Arc de 'l‘riomphe at the wheel of your all too polite British ‘voiture' the one which stalls every time you accelerate then you will appreciate that ‘le promenade’ is a much more satisfactory way to explore l’aris.

Where you walk on your first day. will in part be determined by the position of your hotel. but it is surprising how many of the cheaper holiday or weekend break packages seem to land you in the heart of Paris anyway. llappily. Paris is not the blobby patchwork of famous sights that it sometimes seems from the guidebooks; once you start walking. you realise very quickly that it is a large area ofcomplimentary and picturesque streets the whole creating a sense ofcity identity that is hard to find in Britain. outside the stony uniformityoflidinburgh.

The similarity ofthe streets usually prevents any remembrance of their names on my part. but having returned frotn the metropolis from a break just a few weeks ago. I can say with some confidence that we stayed in a pleasant enough l’I‘(one star) hotel in Rue de Navarin. with the impressive white hulk of the Sacre (‘oeur glinting in the sun at the top of every neighbouring street. L'sing tip all our entente cordiale on asking for more coffee with our first breakfast. we did not fancy our chances of petit dejeuner the next morning having slept through the hoover till l().3(l.

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Weekend city breaks abroad are closer than you think if you fly direct from Scotland. (Facing page) Kristina Woolnough charts the flightpaths to the best destinations. while (below) Stephanie Billen has ups and downs in ’aris.

.-\II the more reason then to go walking with a mission le cafe and croissant on a Sunday. Strangely enough it would have been easier buying a glazed apricot tart from one of the many open patisseries. but when we did find our place it was as delicious and elementary as we could have hoped. Like fish and chips from newspaper. croissants taste even better off red-checked paper table-cloths. without the encumbrance of plates.

The Sacre ('oeur is apart from anything else. a marvellous vantage point to view Paris. the lovely Spring

| flowers. gaggles ofschool children. and (when we were there) an old fashioned merry-go-round. creating a cheerful foreground. lf unlike us you read up your guidebooks before you go to Paris. you will be au fait with other interesting view points— no. not just the Eiffel lower. but places like the coffee shop at the top ofthe (ialeries Lafayette. or Paris‘ only skyscraper. the lvlontparnasse lower. with bars and restaurants on the 56th floor. or even. until 5pm. the top of the Arc de 'l'riomphe a safe spot to watch the dodgems below.

During the day there are few places

in Paris which do not deserve a stroll. but if you are impatient for more than idiosyncratic architecture and the experience oftaking a stray dog for a walk. then the area round the Sorbonne off the Boulevard St (iermain. is a great place for little bookshops and cafes in which to ponder one‘s existence. We chose Sunday to stroll along the Seine gazing at the book-stalls and chatting with the painterly geniuses in berets and smocks. In fact we saw only one book stall. but I am assured that during the week. on the North batik (we were on the South). between the Louvre and the Iiiffel Tower. and in the mornings (it was in the afternoon). the air is thick with the l smell ofoil-paints and the dust of the l second hand Jules V'ernes. And ifit's not. you can always take a boat down l l

the Seine from the Pont de L‘Ahna and do some sketching yourself. ()f course the foolproof. but somehow less authentic way to meet the artists of Paris. is to wend your way back up to Montmartre and the Cafe La Boheme du 'l‘ertre. in the Place du 'l’ertre. where you can sit outside and watch them at work.

('ome the evening. the (‘hamps Elysees is a place to people watch and window shop. to wander into glossy precincts with impossible fountain clock sculptures. or to stand around in the wonderful Renault showroom. where the family hatchbacks look as exciting as sports




/.'——“1 !

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60 The List 15 28 April 1988