angelina & jardins du palais royal
jardin des tuileries
musee de l'orangerie
le marais
canal st martin
latin quarter

  • lie in bed. listen to the sounds of paris; scooters motoring past quietly, the melodic sirens that sound more like accordions than passing ambulances, french voices in the street.

  • free time on balcony to contemplate life/the universe/whether the wallpaper is really as bad as oscar wilde thought.

  • make love to your girlfriend. in paris you don't fuck, you make love. there's a law about this. the authorities are not afraid to intervene and frankly, that's just awkward for everyone, so don't be contrary.

  • select a book or two to read, a pen and a notebook. place items in tote bag. this step will be important later on, don't skip it.

  • leave hotel. locate a tabac. purchase cigarettes. 1 bonus point if you get a distinctively french brand like gitanes or gauloises. 2 points if you are able to do this in french.

  • make your way through saint-germain-des-prés, across the river seine and to the second point marked on the map which is actually about a block left of where i put it, but it doesn't matter because i'm going to be walking with you and i know where we're going.

'she sent for one of those squat, plump little cakes called "petites madeleines," which look as though they had been moulded in the fluted valve of a scallop shell. and soon, mechanically, dispirited after a dreary day with the prospect of a depressing morrow, i raised to my lips a spoonful of the tea in which i had soaked a morsel of the cake. no sooner had the warm liquid mixed with the crumbs touched my palate than a shudder ran through me and i stopped, intent upon the extraordinary thing that was happening to me. an exquisite pleasure had invaded my senses, something isolated, detached, with no suggestion of its origin. and at once the vicissitudes of life had become indifferent to me, its disasters innocuous, its brevity illusory - this new sensation having had on me the effect which love has of filling me with a precious essence; or rather this essence was not in me it was me. i had ceased now to feel mediocre, contingent, mortal. whence could it have come to me, this all-powerful joy? i sensed that it was connected with the taste of the tea and the cake, but that it infinitely transcended those savours, could, no, indeed, be of the same nature. whence did it come? what did it mean? how could i seize and apprehend it?'

- marcel proust, swann's way

  • order chocolat chaud l'africain. it's supposed to be the best hot chocolate in the world.

  • breakfast is probably also a good idea.

  • proust loved the angelina tea rooms and spent a lot of time here during la belle epoque, so if you're having some nasal owen wilson feelings about it all you could dip a madeleine in your tea and see if it inspires a novel.

  • walk through the gardens of the palais royale. inhale. all the flowers will be in bloom since spring has begun.

  • in the courtyard there's a tiny little cafe kitsune. get coffee and a fox shaped biscuit to take with you to the next location.

  • there are loads of nice places to sit here, but the best place for a cigarette and top notch people watching is around one of the fountains. stake out a good spot by the water.

  • obtain a little green chair. they come in two formats: good posture ones and lazy sprawl ones. go for the latter if possible, and for the ultimate experience, put two chairs opposite each other and use one for your legs. they're heavy, but don't worry about the loud scraping noise when you drag them along to the best position, everyone does it.

  • drink your coffee. eat your fox biscuit. smoke your cigarettes. read your books.

  • old men tend to fall asleep in their little green chairs in various places around the gardens, so your next task is to walk around and count the very sleepy grandpas. write the number down on your hand. this will be important later.

  • find the sculpture of theseus and the minotaur. i will assist with warmer/cooler style instruction until you get bored or annoyed. the prize for this is yet another tedious story from my childhood about how much i liked that legend and used to try to re-enact it on the moors.

  • go to monet's lilies. go directly to monet's lilies. do not pass go. do not collect £200.

  • ignore everything else in here and just spend half an hour on the divan in the middle of those rooms staring at the lilies. there's an incommunicable feeling that washes over you when you're in there, surrounded by them. i never knew i liked monets until i saw monets in real life.

  • stand as close as you can to the paintings without setting off the alarms. look at the thick texture of the paint and the brushstrokes still visible. walk backwards until you bump into someone.

  • there's a rodin sculpture of a couple embracing outside on the terrace and i will not be able to resist the urge to wrap myself around them menage-a-trois style because i think i'm funny. please humour me. i'm sorry that i'm like this.

  • leaving the tuileries, your shoes will be covered in white dust for months, unless you can be arsed to clean them really thoroughly. don't do that though, it's nice to keep souvenirs.

  • take the metro to a station near le marais. we're going off-piste.

  • press down on the door handle as soon as the train makes the aggressive honking noise that means that the doors are unlocked. the aim here is to get off the train before it's actually stopped. it always makes me feel a little bit badass like i've just done a commando roll out of a moving vehicle in a bond film.

  • buy choux a la creme from popelini. this is my tradition. i always get lost trying to find the place but it’s always worth it. they’re little pastries with custard inside. almond and rose are the best flavours.

  • walk to place des vosges. sprawl out on the grass in the sun. upend your tote bag. read/write.

  • soak up how beautiful this place is, how good it smells. take your shoes off and feel the grass under your toes.

  • a helen barnacle will probably attach itself to you at this juncture. look at the number written on your hand from earlier. you may redeem that amount of kisses in the garden.

  • walk north past republique towards the canal. you will pass some of the best street art and record stores in paris. linger.

  • this is my favourite place in paris. usually when i stay here i like to make my base further north and cycle down to here. it's lovely at night too, but kids come and some spliffs and play rap music loudly so it's a decidedly different vibe. (side note: i can rap this song on request. sometimes i do it spontaneously, mostly to annoy claude.)

  • if we're hungry there's a wicked vegan wholefoods place called sol semilla just down the street where they don't have a menu and instead cook up a different plate every day. the one guy who speaks english there is really nice and gives me free shit from their attached 'superfoods' shop.

  • i tried to cycle from here to montmartre once but i busted a tire in the dodgy part of pigalle and had to walk the bike up a very steep hill to the next bike docking station so we're going to walk up the canal about ten minutes to stalingrad and get the metro from there.

  • embark at lamarck-caulaincourt. this is the trick to montmartre, because it's right at the top of the hill, and you'll only be walking down steps rather than up them. this is paris you'd think was fiction, piano bars with vines creeping up the stonework, views down cobbled streets to sacre coeur and the city skyline, windows shutters painted blue, potted flowers on the kerb. it's also a bit of a secret away from the throngs of people around the basilique.

  • walk down brassai's steps as the sun sets, when the lamps come on and paris eases into evening, where everything is gold and lapis.

  • with any luck someone will be playing the accordion somewhere in the distance. if this happens you have to dance while you walk.

  • detour briefly into the touristy square to buy tacky postcards. no paris trip is complete without sitting at a cafe and smoking and writing postcards that say "i'm sitting at a cafe and smoking and writing you a postcard."

  • the earliest shakespeare & co ever closes is 11pm, and the upstairs windows looks out over the river and the notre dame cathedral. there is a little room with typewriters that you can use. there is a dog called colette who likes to sit on laps, a piano, a dusty old reading room full of the smell of old books, and the lingering ghosts of all the iconic writers who've passed through. most nights there are readings from contemporary authors.

  • pick somewhere in one of the streets around here to get giddy on red wine and eat bread from a basket out in the night air buzzing with conversation and life.

  • walk south. we are going to saint etienne du mont. these are the steps from midnight in paris. timed right we'll be here at midnight.

  • go back to the seine and walk along there en route to the hotel because it's beautiful and sparkling at night.

  • paris is filthy and you will need a long hot shower, and to listen to my favourite serge song. i want to tell you why it's so clever and mime along out on the terrace with more wine and talk until we run out of words and fall back into show-don't-tell.