Monday, 2 September 2013


1. DO Walk 

Paris is teeny tiny. Everywhere is walkable. If you really can't (stupid shoes? too much vin du table) use the metro. (Or, radical, ride a bike - Paris did Boris bikes long before Boris...) Paris taxis are hard to get and cost a fortune.

2. DON'T eat anywhere fashionable

Paris has fashionable restaurants to spare. You know the kind, you get the table for two hours max and your food comes with a side order of disdain. There's a bistro on every corner for a reason. Use them. Too pricey? Sit inside, or go one street back from the main drag, cheaper; two streets, cheaper still.

3. DO make time for a cemetery

Pere Lechaise if you're staying Marais/Bastille-wards, Montmartre if you're North, Montparnasse if you're on the left bank. Parisians give really good graveyard.

Pere Lechaise

4. DO discover a new designer 

Not so long ago Isabel Marant and Jerome Dreyfuss were little French labels only fashion insiders had heard of. Well there are plenty more where those came from like Swildens, Polder (below), Philippe Model, get them while you can still (just about, at a stretch) afford them.

5. DON'T go during fashion week 

One word: models. Two words: fashion circus. Seven words: you will feel like a bag lady.

6. DO eat carbs

Paris is full of wonderful bread and pastries. Why fight it?

7. DON'T be vegetarian

Unless you like omelette or French onion soup or lots and lots of roquette, Paris is STILL useless for vegetarians. Although that said, there are plenty of Thai restaurants, so there's always noodles.

8. DO Live like a local 

Eschew hotels. People are always asking me to recommend hotels in Paris, but I can't. It's a long time since I found one, I actually liked. They're either deeply pretentious (I mean, fashionable), horribly touristy or cost an arm and a leg (yes, Hyatt, home of the €20 croissant, I mean you). If you fancy living like a local, try renting an apartment from somewhere like or

9. And DO go to monoprix

I mean it. Other people's supermarkets are so much more fun than ours.

10. DO people watch

It's what street cafes are for. The bookshop cafe at Merci, 111 Boulevard Beaumarchais, is also excellent for people watching and does excellent cake.

11. But DON'T be uncool

Like I was when I saw Emmanuele Seigner in merci's bookshop cafe on Saturday.

12. Don't mistake effortless for no-effort

No effort = me on a saturday. Effortless = french women most of the time.


  1. Wonderful guide! I try to go yearly although it is tricky as a vegetarian but for people watching, street rambling, history foraging it is always worth it ♥

    1. I am a born again Paris convert. fashion weeks wrecked it for me, but I'm back in love with the city with a vengeance.

    2. Good to hear! No more gruelling fashion weeks just lovely ambling around Parisian bookshops & cafes. Heavenly.

  2. Monoprix just reminded me of the time my 10 year old self shouted "there's monopricks" and couldn't understand why the rest of my family was laughing uncontrollably.