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5 essential things you need in Paris and where to find them

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TRVL Tips 5 essential things you need in Paris and where to find them

It’s quite bold to act like you know what a perfect weekend in Paris is all about. This is especially true if you’re not Parisian, which happens to be the case here. But, as I’ve repeated this ritual over and over again over the past decade (dare to call me pathetic), I’m now brave enough to share what I consider to be pretty valuable tips. Or you know, just proper awesome.

Martine van den Boomen
Martine van den Boomen

To me, a perfect weekend is all about (1) that perfect hotel, (2) great food, (3) fun neighborhoods, (4) a place to get a good drink (followed by dancing like there’s not tomorrow), and (5) great company.

1. The perfect hotel

As a young traveler, I love Airbnb’s. It’s my way of being nice to my wallet and I get to meet locals almost every time. But if I’m being honest, you really can’t beat the charm of a typical French hotel and, if I’m being even more honest, a weekend in Paris rarely ends well for my bank account. Anyhow, after ten years of exploring the city, two particular hotels have managed to steal my cold Dutch heart: Hôtel Des Grands Hommes and Hôtel Amour (don’t knock this cliché until you try it).

Hôtel Des Grands Hommes simply screams “FRENCH!” and I mean that in a fairly literal but most of all good way. These beautiful rooms are all about their wallpaper – yes, you’ve read that correctly. The first time I stayed here, I only figured out the lime green walls had teeny tiny monkeys worked into them after two nights. I adore the service, detail and ambiance of this place. And next to that, it’s right across the Pantheon. How’s that for a nice little extra?

2. The perfect food

Just thinking about Hôtel Amour’s interior makes me smile. They are not afraid to play around with their rooms and have found a way to combine classic French design with modern fun and still remain one of the best restaurants in Paris. However, what truly made me fall in love with this place was their brunch experience. Hôtel Amour has a tiny, almost tropical garden in the back where you can eat eggs, pancakes, salads and other baked goods to your heart’s content. I usually spot more locals here than I do tourists, so if you’re looking for a hidden, somewhat surprising gem in the middle of the city, you’ll find Hôtel Amour and their wonderful brunch near Opéra in Paris’s 9th arrondissement. Do go and wander the streets here after your brunch, as there is a lot more local fun to be had in the form of tiny markets and other great brunch spots.

3. The perfect neighborhoods

Before strolling off to the most beautiful park in Paris (Parc de Luxembourg), make sure you go over to the Bon Marché supermarket in the Latin Quarter. This store has everything and more that a foodie could ever dream of. Pastries (just take their brownie already, don’t question this one), beautiful fruit and veggies, meats, different types of fish, snacks, wines, juices and more: fill up a bag and get back to the park for the best picnic you’ll ever have. I promise you this is something you won’t regret. Except those few extra pounds maybe. Try to grab one of the park’s uncomfortable chairs, find a spot in the sun and just stuff your face like there’s no tomorrow. Sorry, that was about the dancing; dance until there’s no tomorrow.

4. The perfect place to go out

For fine dining and crazy cocktails, you need to get over to the 1st and 2nd arrondissements, also known as Les Halles and Le Sentier. To me, this is where the magic really happens (I won’t make the obvious joke here). Try to get a reservation at The Beef Club for the best steaks and cocktails, but make sure you don’t end up too hammered over dinner, as you’ll want to get down to their nightclub afterward. The things I clearly remember from my nights here are bartenders throwing with fire and ice (literally, I don’t know how they do it), gay guys asking for my lipstick in the bathroom, drinking the best cocktails ever (I am not exaggerating) and the music. The dance-like-there’s-no-tomorrow kind of music. This is the place to go if you want to have an amazing night partying with the locals.

5. Perfect company

And last but not least, your company. Sadly enough, you’ll have to figure that one out yourself. But looking back on my experiences, it has always been amazing. Either going with your lover or with your group of friends. Just pick your partner in crime, and Paris will do the rest.

grand hommes (booking)

Hôtel des Grands Hommes, Paris. Photo by TRVL



Hôtel des Grands Hommes, Paris.

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