In an effort to share our favourite travel experiences, tips and stories, each month we will feature a staffer and their own take on a destination, transportation and everything in between. To start off this Cover-More Staff Pick series, we asked our staffer Maureen Mullins the following question:
What if you only had 12 hours in Paris — or 12 hours left of your holiday in Paris? What would you try and squeeze in at all costs?
As a long-time lover of the French capital, here’s what I would recommend. There is something for everyone: food, wine, art, history, perfume and shopping.
- Enough culture. Time for shopping! From the Musée d’Orsay, walk along the Boulevard St Germain to the Ralph Lauren flagship store at 173. This has to be one of the most beautiful stores in the world, housed in a fully restored 19th-century ‘hôtel particulier’ or grand townhouse in English.
- Time for more walking. Head to Notre Dame de Paris on Île de la Cité. It should only take 20 minutes. Google Maps will help and make sure your route takes in Rue de Buci, one of the loveliest market streets on the Left Bank.
- Outside the front of Notre Dame you will find a plaque in the pavement announcing you are standing right in the official centre of Paris. There is a widely-held belief that whoever stands on the plaque is destined to return to Paris. Take a photo of your feet. And start planning your next visit.
- Cross the bridge behind Notre Dame to the smaller of the two islands in the Seine, Île Saint-Louis and head down the central rue until you reach Berthillon at 29 rue Saint Louis en l’Île. This is best ice cream in Paris.
- Walk across the Pont Marie and head to the Marais district for a taste of really cool Paris. Use Google Maps again and find La Belle Hortense at 31 rue Vieille-du-Temple which is a bookshop and wine bar and a uniquely Paris experience. This is a great street for people-watching and is located off the normal tourist routes. Across from La Belle Hortense is another cute-ish bar, Le Petit Fer à Cheval. Try both.
- Shop for the best tea in the world at Mariages Frères at 30 rue du Bourg-Tibourg. This is a Paris institution where you can buy the most sublime green tea called Fall in Love. You will.
- Then head towards the Centre Georges Pompidou in the Beaubourg area. This is home to the largest collections of modern art in Europe and is a futuristic inside-out building that is nothing like you have ever seen before. While the art is good, the restaurant and the view from the top are better. Georges (pronounced jaw-sh) is contemporary and trendy with possibly the silkiest mash I have ever eaten and impossibly beautiful staff. Wait till the sun goes down and see the sparkles of the Eiffel Tower while you sip the last of your Châteauneuf-du-Pape and reminisce about the 12 hours you have just spent in Paris.
Disclaimer: The views, opinions and positions expressed by the authors and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect those of Cover-More Insurance.
Images courtesy of Flickr users Anna Ayvazyan, Jim Trodel, Stephen Carlile, Abdulsalam Haykal.