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If it’s your first trip to Paris and you want to immerse yourself in culture and visit as many sights as possible in your time there, the best areas to stay in are the 1st, 8th and the 7th arrondisements.  And, as  they’re all next to each other, you can walk easily between them.

The 1st arrondissement

In the 1st Arrt. you’ll find the Louvre, the Jeu de Paume and the Musée de l’Orangerie clustered around the Jardin des Tuileries. It’s a short walk from there to the Jardin du Palais Royal for coffee and to browse the shops under the arcades.

When you’re ready for a sugar break to boost your energy, pop in to Angelina on rue de Rivoli for the best hot chocolate in town or treat yourself to an extravagant afternoon tea in the spectacular Meurice Hotel.

The 8th arrondissement

This district is just next to the 1st, and across the stunningly ornate Pont Alexandre III from the 7th. Don't miss the Grand Palais and the Petit Palais. Spend a couple of hours visiting the exhibitions then, if you fancy a bit of fresh air, walk the 1.2 miles up the Champs Elysees and do some window shopping, or ‘lecher les vitrines’ as the locals say.

At the far end, if you have any energy left , pay a visit to the Arc de Triomphe to see the flame of the unknown soldier and take in the fabulous views from the top.

The 7th arrondissement

Just across the river, the 7th Arrt. is a lovely area to base yourself in to enjoy Paris. The small characterful streets are full of bars, cafes and restaurants and there’s no shortage of wonderful things to see.

Don’t miss the fabulous Musée d’Orsay or the Musée Rodin, set in an elegant 18th century mansion. Just around the corner you’ll come to les Invalides, site of Napoleon’s tomb and the Musée de l’Armee. In the distance you’ll see the Eiffel tower, walk along rue de Grenelle towards it and you’ll see rue Cler market on your left. It’s a great place to stop and buy everything you need for a picnic on the Champs de Mars while you’re taking selfies in front of the world's most famous tower.

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  • Café Constant

    139 rue Saint-Dominique, 75007 Paris

    This tiny, affordable and friendly bistro is only 10 minutes from the Eiffel Tower so avoid those overpriced alternatives and head here, instead. You’re packed in with the tables almost touching, but this proximity lends the place a cosy, intimate atmosphere.

    The chef has a Michelin star so everything is exquisitely homemade on site – helpfully, all starters are priced the same (11 euros), likewise with mains (17 euros) and desserts (7.50 euros), making it easy to add up at the end of the meal.

  • Rosa Bonheur

    Rosa Bonheur sur Seine Port des Invalides, 75007

    Colourful and relaxed, this barge is a great place to mingle with the locals.

    Soak up an Apérol spritz with a slice of pizza from the gigantic wood-fired oven, then kick off your shoes and dance the night away to some cheesy French tunes.

  • Colette

    213 Rue Saint-Honoré, Paris 75001

    A den for la crème de la crème of hip Parisians, Colette mixes Courrèges pieces with Nike’s latest gadgets in its contemporarily-designed, Rue Saint-Honoré shop.

  • La Pâtisserie des Rêves

    93 rue du Bac, 75007

    Philippe Conticini’s stellar career in pâtisserie has included writing a Nutella recipe book and inventing the verrine – a dessert glass of artfully layered deliciousness. His journey led him to this whimsical cake shop, which he opened in foodie Rue du Bac in 2009.

    Here, he gives traditional recipes a modern twist, in a fairytale setting where dainty cakes sit under gleaming glass domes.

Image credits: © Eurostar; © Eurostar; © Thomas Baltes; © david haffen; © Courtesy of Colette; © Puxan Photography