6 x Martena Duss's favourites in Paris

Paris - Martena Duss
Martena Duss Studio Duss

I’m a Swiss freelance make-up artist and creative entrepreneur, who moved to Antwerp two years ago after more than a decade in Paris, where I worked as a make-up artist, artistic director for multidisciplinary hotspot Wanderlust and owner of Sweat Shop, the world’s first sewing café. I have also published two DIY books, Sweat Shop The Book, and Het Grote Receptenboek Tegen Verveling, and I’m currently working on a third one. I often return to Paris, the place I first came as a twenty-year-old, looking for work, inspiration, myself. Diving back into the city’s magnificent energy, coming out of Gare du Nord still gives me the chills. Like many others, I came to Paris for nourishment, ate until I could eat no more and moved on, always carrying a tiny sliver of its magic in my soul, wherever the road leads me next. - studioduss.com  Main photo: © Marleen Daniels

1) Musée de la vie Romantique

This small, rather tucked-away museum is the old residence and atelier of 19th-century painter Ary Scheffer and of legendary writer George Sand. I visit often and love to sit down in the beautiful garden for tea, coffee and cake. They have readings here sometimes, and concerts. The ideal place to hide from the bustle of Pigalle. Best enjoyed in the summer time!

Paris - Musée de la Vie Romantique façade

2) Krishna Bhavan

This 100% veggie Indian restaurant is located just behind Gare du Nord, and therefore the perfect quick lunch or dinner before you hop on the train. I usually order the Thaali special for 8 euros. It’s busy and tight in a cosy way, portions are large, the food colourful, and best of all: dirt cheap. Enjoy a wide array of Indian and Caribbean shops underneath the stern Hausmannian galleries outside.

Paris - Krishna Bhavan restaurant interior

3) Coulée Verte

This is Paris’ High Line: a green promenade built on top of an ancient railway. Leaving from Bastille, the 5 km long green ribbon transports the jogger or cyclist to the enormous and romantic Bois de Vincennes. I find it irresistible, when Spring is upon us, to stroll the day away, underneath bridges, through flowery meadows and groups of startled pigeons. Come here to fill your lungs with goodness or to teach the kids how to ride a bike.

Paris - Coulée Verte promenade stairs and path between trees

Start at: 44 rue de Lyon

4) Le Marché des Enfants Rouges

Hidden away in the heart of Le Marais, you find this covered street food market. In olden days, this used to be an orphanage, hence the name, but this is where Parisians come (since the 17th century!) for a tasty bite to eat. There’s a plethora of stalls selling goods from Italy, Japan, Morocco, Lebanon and so on. Munch on these delicacies at the long wooden tables or just have the vendor wrap up your meal and enjoy it al fresco in the adjacent park. Fresh flowers, wine and organic vegetables can also be found here, but if you’re in the neighbourhood with family or friends, this is where you want to be.

Paris - Marché des Enfants Rouges street entrance

39 rue de Bretagne

5) Le Mary Celeste

Located in the Haut-Marais, this is where I head when I crave for a perfect cocktail, oysters or shared plates of delicious Middle Eastern-inspired fare. I love to invite friends here, and celebrate the arrival of the weekend, hunkered down on one of the tiny barstools or sat at the well-stocked bar (try their amazing selection of natural wines!). They do brunch at the weekend but make sure to reserve your table, spots are limited.

Paris - Le Mary Celeste people drinking at the bar

6) Rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis

Around the corner from our old apartment, there is the bustling, multicultural pantry of the 10th arrondissement. French delis, Turkish supermarkets, Indian restaurants and dive bars like Chez Jeannette, this is rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis. Perfect for your daily food shopping, a quick beer or a tasty snack. There’s never a shortage of yummy here: light, crispy lahmacun, a six euro tandoori plate at Sheezan or the recently revamped Bouillon Julien, where they serve affordable, easy versions of French classics. I love being here, feeling like I’m in the middle of everything.

Paris - Rue du Faubourg St Denis street view

Buy this book

The 500 Hidden Secrets of Paris reveals places off the beaten track and interesting details for anyone who's keen to explore Paris' best-kept secrets.

Go to bookshop

Join the community

Sign up for free to gain unlimited access to the website. Plus, you'll receive a 10% discount in our online bookshop.

Sign up