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Taste Paris at a SNAIL'S PACE.

The Tartan Army march on Paris this summer, and I hope they've got more on their minds than football and ooh-la-la!

The sights and sounds of the French capital are legendary...

The Eiffel Tower lit up by fireworks, the raunchy Folies Bergeres, the jewels of the Louvre art gallery.

But tourist-trap Paris can be exhausting.

Try an alternative magical mystery tour and browse at leisure in the backwaters. Sip a glass of wine and sample fine food.

If you've always fancied frogs' legs and snails, then this is the city to find 'em!

I stayed in the trendy Saint Germain district, booking into the Hotel La Louisianne.

It's a functional, budget-priced place which is spotlessly clean, with a location that's perfect.

I thought I knew most of the good shopping areas in Paris but this time I stumbled across a narrow street called Rue de Dragon.

It's full of fashionable clothes stores and jewellery shops selling goods you won't find back home.

The prices are very reasonable. And football fans should remember that the wife or girlfriend will be expecting a prezzie!

If you wander past magnificent Notre Dame Cathedral, built between 1163 and 1345, you'll find Ile Saint Louis.

It's a tiny island, where cars are virtually banned, in the middle of the River Seine. You can browse for ages in the island's tiny craft and antique shops.

Another area worth exploring is the Rue des Rosiers, the heart of the Jewish community in Paris.

At No 3 is Le Loir Dans La Theiere, which is one of my all-time favourite tea shops, specialising in flavoured blends and home baking.

But, if you fancy a real gut-buster, don't miss Jo Goldenberg's, further up the street.

It's an authentic Jewish grocery store and deli. You can feast on matzoh ball soup and kosher meatballs ... just like a Yiddisher mama would make.

If you're feeling really flush, try the ultra-chic Buddha Bar, an American- Oriental restaurant which has become one of the "in" places in Paris.

Stars like Robert De Niro and Woody Allen have eaten in this spectacular dining cavern, which is presided over by a huge Buddha statue.

It's expensive. But they do a set menu starting at 190FF - around Pounds 20.

Another place worth visiting, which WON'T cost you a fortune, is the weekend flea market, at the end of the purple subway line at Porte de Clignancourt.

Even if you don't buy anything, it's fun just wandering around the sprawling market trying to find a wee gem amongst the junk and bric-a-brac.

I've been to Paris around a dozen times, and it NEVER loses it's magic.

There isn't one single street which doesn't catch your eye.

All you need to complete the dream is a win over Brazil.

TIPS: The Latin Quarter/Left Bank is the area around the boulevards St Michel and St Germain. There are lots of back streets to explore.

YOU can't go to Paris without eating out. There are restaurants and cafes on every street corner. The Cochon a l'Oreille in Rue Montmatre is one of few authentic bistros in the centre of the old market in Paris - Les Halles. It's decorated in an Art Nouveau style.

DON'T miss the numerous art galleries. Remember that most of them are closed on Tuesdays. Check out the Louvre, Musee d'Orsay and the Pompidou Centre as well as the smaller places.

HERE'S THE DEAL: OSPREY holidays offer two nights in Paris at the two-star Hotel Primavera from Pounds 210 per person. Flights are with Air France from Edinburgh or Glasgow. The hotel is South of Montparnasse. All rooms have private facilities and continental breakfast is included. Contact Osprey Holidays, Broughton Market, Edinburgh EH3 6NU.

EUROSTAR has an excursion ticket available for return travel to Paris at Pounds 99 per person. This ticket is valid for up to two months and you can go and return when you like. There's a buffet car on the train with hot drinks, alcohol and snacks. Contact Eurostar UK Ltd, Third Floor, Kent House, Station Road, Ashford, Kent TN23 1PP.
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Title Annotation:Features
Author:Sloan, Billy
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Mar 1, 1998
Words:679
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