Paris city life guide

Paris is a world city steeped in history. Its street corners, doorways, church spires and bridges are the stars of countless romantic films, but the North African influence is radically transforming the contemporary Parisian arts scene. It’s a city to walk in rather than charge through on the metro; a city with a heart, around which are strung the arrondissements, each one with its own character, its own flavour.

Films like ‘Blue is the Warmest Colour’, directed by Tunisian-French director Abdedlatif Kechiche, ensure Paris remains at the cultural apex of the world. The city is a wonderful place for any art lover, whether it is film or painting, the works of the 19th Century or of the 21st. Film festivals abound in Paris and in France as a whole (Cannes being the most famous example). Students of fashion who have the good fortune to come here will find themselves living and breathing not just fashion but the spirit behind it, the spirit that permeates all of the arts: the celebration of life.
And what of Parisian café culture? Cafés are everywhere. Even if you do not find yourself having conversations as profound as those that Sartre had with Simone de Beauvoir in Les Deux Magots. They are still great places to catch up with friends in over a café au lait. Parisian nightlife is too diverse to be easily categorised but there is plenty of it and it caters to all tastes. There is the Oberkampf district, which became chic in the nineties and remains popular, also Bastille, good for bar-hopping, and the less-touristy Menilmontant and Gambetta.

As for venues, students are spoilt for choice in Paris. David Lynch designed his Montmartre club Silencio himself. Buried deep underground, it pays homage to all his films, not just Mulholland Drive. A true temple to the imagination. The Bar du Marche is a more artless place but still retro and quirky, as is Chez Jeannette. And there are many other places to explore as you penetrate Paris’ picturesque facade and find the more subtle treasures behind it.

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