As Paris hosts Food Ingredients Europe this year, why not take some time out of the exhibition hall to explore one of the world’s most enchanting cities? Having lived in ‘The City of Light’ not (too) long ago, here are some of my top tips…
On fait du tourisme
Although Parisian architecture references many styles, perhaps the most enduring is Haussmann’s radical overhaul in the nineteenth century that created the sweeping boulevards, apartment façades and public parks for which the city is so famous today. It’s not just architectural style that sets Paris apart though; the city is home to some of the world’s most iconic landmarks and cultural hotspots.
If you’ve never visited before, must-sees include the Eiffel Tower (of course!), Notre Dame, The Louvre, Trocadero, the Arc de Triomphe, the Musée D’Orsay and Sacré Cœur – all as beautiful by night as they are during the day. But if you’re looking for something a bit different, you can find modern art at the Pompidou, take scenic walks along the Canal St. Martin, pay homage to stars such as Jim Morrison and Oscar Wilde at la cimetière Père Lachaise, drink mint tea at the beautiful Mosquée, or bargain hunt at one of the many flea markets.
Alors on mange
French cuisine is revered – and in Paris you’re never short of options! If you’re feeling a bit peckish during the day, step into one of the patisseries, or pick up a crêpe from a street vendor (Nutella or sugar and lemon are best). For something savoury, head to Rue de Rosiers in the Marais for a falafel from L’As du Falafel.
For a more substantial meal, there are plenty of restaurants and cafés to pick from – Le Relais de l’Entrecôte is always good for steak. Café de Flore, once frequented by the likes of Satre and De Beauvoir, has long been famous for its literary connections. For more modern eating, Kong was made famous by Carrie in Sex in the City. My favourite eateries include Chez Toinette, just off Boulevard Clichy, Chez Janou, near Place des Vosges and Hotel du Nord on Quai de Jemmapes.
After a long day, you may want to wind down and ‘prendre un verre’ in one of Paris’ bars and cafés. The Marais is a particular hotspot, lively yet relaxed with many places staying open till late. In Bastille, the Rue de la Roquette’s narrow street is lined with haunts to suit every taste, but is generally a noisy affair. Oberkampf in the 11th arrondissement and Latin Quarter near the Sorbonne, are also popular hang-outs. To be honest though, wherever you are in Paris, you’ll never be far from a decent place to enjoy a drink and soak up the city.
Faire du vélo?
It terms of getting around the city, Paris is actually pretty easy to navigate. It’s not the biggest city, so you can get to a lot of places on foot. The metro is also heavily subsidised making it a cheap and quick way to get around. If you’re feeling adventurous though, I’d recommend taking out a Velib – one of the city’s public bikes. Stations are every 200m and for as little as €1 per day, you can see a lot of Paris while you travel from A to B.