Not everyone has endless empty days in which to escape. For those of you with a hectic schedule, we've got just the ticket. Allow Louis Sheridan to guide you through all Paris has to offer in just one day.
To kick things off, let's assume that, like me, you're hot off the Eurostar at an inhumane hour with the appetite of a predator and a thirst for good coffee - it's time to explore the City of Lights.
Yes, I know, not quite as early as I would like to have you think but I fear any earlier and my eyes would still be sealed shut. Thirst things first, it's time for coffee and an all-important pastry fix. Now you're spoilt for choice but my absolute favourite has to be Buvette. Tucked away in infamous Pigalle, this NY export is oh-so-welcoming and feels timeless. Sink in to a window seat and watch the world go by, letting the coffee sharpen your senses.
It's been said a billion times but it's never been truer; Paris is the home of fashion. Chances are that you'll soon feel underdressed, overdressed or plain hungry for a new wardrobe. Help is at hand and it comes in the form of Colette. Inside this futuristic shopping space you'll find a carefully curated selection of your favourite designers, from outlandish streetwear to devastatingly chic offerings. I suggest treading the line between the two and channelling Marant to feel like a true Parisian. A special mention has to go to the vast beauty and grooming section found upstairs-downstairs and the plethora of no-idea-what-it-is-but-I-must-have-it pieces strewn about the place.
Nestled among a selection of the finest art and interior design shops the city has to offer sits the surprisingly new Buly. You'd be forgiven for thinking that this charming little apothecary had been here forever, in part due to the name, but also thanks to the interior which whispers of great history. Not a candle aficionado? Use this an opportunity to buy a knock-out gift. Choose your desired scent or create your own from the line-up of essential oils and clays on offer before picking out the heavy marble case to hold it. Now that's bespoke gifting at its finest but though truth be told you'll probably end up keeping it.
Treating yourself is exhausting and sustenance is required pretty frequently. Head to Odette and pick out a selection of what must be the most incredibly flavoured cream puffs known to man. The salted caramel ones are really quite something.
Another must visit while in Paris, if only to purchase the fragrance inspired by and exclusive to the city - Vanille 44. Musky, mysterious and a little bit sweet, it's memorable for all the right reasons.
An achingly cool pizza joint on the edge of Marais. The pared-back decor is enlivened by exposed pipes, peeling walls and their very own peacock.. And quite possibly the best stocked bar this side of anywhere. Grab a seat up front, place your food order and seeing as it's now the afternoon, order a cocktail or three. The guys here shake a mean Old Fashioned but I can say in confidence that whatever you order, it will be great.
I challenge you to peruse the shelves at Merci and leave with nothing. It's quite frankly impossible. The store practically defines must-have whether you're a tech-geek, fashion addict or neither. All bases are covered - there's even a used book cafe where you can hole up with a coffee and try to justify buying everything you fancy. I'm sure you'll manage.
It's check in time. Prepare for a decidedly warm welcome in jaw-droppingly decadent surroundings. You will of course have opted for a garden-facing room (or the Honeymoon suite, complete with seven balconies if you're feeling flush) so as to admire the inch-perfect topiary and pastel-hued flowerbeds. Be sure to make the most of the La Prairie spa and explore every corridor, hall and staircase, keeping an eye out for the cats who call Le Bristol home. Whiling away a few hours at the hotel, it would be easy to forget you were right in the thick of things, but don't, because it's time to see more...
It’s all in the name. This late night haunt - which specialises in the finest cuts of Yorkshire-bred beef - sits atop a DJ-manned ballroom inhabited by impeccably dressed revellers looking for a good time. Whether you choose to eat first and drink later, or vice versa is your call, but a heads up from me, make sure you do both. Don't leave without trying the profiterole - it's enormous and near life-changing.
This is a personal favourite, soon to be yours too. Upon arrival you'll find an unassuming taco shop filled with happy, feasting locals. What you're here for is hidden towards the back, behind a white door. Edge a little closer and you should be able to hear the muffled sound of disco and hip-hop classics. Descend the stairs and the music becomes louder, the lights darken and you'll find yourself on the dancefloor next to what looks like a hastily assembled cocktail bar. Mingle, indulge in something rum-heavy and try not to get too excited when Outkast comes on. On your way out, grab a taco for the road; you'll be glad you did.
Book a table to ensure you get in to this famously choosy members club. As a result you’ll be rewarded with an impressive drinks list, a solid soundtrack and what must be the hottest crowd for miles. Good vibes all round. Just make sure you can remember the name of your hotel when it comes to home time.
Breakfast at Le Bristol is something not to be missed and the best way to alleviate the symptoms of yesterday's indulgence. It'll prepare you for your onward journey so order something hearty and savour it. If you miss your departure, be thankful and repeat the previous day - et voila!
Words by Louis A. W. Sheridan
All images via the Discover & Escape Instagram
What to pack
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What to buy