Design Tourist: 32 Hours in Paris travel tips

Now what on
earth can you do in 32 hours in Paris? Well quite a lot actually. At the end of
November I took a quick trip to Paris for what was essentially a girls night
out – just one that lasted 32 hours and involved getting on a plane. It wasn’t
a hedonistic spend up though, just a chance to spend some quality time together
(a feat that’s quite hard to achieve when your a Mum) albeit in Paris.  Brighton to Central Paris can be done in under
3hrs which is a seriously quick hop. It was one of my #take12trips for
2016 and it was a really wonderful weekend.

So when time is
tight you either need to scheduled the hell out of your trip or be lucky enough
to know Paris so well that you can be laid back with your plans.  Happily
the latter was the case for us BUT that was because we were visiting a local (and
I’ve already been there 4 times this year)
.

So here’s my
tips to make it work. Firstly stay
central
pick the 
arrondissement that best
suits your personality and what you like to do. If upscale luxury shopping and
major galleries is your desire then the 1st arrondisement (75001) home to
the Louvre,
Jardin des Tuileries and concept
shop Colette. Or maybe it’s the draw of the 
6ème bustle of Saint Germain (75006) with a
vibrant café lifestyle, boutique shopping and Haussmannian style
buildings. Or the maybe it’s the call of the Marais’ arty gallery scene and
laid back brunching (spread over 75003 and 75004). What ever your passion Paris
will have village that suits you. Staying central also means that you should be
able to do lots on foot rather than using the (excellent) metro.


Try to combine activities. Why not go
shopping to concept store Merci but also stop by the
library café
for a midmorning cup of coffee. It’s seriously good instagram material plus just
around the corner is the amazing
Musee Picasso Paris or instead a short walk will take you to Marche des
Enfants Rouge which I absolutely love as this hidden food market isn’t on
everyone’s itinerary. You can spend a lovely hour seeing the locals stocking up
on essentials and eat from the selection of food stalls.

Sundays in Paris are an altogether more sedate affair,
so why not Sunday like a local?
It’s not uncommon for independent stores to be closed and even some restaurants
– although many in the central more touristy
arrondissements
are open.
Locals spend Sunday mornings in one of the small pop up brocantes that happen around the city. If you want to
track one down, as they often appear only once a month in a particular
location, check out brocabrac and 
Société Parisienne d’Animation et de Manifestation

Paris is an
incredibly photogenic city and around every corner you’ll find an “instagram
moment”. I always try and take a
stroll
in one of Paris’ wonderful parks or squares even if it’s just
getting from A to B.  I like to visit to
Le Jardin du Luxembourg possibly one of the most beautiful public spaces in the
city. For others it might be Tuileries Gardens or Palais Royale Gardens.
If you do visit the
Jardin des Tuileries you
could also visit
Monet’s waterlilies at the Musée de
l’Orangerie across the road.
 Another
opportunity to get outside and combine it with seeing stunning works of art is
to head to the Rodin Museum. 
It has 7 acres
of lawn and gardens and the most rewarding avenues of pollarded trees. I
still haven’t made it out to Fondation Louis Vuitton the Frank
Gehry-designed cultural center but I promise I will in 2017 its set in
wonderful parkland too. Quite frankly walking most places in Paris will be a
rewarding affair as there is just so much to gawp at.

Want to do something different
in Paris? While
Paris is well known for its towering historical churches, the Grand
Mosque is a very worthwhile stop in the Latin Quarter where in a beautiful
mosaic filled courtyard you can order fantastic mint tea. In complete macabre
contrast you could opt to visit the city’s Catacombs. It will probably be one
of the
weirdest things you’ll ever do (I
can top it by saying I have taken a Brighton Sewer Tour – I kid you not!) 

For the future: If you’re going to be visiting Paris
after September 2017 it’s worthwhile keeping an eye on the eagerly anticipated
renovation of the Fondation PierreBergé–Yves Saint Laurent at 5 Avenue Marceau. The space, which was used as
Saint Laurent’s atelier and office for more than 30 years, will be fully
refurbished in its original style, allowing visitors the opportunity to
experience Saint Laurent’s studio as it was while he was sketching and
designing. 

You can’t possible include all of these
points of interest in 32 hours – so pick your vibe and stick relatively local.
It doesn’t matter what part of town
you’re staying in, there’ll always be a great local café, where you can drop in
at any time of day for a coffee, to people watch, or engage in conversation
over an aperitif or two.


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