Rachel Khoo’s 24 hours in Paris

***Rachel Khoo would like to thank all the inspiring people who helped make the Khoollect studio a hive of creativity. Although the Khoollect studio’s doors have now closed, you can keep up with Rachel’s newest adventures on RachelKhoo.com and on Rachel’s Instagram and Facebook pages – and, continue to enjoy the Khoollect website’s stories and recipes, which will remain available.***

Paris is a place I find both exhilarating and challenging, inspiring and infuriating, but above all, a truly magical feast for all the senses. Living in my little Paris apartment now seems like a distant memory; while my first couple of years in the French capital were testing at times, I came to truly love and adore this complex city and its strong-willed, creative and interesting people. I learned very quickly that to get the most out of my experience I needed to do as the locals do, go where the locals go, and savour every moment.

These days I can’t help but return over and over again to get my Parisian fix. A number of my favourite haunts are still thriving, but each time I visit I find new and exciting places that also pique my interest. So, I’ve put together for you a mash-up of what my ideal 24 hours in Paris looks like:

8am to 9am 

I always jump out of bed early when I’m in Paris so I can get the freshest pastries around. My first port of call is the famed Du Pain et Des Idées – one of the best loved boulangeries in Paris – to feast on one of their delicious l’escargot chocolat pistache (snail-shaped pistachio and chocolate pastries) for breakfast. These things are beyond amazing. The only pastries that I’ve tasted that even come close to being as good are made by one of their former apprentices, Kate Reid, who runs Lune Croissanterie in Melbourne.

9am to 11am

After an indulgent breakfast, I head to my favourite art supply store La Maison Du Pastel to pick up a selection of their rich, beautifully coloured pastels. Astoundingly, this company has been in the business since 1720! Then it’s on to La Chambre Aux Confitures for a mandatory pickup of some of the most delicious jams and preserves I’ve tasted (the Khoollect team loves them too).

11am to 1pm

I like to pick up picnic supplies at the Marché des Enfants Rouges – the oldest covered market in Paris. The market offers a great selection of seasonal fresh produce, flowers, and delicious ready-made food stalls to suit everyone and every taste. There’s always a great bargain to be had.

1pm to 2pm

I head back to my old stomping ground, Belleville, where I hosted my two-seater restaurant out of my tiny apartment and filmed My Little Paris Kitchen. Belleville is still one of my favourite parts of the city, boasting a great café (Café Chérie and Aux Folies) and restaurant scene (Le Baratin and Que du Bon), and a wonderful community made up of diverse, interesting and multi-cultural people.

2pm to 4pm

I always try to find the time to pop into my favourite cheese shop, Fromagerie Beillevaire, for some extra delicious, and often quite strong-smelling, cheese. I grab a quick coffee from Belleville Brulerie and haul my (now rather heavy) loot to what I believe is one of the prettiest, and less perfectly manicured, green spaces in the city – Parc de Buttes-Chaumont. I while away the afternoon picnic-ing with friends (a very ‘Parisian’ thing to do), and doodling in my notebook with my new pastels.

4pm to 6pm

Time for a quiet drink on the Canal Saint-Martin before dinner. Aux deux amis is a great place to sit and be amused by the enthusiastic bar patrons spilling out onto the cobbled canal banks. They also do some great small plates/nibbles too.

6pm to 8pm

Once the sun’s gone down, I’m happy just strolling around La Ville Lumière (The City of Lights). If you thought Paris was stunning during the day, it’s even more so at night, and you don’t even need to go up the Eiffel Tower to be blown away.

Paris eiffel tower

8pm to 10pm

When I’ve done enough walking to work up my hunger for dinner, I head to Albion for an amazing meal and catchup with friends. This is a place I’ve frequented for years and it never disappoints.

Next day, 6am to 8am

Just a quick breakfast before heading to the airport. I can’t go past Bob’s Bake Shop. It’s run by Mark Grossman, an old acquaintance of mine, who’s obsessed with making perfect bagels. Delicious. Another 24 hours in Paris complete, with still so many things to do, people to see, and places to tick off my list.

What does your ideal 24 hours in Paris look like? Tell us in the comments below …

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