Paris is for lovers ... of life and art and food and fashion and dancing until the sun comes up over the Seine. But - forget what you think you know about the world’s romance Mecca, and discover a diverse, modern European capital, where a new multicultural generation of Parisians are breathing fresh life into the historical streets.
In Paris, there’s no place for moderation or self-denial. Start by grabbing a freshly baked croissant and cup of thick, creamy chocolat chaud. Then sit outside and watch the world go by from behind your sunglasses. In a city where the notion of chic is constantly redefined, you’re as likely to see hip-hop labels and mismatched vintage as couture gracing the slim frames of the beau monde.
If you have money to burn there’s an arrondissement for every shopping taste. From the couture houses of Faubourg Saint-Honoré, to the grands magasins on Boulevard Haussmann, and the tongue-in-cheek boutiques of the Marais quarter. You can make like a local and hit the markets, scooping up cheap foie gras at the bustling Marche Bastille, or get lost in the seven hectares of fleamarket junk and vintage treasures at the Marché aux Puces de St-Ouen. Here haggling is expected, so if your French is rusty bring a phrasebook and your best Gallic shrug.
At night the city throbs with live music, often hidden away in cellar bars and unmarked speakeasies. The jazz scene remains intense and vital, but you should also make time to seek out some of the newer rhythms taking over the capital’s bars and clubs. Cabaret and circus are also enjoying a renaissance, with the most popular companies flirting heavily with queer aesthetics, traditional African beats or a heady mixture of the two.
For a city so teeming with life, Paris does a world-class job of honouring its dead. No visit is complete without paying your respects to Jim Morrison, Edith Piaf, Oscar Wilde et al in the beautiful Père Lachaise Cemetery. What better way to honour their memory than to head back into city’s darkening boulevards, in search of the party that’s already in full swing behind the genteel facades.