“If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.” So said Ernest Hemingway in his 1964 memoir A Moveable Feast, and we wholeheartedly agree. Even if you've never lived in Paris, a single visit is enough to steal your heart and draw you back, both mentally and physically, time and time again.
Now, AnOther and The Westin Paris – Vendôme are offering our readers the chance to win a night's stay for two, in a Deluxe room with a view, at the iconic hotel, as well as a delicious champagne brunch the next day, and to celebrate we've compiled a list of ten essential things do and see during a weekend in the city. From a stroll along the beautiful Promenade Plantée to the perfect places to buy books, flowers and antiques, we hope this list will inspire you to make Paris your next pit-stop. Enter the competition below.
1. The Westin Paris
Favoured by Victor Hugo, once home to Empress Eugenie, wife of Napoleon III, and more recently host to shows by Yves Saint Laurent, Guy Laroche and Christian Lacroix, The Westin Paris is one of the city's most legendary hotels. Originally named The Hotel Continental, it was designed by Henri Blondel in 1878, with the aim of being the most decadent hotel in Paris.
2. The Promenade Plantée
The first elevated park in the world, the Promenade plantée or the Coulée verte is a 4.7 km elevated park, built on top of obsolete railway infrastructure in the 12th arrondissement of the city. On a sunny day, it is the perfect place for a verdant saunter between Place de la Bastille and Bois de Vincennes.
3. Grande Galerie de l'Evolution at the National Museum of Natural History
This vast and beautiful space in Paris' natural history museum houses an amazing selection of species and specimens, ranging from dinosaur skeletons and fossils to stuffed animals. The museum is situated in the royal botanical garden, the Jardin des Plantes, making for an ideal day of nature appreciation.
4. Hot Chocolate at Angelina's
Founded in 1903 by Austrian confectioner Antoine Rumpelmayer, the Angelina tearoom boasts the most sumptuous hot chocolate in Paris, as well as the much sough-after Mont Blanc cake – comprising meringue, light whipped cream and chestnut cream vermicelli – around 600 of which are sold per day. A favourite of Proust and Coco Chanel, the café's luxurious interior was designed by the famous Belle Époque architect, Edouard-Jean Niermans.
5. Rambert Rigaud Fleuriste en Herbe
Situated on a Saint-Germain corner of the city, Rambert Rigaud Fleuriste en Herbe is a florist and home shop owned and run by Rambert Rigaud, a former studio director in the Yves Saint Laurent and Dior Haute Couture ateliers. Exquisitely chosen flowers festoon a selection of antique furniture, making for an opulent and extremely enjoyably shopping experience.
6. Marché aux Puces St-Ouen de Clignancourt
Paris' most famous flea market, Clignancourt consists of somewhere between 2,500 and 3,000 open stalls and shops, and runs from Saturday through Monday on the northern fringe of the city. It is a wonderful place to source antiques and vintage clothing, but also to rummage for bric-a-brac bargains.
7. A French 75 at Bar Hemingway, The Ritz
Created at the New York Bar in Paris, the French 75 (made from gin, Champagne, lemon juice, and sugar) is a favourite among Parisian cocktails. And where better to sip your tipple than at the Ritz's Bar Hemingway, where head bartender Colin Field has been twice voted "The Best Bartender in the World" by Forbes magazine?
8. Shakespeare & Company
Situated at 37 rue de la Bûcherie in the 5th arrondissement, and easily distinguishable by its colourful, higgledy-piggledy facade, Shakespeare & Co. is Paris' most beloved independent bookshop. It was opened in 1951 by George Whitman and was originally named Le Mistral but was renamed in homage to Sylvia Beach's iconic, Hemingway- and Joyce-frequented bookstore which was forced to close during the German occupation.
The stained glass windows in Rayonnant-era Gothic masterpiece Sainte-Chapelle are one of the most breathtaking architectural feats in Paris. The windows cover a total of 600 square meters within the Louis IX-commissioned chapel, which was built in the mid 13th century to house his extensive collection of Passion relics. They were removed during the second world war for their protection, and painstakingly reinstated afterwards.
Finally, you can't go to Paris without marvelling at the unrivalled craftsmanship and taste of the humble baguette, always eaten freshly baked from the local boulangerie.