There’s no doubt that we all love the legends of Paris from the Eiffel Tower to the Arc de Triomphe, the historic museums and incredible art collections.
But some of us like to discover the parts of Paris that are not so obvious. The secret Paris that the locals know and love. We asked Annette Charlton, host of A French Collection Paris tours for just a few of her top tips for where she takes her guests to experience Paris in the spring like a local…
The perfect Paris café
The small but ever so popular and sweet cafe of Zia is perfectly located between the Musée de l’Armée and the Eiffel Tower. No tourists, just locals. And, what I love most about Zia is their gourmet picnics. You can pre-order them, collect and then enjoy your perfect Paris picnic anywhere in Paris. My guests always love a gourmet picnic lunch from Zia while sipping wine and gazing up the Eiffel Tower at Champ de Mars which is only a 3 minute walk from Zia.
Cherry blossom heaven
If you love cherry blossom then look out for the rows of trees at Place Marcel Aymé. It’s just off Rue Norvins in Montmartre, where you’ll find a statue of Dutilleul AKA the Walker through the walls.
Ladurée without the crowds
While I love the interior of the Champs-Elysées flagship store of Ladurée, it can at times be really busy with long queues to purchase a box of their famous macarons. For a lovely and quieter option, where you can sit shoulder to shoulder with the residents that call the elegant 6th arrondissement home, head to the Ladurée Bonaparte store at 21 Rue Bonaparte, 75006 Paris. It too has a beautiful, luxurious salon.
Authentic books and art
The ArtCurial auction house on the Champs-Elysées is a secret that I love to share with my guests. The best thing is that the items on display are always changing as the house displays what is listed in the upcoming auction. It’s an elegant and beautiful building. And, it has the most amazing niche bookstore on art and design I’ve ever found (French only) and – no crowds. It’s just off the main avenue.
The best place for souvenirs in Paris
For souvenir shopping with a difference head to Galeries Lafayette. On the top floor the range of souvenirs is vast, are of good quality and include food stuffs, clothing, homewares, beauty items, stationery, books and more. We usually finish off our tour of this store with a visit to the souvenir department and to enjoy a panoramic view of Paris from the rooftop with lots of photo opportunities.
Find out more about Annette’s brilliant women-only as well as bespoke mixed tours of Paris here: www.afrenchcollection.com/classic-paris-tours-with-a-french-collection