To say I’ve endured a long-term love affair with Paris is an understatement. My godmother worked in the city for the best part of my childhood years so my intrigue started young. A combination of yearly trips to the city coupled with copious amounts of French cinema as I moved into my teens left me with no other option but to spend most of my secondary school years working towards a leaving cert that would secure a place studying French in Trinity College Dublin.
One of my favourite Instagram memes reads “choose a major you love and you will never work a day in your life because that field probably isn’t hiring.” True as this may be, my college years were well spent immersed in French language and culture. And besides, I’m in a much better position now to impart advice to anyone taking a trip to this wondrous ville.
3rd & 4th Arrondissements
Similar in feel to Manhattan’s West Village, le Marais is a labyrinth of medieval lanes alive with bars, restaurants, vintage shops, designer stores, traditional bakeries, wine shops, fashionable art galleries and museums. My absolute favourite area in Paris!
Centre George Pompidou
4th Arrondissement (Place Georges-Pompidou)
Cultural aficionado or not, the Centre George Pompidou is a must visit. The escalators in this crazy structure are actually on the building’s exterior. Take them all the way up to the top for great views of the city.
Père Lachaise Cemetery
20th Arrondissement (16 Rue du Repos)
Final resting places of famous folk including Oscar Wilde, Jim Morrison, Proust, Molière, Chopin and Edith Piaf.
Shakespeare and Company
5th Arrondissement (37 Rue de la Bûcherie)
If you only visited this place and spent the rest of your time in McDonald’s, I wouldn’t judge you. Shakespeare and Co. is possibly the most famous independent bookstore in the world. One of these claims to fame is that the bookstore published Joyce’s “scandalous” Ulysees when others wouldn’t.