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THIS IS MY CITY | Georgia's Paris

Yeah, so we've done Paris before. And that guide was pretty great. But it's Paris, and you can never have too many insider tips, right? We would love to jump on a plane and go to Paris now, to catch the last of a European summer, and be in the city of light when everyone else has gone on holidays. Apparently Paris in Autumn is totally calm, quiet and collected. You have to see it to believe it. So we asked someone who has - Georgia flits between Paris and New York and has great taste in reading material, foodie locations and more. This is Paris, by Georgia.

All polaroids by Georgia Hilmer


one. Best Thing About Paris You can wander for hours, days, even weeks, and constantly find new, beautiful things.

two. Worst thing about Paris?I like to think of myself as graduated from tourist-ness (I've lived in Paris for months at a time) so the saturation of fanny packs and tour groups can make the city seem slightly less charming.

three. Favorite secret spot?A friend and I discovered this Japanese restaurant (Aki - 11, Rue Saint-Anne 75001) in the first arondissement that has seating pushed right up against the kitchen, below street level. You can watch your order being fired off if you grab a seat at the counter, and it is so fun to see the chefs in action. Cheap too - especially since you're paying for dinner and a show.

four. Favourite everyone-knows-it-but-it's-still-good spot?The Shakespeare & Co. bookstore (37, rue de la Bûcherie 75005) gets plenty of foot traffic from foreigners, but for good reason. The shelves are stuffed to bursting, with both recent releases and old, dusty classics. There's room upstairs to read without being hassled, and the staff is interested and interesting (as long as you're polite.) Plus, it's one of only two sizable English-language bookstores around, so it is a comforting presence when you're away from home.

 view from Georgia's window in the 1st

five. What is your newest discovery in Paris? What about somewhere you've been going since forever but can't quite give up? Just before I left Paris in July I found a great Thai restaurant called Villa Papillon (15, rue Tiquetonne 75002) with great food. It seemed to be run exclusively by flamboyant gay men with amazing style - lots of outrageous Jeremy Scott footwear. It's right around the corner from my favorite street in all of Paris: rue Montorgueil. You can get anything you need walking down those five or so blocks. There are tons of restaurants, boulangeries, produce halls, fromageries, Italian and Greek and classic French prepared-food stores. It really lights up at night, with tables and chairs spilling into the streets, kids and dogs running around, and couples on Vespas snaking through the cobblestones.

six. Where is the best place for.... morning coffee? meal with friends? romantic rendez-vous? late night drink? even later-night boogie?As an American, I'm culturally engineered to require a bucket-sized coffee in the morning. I need more than the thimble of espresso available on any corner here, so I often make my own mugful in the morning. Eric Kayser is a really great chain - I know, I know, that churns out top quality breakfast pastries, and I go there if I need to grab something to eat in a hurry. There's a boisterous Thai place, Madame Shawn (40 Pl. du Marché Saint-Honoré 75001) where I went for dinner with a group of 15 and had a fantastic time. Amazing curries and real spice, which can be tricky to find in France. The most romantic place in Paris has to be the bank of the Seine late at night in the summer. Gangs of teenagers and 20-somethings and families all have the right idea: pack a picnic and some drinks and go sit on the water in the half-dark with whoever makes you smile. There's a palpable sense of electricity; everyone seems connected, and buzzing.

Banks of the Seine


seven. Where are Paris's style spots? Where is the best shopping?If you're looking for something special - since you can get anything anywhere these days - go to Espace Kiliwatch (64, rue Tiquetonne 75002) for mounds of vintage. The store is cave-like in its size, and has hard-to-find magazines as well.

eight. What is something you can get/read/experience/eat that you can only do in Paris?The outdoor markets are unique in their size and scope. There is nothing quite like jostling your way between stalls jammed over with fruits and vegetables, fish heads and cheese wheels. It's a sensory overload in the best way: too many colors and smells and sounds pressing in all at once. My favorite market is Bastille on a Sunday morning, when there's barely room to squeeze between tables, and the vendors are yelling and cat-calling at you. You can leave satisfied without buying a thing, but you'd be a fool not to scoop up a few peaches or a crusty baguette to chew on. (There's a man who fries churros to order, and a family of French women who make hot, stuffed crepes that leave you drooling.)

 Notre Dame Cathedral

nine. You can tell a lot about a city from their airport. Describe Paris's. Paris has two - the modern, glassy Charles de Gaulle, and the grittier Orly. CDG has a sizable Laduree outpost - good for last minute souvenirs, and is definitely the ritzier option. Orly is a bit grayer and grubbier, but it gets the job done. I think the contrast reflects Paris accurately; there is so much beauty and grace in the city, but you can't forget how many people are hustling just to get by. Rippling under Paris's surface is the grind of working class life.

ten. How would you describe Paris to someone who has never been there before? Enchanting.

 Grand Palais

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