Each month former Jersey girl Louise Hannah brings you the inside track on where to go, what to see and what to eat and drink in Paris.

Last September I left Jersey’s golden shores for the hustle, bustle and beauty of Paris.  It’s quite rightly referred to as the world’s most stunning city, and even though I’ve been here for five months, I’m still surprised on a daily basis by the sheer gorgeousness of it all: its smell (Paris has its own distinctive perfume – a mixture of strong coffee, cooking food and well-dressed women), vaunting buildings, galleries packed to the rafters with world-renowned art and a skyline peppered with some of history’s best loved landmarks.  With such a feast for all the senses, it’s hard for islanders to know where to start.  This diary aims to give you a couple of ideas that have been tried and tested by a former islander lucky enough to be living the Parisian lifestyle.
On arriving in this great city, your immediate thought should be your belly.  Paris is all about good food – quality, not quantity.  The cakes here are the most beautiful edible creations you’ll ever see, and they taste even better.  My advice is to head to Ladurée, one of Paris’s oldest and choicest purveyors of cakes, on the Champs Élysées.  It’s large, expensive and old school with impeccably dressed staff speaking every language under the sun.  It has a tea room, restaurant and a very sexy cocktail bar, all spread out over two floors.  Head to the tea room for a coffee and plate of macaroons.  Crisp on the outside, soft and gooey on the inside, these divine little desserts come in imaginative flavours such as rose and ginger, blackcurrant violet, liquorice, orange blossom, and caramel with salted butter.  You’ll probably have to queue for fifteen minutes or so, but it’s well worth the wait.  And on your way out, be sure to take a look at the sugary rainbow of cakes and pastries lining the wall of the shop.  If you’re feeling generous, pick up a gift box of treats to take home for friends – they’ll be impressed!
By this point you’ll be raring to do some sight-seeing.  Walk down along the Champs  Elysées, cross over Place de la Concorde and you’ll hit the Orangerie Museum at the foot of the Tuileries Garden.  It was created and arranged by impressionist Claude Monet as a ‘haven of peaceful meditation’ for modern man and his ‘overworked nerves’.  It’s true that it’s beautifully calming.  His famed water lily oil paintings wrap themselves completely around the oval walls.  There’s a bank of seats in the middle where you can sit and gaze for however long you like; there’s enough in these violet, lavender, blue and purple canvases to keep you mesmerized for hours.  And if your eyes are still thirsty, head to the basement where you’ll find more masterpieces by the likes of Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse and Paul Cézanne.
Having started in the city centre, now’s the time to try out some less touristy spots.  I’d suggest catching the metro to Louis Blanc in the tenth arrondissement and walking towards the canal.  Close by at 200 Quai de Valmy, you’ll come across the Centre de Dynamique Artistes.  It’s a huge, cavernous space housing a bar, restaurant, chill out lounge, concert room, dance studio and exhibition centre.  There’s always something exciting going on here (last time, my friend and I stumbled across a tribal African dance show), and while definitely being hip and cool and cutting edge, it’s not intimidatingly so.  There’s no attitude here, you’re always welcome and it’s definitely a great place to head to in the evening (it’s closed during the day).  
In Paris, people tend to do things much later than you would in Jersey or the UK.  They don’t eat until 10pm for example, and they certainly don’t head home until the early hours of the morning at the weekend.  So after getting your dose of culture at the Centre de Dynamique Artistes, there’s still time to squeeze in a little more action.  Turn right outside of the centre and go for a walk along the Quai de Valmy.  It’s quiet, safe, discreetly lit and very, very romantic if you’re with the right person!  
After around twenty minutes, you’ll hit one of Paris’s most fabled bars: Chez Prune.  It’s not famous for being particularly snazzy; it’s pretty small and simple inside.  But the atmosphere is great.  Very young, very relaxed, very fun.  It’s where Parisians in the trendy tenth arrondissement go to wind down at the end of a day over a beer or bottle of red wine.  Definitely a must if you want to try out an authentic, non-touristy bar.  And definitely a must for girls wanting to be served by very attentive, very hot French barmen!
 

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SUBJECT_FOOD
Laudree
– One of Paris’s oldest and choicest purveyors of cakes, on the Champs Élysées.  It’s large, expensive and old school with impeccably dressed staff speaking every language under the sun.  It has a tea room, restaurant and very sexy cocktail bar, all spread out over two floors. 

Ladurée Champs Elysées
75, avenue des Champs Elysées,
8th arrondissement

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Orangerie –  Created and arranged by impressionist Claude Monet as a ‘haven of peaceful meditation’ for modern man and his ‘overworked nerves’. The top floor showcases his famous Waterlilly paintings then head to the basement where you’ll find more masterpieces by the likes of Picasso, Matisse and Cézanne.

Musée de l’Orangerie,
Jardin des Tuileries, 1st arrondissement

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Centre dynamiques – Also in the 10th: the Centre de Dynamique Artistes.  It’s a huge, cavernous space housing a bar, restaurant, chill out lounge, concert room, dance studio and exhibition centre. There’s always something exciting going on here.

Centre de Dynamiques Artistes
200 Quai de Valmy, 10th arrondissement

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SUBJECT_CULTURE

Chez Prune – One of Paris’s most fabled bars. It’s not famous for being particularly snazzy; it’s pretty small and simple inside. Great atmosphere. Very young, very relaxed, very fun.  It’s where Parisians in the trendy tenth arrondissement go to wind down at the end of a day over a beer or bottle of red wine. 

Chez Prune
36 Rue
Beaurepaire,
10th arrondissement

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