Eating out in Paris is no longer cheap... well it's never been cheap but the locals can still find places where a beer is just a euro, or a plat du jour, dish of day, is still under ten euros. It's harder, but it's still possible, even in the Latin Quarter. The plat du jour should be beyond the standard steak frites (steak and fries), and offer some more sophisticated dishes such as coq au vin or cassoulet.
As a visitor to our wonderful, but expensive city, you are going to have to pay dearly for accommodation, just like the rest of us... Our hotel picks focus on the Latin Quarter and Saint Germain. The V and VI quarters (cinquième and sixième) are prized residential areas, but a fair number of students also hang around because of the high concentration of universities.
La Cité de la Musique (the City of Music) is yet another Grand Projet (Great Project) that fits perfectly within France's tradition of building massive state sponsored cultural landmarks. Unless you are tone deaf, you will find something to like at this sprawling complex inaugurated in 1995 and still expanding at the edge of the City of Paris.
There are literally dozens of holes in the walls, caveaux (vaults or burial chambers), minuscule nightclubs and wine bars on rue de la Huchette and rue Mouffetard. Some open overnight to fold the next morning. You do not usually have to look hard to find lights, music and revelers in the Quartier Latin.
Our objective is to make you sound like a true born and bred in Paris in no time. A few cultural pointers will prove handy. You will be able to look and sound the part for at least the first few seconds of the conversation.
You must try to shake hands at every opportunity, especially among men and boys. Kisses are only between female and male, and female and female Parisians. Men kiss only if they are relatives or have known each other for a long time.
Nowadays, jours de marché (market days) mean added hustle and bustle as Parisians fill up on fresh produce, clothes, fashion accessories, and other bits and bobs. And oh yes, catch up on the latest about the quartier...
As the home city for some of the world's best known luxury brands, Paris offers some very expensive shopping opportunities for those used to sophisticated eau de toilette, fine leather satchels or traditional printed silks.
We, the French, may have more culinary common points with the Chinese, than we think: we eat pretty much anything, in particular things that foreigners may consider off-putting.
From Abbesses, one the deepest metro stations in Paris, walk up the Butte Montmartre. Along the way, rest at a bench in the small planted garden of Square Jehan-Rictus, as you attempt to decipher “I love you” written in over 300 hundred different languages. Windmills, washing boats and countless impressionist scenes await as you meander towards the mysterious Mist Alley (“Allée des Brouillards”).