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I’m off to Paris on Friday for a few days. I haven’t been since I was a kid. Any recommendations for anything a bit cool or funky or different would be really appreciated. Thanks.


  1. Fred Thrung says:

    We called it the Pr**k of montparnasse when it was built lo those many years ago. The best view of Paris you will see. And look up Roger the Frog (Roger la Grenouille) for a restaurant but ignore the frog legs.

  2. Single Acts of Tyranny says:

    Les Invalides. Ask the frogs what the imperial guard uniform looked like in 1816!

  3. CIngram says:

    You could start a revolution. Cool, funky, different but very French. And they look as though they need one.

    Failing that, you could check out the area round the Gare du Nord to see whether it’s actually been transformed into a ‘vibrant reflection of modern Paris’, or they’re lying to us and it’s still a dump full of pimps, tarts and junkies. Either way it could be a good evening.

    Bon voyage!!

  4. MHG says:

    Apologies if this posted twice — Bill Gates stung me again.

    So, I’m a long time reader, first time poster, just got back from Paris in mid-September after a twenty year absence.

    Bastille: if you want a decent and relatively inexpensive glass of wine provided by chaps who know their business, go to Le Baron Rouge. Although they do find their way into the guidebooks, it’s still very much a groovy neighbourhood bar. My crappy French didn’t cause any trouble. Come early for lunch, split one of their cheese or meat platters, or both if you’re with company and eat well . . . hard to go wrong.

    Montmartre: La Montagne Sans Genevieve, a little student pub at 13 rue Pot de Fer. A few hundred meters from Place Contrescarpe, but a thousand kilometers away in attitude (and, more to the point, several Euros away in terms of prices for drinks). Granted, nothing extraordinary, but an useful place to watch the locals go by, and either enjoy being a tourist or pretend one is not. Friendly staff on the days I was there (my new local when staying in the area).

    Les Gobelins: if on the south edge of Le Quartier Latin . . . well, I’m not much help with this address, but the little restaurant just east of Au Petit Marguery on Boulevard Port-Royal [I swear it's called La Victoire but it's new and I can't find it online] is a family-run place whose daughters speak English and mweade sure had a pleasant, educational and (of course) tasty dinner.

    Notre Dame: Shakespeare and Company is very much worth a look-in, even if the owner is a commie knucklehead of long standing. Hard to sit in the Sylvia Beach Memorial Library (ie the second floor of the bookshop) without feeling a strong sense of history. Compensate by stealing something valuable (no, only joking).

    Paris has lifted its game. When I was living a few hours away (back in the 80s and early 90s) you couldn’t pay me to live there. After August / September 2012, I’d sell up and move there tomorrow.

    All the best. Let us know how you go.

  5. Chris says:

    Catch the river bus up and down the Seine. It’s really cheap for a day-ticket compared to a trip on a tourist bateau mouche. The day-ticket means you can hop on and off. You get to see an awful lot for not a lot of euros.

    Rue La Fayette is hardly a tourist area, but it has some good, value for money restaurants. Far better to eat where the French eat.

  6. Paddy says:

    Saint Germain de Pres Happy Hour!

  7. nen o'yer pish noo says:

    Haven’t been there for 20 years but I’m assured Restaurant Chartiers in Rue du Faubourg, Montmatre, hasn’t changed (hope the link works).

    Queue outside if they’re short of seats, be led to a table already occupied by strangers, join them, have your menu choice scrawled on the tablecloth by a waiter (who must surely be trained in Gallic hauteur and wears the “traditional” long apron), and wait for your food / wine to be served. Complete madhouse of activity, and the waiters do it all from memory – they use the notes on the tablecloth to work out your bill.

    Enjoy the magnificent old building and conversation in English, French, Franglais or gibberish – as appropriate – with your new friends at the table.

    Incroyable, and only in France.

  8. NickM says:

    Thanks. Ideas noted and I’ll let ya know how France goes.

    CIngram. I’m a C21st boy and it’s been like done and done. You just want to see tits tumble out of a dress like that picture.

  9. Fred Z says:

    At all costs avoid Euro-Disney as the plague hole where American and French cultures cross poisoned each other. Inedible fast food and undrinkable wine.

  10. Mr Ed says:

    Best restaurant, Le Relais Entrecôte (several exist as a chain) near Deux Magits in St Germain. Only one main dish, fillet steak, with frites and a range of sauces, and a huge range of puds. Queues down the street early evening in summer.

  11. CIngram says:


    Isn’t that what revolutions are all about?

    As a serious suggestion though, I’d recommend Longchamp for the gee-gees, if you like that sort of thing. You’ve just missed the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, but there’s probably something going on.

  12. Tim Newman says:

    I was there last week, out on the lash around Odeon until 5:30am on the weekend and in some other place until 3:30am a few days later. I love Paris, and give it another 9 months or so and I’ll most likely be living there, with my accommodation tab being picked up and my taxes being paid in Geneva. After 3 years in Lagos, I deserve it.

  13. Paul Marks says:

    I do not know about “cool and funkey” – but remember to have a Paris Pratique on you at all times. And remember that the guides do not work like a British street map – they work per arrondissement, so take a few minutes to teach yourself how to use the guide (before you start walking).

    Looking at Paris from the hill where the great white church of Sacre Coeur is good – bu the rest of that area is much like Soho (although one can walk back into Paris with ease).

    When I went to Paris (a couple of years ago) I liked the islands best – but many other things of interest are in easy walking distance of the river (which winds about). So consult your guide (and keep your map book on you at all times) and walk along the river – going off river (both left and right) to see things that interest you, and then return to the river.

    Remember the “iron ring” of mess around Paris (so keep to the central district) – the north is the area where the mess seems to come in closest and includes the Paris Nord railway station area). Howerver, if you walk west from the Arc De Triomphe (along the Grand Army – and then the Charles De Gaulle (then over the river) you will end up in the business district of La Defence (just outside Paris – about half an hour’s walk) which is interesting in its own modernist way.

    Of course there is the metro system.

    But a young man like yourself should not need to use it – things are walkable distances apart.

    However (yet again) make sure you know how to use your pocket map book – remember it works by arrondissment.

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