A perfect weekend in Paris
Although he has spent most of his life in Germany, Aimé Sans has always stayed French. Très French, indeed. Like so many of his fellow countrymen, he loves life’s pleasures, good food, excellent wines. This autumn, he has spent a week with his family in the French capital. Here are his recommendations for a romantic weekend à deux in the “City of Love”.
Catch an early Transavia flight to Paris. We are heading to Saint-Germain-des-Prés, my favourite quarter. “Rive Gauche”, the left bank of the Seine has always been home to artists and intellectuals. Today it is packed with art galleries and boutiques, with cool bars and typical restaurants. Notre Dame on its island is just a stone throw away, and the majestic Louvre right across the river.
Where to stay? “La Villa” is a charming, elegant boutique hotel in a truly perfect location. The rooms are small like everywhere in the French Capital, but it is peaceful and quiet in quaint “rue Jacob”, which is priceless. I recommend to always check the window situation before booking a hotel room in Paris: Even good hotels sometimes offer rooms that have practically NO window. Booking a higher room category might be a good investment.
We drop off our luggage in the hotel and kick-off the weekend with an excellent lunch just around the corner in Café Bonaparte, right on Place Saint-Germain with a beautiful view of the old abbey. Totally French fare with a world-class beef tatare. We celebrate life with a glass of French Champagne – it doesn’t taste better anywhere else in the world!
After lunch we slowly make our way to “Île de la Cité” and admire mighty “Notre Dame”, no doubt one of the world’s most impressive cathedrals. On the neighbouring Île Saint Louis we indulge in a café crème in the sun followed by the city’s best ice cream at “Berthillon”.
Later we spend a very “serge-gainsbourg-esque” evening: Apéritif in Prescription Cocktail Club, just a romantic stroll away from the hotel. Charming bar keepers and excellent cocktails in a cosy, very French boho setting. On to “Chez Papa” – a typical left bank jazz club serving delicious scallops Saint Jacques , a bottle of Sancerre and crème brûlee. The music is great and we are taken back to the 60s when Saint Germain’s jazz clubs hosted all of the big names in French music.
When in Paris, stay away from overpriced hotel breakfast! I prefer a croissant or brioche in the quaint little corner café – almost all of them offer a typical Parisian breakfast.
Then on to sight seeing: I love the hop-on-hop-off busses. As there is little difference in service but a considerable difference in price, I recommend Foxity, offering the best deal in town. The full tour of Paris’ must-sees takes about two hours. We get off at the Eiffel Tower and are incredibly lucky: no endless lines of visitors, we can take the elevator straight up to the top. Can’t beat the view, and a glass of Champagne from the kiosk on the top will make for a real Paris moment.
The early afternoon is spent on the banks of the Seine. Some of the best spots are found between Louvre and Île de la Cité. We get a picknick lunch of sandwiches, quiche and cupcakes from one of Paris’ countless excellent delis.
Then either on to Shopping in the Marais on the right bank (small streets packed with little boutiques – don’t miss a coffee stopp at dreamy “Place des Vosges”, one of Paris most beautiful historic squares!). Or on to fabulous Musée d’Orsay, where you can admire all the big impressionists in the spectacular architecture of an Art Déco train Station (book your tickets ahead!).
At night: We indulge in an exquisite dinner at Michelin star awarded “L’Hôtel” in the heart of Saint Germain, probably the most romantic restaurant in tout Paris. In fact, the Irish poet Oscar Wilde lived in the luxurious boutique hotel – totally above his means, bien sûr- until his death in 1900!
The incredibly picturesque lane of “Cours de Commerce Saint André” is only a little stroll away from our hotel and home to a handful of typical little Restaurants. Among them “Un Dimanche à Paris”, a chic restaurant and “Chocolate Concept Store” offering a sumptuous Sunday brunch. We a buy a few delicious souvenirs for our dear ones before making our way back home… with a full belly and a heavy heart. Au revoir, Paris.