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The French take their time off seriously, so try to avoid visiting around public holidays 'jours feries' as most restaurants, shops and even museums will be firmly "ferme" (closed). Most museums are also closed on either Mondays or Tuesdays.
For a visit to Paris's underside take a tour of the city's sewers or (slightly less aromatic) the Catacombs -- a labyrinth of former quarry tunnels that in the late 18th century became an overflow for the cities crowded cemeteries. Bring a torch.
Add a little je-ne-sais-quoi to your love life with a visit to Sabia Rosa -- favorite handmade lingerie supplier to the likes of Kate Moss, Madonna. Be warned though, even a single pair of knickers can easily top $500. 73 rue des Sts-Peres, 6e Metro: Sevres-Babylone/St-Germain Ph 01 45 48 88 37.
Dress yourself like a star of a Film Noir classic at Apache - purveyors of fedoras, pin-stripes and other retro chic. Also stocks a vast selection of antique dresses from 30's to the 60's styles. 45 rue Vieille du Temple, Metro: Hotel de Ville, Ph 01 42 71 84 27.
Paris is best experienced on foot. If you're only going a couple of stops on the metro, you're almost certainly better off staying at ground level. Alternatively get your skates on and join the thousands of rollerbladers and inline skaters who take over the city every Friday night. Check http://www.pari-roller.com/ for details.
The listings magazine Pariscope will keep you informed of everything that's happening but try Zurban for a fresher take on the week's events.
If you're looking for good as well as sometimes odd bargains, from second hand designer bags (if you're lucky) to side tables and interesting trinkets, visit one of Paris' brocantes or flea markets. -- Chrissy Porto; Paris