Monday, June 29, 2009

A room with a view:

A couple of friends of mine rent out their apartment in rue du Gros Caillou, a quiet backstreet in the rather well-to-do Ecole Militaire area. If you need accommodation in Paris for a couple of days or weeks, this is your place!

While landmarks such as the Tour Eiffel, the Invalides, and Pont Alexandre III are all in walking distance, this is a residential quarter with a local atmosphere and several neighbourhood stores and boutiques in close proximity. The great chef Christian Constant having four restaurants just a block away isn't an inconvenient either... People often say that Paris is more like a collection of small towns than one big city; seldom is the saying more true than here.

The apartment dates from the turn of the last century. Renovated in 2003, it comfortably houses two people and can accommodate up to four. Far more than just a place to crash after a day of sightseeing, shopping or work, this is a true home from which you will leave with an insider’s experience of Paris.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

My haunt: La Coupole

La Coupole has been my favourite café ever since I first came to Paris. I have probably been there hundreds of times, but funnily enough I have never had lunch or dinner there! I do know, however, that the café specialises in seafood and that, according to friends of mine, "les plateaux de fruits de mer" are splendid! For me La Coupole was the place where, for years, I had my hot chocolate before going to class at La Sorbonne or where I had (and still have!) an apéritif before dinner.

When having a glass by myself, I love to sit near the window and watch the hasty street. If it rains, it is even better... La Coupole is a wonderful place to have breakfast too. Choose a table with a banquette (bench), enjoy and observe! Many of the elderly customers are patrons and have their habits...

The interior is all splendid Art Deco and so Parisian. It's grandiose and cosy at the same time. The waiters are dressed as waiters should be dressed, and the whole place is perfectly traditional. A true delight!

102 Boulevard de Montparnasse, 75014 PARIS
Métro Vavin (line 4)

Friday, June 19, 2009

Pamper yourself: Hammam Pacha

Nestled in the 6th district of Paris is a Moroccan oasis of well-being; the Hammam Pacha. I particularly recommend going there on a grey and rainy day. Be prepared to spend 2-3 hours in the haven of rest.

The Hammam Pacha is a beautiful place. Its decoration evokes “1001 nights”. After having put your clothes in the painted wood lockers in the dressing room and put on your bathrobe, head towards the main hall which is lukewarm and humid. Let your body get used to the ambiance, have a shower (remember to bring scrub products!) and lie down on the tiles. Later, you can visit the sauna and the steam room – before you let the streams in the pool massage your back...

The Hammam offers various treatments, namely massages. I find their massages too gentle and therefore I don’t recommend them. Save your dimes for the culinary pleasures. Before returning to the outside world, spend some time in the relaxation room! Under the arcades, dive into the ocean of cushions and enjoy some mint tea and pastries. Spend time with a good book you have brought with you or take a nap. If you are really hungry, you can enjoy a tajine or some oriental salads in the restaurant afterwards.

Entrance; 35 euros (includes rent of bathrobe and towel). For the cost of the various treatments/massages, see the website (below).

Hammam Pacha is open seven days a week - exclusively for women.
17 Rue Mayet, 75006 PARIS
Métro Duroc (line 10 and 13)