11 Jul 2019 | Cherry Cai
Both London and Paris are perfect travel destinations. Both cities have the culture, the sites and the activities to guarantee you a fantastic holiday, whatever your interests may be. However, when planning an Euro-trip to these two cities, you may find yourself a little overwhelmed by the sheer number of things that you could do. To start you off with your holiday planning, our Pocket Precincts travel writers Penny Watson and Donna Wheeler share with you their perfect London and Paris days.
by Penny Watson
My perfect days in London are many and varied. This is just one. Start central in Covent Garden at Fabrique Artisan Bakery where breakfast comes in the form of flaky cinnamon and cardamom buns. Stroll to Trafalgar Square for an obligatory photo by Nelson’s Column. Meander back through Seven Dials to Covent Garden Market taking a sneak-peek at Super Superficial T-shirts and Tatty Devine jewellery bling along the way. Enjoy the festive atmosphere of the market’s buskers and stalls before navigating your way to Somerset House to check-out the bookshop, exhibitions and architecture. Cross the Waterloo Bridge and enjoy the boats and the views along the River Thames as you go. On the other side, London’s South Bank promenade is a buzzy place where you can marvel at the oak tree avenues, book market, skaters and ice-cream eating crowd before continuing south along the Thames Path to London Eye observation wheel. Decide to ride or save your sky-high sightseeing for later in the day. From here the Thames Clipper ferry (or the 25-minute Thames Path walk) will drop you downriver at the brown-brick Tate Modern, in the former Bankside Power Station. Enjoy contemporary art with the downloadable highlights tour then head to Tate Modern Restaurant, on level 9, for lunch or just enjoy the Thames’ views. From up here you’ll see the Millennium Footbridge, which is directly aligned with St Paul’s Cathedral. If your legs are still working, cross the bridge for a closer look, otherwise continue along the river past Shakespeare’s Globe theatre from where it’s a 10-minute walk to open-air Borough Market – another perfect lunch spot and London’s oldest market with vendors selling fresh produce and European delicacies. If you didn’t go on London Eye earlier, catch panoramic views on the 72nd floor (open-air top) of The Shard for sunset. You can tick off most of London’s icons, including nearby Tower Bridge and Tower of London. Next stop is Bermondsey High Street’s José Tapas Bar for authentic Spanish fare and a glass of cava. Alternatively, 40 Maltby Street does natural wine and share plates with a French spin. From here, the craft brewers along Bermondsey Beer Mile are your key to a late night. Alternatively, from The Shard, head back to Soho for dim sum at Bao or Sri Lankan at Hoppers and a West End theatre show.
by Donna Wheeler
As the saying goes, Paris is always a good idea, even when most Parisians are asleep. The city isn’t known for its early risers and grabbing a coffee first thing can prove tricky.So after I drag myself out of bed, I’ll go for a quick poke around the Marché d’Aligre, or perhaps a quiet stroll up through Cimetière du Père Lachaise. After, I’ll head to Shakespeare and Company Café for a café noisette when they open at 9.30am. Then to Musée Rodin to visit my favourite sculptures and drawings before some contemplation in the gardens. If it’s a day for indulging, I’ll settle in for a four-course Basque blowout at l’Ami Jean, though in summer, I’ll cross the Seine and it’ll be leeks vinaigrette or carpaccio at Maison Maison by the river-facing windows. A post-prandial micro-nap might be needed at this point, so I’ll find a chair at the Jardin du Palais-Royal. I’ll then have a window shop beneath its colonnades, swing past Brigitte Tanaka and along the Faubourg Saint-Honoré. Or if I need to pick up a shirt or tee, I’ll head to the Marais’ rue des Francs Bourgeois. I’ll peek at the newest installation at the nearby Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature, then grab a sweet treat at Chambelland up in the 11th. On the way out again in the evening, I’ll swing past Le Baron Rouge for a sneaky Muscadet, then Vélib (bike share) up to Canal Saint-Martin and try for a table at neobistro Le Verre Volé or otherwise head to Déviant for standing room small plates, a Tunisian brik and natural wine. I’ll head back to the Seine, lingering along the Bassin de l’Arsenal before heading home, but if kicking-on is on the cards, I’ll meet friends for bar-hopping along the rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis, with cocktails at Le Syndicat, before a midnight DJ set at La Java. If I’m in for a really big night or there’s a band I know playing, I’ll head to Pigalle, where things will quite possibly go on till dawn (did I mention Parisians aren’t early risers?).
All text was extracted from Pocket Precincts: London by Penny Watson and Pocket Precincts: Paris by Donna Wheeler.
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