48 hours in Paris

Natasha Edwards

Travel writer and editor

However many times you’ve been to Paris, there’s always something new to discover. Long-time resident Natasha Edwards recommends a two-day trip combining remixed classics and fresh finds

Day one: Keeping it classic

Rodin Museum Paris France 48 hours in Paris

Architecture: Maison La Roche

Le Corbusier’s architecture received UNESCO World Heritage listing in July 2016 for its outstanding contribution to Modernism. Fondation Le Corbusier, in the 16th arrondissement, combines two of his early houses: Maison Jeanneret (home to the foundation’s offices and library) and the neighbouring Maison La Roche, which is open for visits. Alongside the traditional columns, terraces and strip windows, you can see how ‘Corb’ went far beyond the clichés with his clever built-in furniture and use of colour.

Lunch: Restaurant Le Meurice Alain Ducasse

Restaurant Le Meurice Alain Ducasse Paris France 48 hours in Paris

The arrival of chef Jocelyn Herland at Le Meurice (formerly at the Dorchester in London) ushers in a return to ‘essential flavours’. A basket of steamed vegetables to share at the start removes the stuffiness of many grand restaurants, while designer Philippe Starck has injected modernity into the setting (pictured above), as the blowsy 19th-century painted ceiling meets 1950s-style Saarinen tulip chairs.

Culture: Musée Rodin

Musee Rodin Paris France 48 hours in Paris

The beautiful Hôtel Biron (lead image and pictured above), where sculptor Auguste Rodin lived and worked at the end of his life, has been masterfully renovated to house this museum, with a new route around the rooms inspired by his creative process. Pieces on display include never-seen-before plaster studies and Rodin’s collection of antiquities, which played a crucial role in sculptures such as ‘The Walking Man’.

Shop: Buly 1803

Buly 1803 Boutique Paris France 48 hours in Paris

Take a trip back in time at this boutique of perfumes and skin creams, a Left Bank re-creation of the Bully boutique (pictured above) founded in 1803 on rue St-Honoré and once famed for its scented vinegars. Much of the fascination lies in the beautiful glass flasks, vintage packaging and the store’s marble counters and walnut dressers. It’s a place where you can be sure to find products you won’t come across elsewhere.

Cocktails: Little Red Door

Little Red Door Paris France 48 hours in Paris

Beside the little red door you’ll spy in the street, there is – fortunately – a human-sized one. It leads into this tiny Marais cocktail bar (pictured above), where they shake up both classics and new inventions. Latest experiment is the Evocative Menu, a book from which you choose a cocktail based on different artists’ imaginative representations of the drinks. (If you can’t bear the suspense, pull the tab at the side of the page to reveal the ingredients.)

Dinner: La Poule au Pot

La Poule au Pot Paris France 48 hours in Paris

This is one of the last surviving all-night restaurants from Les Halles’ food market days (pictured above), though the tiny brass plaques now pay homage to the numerous showbiz celebs who’ve come here rather than market workers. The house speciality is, of course, Poule au Pot (poached stuffed chicken), which Henry IV is said to have wanted all his subjects to be able to eat every Sunday.

Day two: New discoveries

Forum des Halles Paris France 48 hours in Paris

Shop: Forum des Halles

The Forum des Halles shopping centre that replaced the original Les Halles food market was one of the disasters of 1970s town planning, but it’s been renovated, reconfigured and topped off with its new undulating Canopée roof (pictured above). New perspectives stretch towards the Centre Pompidou in one direction and St-Eustache church in the other, with brightened-up shops, new brasseries, a ‘hip-hop space’ and a multi-use médiathèque all helping to revitalise the area. Under the canopy itself, you’ll find new shops including the flagship LEGO store and L’Exception, which focuses on fashion from young French designers.

Lunch: Caillebotte

Caillebotte Paris France 48 hours in Paris
Photo by Paris Mieux Mieux

Opened in November 2014 at the bottom end of Rue des Martyrs, Caillebotte (younger sibling of popular Le Pantruche a little further up the hill) serves up cosmopolitan, modern bistro cooking in bright, Scandi-style surroundings, where diners sit on banquettes or on stools along the white marble-topped counter (pictured above). Chef Franck Béranger is particularly inventive with starters and there’s a good selection of wines by the glass.

Culture: Musée de l'Homme

Musee de lHomme Paris France 48 hours in Paris

This ethnological and anthropological museum set in the 1930s Palais de Chaillot has re-emerged with a new interactive display, which invites you to pose questions on anything from the difference between man and apes to the impact of climate change. Other exhibits include anatomical models (pictured above), Stone Age tools, ritual items and videos screened in a Senegalese painted bus.

Dinner: Hôtel Amour

Hotel Amour Paris France 48 hours in Paris

The arty Hôtel Amour encapsulates the rise of SoPi (as South Pigalle is known), where once-sleazy haunts have been replaced by trendy new bars and one-of-a-kind boutiques. This hotel restaurant pulls in both locals and guests, whether it’s for radishes, steak tartare or fish and chips, a retractable glass roof allows you to eat in the courtyard garden all year round (pictured above).

Nightlife: Nüba

Nuba Paris France 48 hours in Paris

Marking the western edge of the rapidly evolving Seine Rive Gauche district, these concrete riverside warehouses were converted by Jakob + MacFarlane into the Cité de la Mode et du Design, with its striking fluro-green tubular staircases. Perched on the building’s roof with stunning views over the Seine is Nüba: dine at the restaurant until 11pm, then club until 5am, often with live bands and DJs on the wooden deck (pictured above).

Extend your Parisian adventure and find more inspiration with things to do along the Seine

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