly renovated; all are fully equipped and comfortable. The hotel is serviced well by public transport making it easy to explore Paris. “