Emma Sparks

Sparky's Paris essentials

10 places · Public

Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris

Cathedral in Paris

Peak season queues are becoming unmanageable, but arrive early or on a week day and this is still the most beautiful building in Paris – in my opinion.

Basilique du Sacré-Cœur

Basilica in Paris

Buy a warm baguette and a bottle of red and traipse up the steps all the way to the top of the hill (try not to look behind you) one evening to be rewarded with views of a sparkling skyline.

Promenade Plantée

Park in Paris

Paris' answer to NYC's High Line, this walkway gives an alternative perspective on this well-known city. Perfect for lazy summer afternoons.

Mosquée de Paris

Mosque in Paris

Come for the mint tea, stay for a treatment in the hammam. Prepare to be scrubbed to within an inch of your life. The steam rooms are the ultimate hangover cure.

Jardin des Plantes

Park in Paris

A stone's throw from my old apartment, this garden is – like most Parisian parks – heavy on the gravel walkways, but there are hundreds of species of plants to discover along the way. Handily, it's also right next to the Natural History Museum.

Arènes de Lutèce

Ruins in Paris

Another prime spot for a picnic, these Roman ruins are tucked away off Rue Monge and would be easy to miss – worth adding to your agenda when in the Latin Quarter.

Statue of Liberty Replica

Monument in Paris

Yep, there's a Statue of Liberty in miniature in Paris. As if there weren't enough iconic monuments to visit already...

Shakespeare & Company

Books in Paris

Hardly off the beaten track, but Parisian friends tell me bookshop volunteers can sleep upstairs amongst the works of their favourite authors in exchange for stacking shelves and serving customers (but places are limited).


Teahouse in Paris

Chocoholics rejoice – the search for the world's best hot chocolate is over. This place is pricey but worth it. Queues can be daunting – but luckily there's another branch in Luxembourg Gardens, which I happily discovered on my last trip.


Food in Paris

You have not experienced bread until you've made a visit to Poilâne. Stock up on croissants and a crusty baguette – you'll need the energy as Paris is wonderfully walkable.