Paris

book now

pop 2.15 million

What can be said about the sexy, sophisticated City of Lights that hasn't already been said a thousand times before? Quite simply, this is one of the world's great metropolises, a trend-setter, market-leader and cultural capital for over a thousand years and still going strong. This is the place that gave the world the cancan and the cinematograph, a city that reinvented itself during the Renaissance, bopped to the beat of the Jazz Age and positively glittered during the belle époque (beautiful era). As you might expect, Paris is strewn with historic architecture, glorious galleries and cultural treasures galore, but the modern-day city is much more than just a museum piece. It's a heady hotchpotch of cultures and ideas – a place to stroll the boulevards, shop till you drop or just do as the Parisians do and watch the world buzz by from a streetside cafe. Savour every moment.

Orientation

Central Paris is small: 9.5km (north to south) by 11km (east to west). Excluding the Bois de Boulogne and the Bois de Vincennes, its total area is 105 sq km. The Seine River flows east–west through the city; the Rive Droite (Right Bank) is north of the river, while the Rive Gauche (Left Bank) is to the south. Paris is divided into 20 arrondissements (districts).

Internet Access

Wi-fi is widespread. For a list of free-access wi-fi cafes, visit http://www.cafes-wifi.com/. If you’re laptop-less, Paris is awash in internet cafes:

Cyber Cube (Tel 01 56 80 08 08; http://www.cybercube.fr/; 9 rue d’Odessa, 14e; per 15/30min €1/2, per 5/10hr €30/40; h10am-10pm; mMontparnasse Bienvenüe) Expensive but handy for Gare Montparnasse.

Milk (Tel 08 20 00 10 00; http://www.milklub.com/v3/; per 1/2/3/5hr €4/7/9/12, night-time per 3/10hr €6/13; h24hr)

Panthéon (17 rue Soufflot, 5e; mLuxembourg); Les Halles (31 bd de Sébastopol, 1er; mLes Halles) This chain of seven internet cafes is bright, buzzy and open round the clock.

Phon’net (Tel 01 42 05 10 73; 74 rue de Charonne, 11e; per 1/5/15/30hr €5/16/30/45; h10am-midnight; mCharonne or Ledru Rollin)

Web 46 (Tel 01 40 27 02 89; 46 rue du Roi de Sicile, 4e; per 15/30min €2.50/4, per 1/5hr €7/29; h10am-11pm Mon-Fri, 10am-9pm Sat, noon-11pm Sun; mSt-Paul) Cybercafe in the heart of the Marais.

Internet Resources

Go Go Paris! Culture! (http://www.gogoparis.com/) All things cultural: clubs, art, gigs, food and drink.

Mairie de Paris (http://www.paris.fr/) Comprehensive Paris info from opening times to city stats.

Paris Convention & Visitors Bureau (http://en.parisinfo.com/) Official tourist office site.

Paris Pages (www.paris.org) Museums and cultural events.

Laundry

There’s a laverie (laundrette) on practically every Parisian street-corner; your hotel or hostel can point you to one.

Medical Services

These are major 24-hour accident-andemergency hospitals:

American Hospital of Paris (Tel 01 46 41 25 25; http://www.american-hospital.org/en.html; 63 bd Victor Hugo, 92200 Neuilly-sur-Seine; mPont de Levallois Bécon)

Hertford British Hospital (Tel 01 46 39 22 22; http://www.british-hospital.org/HBH/index.php; 3 rue Barbès, 92300 Levallois-Perret; mAnatole France)

Hôpital Hôtel Dieu (Tel 01 42 34 82 34; http://www.aphp.fr/; 1 place du Parvis Notre Dame, 4e; mCité) One of the city’s main government-run public hospitals; after 8pm use the emergency entrance on rue de la Cité, 4e.

Money

Post offices with a Banque Postale offer the best exchange rates, and accept banknotes (commission €4.50) and travellers cheques. Bureaux de change are faster and easier, open longer hours and give better rates than commercial banks.

Toilets

The public toilets in Paris are signposted toilettes or WC. The tan-coloured, self-cleaning toilets you see on Parisian pavements are open 24 hours and are free of charge. Libre means ‘free’; occupé means ‘occupied’.

Tourist Information

The main branch of the Paris Convention & Visitors Bureau (Office de Tourisme et de Congrès de Paris; Tel 08 92 68 30 00; http://en.parisinfo.com/; 25-27 rue des Pyramides, 1er; h9am-7pm Jun-Oct, 10am-7pm Mon-Sat & 11am-7pm Sun Nov-May, closed 1 May; mPyramides) is 500m northwest of the Louvre.

Other tourist offices: Gare de Lyon (Hall d’Arrivée, 20 bd Diderot, 12e; h8am- 6pm Mon-Sat, closed Sun & 1 May; mGare de Lyon) Gare du Nord (18 rue de Dunkerque, 10e; h8am-6pm, closed Christmas Day, New Year’s Day & 1 May; mGare du Nord)

Syndicat d’Initiative de Montmartre (Tel 01 42 62 21 21; 21 place du Tertre, 18e; h10am-7pm; mAbbesses)

Dangers & Annoyances

Paris is generally safe, but take care on the metro after dark, and take extra care at the stations at Châtelet-Les Halles, Château Rouge in Montmartre, Gare du Nord, Strasbourg St-Denis, Réaumur Sébastopol and Montparnasse Bienvenüe. You’re likely to encounter are pickpocketing, especially around Montmartre, Pigalle, Forum des Halles, the Latin Quarter, the Eiffel Tower, and on the rush-hour metro).

Lost Property

All objects found in Paris are brought to the Bureau des Objets Trouvés (Lost Property Office; Tel 0821 00 25 25; 36 rue des Morillons, 15e; h8.30am-5pm Mon-Thu, 8.30am-4.30pm Fri; mConvention). Items lost on the metro (32 46; h7am- 9pm Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm Sat & Sun) are held at the station before being sent to the Bureau des Objets Trouvés, while lost property on trains is taken to the station’s lost-property office.

Left Bank

Eiffel Tower

It’s impossible to imagine Paris without the Tour Eiffel (Tel 01 44 11 23 23; http://www.tour-eiffel.com/; lifts to 1st/2nd/top level €4.80/7.80/12; hlifts 9am midnight mid-Jun–Aug, 9.30am-11pm Sep–mid-Jun, stairs 9am-midnight mid-Jun–Aug, 9.30am-6pm Sep–mid-Jun; mChamp de Mars-Tour Eiffel or Bir Hakeim), but the ‘metal asparagus’ faced opposition from Paris’ artistic elite when it was built for the 1889 Exposition Universelle. It was almost torn down in 1909 but was spared because it proved an ideal platform for radio antennas.

These days some 6.9 million people make the 324m trek to the top each year. If you’re feeling steely-legged, you can dodge the lift fees by taking the stairs (€4/3.10 over/under 25 years old) to the 1st and 2nd platforms, but be warned: it’s steep. Really, really steep.

Spreading out around the Eiffel Tower are the Jardins du Trocadéro (Trocadero Gardens; mTrocadéro), whose fountains and statue garden are grandly illuminated at night.

Musée d’Orsay

The Musée d’Orsay (Orsay Museum; Tel 01 40 49 48 14; http://www.musee-orsay.fr/; 62 rue de Lille, 7e; adult/18-30yr €8/5.50, 1st Sun of month free; h9.30am-6pm Tue, Wed & Fri-Sun, 9.30am-9.45pm Thu; mMusée d’Orsay or Solférino), housed in a turn-of-the-20thcentury train station, displays France’s national collection of paintings, sculptures and artwork produced between the 1840s and 1914, including the fruits of the impressionist, postimpressionist and art nouveau movements. Among its exhibits are works by Monet, Renoir, Pissarro, Sisley, Degas, Manet, Gauguin, Cézanne, Van Gogh, Seurat and Matisse.

Tickets are valid all day so you can come and go as you please. The reduced entrance fee of €5.50 applies to everyone after 4.15pm (6pm on Thursday). A combined ticket with the Musée Rodin costs €12.

Panthéon

The domed landmark known as the Panthéon (Tel 01 44 32 18 00; http://www.monuments-nationaux.fr/en/; place du Panthéon, 5e; adult/18-25yr €7.50/4.80, 1st Sun of month Oct-Mar free; h10am-6.30pm Apr-Sep, to 6.15pm Oct-Mar; mLuxembourg) was completed in 1789. The crypt houses the tombs of French luminaries such as Voltaire, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Victor Hugo, Émile Zola, Jean Moulin and Marie Curie. A working model of Foucault’s Pendulum demonstrates the rotation of the earth.

Musée Rodin

The Musée Rodin (Rodin Museum; Tel 01 44 18 61 10; http://www.musee-rodin.fr/; 79 rue de Varenne, 7e; adult/18-25yr permanent or temporary exhibition plus garden €6/4, both exhibitions plus garden €9/7, garden only €1, 1st Sun of month free; h9.30am-5.45pm Tue-Sun Apr-Sep, 9.30am- 4.45pm Tue-Sun Oct-Mar; mVarenne) displays some of Rodin’s most famous works, including The Burghers of Calais (Les Bourgeois de Calais), Cathedral, The Thinker (Le Penseur) and The Kiss (Le Baiser).

Hôtel des Invalides

The Hôtel des Invalides (mVarenne or La Tour Maubourg) was built in the 1670s as housing for 4000 invalides (disabled war veterans). On 14 July 1789, a mob forced its way into the building and seized 28,000 rifles before heading to the prison at Bastille, starting the revolution.

Musée du Quai Branly

The new Musée du Quai Branly (Quai Branly Museum; Tel 01 56 61 70 00; http://www.quaibranly.fr/en/; 37 quai Branly, 7e; adult/student & 18-25yr €8.50/6, free after 6pm Sat for 18-25yr, 1st Sun of month for all; h11am- 7pm Tue, Wed & Sun, to 9pm Thu-Sat; mPont de l’Alma or Alma-Marceau), in a fabulous building designed by architect Jean Nouvel, explores the cultures of Africa, Oceania, Asia and the Americas through a range of multimedia exhibits.

Jardin du Luxembourg

When the weather is fine Parisians flock to the 23-hectare Jardin du Luxembourg (Luxembourg Garden; h7am-9.30pm Apr-Oct, 8am-sunset Nov- Mar; mLuxembourg) to relax and sunbathe.

Catacombes

There are few spookier sights in Paris than the Catacombes (Tel 01 43 22 47 63; http://www.paris.fr/english, in French; 1 av Colonel Henri Roi-Tanguy, 14e; adult/14-26yr €7/3.50; h10am-5pm Tue-Sun; mDenfert Rochereau), one of the city’s three underground cemeteries, consisting of 1.6km of winding tunnels stacked from floor-toceiling with the bones and skulls of millions of Parisians.

Église St-Germain des Prés

Paris’ oldest church, the Romanesque Église St-Germain des Prés (Tel 01 55 42 81 33; 3 place St-Germain des Prés, 6e; h8am-7pm Mon-Sat, 9am-8pm Sun; mSt-Germain des Prés) was built in the 11th century and was the dominant church in Paris until the arrival of Notre Dame.

Île de la Cité

The site of the Roman town of Lutèce (Lutetia), the Île de la Cité remained the centre of royal and ecclesiastical power throughout the Middle Ages. The seven decorated arches of Paris’ oldest bridge, Pont Neuf (mPont Neuf ), have linked the Île de la Cité with both banks of the Seine since 1607.

Cathédrale de Notre Dame de Paris

The Cathédrale de Notre Dame de Paris (Cathedral of Our Lady of Paris; Tel 01 42 34 56 10; http://www.cathedraledeparis.com/; place du Parvis Notre Dame, 4e; audioguide €5; h7.45am-6.45pm; mCité) is the true heart of Paris; distances to all parts of metropolitan France are measured from place du Parvis Notre Dame, the square in front of Notre Dame.

Built on the remains of a Gallo-Roman temple, Notre Dame was begun in 1163 and largely completed by the mid-14th century. Its notable features include three stunning stained-glass rose windows, a monumental 7800-pipe organ and the famous Gothic tours de Notre Dame (Notre Dame towers; Tel 01 53 10 07 02; rue du Cloître Notre Dame; adult/18-25yr €7.50/4.80, 1st Sun of month Oct-Mar free; h10am-6.30pm daily Apr-Jun & Sep, 9am-7.30pm Mon-Fri, 9am-11pm Sat & Sun Jul & Aug, 10am-5.30pm daily Oct-Mar), whose 422 spiralling steps take you to the top of the tower for views of gargoyles, the 13-tonne ‘Emmanuel’ bell and an unforgettable Parisian panorama. No hunchbacks, though, despite what you may have heard from Victor Hugo.

Free English-language tours run at noon on Wednesday and Thursday and 2.30pm Saturday.

Ste-Chapelle & the Conciergerie

Paris’ most exquisite Gothic monument is Ste-Chapelle (Holy Chapel; Tel 01 53 40 60 97; http://www.monuments-nationaux.fr/en/; 4 bd du Palais, 1er; adult/18-25yr €6.50/4.50, 1st Sun of month Oct-Mar free; h9.30am-6pm Mar-Oct, 9am-5pm Nov-Feb; mCité), tucked within the Palais de Justice (Law Courts). Built in just under three years, Ste-Chapelle was consecrated in 1248. The chapel was conceived by Louis IX to house his sacred relics, now kept in the treasury of Notre Dame.

Nearby, the 14th-century palace known as the Conciergerie (Tel 01 53 40 60 97; www.monuments -nationaux.fr; 2 bd du Palais, 1er; adult/18-25yr €8/6, 1st Sun of month Oct-Mar free; h9.30am-6pm Mar-Oct, 9am-5pm Nov-Feb; mCité) became the city’s main prison during the Reign of Terror (1793–94). Many famous inmates, including Marie-Antoinette and the radicals Danton and Robespierre, were incarcerated here before meeting their eventual fate beneath the guillotine. You can also visit Europe’s largest surviving medieval hall, the Salle des Gens d’Armes (Cavalrymen’s Hall). A joint ticket with Ste-Chapelle costs €11.50 (€9 for 18 to 25 years old).

Right Bank

Musée du Louvre

The vast Palais du Louvre was constructed as a fortress by Philippe-Auguste in the 13th century and rebuilt in the mid-16th century. In 1793 the Revolutionary Convention transformed it into the Musée du Louvre (Louvre Museum; Tel 01 40 20 53 17; http://www.louvre.fr/llv/commun/home.jsp; admission to permanent collections/permanent collections & temporary exhibits €9/13, after 6pm Wed & Fri €6/11; h9am-6pm Mon, Thu, Sat & Sun, 9am-10pm Wed & Fri; mPalais Royal-Musée du Louvre), the nation’s first (and foremost) national museum.

The Louvre’s top attractions are da Vinci’s mischievous Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo, but there’s much, much more to see. Other highlights include key works by Raphael, Botticelli, Delacroix and Titian, the lavish apartments of Napoleon III’s Minister of State, and a glorious collection of Greek and Roman sculpture. Tickets remain valid for the whole day, so take your time – you’ll enjoy it more if you don’t try and pack too much into one day.

The main entrance in the Cour Napoléon is covered by the 21m-high glass Pyramide du Louvre. You can dodge queues by buying advance tickets from machines in the Carrousel du Louvre, by ringing Tel 08 92 68 36 22 or Tel 08 25 34 63 46, or booking online at www.louvre.fr. Note that entry to the permanent collections is free after 6pm on Friday for those under 26; entry is free for all on the first Sunday of the month.

Jardin des Tuileries

Joggers and picnickers congregate in the 28-hectare Jardin des Tuileries (Tuileries Garden; Tel 01 40 20 90 43; h7am-9pm Apr, May & Sep, 7am- 11pm Jun-Aug, 7.30am-7.30pm Oct-Mar; mTuileries or Concorde), laid out in the mid-17th century by André Le Nôtre, designer of the Versailles garden.

Arc de Triomphe

The Arc de Triomphe (Tel 01 55 37 73 77; www.monuments-nationaux.fr; viewing platform adult/18-25yr €9/6.50, 1st Sun of month Nov-Mar free; h10am-11pm Apr-Sep, to 10.30pm Oct-Mar; mCharles de Gaulle-Étoile) stands in the middle of the world’s largest traffic roundabout, place de l’Étoile (mCharles de Gaulle Étoile), officially known as place Charles de Gaulle. The ‘triumphal arch’ was commissioned in 1806 by Napoleon to commemorate his victories, but remained unfinished when he started losing battles, and wasn’t completed until 1836. Since 1920, the body of an unknown soldier from WWI has lain beneath the arch; a memorial flame is rekindled each evening around 6.30pm.

The viewing platform affords wonderful views of the dozen avenues that radiate out from the arch, many of which are named after Napoleonic generals. Av Foch is Paris’ widest boulevard, while av des Champs-Elysées leads south to place de la Concorde and its famous 3300-year-old pink granite obelisk, which once stood in the Temple of Ramses at Thebes (present-day Luxor).

Centre National d’Art et de Culture Georges Pompidou

Opened in 1977, the inside-out Centre National d’Art et de Culture Georges Pompidou (Georges Pompidou National Centre of Art & Culture; Tel 01 44 78 12 33; http://www.centrepompidou.fr/Pompidou/Accueil.nsf/Document/HomePage?OpenDocument&L=2; place Georges Pompidou, 4e; mRambuteau) is a huge cultural and artistic centre, housing the Musée National d’Art Moderne (MNAM, National Museum of Modern Art; adult €10-12, 18-25yr €8-10, 6-9pm Wed free for 18-25yr, 1st Sun of month free for all; h11am-9pm Wed-Mon). Nearby place Igor Stravinsky is famous for its fanciful mechanical fountains.

Place des Vosges

The Marais, the area of the Right Bank north of Île St-Louis in the 3e and 4e, was transformed into one of the city’s most fashionable districts by Henri IV, who constructed the elegant hôtels particuliers around place Royale – today known as the Place des Vosges (mSt-Paul or Bastille).

The novelist Victor Hugo lived here from 1832 to 1848, and the Maison de Victor Hugo (Victor Hugo House; Tel 01 42 72 10 16; http://www.paris.fr/loisirs/musees-expos/maisons-de-victor-hugo/p5852, in French; permanent collections admission free, temporary exhibitions adult/14-26yr/student €7.50/5.50/3.50; h10am-6pm Tue-Sun) contains drawings, paintings and memorabilia relating to the author.

Picasso Museum

The Picasso Museum (Tel 01 42 71 25 21; http://www.musee-picasso.fr/, in French; 5 rue de Thorigny, 3e; adult/18-25yr €7.70/5.70, 1st Sun of month free; h9.30am-6pm Wed- Mon Apr-Sep, 9.30am-5.30pm Wed-Mon Oct-Mar; mSt- Paul or Chemin Vert) contains more than 3500 of the grand maître’s engravings, paintings, ceramics and sculptures.

Place de la Bastille

The Bastille is the most famous monument in Paris that no longer exists; the notorious prison was demolished by a revolutionary mob on 14 July 1789, and the place de la Bastille (mBastille), where the prison once stood, is now a busy traffic roundabout. The 52m-high Colonne de Juillet (July Column) was erected in memory of Parisians killed during the July Revolution of 1830.

Other Districts

Montmartre& Pigalle

During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, bohemian Montmartre attracted a number of important writers and artists, including Picasso, who lived at the studio called Bateau Lavoir (11bis Émile Goudeau; mAbbesses) from 1908 to 1912.

Montmartre’s most famous landmark is the Basilique du Sacré Coeur (Basilica of the Sacred Heart; Tel 01 53 41 89 00; http://www.sacre-coeur-montmartre.com/; place du Parvis du Sacré Coeur, 18e; h6am-10.30pm; mAnvers), whose gleaming white dome (admission €5; h9am-7pm Apr-Sep, 9am-6pm Oct-Mar) has one of the most spectacular city panoramas anywhere in Paris.

Nearby place du Tertre (mAbbesses) was once the main square of the village of Montmartre; these days it’s filled with cafes, restaurants, endless tourists and a concentrated cluster of caricaturists and painters – if you want to get your portrait painted in Paris, this is definitely the place.

Only a few blocks southwest of the tranquil residential streets of Montmartre is lively, neon-lit Pigalle (9e and 18e), one of Paris’ two main sex districts. It’s connected to the top of Butte de Montmartre (Montmartre Hill) by a funicular.

Dalí Espace Montmartre

More than 300 works by Salvador Dalí (1904–89), the flamboyant Catalan surrealist printmaker, painter, sculptor and self-promoter, are on display at the Dalí Espace Montmartre (Dalí Exhibition Space Montmartre; Tel 01 42 64 40 10; http://www.daliparis.com/; 11 rue Poulbot, 18e; adult/ student & 8-26yr €10/6; h10am-6.30pm; mAbbesses).

Cimetière du Père Lachaise

The world’s most-visited graveyard, Cimetière du Père Lachaise (Père Lachaise Cemetery; Tel 01 55 25 82 10; admission free; h8am-6pm Mon-Fri, 8.30am-6pm Sat, 9am-6pm Sun mid-Mar–early Nov, 8am- 5.30pm Mon-Fri, 8.30am-5.30pm Sat, 9am-5.30pm Sun early Nov–mid-Mar; mPhilippe Auguste, Gambetta or Père Lachaise) contains the tombs of over 800,000 people, including Chopin, Molière, Balzac, Proust, Gertrude Stein, Pissarro, Seurat, Modigliani, Édith Piaf, Oscar Wilde and the lizard king himself, Jim Morrison. Free maps are available from the conservation office (16 rue du Repos, 20e).

Tours

Bateaux Mouches (Tel 01 42 25 96 10; http://www.bateauxmouches.com/, in French; Port de la Conférence, 8e; adult €9; hmid-Mar–mid-Nov; mAlma Marceau) is based just east of the Pont de l’Alma. From April to September, 1000-seater cruises (70 minutes) depart eight times daily between 10.15am and 3.15pm and then every 20 minutes till 11pm. They depart 10 times a day between 10.15am and 9pm the rest of the year. Commentary is in French and English.

When it comes to food, Paris has everything.As the culinary centre of the mostaggressively gastronomic country in theworld, the city has more ‘generic French’,regional and ethnic restaurants than anyother place in France.

Louvre & Les Halles

Higuma (Tel 01 58 62 49 22; 163 rue St-Honoré, 1er; dishes€7-12.50, menus €10-€11.50; hlunch & dinner; mPalaisRoyal-Musée du Louvre) This no-nonsense Japanesenoodle shop offers incredible value.Try the gyoza (dumplings) and the friednoodles with pork.

Le Petit Mâchon (Tel 01 42 60 08 06; 158 rue St-Honoré, 1er; starters €7-12.50, mains €14-22; hlunch &dinner Tue-Sun; mPalais Royal-Musée du Louvre) Anupbeat bistro with Lyon-inspired specialities.Try the saucisson de Lyon (Lyon sausage)studded with pistachios.

Scoop (Tel 01 42 60 31 84; 154 rue St-Honoré, 1er;dishes €10.90-16.90; h11am-7pm; mPalais Royal-Musée du Louvre) This American-style ice-creamparlour has been making quite a splash forits wraps, burgers, tarts and soups andcentral, trendy location. Sunday brunch(11.30am to 4pm) includes pancakes withmaple syrup.

Joe Allen (Tel 01 42 36 70 13; 30 rue Pierre Lescot,1er; starters €7.50-10.30, mains €15.50-26, lunch menus€13.90-22.50, dinner menus €18-22.50; hnoon-1am;mÉtienne Marcel) An institution in Parissince 1972, Joe Allen is a little bit of NewYork in Paris. There’s an excellent brunch(€19.50 to €23.50) from noon to 4pm atthe weekend.

Supermarkets around Forum des Hallesinclude Franprix Les Halles (35 rue Berger, 1er;h8.30am-9.50pm Mon-Sat; mChâtelet) and theFranprix Châtelet (16 rue Bertin Poirée, 1er; h8.30am-8pm Mon-Sat; mChâtelet).

Marais & Bastille

L’As de Felafel (Tel 01 48 87 63 60; 34 rue des Rosiers,4e; dishes €5-7; hnoon-midnight Sun-Thu, noon-5pmFri; mSt-Paul) Our favourite place for deep-fried falafels (€6.50).

It’s always packed at lunchtime.

Breakfast in America (Tel 01 42 72 40 21; 4 rueMalher, 4e; meals €6.50-12; h8.30am-11.30pm; mSt-Paul) American-style diner, complete withred banquettes and Formica surfaces.Breakfast, served all day and with freecoffee refills, starts at €6.50, and there aregenerous burgers, chicken wings and fishand chips.

Le Trumilou (Tel 01 42 77 63 98; 84 quai de l’Hôtel deVille, 4e; starters €4.50-13, mains €15-22, menus €16.50& €19.50;hlunch & dinner; mHôtel de Ville) Thisno-frills bistro is a Parisian institutionfor classic French cooking: try confit auxpruneaux (duck with prunes) and the risde veau grand-mère (veal sweetbreads).

Robert et Louise (Tel 01 42 78 55 89; 64 rue Vieilledu Temple, 3e; starters €6-13, mains €12-18, lunch menus€12; hlunch & dinner Tue-Sat; mSt-Sébastien Froissart)This ‘country inn’, complete withits red gingham curtains, offers delightful,simple and inexpensive French food,including côte de boeuf (side of beef, €40for two).

For all-round atmosphere, check out theMarché Bastille (opposite), and for generalsupplies try Franprix Marais (135 rue St-Antoine, 4e;h9am-9pm Mon-Sat; mSt-Paul); Hôtel de Ville (87rue de la Verrerie, 4e; h9.30am-9pm Mon-Sat; mHôtelde Ville) or Monoprix Marais (71 rue St- Antoine,4e; h9am-9pm Mon-Sat; mSt-Paul); Bastille (97 ruedu Faubourg St-Antoine, 11e; h9am-9.45pm Mon-Sat;mLedru Rollin).

Latin Quarter & Jardin des Plantes

Kootchi (Tel 01 44 07 20 56; 40 rue du Cardinal Lemoine,5e; mains €12, lunch menus €9.50-15.50, dinner menus€12.50-15.50; hlunch & dinner Mon-Sat; mCardinalLemoine) Afghan grub such as qhaboli palawo(veal ‘stew’ with nuts and spices) and traditional halva perfumed with rose and cardamom.

Le Baba Bourgeois (Tel 01 44 07 46 75; 5 quai de laTournelle, 5e; mains €15-20; hlunch & dinner Wed-Sat,11.30am-5pm Sun; mCardinal Lemoine or Pont Marie)Contemporary dining in a former architect’sstudio. Its tartines (open-face sandwiches),terrines, tartes salées (savourytarts) and salads are delicious, and there’san all-you-can-eat Sunday buffet.

Place Maubert becomes the lively foodmarket Marché Maubert on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday mornings, while rue Mouffetard and place Monge (place Monge,5e; h7am-2pm Wed, Fri & Sun; mPlace Monge) both have their own street markets.

Supermarkets:

Ed l’Épicier (37 rue Lacépède, 5e; h9am-1pm & 3-7.30pm Mon-Fri, 9am-7.30pm Sat; mPlace Monge)

Franprix (82 rue Mouffetard, 5e; h8.30am-8.50pmMon-Sat; mCensier Daubenton or Place Monge)

Monoprix (24 bd St-Michel, 5e; h9am-midnight Mon-Sat; mSt-Michel)

St-Germain, Odéon & Luxembourg

Bar à Soupes et Quenelles Giraudet (Tel 01 43 25 44 44; 5 rue Princesse, 6e; meals from €7.50; h10am-5pm Mon, 10am-5pm & 7-11.30pm Tue-Fri, 10am-11.30pm Sat; mMabillon) This soup and dumpling bar serves unusual soups – pear and litchi (lychee), chestnut or cardoon – plus Lyonnais-style quenelles (pike-perch dumplings).

Cosi (Tel 01 46 33 35 36; 54 rue de Seine, 6e; sandwich menus €9-11; hnoon-11pm; mOdéon) With sandwich names like Stonker, Tom Dooley and Naked Willi, Kiwi-owned Cosi could easily run for Paris’ most imaginative sandwich maker.

Gare du Nord, Gare de l’Est & République

Krishna Bhavan (Tel 01 42 05 78 43; 2 rue Cail, 10e; dishes €1.50-7.50, menus €10.50; lunch & dinner Tue-Sun; mLa Chapelle) This is about as authentic an Indian vegetarian canteen as you’ll find in Paris. If in doubt, ask for a thali (€7.50) of samosas, dosas and other wrapped goodies.

Passage Brady (46 rue du Faubourg St-Denis & 33 bd de Strasbourg, 10e; hlunch & dinner; mChâteau d’Eau) This covered arcade has dozens of cheap Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi cafes offering excellent-value lunches – meat curry, rice and a tiny salad (€5 to €9.50), chicken or lamb biriani (€10.50 to €14.50) and thalis (€7 to €9.50). Dinner menus are from €12.50 to €24.

Montmartre & Pigalle

Chez Toinette (Tel 01 42 54 44 36; 20 rue Germain Pilon, 18e; starters €6-9, mains €15-20; hdinner Tue- Sat; mAbbesses) This convivial authentic French restaurant has somehow managed to keep alive the tradition of old Montmartre in one of the capital’s most touristy neighbourhoods.

Le Café Qui Parle (Tel 01 46 06 06 88; 24 rue Caulaincourt, 18e; starters €7-14, mains €13.50-20, menus €12.50- 17; hlunch & dinner Thu-Tue; mLamarck Caulaincourt or Blanche) ‘The Talking Cafe’ offers inventive, reasonably priced dishes. We love the art on the walls. Brunch (€15) is served from 10am on Saturday and Sunday.

La Maison Rose (Tel 01 42 57 66 75; 2 rue de l’Abreuvoir, 18e; starters €7.20-13, mains €14.50-16.50, menus €16.50; hlunch & dinner daily Mar-Oct, lunch & dinner to 9pm Thu- Mon Nov-Feb; mLamarck Caulaincourt) Looking for the quintessential Montmartre bistro? Head for the tiny ‘Pink House’ just north of place du Tertre. It’s not so much about food but rather location, location, location.

Self-catering options: 8 à Huit (24 rue Lepic, 18e; h8.30am-10.30pm Mon- Sat; mAbbesses)

Ed l’Épicier (6 bd de Clichy, 18e; h9am-9pm Mon-Sat; mPigalle)