Paris: A step-by-step guide

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The Independent Travel

Dine on Eurostar ...
There will be plenty of time to pig out in Paris, so pace yourself and have dinner on the train. Club Class offers a decent if unspectacular meal, but copious champagne and wine (included) get you in just the right mood for the weekend ahead.

... or arrive in time for dinner
If you catch the 16.12 out of London Waterloo, you will get there early enough to eat out. And you don't need to go far at the other end: Terminus Nord, a classic brasserie next to the station at 23 rue de Dunkerque, is a firm favourite with those in the know.

Go by bike
If you're going to visit an arrondissement for a weekend, take the weight off your feet and hire a bike - it will get you around that bit faster and allow you to see more. In Le Marais, you can rent them for €2 an hour (£1.35) from Toy's Paradise at 41, Quai de Valmy.

Keep it bite-sized
The wealth of culture in Paris can be overwhelming. Avoid overload by not cramming in too much. If you go to the excellent Picasso Museum in Le Marais, pick out a few rooms in the collection, which is laid out chronologically, and limit yourself to one period.

Don't put your foot in it
Parisians love their dogs. Unfortunately, they don't love cleaning up after their dogs. The result can be seen on the pavements of any neighbourhood, posh or poor. If walking is your thing, wear shoes you can scrub. And keep your eyes on the ground.

Swallow an oyster
Oysters in England used to be a democratic food. In Paris they still are. Oysters are affordable, fresh and available in mouth-watering variety throughout the year. Best enjoyed from a street stall in any number of the major places and boulevards of Paris.

Hang out with the famous
There is one place in Paris you can approach celebs without them running away. True, the celebs in question are dead, but they're definitely A-list. At Père Lachaise cemetery you can visit Oscar Wilde, Edith Piaf, Marcel Proust and, of course, Jim Morrison.

Get on a roll
Friday night is Rollerblade night in Paris. Up to 15,000 line up for Paris Roller by the Montparnasse Tower, for a three-hour jaunt round a course that changes week to week ( It is no fun, however, as I found out, if you can't blade.