Faster Travel

Paris: six reasons to stay on

Our local insider, British Airways airport manager Valerie Matrand, reveals her favourite Parisian hidden gems


Chic eats

Anchored between the Pont de Saint-Cloud and Suresnes,  Quai Ouest doesn't take itself too seriously. Visit for its location overlooking the Seine and Bois de Boulogne. Steak is what it does well, but try the aperitif of Guignolet d'Angers (a French cherry liqueur) served on ice, and the aged French cheeses. Sunday brunches are a family affair, with 'Chickpea' the clown entertaining the children.


Where to shop

Shop like les francais in the Marais district. Designer boutique  Surface to Air (above) offers Parisian chic, with well-cut jackets, minimalist dresses, button-down shirts and cool T-shirts. For accessories, walk around the corner to  Boutique Florian Denicourt, HQ of the feted French designer. His structured leather bags are French-made and built to last. For quirky accessories and gifts, try Les Vignoles.


Entertain yourself

Start your day with a smile by having breakfast with giraffes at the Parc Zoologique  (above). The zoo has more than 1,000 animals and is home to Europe's largest giraffe herd. Buy a special ticket and you can be at the first feeding of the day. Later, for entertainment, visit La Belle Hortense. The venue hosts readings and literary events, and the wine list is long and varied.


Where to stay

Near the Arc de Triomphe,  The Peninsula Paris (above) offers an antidote to excessive croissant consumption. Begin with a 45-minute holistic fitness session on the rooftop terrace, or join one of the hotel's guided runs around a 9km circuit, stopping at scenic sites. If money is no object, Hôtel de Crillon couldn't be in a more chic location, overlooking Place de la Concorde. It has been restored to its 18th-century splendour and has two Karl Lagerfeld-designed suites.


Explore the hidden side of the city

See a different side to Paris with a tour of the catacombs. This labyrinthine construction is home to the remains of six million Parisians that were transferred here in the 18th and 19th centuries. In this maze of dark galleries and narrow passageways, look out for bones arranged in a macabre display of high Romantic taste. 


Discover a new neighbourhood

In the triangle formed by Avenue d'Ivry, Avenue de Choisy and Boulevard Massena, visit the Chinese Quarter for Chinese patisseries and the  Tang Frères supermarket, selling everything you could want for a Chinese feast. There's even a Buddhist temple hidden in a car park under the tower opposite rue Frères d'Astier de la Vigerie.