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Spring walks in Paris

Paris is at its most beautiful in the spring and, as every stylish Parisian knows, the best way to make the most of the city is by shunning the metro for an elegant saunter. Here’s our guide to two walks with a difference; so don this season’s Repetto pumps and step out

City Guide
Isabel Dexter,

For water lovers
A stroll along the Seine, by day or night, is the ideal way to discover Paris’s most beautiful districts and to orientate yourself in this small yet perfect city.

Walk along the river to the heart of Paris, the Eiffel Tower, but avoid the vedettes (sightseeing cruise boats) in favour of a leisurely saunter and some postcard buying. For 400 years there have been booksellers on the riverside of the Seine and their stalls line the embankment walls on both sides of the river from Pont Royal to the Pont de Sully. Check out the rare books, engravings, illustrated journals and original editions on offer.

The Joséphine Baker swimming pool is well worth a visit. Moored on the left bank by quai François-Mauriac, it has a modern, eco-friendly approach to swimming and also offers solariums, a hammam, a Jacuzzi and a fitness room. This is the perfect spot to show off your new season swimwear and those covetable Sonia Rykiel shades.

Pop into Paris’s most iconic department store, Printemps on boulevard Haussmann, to check out its gorgeous Art Nouveau pavilion. Before stocking up on all your favourite brands, from Cartier and Prada to Givenchy and Céline, head to the ninth floor and take in the views of Paris from the Eiffel Tower to Montmartre from the beautiful panoramic terrace.

Printemps Haussmann, 64 boulevard Haussmann, 75009 Paris, +33 (0)1 4282 5000

The little-known Jardin Tino Rossi on quai Saint-Bernard on the Left Bank between Pont de Sully and Pont d’Austerlitz is an outdoor sculpture park, featuring works from contemporary artists such as Brancusi and Gilioli. On spring and summer evenings it becomes an open-air dance floor as salsa, rock and tango dancers from all over the world meet to boogie by the water.

For hipsters
The east of Paris, from Père Lachaise to Belleville and the Canal Saint-Martin, is where the coolest of the city’s style set hang out. Start at Jaurès metro and walk down the Canal Saint-Martin past indie hotspot Point Éphémère to soak up the grittier side of the city’s glamour.

Point Éphémère, 200 quai de Valmy, 75010 Paris, +33 (0)1 4034 0248

For some laidback sunbathing or fashion-blogger spotting, the place to hang out on sunny weekends is the Parc des Buttes Chaumont in the 19th arrondissement. The terrace on the pavilion of the lake is beautiful and perfect for picnics – and the Rosa Bonheur bar and restaurant in the middle of the park is well worth a visit for its amazing cocktails, crazy atmosphere and dancing. It’s packed in the summer months so go early!

Rosa Bonheur, 2 allée de la Cascade, Parc des Buttes Chaumont, 75019 Paris, +33 (0)1 4200 0045

Shopping around the Canal Saint-Martin area is a delight, especially if you’re looking for cool or quirky gifts. Try the treasure-trove of must-buy gifts that is Antoine et Lili’s acid-bright and pink shop. There are also pretty, feminine womens’ clothes for lovers of bright colours and girlish styles. Check out Sandro and Agnès B for a great edit from the high-end French high-street brands or make like the east-end hipsters and head straight for American Apparel.

Antoine et Lili, 95 quai de Valmy, 75010 Paris, +33 (0)1 4037 4155

Sandro, 26 rue de Sévigné, 75004 Paris, +33 (0)1 4271 9159

It may sound morbid, but the famous cemetery at Père Lachaise is one of Paris’s most popular walks. The tree-lined route will take you past the some famous graves, from those of Sarah Bernhardt and Oscar Wilde to the final resting places of Chopin and, of course, Jim Morrison.

The Canal Saint-Martin is the best place for an impromptu five-o’clock picnic so follow the example of the local 20-something crowd and enjoy an apéro (aperitif, drinks and snacks) with friends by the water – or drop into Chez Prune for the best charcuterie and cheese plate selection in town plus a fantastic choice of wine.

Chez Prune, 36 rue Beaurepaire, 75010 Paris, +33 (0)1 4241 3047



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