Bars behind Bars: Paris’ Secret Watering Holes

Le Comptoir General

Credit: Le Comptoir General

Unlike London and New York, Paris has been a bit slow to catch on to the hidden bar concept. Slowly but surely, however, a few of these speakeasy-esque, prohibition-inspired drinking spots have sprung up around the French city. On my short trip to Paris, I managed to visit three very different bars – so different, in fact, that the only thing they have in common is how tricky they are to find. And the alcohol, of course.

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Vintage Shopping in Paris

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The best thing about vintage shopping in Paris? Parisians have not yet discovered a real appetite for second-hand clothes so, unlike in the UK (and especially East London, which is wallet kryptonite), everything is dirt cheap. Most shops have €1 bins piled high with items which are all a steal at (yup) €1.

The best vintage shops are in the Marais (super handy as the multitude of incredible parfumeries in the area act as an antidote to the old clothes smell. Be warned though; if you’re anything like me – aka extremely susceptible to the scent of lavender and the glint of antique glass bottles – give your purse to a friend for safekeeping, because you will want to give those people EVERYTHING.)

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North Cornwall: In defence of a quiet NYE

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Cornwall isn’t exactly the first destination you’d think to head to for a bangin’ New Year’s Eve. Family holiday, certainly. Writers’ retreat, maybe. But heading to Land’s End for the biggest party night of the year? Surprising.

As 2014 drew to a close, however, the thought of waking up on New Year’s Day feeling fresh as a daisy became very appealing. Just once, I decided, I would like to start the year as I mean to go on – well-rested, full of energy and able to keep down food.

With visions of coastal views and rolling hills spurring me on, I logged onto AirBnB and booked five days in a converted barn in Crackington Haven. It was mid-July but I could already smell the salt spray.  Continue reading