Put away the tourist guide and discover Paris’s bars, restaurants and attractions that pull in the locals
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WINNING TIP: L’Entrepôt
This venue comprises three small, comfortable cinemas showing a huge number of films each week, from arthouse and world cinema to mainstream and children’s. There’s an art gallery on the top floor, a restaurant with tables outside in the summer, plus regular live music. Or you can just call by for a coffee or a beer and there’ll be a good soundtrack playing.
7 rue Francis de Pressensé, +33 1 45 40 07 05, lentrepot.fr
CULTURE & HISTORY
Au Lapin Agile
This tiny cabaret/chansonnier on the north side of Montmartre hasn’t changed much since the days when unknowns such as Picasso, Utrillo and Matisse used to drink here and pay the bill with their artworks. It may seem expensive – entrance fee of €28 (€20 for students), including one small drink, but you are paying for the music, the poems and the fun – and you can make one drink last all evening. Helps if you speak French.
22 rue des Saules, +33 1 46 06 85 87, au-lapin-agile.com
Mémorial des martyrs de la déportation
A small, stark and savagely detailed underground memorial, on the southern tip of Îsle de la Cité behind Notre Dame, which goes unnoticed by the thousands of tourists who take selfies of themselves in front of the adjoining cathedral every day. Inaugurated by Charles de Gaulle in 1962, it commemorates 200,000 people who were deported from Vichy France, many to concentration camps from which few returned. It is a place for tears and quiet contemplation; a refuge from the crowds and a reminder of one of the darkest episodes in recent history.
Square de l’Île de France, +33 1 46 33 87 56, cheminsdememoire.gouv.fr
Musée Albert Kahn
Albert Kahn was a rich French banker and philanthropist who lost everything in the crash of 1929. But the archives of a project he embarked on in the early years of the 20th century still remain in the Musée Albert Kahn beside his former home. Kahn sent teams of photographers around the world to record changing and vanishing cultures and the museum stages regular exhibitions of this amazing collection of black-and-white, colour and movie film. Kahn also created wonderful gardens around his house in Japanese, French and English styles and these in themselves are worth the journey to the end of Line 10.
10-14 rue du Port, +33 1 55 19 28 00, albert-kahn.hauts-de-seine.net
FOOD & DRINK
Le Rubis is my favourite zinc bar in Paris. Hidden away, round the corner from the Place Vendôme, it is unashamedly untouristy. No English is spoken, the food is simple French home cooking and the wine list is huge and impressive. If you are lucky enough to sit down, then this is the place to soak up real Paris, where office workers are rubbing shoulders with genteel old couples and workmen.
10 rue du Marché Saint-Honoré, +33 1 42 61 03 34, no website
Dernier Bar Avant la Fin du Monde
If this truly were the last bar before the end of the world, you’d have no reason to complain. It is a pop culture haven in which you can sip themed cocktails with names like 42, The Dude and Jedi Knight, play table-top games on leather armchairs, limp along on their Paris Zombie Walk and take Avengers shots so strong, you’ll worry you’ll go blind. Come for the décor. Stay for the atmosphere. Never want to leave.
19 avenue Victoria, +33 1 53 00 98 95, dernierbar.com, open 10am-1am
Les Enfants Terribles
Beautiful food, friendly service and reasonable prices. No alcohol served but there’s a range of brilliant alcohol-free cocktails. There’s even a no-alcohol carte des vins. So, no sniffy waiters who lose interest when they see there’s no money to be made from the wine list. Ambience welcoming, and booking – or at least turning up early – advisable.
197 avenue Daumesnil, +33 1 43 43 24 61, resto-lesenfantsterribles.fr
Tucked away in leafy Belleville is Les Cascades, an arty cafe that really belongs to its customers and the local community. Feast on delicious salads for €8 or huge sandwiches for €5, while debates on topical issues rage, free gigs featuring local talent get people jiving, or up-and-coming art exhibitions reflect the rich creativity and energy of Paris. It’s laid back and bohemian so don’t be afraid to join in – you’ll be welcomed by patrons and owners.
82 rue des Cascades, +33 1 46 36 56 92, no website
Parc des Buttes-Chaumont
This amazing little-known – even to French people – park is in the un-touristy, north-eastern 19th arrondissement. Overlooking Paris, it includes a 30m waterfall, a suspension bridge, a lake, a grotto and a temple. The sloping lawns are great for a picnic while watching the sun go down. It’s well-served by bus (the best way to visit Paris) or the metro station bearing the park’s name.
1 rue Botzaris, equipement.paris.fr
On the outskirts of Paris lies the Meudon Observatoire, the plush green gardens of which provide a view of Paris to rival that from the Effiel Tower and the Sacré Coeur. It’s on the banks of a lake, in a field of wild flowers, and you can take in a view of the whole city while enjoying bread and cheese from the local bakery and delis. The perfect spot to get away from all the hustle and bustle of the city.
61 avenue de l’Observatoire, +33 1 40 51 22 21, obspm.fr
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