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Destinations · Europe · france · Paris · Essence ·

Essence

Author: Anothertravelguide.com0 COMMENTS

Although Milan, London and New York have done their best to rival it, Paris is still the fashion capital of the world. And any designer considers it a matter of pride to present his or her show in Paris. Paris is one of the most photogenic cities of the world, and one of the few that can be navigated on foot. It is a city with its own special chemistry - the very air entices you to enjoy, to taste; here your steps take on a different rhythm and become slower, unhurried. And, if there is no particular hurry, it is a city where taking the metro is a sin (even though it is the ideal way to get about).
Paris is a city where personal routes develop for those who've been there more than once, making each new visit feel wonderfully like coming home. On approaching Paris from the airport, a vaguely sentimental feeling always sets in, and it is futile to try and explain it.
At the same time it is a city where there is always something new - a new gallery, bookshop, museum, restaurant... Paris is reliable and always surprising.
Paris is the Left Bank galleries, antiques shops and the most delicious cakes in the world. Here is the boutique of Pierre Hermé, the Picasso of pastries, and the most legendary of Paris "cakeries", Ladurée, where you absolutely must try the famous French macaroons - meringue shells with a filling that literally melts in your mouth.
Paris is a city where gastronomy is an art and a philosophy. The Alain Ducasse Restaurant at the Plaza Athénée, worthy of a gastronomic pilgrimage, and true-to-the-bone French bistros like Le Vieux Bistro, where bœuf bourguignon - a beef and vegetable stew in red wine and herbs - is served from a large cast iron pot.
Paris is not just Louvre, Basilique du Sacré-Cœur, the Eiffel Tower, Cetre Pompidou designed by Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers or Musée du Quai Branly, the new museum of ancient civilisations, designed by Jean Nouvel - it is also Le Courbusier's architecture, Ville La Roche and Villa Savoye.
Paris is Marais, the district favoured by gays, the most stylish part of the city at the moment, the location of Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin - already a destination in its own rights - and Hotel Petit Moulin, the little hotel in a converted bakery, designed by the French fashion designer Christian Lacroix. Rue des Rosiers, Rue St-Croix de la Bretonnaire and Rue Vieille-du-Temple: these are the little streets you have to see to say you have been in Paris.
Paris is Le Baron Rouge, one of the most striking wine-tasting spots in the world: on a warm afternoon wine is sampled and savoured right there on the street by plebs and patricians alike, by men in worn shoes and ladies with Chanel handbags and lap-dogs. You only have to ask, and for the measly sum of 4 euros your empty bottle will be filled straight from the barrel for you to take it home.
Paris is the Palais Royal gardens, a place where between the art galleries, antique shops and the black-and-white striped columns designed in 1985 by the French conceptual artist Daniel Buren a true gem for style gourmets is hidden, the little shop owned by Didier Ludot, one of the most famous collectors of vintage clothes in the whole world.
Paris is the almost compulsory visit to Marches Aux Puces on a Saturday or Sunday morning. Puces des Vanves is only one of the options. Getting there is an experience in itself: as you approach the Porte-de-Vanves metro station you realise that all those weirdos in the uncharacteristically packed train are going exactly the same way you are. If you're looking for a real gem, go on a Saturday - just after dawn when the real connoisseurs of flea markets start to gather.
Paris is bookshops. The legendary Shakespeare and Co, the one which Henry Miller once called "a wonderland of books" - a true treasure-house just opposite Notre Dame de Paris, open midday to midnight. Paris is a city from which you will always bring back a story to tell.

Reviewed by Una Meistere, Andrejs Žagars, Daiga Rudzāte

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