In the eyes of many, the British and the French are arch-enemies who differ in everything: food, history, climate, lifestyle aspirations… yet, crowds of British tourists flock to the French capital all year round and just as many French people have made London their second home! Here is a short list of useful addresses of interesting places, some off the beaten track, for the British tourist to visit in Paris.
Firstly, in the event of a problem, theft or some other unforeseen hitch, make a note of the address of the British Consulate in Paris – 16 Rue d’Anjou in the 8th arrondissement, just off the Champs Elysées. The Embassy in Paris is also in the 8th arrondissement at 35 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré.
Moving on to less serious matters and you could say stereotypes… for all Brits seeking a “lovely cup of tea with scones”, I recommend the famous Tea Caddy, established by Miss Kinklin at the end of the roaring twenties in 1928. You’ll find traditional English tea and silverware in this tea shop opposite the lovely Saint Julien le Pauvre church, as well as some wonderful maps of Albion on the walls. If you’re just interested in the scones, I suggest the Bread & Roses bakery on Rue de Fleurus.
For all those who are missing British cooking, and will do anything to find it, there are a number of not-to-be-missed places like Rose Bakery and the English shop. The first has an outstanding range of organic produce, in particular the Tea Together jams, Clipper Fairtrade herbal teas and teas and Chegworth Valley organic apple juice. Don’t miss out on their carrot cake. The second is a small grocer’s store at 10 Rue Mesnil in the 16th arrondissement where ex-pats from across the channel have always felt at home.
As far as culture goes, I couldn’t not mention the amazing Shakespeare and Co bookshop in the 5th arrondissement with its impressive collection of books, authentic decor (make sure you go up to the first floor to see the piano and the old armchairs and, if you fancy it, join in the language exchange groups to practice your French). There’s also a WH Smith bookshop that has been selling the best of English literature at 248 Rue de Rivoli since 1903.
If you prefer to visit an art gallery, check out David Hicks’ boutique at 12 Rue Tournon. Opened by David Hicks in 1973, it has been run by Christophe d’Aboville since 2005 and sells amazing furnishings and beautiful artwork. Watch out you’re not dazzled! Paul McCartney’s celebrity daughter, Stella, has her own fashion boutique in the Galerie de Valois that’s also worth a visit. Quick mention too for the very popular Conran shop, the global London-based brand of interior decoration and furnishings.
Here are just two of the thousand other places to shop: the very chic Burberry boutique (that has seen many exciting changes in recent years) on Boulevard Saint Germain, and the one that will never really go away, Marks & Spencer, which reopened in 2011 with its flagship products on the most beautiful avenue in the world. We do recommend that you try out French products too, of course.
For spiritual activities, Anglicans can gather at Saint George’s Anglican Church just next to Place Charles de Gaulle where there is a service every Sunday at 10.30am and several services during the week.
Do you want to be more French than the French and more Parisian than the Parisians? The excellent show by Olivier Giraud “How to become Parisian in one hour”, will be showing from 1st July at the Théâtre des Nouveautés! All in English, if you don’t mind.
And finally, don’t forget to go and drink a pint to my health in one of the many British pubs in the capital. Just to pick out some at random: Roy’s 73 Rue Blanche (not one of the best known ones), The Bowler at 13 Rue d’Artois, or The Lions at 153 Rue de Chevaleret.
Didier Moinel Delalande is a Director at Hotel Mathurin.
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