Morning: My mission when I arrived in Paris was to drink as much wine, eat as many croissants, and see as many cool bars and restaurants as possible. Lucky for me, there is a place to eat and drink on every block, so I was in for an overload. To counterbalance the effects that Nutella crepes and rich meals would have on my physique, I decided to see the city by bike – and I wouldn’t recommend any other way. Before you leave, check out the Veli-B website to get your 1-day bike pass for less than 2 Euros (a steal) and print the docking station map. While you could spend the whole day zipping around and seeing all the famous sights Paris has to offer, I suggest you pedal your Veli-B to the Bread & Roses Cafe in the 6ieme arrondissement. This darling Cafe is not only the perfect spot to grab a croissant and cafe au lait, but it is just steps to the immaculate Jardins Luxembourg. This beautiful city park is the perfect place to spend the morning. Walk through the gardens and admire the architecture of the Luxembourg palace.
Art and Literature buffs will be please to know that Bread and Roses is just steps from 27 Rue de Fleurus. This was the home of Gertrude Stein, friend to Ernest Hemingway and Pablo Picasso. Although not open to the public, a plaque above the door marks the location.
Afternoon: I specifically chose to skip the usual touristy spots on this trip to the city of love. I wanted to see Paris as though I was a local, so on the advice of some friends I headed to Le Marais for art gawking and shopping. Blissfully wandering down the cobblestone lanes I came to realize that this area is a dream for both fashionistas and art lovers; little alleyways and side streets hide some fantastic boutiques and galleries just waiting to be discovered. I stopped into Diptyque to get a limited edition Rose Duet candle (that’s a Rose x Baies mashup, how scrumptious) before picking out the perfect dress to wear later for dinner at boutique Sandro.
After bleeding my wallet I decided to have a well-deserved drink. I went directly to La Perle on Rue Vieille du Temple for some wine and nosh. This bar-de-quartier has been around for many years but made headlines not long ago as the place that former Dior designer John Galliano went on his career-ending drunken rant. The staff is friendly, the prices are just right and the place is busy. All around me good-looking people sipped wine, smoked cigarettes and I all of a sudden felt like Parisian.
Night: The tartare and red burgundy wine I had at lunch, although delicious, left me wanting more so I put on my new dress and headed out for dinner at Chez Julien in Saint-Germain-des-Pres.
If you are looking for a classic French bistro filled with charm that serves impeccable food, it’s a must; try the whole lobster salad with a glass of white burgundy. However, if you’re into more of a young crowd with a lively scene to start the night, eating at The Beef Club Ballroom won’t let you down.
Don’t drink too much at dinner (a fault of mine) because afterward you’re heading to Candelaria for cocktails. Nestled behind the hidden door at the back of a taco stand, Candelaria is the Parisian equivalent to PDT in New York. The bar is not much bigger than a walk-in closet, but it’s a place full of very cool people, extremely delicious cocktails and a secret society vibe. The drinks are expertly crafted and all combine unique flavours. Try ”Le Jardins de meme” made with Chartreuse, St.Germain, Basil, Citron Vert, and absinthe shaken with egg whites for frothy goodness. Yum! Sample a few and then stumble out to a taxi stand for a cab. Ask the driver to detour around the Eiffel tower in all it’s lit up (and gaudy) glory, just so you can tell the people back home that you saw it.
Still not ready for sleep? Check out Nightclubs Silencio (owned by David Lynch and packed with famous faces), and Le Montana (a model fave)
How to get there: Flights leaving most Canadian hubs daily on Air Canada.