Paris is a city with something traditional, new, unusual or surprising around every corner, be it monuments, architecture, historic avenues, parks and gardens or even shops. There are the well-known landmarks, including the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Arc de Triomphe and the Pompidou Centre. Museums and art galleries exhibit old masterpieces and contemporary works. The nightlife is vibrant and varied from opera to Les Folies Bergere, and, as would be expected from the gastronomic capital of the world, the restaurants and bars are to be sampled and enjoyed.

Getting Around

However you like to travel you can probably do so in Paris. You can go by train, Metro, taxi, bicycle, boat, roller blades or even by air. The Metro is the quickest, easiest and cheapest way to travel around the city. There are around 300 stations, their entrances marked by a big yellow ‘M’, with 16 colour-coded lines, numbered from 1 to 14, 3 bis and 7 bis. The Metro operates every day from 05.30 to 01.00 the following morning. Maps of the public transport network are free and available at ticket offices and information centres.

Don’t hesitate to travel by bus, either; it’s a great way to discover the city. There are a wide variety of routes, many of which go though the city centre, along the banks of the Seine River or through well-known historical areas. The bus network with its 59 routes perfectly matches and complements that of the Metro.

Alternatively, the RER (suburban express railway) is a huge rail network covering most of the Ile-de-France region. It consists of five lines referred to by the letters A, B, C, D and E. Within Paris, it operates in more or less the same way as the Metro, and if your RER station has a connection with the Metro, you can use the same ticket for the whole journey. It is faster than the Metro because stops are less frequent and you can cross Paris in just 15 minutes. It operates daily from around 05.30 to 00.30.

You can also take to the water on the Batobus shuttle-boat service that enables you to take trips along the Seine and to hop on and off at eight strategic stops. Boats depart every 15 to 25 minutes; in October the service operates from 10.00 to 19.00.

That is how to get from A to B. In my mind, however, discovering Paris through a leisurely cruise along the Seine is not to be missed and there are so many ways to do it. All kinds of boats — barges, sightseeing riverboats, the smaller ‘pataches’, paddle boats or small yachts — go back and forth along the river and the canals of northeastern Paris. There are also one-hour cruises usually conducted in French and English with headsets available for translating the commentary into many different languages.

Personally, though, I don’t think there is any better way to get the feel of the French capital than by foot. If you choose to do so remember that Paris is a mosaic of neighbourhoods, each one with its own identity.


The districts of Notre-Dame, Sainte Chapelle, Panthéon and Jardin des Plantes, which line the banks of the Seine, from the islands to the Latin Quarter, constitute the original historic centre of the city. Here, medieval buildings co-exist with crowds of students and the welcome oases of public parks and gardens.


Encompassing Le Marais, Centre Pompidou, Place des Vosges and Musée Picasso, this whole district spans historical and contemporary art and moves to the rhythm of the latest Parisian trends.


If it is grandeur you are looking for then look no further than Opéra, Madeleine, Place Vendôme and Palais Royal. This is Paris as you usually imagine it, with its wide avenues epitomising all the opulence and luxury of the city.


Experience all the charm of the small Parisian neighbourhoods of Montmartre, Sacré Cœur, Pigalle and Trinité. Here you will witness the city from Paris on high, roguish or romantic, and Paris with its church steeples, conjuring up provincial French villages.


Stretching from the quays of the Seine to Montparnasse, the Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Musée d’Orsay, Odéon and Luxembourg area of Paris evokes bohemian and literary artists of the past.

This is just a taste of what Paris has to offer.

The Unusual

What I have mentioned so far may be familiar to most of you, but what does the French capital have to offer away from the main tourist crowd? What could be more unusual then visiting the graves of famous people in the Père Lachaise cemetery ( If you were a fan of Jim Morrison of The Doors, don’t miss his tomb. It is not beautiful, but certainly worth a look for all the signs of adoration left by thousands of fans over the years, while writer Oscar Wilde’s tomb can be found at the back of the cemetery.

For those who want to be active on the last day of European Microwave Week or maybe just want to watch those who are, roller blading on Friday nights is popular. Anyone can join this roller tour, which is a great and unusual way to discover the city at night. The meeting place is in front of Montparnasse train station at 22.00 (

As most visitors to EuMW will probably only be staying for a short period I recommend that you choose the Paris that is most similar to your personality and spend all the time you have walking in its streets and stopping at the shops, bars and cafés.

If you think that visiting Paris without seeing the principal monuments is a sin, I can suggest the following itinerary:

Start at the Champs-Elysées and walk down to the Eiffel Tower passing the famous Pont de l’Alma. Then, on one of the numerous riverboats, float down the Seine as far as Notre-Dame. The Louvre is just half an hour away from the cathedral. Next, experience the Parisian Metro by travelling to Montmartre station where you can enjoy the breathtaking panoramic view over the city and its monuments.

Eating and Drinking

Like all major cities, Paris is full of bars and restaurants. Although it has developed a reputation for the lack of people being able or sometimes willing to speak English, I believe that over the past 10 years things have improved greatly and it is less difficult now to order something to eat or drink in English. A list of good places to eat will follow shortly but first here are a few places that get my personal recommendation, especially if you have time to plan your dinner and make a reservation.

First, why not wander around one of the oldest areas of Paris and visit the cellars in Bercy Village. Take subway line 14, in the direction of Bibliothèque François Mitterrand, and get off at the Cour Saint-Emilion station. Have a refreshing beer at the Frog Pub (one of a chain of four in Paris) and notice the amusing names of the local beers. Then walk in the Cour Saint Emilion and eat at the Chai 33 restaurant, remembering not to miss the historical wine cave where you will be asked to go and choose the wine yourself.

Or why not have a drink or eat in the ‘branché’ Buddha Bar that is located next to the luxury Crillon Hotel in Place de la Concorde and can be reached from the Concorde subway station.

Lively visitors may like to drink cocktails and dance salsa in the Barrio Latino, which is another well known pub and restaurant. The building was a department store back in the ’90s and has retained the impressive and beautiful old style staircase at its heart. Although it is not cheap, it is worth it just to feast your eyes on the elaborate decoration.

If it is trendy mixed with hype you are looking for then you have to eat at the renowned Kong restaurant, located on the 6th floor of the Kenzo boutique, in an old building of the famous Samaritaine store. The subway station is Chatelet and reservations are compulsory for this very busy restaurant. Again it is not cheap, with dishes averaging €30, but the restaurant tops the ‘must do’ chart for Parisians due to its view and its style.

For those wanting to sample simpler, traditional fare search out the South West French gastronomy, which is very much appreciated by my compatriots, in a ‘Chez Papa’ restaurant. They are small, cheerful and noisy and very good.

Alternatively, to end the afternoon with a ti-punch with friends there is the Café de l’Industrie, where you can also get a very good bite to eat. Later in the day, and particularly for couples wanting to share cocktails while listening to first-rate jazz, I would recommend the very elegant China Club. For details of these restaurants and bars, together with a selection of others that are a must for any visitor’s short list, read on.

My Choices

The Frog at Bercy Village
25 Cour Saint Emilion
Chai 33
33, Cours Saint-Emilion
Tel: +33 (0) 153 440 101
for reservations

Buddha Bar
8 rue Boissy d’Anglas
Tel: +33 (0) 153 059 000

Barrio Latino
46-48 rue du Faubourg, St Antoine
Tel: +33 (0) 155 788 475

1 rue du Pont Neuf
Tel: +33 (0) 140 390 900

Chez Papa
3 rue St Benoît

Café de l’Industrie
16 rue St Sabin
Tel: +33 (0) 147 001 353

China Club
50 rue de Charenton
Tel: +33 (0) 143 438 202

Global Cuisine

Paris has a real variety of brasseries, bars, cafes and restaurants and cuisine with origins from all over the world. It is impossible to cater for all tastes but here is a selection you might want to try.

Art Deco

La Fermette Marbeuf 1900
The cuisine is classic but the surroundings are pure decadence. The Art Deco architecture has been lovingly restored. To get the full effect try to dine under the domed glass roof.

5 rue Marbeuf
Tel: +33 (0) 153 230 800



Sample traditional French cuisine in a unique steakhouse/floorshow environment with pinewood decor. The menu is essentially composed of a selection of roast meats at reasonable prices and with friendly service.

8 avenue Franklin Roosevelt
Tel: +33 (0) 156 596 259


Café Duomo
As the name suggests there is an exceptional view of the Invalides gold dome. The daily specials are always interesting and the risottos are well worth a try.

96 boulevard
de La Tour-Maubourg
Tel: +33 (0) 144 183 637

Specialising in scrumptious Italian family cuisine this eatery is renowned for its Gnocchi.
15 rue des Canettes
Tel: +33 (0) 143 260 162


Situated not far from the Tuileries gardens this good value restaurant serves enticing sushi and sashimi.
41 rue Saint-Roch
Tel: +33 (0) 142 614 293

A Japanese cuisine classic with a taste for the unusual such as the green tea ice cream.
56 rue Sainte Anne
Tel: +33 (0) 142 966 776


Mexican dining is a fairly unique dining experience for Paris and no more so than here. It is a little out of the way (Metro stations Maubert/Mutualite) but worth a visit.
30 rue des Bernardins
Tel: +33 (0) 143 261 020


L’Etoile Marocaine
This restaurant has a chic allure set against an exotic backdrop and is said to serve one of the best couscous dishes in Paris.
56 rue Galilée
Tel: +33 (0) 147 204 443


Piccolo Teatro
Specialising in tasty, simple dishes this good vegetarian restaurant has a warm and relaxed atmosphere.
6 rue des Ecouffes
Tel: +33 (0) 142 721 779

Le Grand Appétit
A simple, clean restaurant providing macrobiotic food in a Zen atmosphere.
9 rue de la Cerisaie
Tel: +33 (0) 140 270 495


Good quality Vietnamese food in stylish surroundings. The traditional desserts are worth leaving room for.
235 rue Saint Charles
Tel: +33 (0) 145 547 907

As this guide has tried to illustrate, Paris has a lot to offer in addition to the well-known landmarks and tourist traps. Use it to make the most of any spare time you have at European Microwave Week and enjoy your visit.

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