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We’ll always have Paris….

Here’s the problem: France receives 60 odd million tourists a year; half of them go to Paris and most of them stick to the centre of town thinking they’re back with Apollinaire, Rimbaud and Lautréamont, in the good old Absinthe days. But if these great men were still alive today the last place they’d be seen is anywhere near the gap-year American wannabe poets and romantic couples on the verge of a break-up, unless they were blagging the price of a vin rouge.

Where they would be hanging out though is Le Pick Clops where you can sit at the bar admiring the strawberries marinating in rum while sipping your bargain vin chaud. You’ll find Le Pick Clops in the 4th district (that’s arrondissement if you want to blend in) at 16 Rue Vieille du Temple.

If you’re there this month, or next – the place to be on a wintry Sunday morning is the Le No Stress Café on the picturesque Place Gustave Toudouze in the next-cool-quartier of the ninth arrondissement. Or pop along on a Thursday evening to visit No Stress's clairvoyant, who presumably sees only good things. nostresscafe.com.

If you fancy yourself as more of the thespian than starving poet then Le Chantefable is frequented by actors from the nearby La Colline theatre, and you can blend right in. Sit at the marble bar and partake of the excellent, spicy vin chaud, wearing a mysterious expression and imagining you're a glamorous étoile of the French stage (you may need two for the full effect). 20th arr. 93 Avenue Gambetta chantefable.fr

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