Paris: 24 hours in Le Marais
Nicola Brady maps out a magical 24 hours in Le Marais, one of Paris's most stylish, rambling quarters.
For the uninitiated, the arrondissements of Paris can be mighty confusing. Hell, I'm familiar with the city, and I still don't know my 8th from my elbow. My tip? Focus on districts by name. Le Marais is a stylish, rambling quarter that just screams 'Paris'. Grab a pastry and amble to the Centre Pompidou, a modern art centre in a striking building. It opens at 11am.
How: Entrance costs €14. See centrepompidou.fr
Le Marais is an absolute paradise for shoppers, and it's home to a labyrinth of quirky boutiques. Cire Trudon is the motherland for those with an expensive candle habit - the moody green glasses are so pretty you'll weep. On Rue Vieille du Temple, you'll find artisan boulangeries, boutiques and La Belle Hortense, a funky blend of bookshop and wine bar. It's open until 2am, perfect for some postprandial shopping!
How: ciretrudon.com; cafeine.com/belle-hortense
Merci, Le Marais!
Have you ever wanted to walk into the interiors pages of a magazine? Well, Merci is the closest you can hope to get. Once a wallpaper factory in a fairly non-descript area of the 3rd, its opening brought life to the surrounds (and also created a new sub-district, the Haut-Marais). Browse the vintage furniture and modern designers, before grabbing a coffee in one of the cool cafés and perusing the local galleries.
Paris has a surprisingly diverse culinary scene, but if you're only in town for a day, then you'll likely be craving a traditionally French feed. At L'Ambassade d'Auvergne you'll fine bourgeois dishes from the Auvergne region, like duck with aligot and a heavenly mousse au chocolat. Afterwards, roll yourself over to the Hotel du Petit Moulin, a vibrantly hip hotel with interiors designed by Christian Lacroix.
How: B&B from €205; ambassade-auvergne.com; hotelpetitmoulinparis.com
Fly to Paris CDG with Aer Lingus (aerlingus.com) or Air France (airfrance.ie). Also check out en.parisinfo.com.