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Forget tiring trips to the airport and long waits for your luggage: when you’re on a city break, every moment counts. Taking the train straight to the city centre means more precious time in Paris. Even a quarter of an hour can be enough for a mini adventure, so use the time you’ve saved to experience the city your way. That might mean a jog in the Marais or a restorative spa session, flicking through the crates at a vinyl store, or hitting a cool parfumerie. Here are eight suggestions to help get you started.

15 MINUTES

  • Spice things up at Épices Roellinger

    51 bis, rue Sainte-Anne, 75002
    Follow your nose to this specialist shop, owned by chef Oliver Roellinger. Styled like an old-fashioned apothecary, it stocks every spice under the sun, from Nepalese violet cardamom to chocolatey long pepper. It’s a great place to stock up on souvenirs, including sublime herbal teas. Afterwards, check out the cellar, filled with fragrant vanilla pods from Tahiti, Madagascar and beyond.
  • Find your signature scent at Nose Paris

    20, rue Bachaumont, 75002
    On a quest to find your perfect fragrance? Drop by this pared-back boutique, which showcases classic creators alongside edgy newcomers. Look out for unisex, made-in-Paris scents from Juliette has a Gun, and limited editions from the likes of Frédéric Malle. The perfume ‘diagnosis’ service is another stroke of genius, using a quick iPad questionnaire to whittle down the options.

30 MINUTES

  • Be pampered at La Sultane de Saba

    8 bis, rue Bachaumont, 75002
    A ten-minute stroll from the Palais-Royal, this spa is as escapist as its name, with its Moroccan lanterns, tiled hammam and cocooning treatment rooms. Even in half an hour, there’s time for an invigorating massage, with shea butter spiked with ginger and green tea. If you’ve got a little longer, unwind in the low-lit hammam, followed by a sea-salt scrub or heavenly, rose-infused facial.
  • Buy new shoes at Amélie Pichard

    34, rue de Lappe, 75011

    The Parisian designer is famed for her playful shoes, from fuzzy shearling slingbacks to Twin Peaks-inspired heels. Naturally, her pink-painted flagship store is just as eccentric, with its mirrored ceiling, satin-draped bed and quirky objets d’art. It’s also a showcase for her elegantly offbeat bags, from polished faux-crocodile numbers to a clutch inspired by a baguette.

45 MINUTES

  • Go for a run in Square du Temple

    64, rue de Bretagne, 75003
    Earn your morning croissant with a jog around Square du Temple, a handsome, landscaped park on the northern edge of the Marais. Founded in 1857, it was designed in the English style, eschewing gravelled avenues in favour of a wilder approach. Loop around its rush-fringed pond and handsome bandstand, then head to nearby quai de Valmy to extend your run along the canal.
  • Stock up on vinyl at Born Bad

    11, rue St Sabin, 75011
    It’s easy to lose track of time at this small but charismatic record store. There’s something for every musical taste, from punk to garage rock, via ska, electro and cold-wave, with plenty of affordable gems in the second-hand selection. If you’re looking for something in particular, chat to the clued-up staff, who can also talk you through the latest releases from the in-house record label.

90 MINUTES

  • Get styled at Galeries Lafayettes Champs-Elysées

    60, avenue des Champs-Élysées, 75008

    For a futuristic take on retail, head to this sleek department store, which pairs art-deco splendour with an eye for innovation. Digital hangars give an instant update on whether your size is in stock, while a squad of savvy stylists offer free, one-on-one consultations. No sartorial challenge is too big or small, from finding the perfect jeans to dressing like un vrai Parisien.

  • Catch a movie at Le Champo

    51, rue des Écoles, 75005
    Founded in 1938, this Latin Quarter cinema is a local institution – and a favourite with lecture-shirking students from the nearby Sorbonne. François Truffaut famously whiled away entire days here; Quentin Tarantino sneaked in for a screening last time he was in Paris. Follow their lead for a spell of escapism: the world-roaming programme spans arthouse films and all-night movie marathons.

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