Travel: Chic galore

Although the World Cup kicks off there on Wednesday, Paris is far from a laddish city. In fact it's perfect for a girls' weekend, writes Miranda Haines

Friday

7am Paris in the springtime; Paris for lovers; Paris for World Cup fans. No, no, it's Paris pour les filles. Hurray! I'm off to visit my French girlfriend Corinne who is an artist and lives in the 11th arrondissement, not far from the Gare du Nord. Tres handy for the Eurostar. Must remember not to look at the new Stade de France in St Denis and catch this football fever. Brrr.

8am Huh. First of all I have to go to work for the day.

10pm Paris. Taxi to Corinne's. Told l'homme he can do as he likes this weekend.

Saturday

11am Woke up late and spent long time trying to look like a chic chick (ie very French) in a T-shirt and skirt. We walked coquettishly with sunglasses on the nose to local boulangerie (no one around). As usual bought too many croissants and sat down in a downtrodden but branche (meaning "plugged in" or trendy) cafe with a terrasse in the sunshine. Ordered cafe creme and smoked five cigarettes deciding on our master plan for the day. Noticed that everyone was much more chic than me, even in the 11th arrondissement, so shopping was going to be a necessity.

11.30am Headed for the 5th arrondissement. This is the Knightsbridge of Paris but an area with a lot more charm than the roaring Brompton Road. St Sulpice, St Germain and St Michel are good boundaries to set and every boutique is worth a peek.

11.35am Bought a pair of beautiful sandals for lots of francs. At least the exchange rate is on my side. I swear I will not buy more things. Only looking now.

12.15pm As we were looking at the summer frocks in Agnes B Corinne announced, "You should buy that dress". I looked at this pretty silky slip of a thing and tried to imagine when I might wear it in London. "It's much too smart," I insisted. "Boff," Corinne sighs, not without missing the opportunity to highlight the tragic difference between London and Paris. "I would wear that to go to the supermarche." Touche.

1pm Lunch on le St Louis in the cafe that overlooks the Seine and is opposite the ice-cream shop where families queue up all day long. We ate a salade parisienne and drank a carafe of house white. All becomes quite hazy in the sun.

The Seine was choppy and sparkling so we felt tempted to organise a bateau-mouche (boat) ride. Naked bodies lay strewn in bathing suits along the paving stones down by the water's edge. A saxophonist blew harsh blue notes from the Left Bank and in the small garden on the promontory beneath the Pont Neuf two men with bare torsos played bongo drums.

2.30pm (tipsy) Bought the guide Pariscope for 3 francs in order to look up the boat times. Decided to embark from the Pont Neuf (five minutes' walk) at 4pm and chug up to the Eiffel Tower and back. "The Tour Eiffel will lay an egg on the eve of the millennium celebrations and the Seine will be perfumed, according to my Millennium Rough Guide," I slurred. Corinne didn't believe me. But when I reminded her of the time that Yves St Laurent covered every inch of the bridge in roses, the idea took on a more reasonable resonance.

4pm Bateau-mouche was a brilliant way to see Paris and get a suntan. Can't believe I lived here for three years and never went on one. Corinne said that next time we could take a boat all the way up the Canal St Martin, which takes you through a Paris that is rarely seen.

9pm Arrived at La Muscade, a restaurant in the Jardin du Palais Royal. Very pleased to be sitting in such palatial splendour away from the bustle of the streets, with views of the formal garden and perfectly clipped avenues of trees.

We agreed that the next weekend in Paris we would book tickets to the Opera at the Bastille and then dine on the Pont des Arts. This is a pedestrian bridge where people set up tables and white tablecloths and drink champagne over the Seine to the whine of a violinist, if they choose. I remember that Paris is also about dreams.

Midnight Forgot to get a facial. Too late now but am inspired to get one back home because apparently all the Parisian girls have them as regularly as having their nails done - ie every other week.

Sunday

11am Slept well. Realise that this is how the Parisians are so good-looking, despite smoking so much (illegal, and unenforceable in public places).

Must remember that beauty sleep is a profession.

1pm Picnic in the Luxembourg Gardens where children float boats on the lake, watch puppet shows with squeals of delight and swing around and around on a merry-go-round that was built in 1880.

Some men practised t'ai chi in the shade and nearby some very tall men swung low playing basket ball, while the rest simply sat and watched.

This is definitely the best Parisian park, no matter what the weather.

5pm Checked in at Gare du Nord and decided to upgrade to first class when I thought of Eric Cantona's philosophical advice about travelling on the Eurostar. For once I agreed with a football player - even if he was paid to say it

Monday

10pm Back in a London pub, and I remember that this is a city pour les hommes.

One week later

Still haven't had that facial, or a long night's sleep.

Restaurant La Muscade, 36 Rue de Monpensier 75001 Paris (00 33 1 42 97 51 36)

Miranda Haines is the editor of 'Traveller', the magazine for members of the Wexas Travel Club.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Recruitment Genius: MIS Officer - Further Education Sector

£20000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Operating throughout London and...

The Jenrick Group: Maintenance Planner

£28000 - £32000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: Maintenance...

The Jenrick Group: Project Manager

£35000 per annum + Pension+Bupa: The Jenrick Group: We are recruiting for an e...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35K - £45K: SThree: SThree Group have been we...

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there