By Irene Fogarty
The great thing about Paris in the Spring is that Spring comes early to Paris! It’s just April and already spring is very much in the air. The brighter evenings, the blossoms, the birds chirping. No wonder “Paris in the spring” is something of a cliché. And after the long grey months of winter, Easter is a great time to visit. But instead of eating chocolate, and doing all the typical touristy things, here are 3 not so touristy things I propose that will make your Easter trip a little different and special. So you can go back to New York (or wherever) and tell your friends something new you discovered in Paris.
Let off some steam!
If you’re coming with a friend why not do something relaxing you can both enjoy. Treat yourself to a hammam! Try the age-old traditions of the Hammam (steam room) at the O’Kari Hammam-spa in the second quartier. It’s wonderful. The owner Karima, originally from Algeria, will ask you how much time you have to get the true Hammam experience. The longer the better ! The best 2 or 3 hours you’ll spend. To avoid disappointment make an appointment asap. O’Kari Hammam, 22, rue Dussoubs, 75002 Paris (Montorgueil district). Tel. 01 42 36 94 66 METRO: Strassbourg Saint-Denis
Thai me up
Forget French food this Easter. It’s over-rated, over-priced and over 70% of it is frozen! Sad but true! So why not try something a little different, really delicious and at a good deal. The food specialties are from Laos, Vietnam and Thailand. It’s probably one of the best Asian restos in Paris. I’ve been here 3 times (since Jan!) and each time it’s excellent. I get the mackerel and my boyfriend swears by the duck. Go early, you’ll see the queue outside—a good sign. Don’t expect the most tranquil ambiance as it can be full of families etc. Try to get upstairs. Service is friendly fast, professional. Still need more convincing? Drool over my mouth-watering pix. Gotta have some food porn! Resto: Lao Lane Xang 2, 102, av. d’Ivry, Paris (75013) Tel : +33 1 58 89 00 00. MÉTRO: Tolbiac, Place d’Italie, Maison Blanche
Get your butt to the Butte-aux-Cailles
So you’ve been steamed, ate a hot piping Asian meal and now it’s time to walk it all off around the thirteenth arrondissement. It’s one of those quartiers you never hear much about and maybe that’s how they want to keep it! The place to explore is Butte-aux-Cailles which translated means “quail hill”, originating from its former landowner Pierre Caille, who bought a vineyard here in 1500’s. Located on the hilltop neighbourhood of the thirteeth, the Butte-aux-Cailles area is full of young, trendy, arty and festive Parisians (bobo-land) who just love to hang out in small bars and restaurants. I just walked around and am going back to explore in detail and will get back to you then. Until then, here are a few pix of street art I took after finding a great vintage store where I got the a light for 50€ with a little bargaining!
So ‘Bonne Pacques !’ (‘Happy Easter !’) and tell me about any new treasures you discover in Paris!