Inspiration: Lifestyle

Paris skyline

City guide: Paris

The best routes, places to eat and things to see

Paris, the city of lights. Wide boulevards, chic cafes, architectural treasures on every corner. All it needs is a motorcycle good for the city to complete the picture. As the Speed Twin has recently launched in France’s capital, Parisian writer Elodie Taucet shares two routes to give you a taste of Paris.

ROUTE #1

Get started on Rive Gauche (south of the river) with a shopping spree at Officine Universelle Buly. After inspiring Balzac’s novel Cesar Birotteau, Jean-Vincent Bully’s perfumery and skincare brand was considered a ‘belle endormie’ (sleeping beauty) until being relaunched in 2014. Each of their shops are unique and showcase a dramatic backdrop for the finest products; all natural and which often can be customised with your initials.

 

 

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After getting lost in the labyrinth of art galleries in the streets near rue de Seine, cross the river via the Pont de l’Alma and park outside the Palais de Tokyo. Nestled in the oversize Contemporary Art complex, Les Grands Verres is the latest endeavour of Quixotic Projects, which notably brought tacos and mescal-based cocktails (via Candelaria) and fried chicken (Hero) to the streets of Paris. Forget about their speakeasy vibe, however, this new high-end restaurant boasts French cuisine and is set in a grand yet modern space and flourishes, in no small measure, thanks to a well-curated wine list.

 

 

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Head then on a ‘digestif’ ride to the north, via the Arc de Triomphe to get a thrilling experience around the wildest roundabout in the world. Maybe you’re in the mood for more thrills? Even, perhaps, in the mood to get a permanent souvenir from your time in Paris? If so, and getting inked is your thing, then Bon Jour Tattoo Club is the studio to go to. They have a distinct style but, unfortunately, no spontaneity here as you will have to make an appointment way in advance. Jean Andre’s lines are clean and witty, modern yet nostalgic of a certain Parisian way of life. And if tattoos are not your thing but you still want to appreciate his work, head to Archive 18-20 for an exclusive collaboration he has done with Bulleit, the bourbon company (see Route #2). It’s a great excuse to enjoy riding the smaller roads leading up to and around Montmartre.

 

 

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Finally, get yourself to one of Paris’s best tiki bars, the Dirty Dick, for wicked cocktails and excellent rockabilly, soul and neo-garage soundtracks. This bar will either envelope you for the evening or get you in the fast track for an unforgettable night in the heart of SoPi (South of Pigalle). We recommend Glass across the street for electronic beats and a late-night hot dog.

 

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ROUTE #2

Need for speed? Even on two wheels the Parisian metropole can feel congested, so in order to properly explore the possibilities of your ride, the Bois de Vincennes is the ideal playground. From the castle head north to Porte Doree, you’ll come across pavilions at the Universal Exhibition and floral park. Keep heading west toward the Marche d’Aligre, an outdoor market that offers daily fresh produce and deserves a tour simply for the joy of the sights and scents. If you want your lunch to extend into an afternoon of wine, charcuterie, cheese, good conversation and the occasional bite of seafood, head to Le Baron Rouge. Most Sundays an ‘écailler’ sets up shop outside the bar selling oysters by the dozen to take back in to the bar, where you can feel free to open them yourself.

 

 

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Long before barbershops became trendy again, Alain Maitre Barbier Coiffeur has been working ‘a l’ancienne’ way beyond the frontiers of Le Marais. He also gives one-to-one grooming lessons, in French or English, in his part-salon part-museum shop located in the heart of one of the art gallery landmarks in Paris. Every first Saturday of the month, the streets around Alain’s shop turn into an open-air giant art opening, which you could visit with your freshly styled moustache, beard or haircut.

 

 

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Complete your new style with a shopping spree at Archive 18-20 close to the town hall. Whether you want to score a reissue of Schott’s 90s perfecto jacket, a Damir Doma suit or the latest Yeezy sneakers, this concept store dedicated to menswear and lifestyle has you covered. Each season, the owner pulls from her closet and memories and releases a bespoke capsule collection. Located behind the gate of a traditional warehouse building in Le Marais and naturally lit by an atrium ceiling, the shop carries a wide selection of magazines too, ideal reads to relax at the cafe with while trying the daily healthy specials and sweets.

 

 

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Put your helmet back on and zigzag into the criss-cross of Marais’ narrow streets to Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature. The name of this pocket-size museum housed in two classic 18th-century ‘Hotels Particuliers’ – understated luxury Parisian townhouses – translates as the Museum of Hunting and Nature and houses a permanent painting and taxidermy collection, as well as temporary exhibits. Created in the 1960s, its aim was to elevate hunting to a sustainable and ecological level.

 

 

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Finally, make your way to Place des Victoires and leave your ride on the plaza outside Basilique Notre-Dame des Victoires and head to Passage des Panoramas to Le Bougainville, a ‘troquet’ (bar) very much in its original condition: formica counter and cold, bright neon light. Possibly the worst place for a #selfie, definitely the best in terms of #foodporn. All of their ingredients are sourced from the farm they own south-west of Paris and used to make the most authentic of French dishes. A lentil or carrot salad, goat’s cheese and country ham, or celery remoulade will all create wonderful memories of Paris. The espresso is the perfect shot of adrenaline to keep the rest of the night interesting, although it should always be ordered with a scoop of their home-made hazelnut ice cream on the side.

 

 

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