The great thing about being in Local in London is that it’s not such a long shot to call yourself a local in Paris as well. When you can finish off your work day in London, hop on the Eurostar and sip a glass of beaujolais out on the cafe lined streets of the Marais that evening, Paris is a Londoner’s weekend playground. And what makes taking a trip to Paris even more simple is a little Pied-a-terre to call your own. We haven’t let not owning one ourselves (yet!) stop us, we’ve simply adopted a Parisian home away from home through www.RentParis.com
Tucked behind the grand doors of the 17th Century buildings in Le Marais, our home in Paris is up a set of winding wooden stairs. Even if you don’t feel like a local when you first arrive, the team behind Rent Paris are set to make you feel like one when you leave. They offer a Parisian local just a phone call away 24/7 to act as your personal concierge, with recommendations on activities, shopping, and restaurants. Tourist traps are NOT included in this weekend trip.
With their concierge service you get free W-Fi connection when you are on the streets of Paris (perfect for the instagram obsessed), and a tour of the neighbourhood where your Pied-a-terre is located, with personal recommendations of all the brilliant little restaurants and shops that other tourists miss.
Upon booking your stay they’ll also send you a list of their favourite places to try, but here’s how we suggest you spend your weekend away.
Arrive at your Rent Paris studio apartment where a member of the team will meet you to give you the keys to your Parisian home. A number of their places are located in the Marais which is our favourite neighbourhood both for convenience (walking distances to many great art galleries and stores) and for the lively cafes and bars nearby. Don’t stay at the flat for too long (you’ll have time to relax on the comfy beds later) but head down to the streets and take your pick of one of the many cafes lining the street for a glass of wine. Our suggestions, La Belle Hortense – a book store/wine bar with a great selection of French wines (31 Rue Vieille du Temple) or right across the road Au Petit Fer a Chevel (30 Rue Vieille du Temple) which also has a great, but small dining room in the back. For something more lively head up the road to the classic Marais hangout, La Perle (78 Rue Vieille du Temple). In the summer you can sip on an Aperol Spritz on the streets outside this cafe until 2am.
Try not to stay in your comfy rent-paris bed too late (you’re in Paris after all)! Head up the road to our favourite brunch spot, Season (1 rue Dupuis, http://www.season-paris.com/). Go for a chilli and Egg bagel if you’re looking for a hearty start, or one of their daily acai bowls for something healthy.
This cute cafe is nestled off Square du Temple where you’ll find a number of other great cafes and stores. While you’re there make sure to go into 0fr. (20 Rue Dupetit-Thouars, https://www.facebook.com/0fr-238409536196250/) which has a unique collection of books on art, alongside fashion accessories, fanzines, and frequent events.
Spend the rest of the morning exploring the streets of the Le Marais and its huge number of fashion and art boutiques. Check out the great Slow Galarie ( 5 Rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud) where you can find affordable prints from up and coming local french artists.
Just beyond the Marais head to the trendy neighbourhood around the Canal St. Martin where on a nice day you can watch boats pass under the pretty wrought iron bridges (of Amelie fame). And if you need a pick me up head over to our favourite patisserie, Liberte (9 rue des Vinaigriers) for a warm baguette or a chocolate madeleine.
Once you are thoroughly walked- out, go back into the Marais and take a break at the beautifully tiled (and instagramable!) cafe Ob-La-Di (54 rue de Saintonge) which also has a selection of thick breads with toppings like avocado and pomegranate or yummy vegan burgers for lunch.
Post lunch coma, switch things up by heading over to the left bank. We were lucky enough to be in town during both men’s fashion week and Maison & Object, the annual interior design festival, meaning the stylish were out in full force and Saint-Germain -des-Pres was prime people watching territory.
For dinner we went to one of Paris’s most popular vegan restaurants, the Gentle Gourmet Café. Their desserts are always incredible… but it can be quite busy so we recommend booking ahead.
If you’re looking for a few after dinner drinks, there are plenty of the options in the area. One of my favourites is the secret-ish Little Red Door (lrdparis.com). A perfect place to sit back and enjoy a perfectly crafted cocktail.
Sunday mornings are always rather quiet in Paris, but we were up early and headed to Peleton, a new bike themed coffee shop, for our morning espresso, before strolling along the river to Musee d’Orsay to wander through their incredible collection.
The museum holds mainly French art dating from 1848 to 1915, and houses the largest collection of impressionist and post-Impressionist masterpieces in the world, by painters including Monet, Manet, Degas, Renoir, Cézanne, Seurat, Sisley, Gauguin and Van Gogh.
With our train back to London in only a few hours, we head back to Le Marais.
Le Marais is one of the few districts of Paris that doesn’t all but shutdown on Sundays, making it an ideal locale for last-minute weekend shopping. The streets often fill up with performers and parisians out for a sunday stroll. Head to Place des Vosges, the oldest planned square in Paris, to people watch, before leaving this little corner of Parisian paradise behind.