Where is the best place in Paris to drink Champagne?
If it's winter, I would go to Alcazar. It's a restaurant with a beautiful bar in the Mezzanine. I love the way they re-decorated the place; they bring a little touch of nature inside. If it's summer, then I recommend the terrace at Mr Bleu. It is located at the famous Palais de Tokyo, so you can play the tourist.
Where would you go to buy an outfit perfect for Le Diner en Blanc?
I would hang out in the Marais in the 3rd arrondissement where you can find lots of small fashion designer stores.
Other than the Eiffel tower, what are three places worthy of an Instagram post?
I would definitely go to Palais Royal and take a picture on the Colonnes de Buren. The Louvre pyramid is always a good Instagram picture and the Place Vendôme, where the glamorous Parisian Diner en Blanc was hosted last year.
What are your favourite traditional dishes we shouldn't miss out on? And what's the best restaurant to eat them in?
I don't have one favourite dish but I do love duck breast in sweet and savoury sauce.
In general I am really into the "bistronomie trend", a mix between the French traditional bistro, but with gastronomic cuisine. It is also a lot about wine and food pairings. My favourite restaurant to eat this type of dish is definitely Le 52, located 52 rue du Faubourg-Saint-Denis in the 10th arrondissement. Be sure to show up early as you cannot book a table in advance.
Where's the best arrondissement to be based?
Where I used to live, the 10th. It is the best district if you want to experience the true Paris. It gets quite busy at night but is a melting pot of cultures where you'll find most of the trendy young professionals. The 8th arrondissement would be your choice if you want to get the most of the best touristic places that Paris has to offer, and the 3rd arrondissement for the art and fashion side of Paris.
What are some off-the-beaten-track attractions, to get away from other tourists?
It is quite hard to avoid tourists in Paris, however you can take off to 5th district and spend time at the Mosquée de Paris for a very traditional Hammam spa with your girlfriends. Sorry, no men allowed! If you are more of an adventurer, then a visit to the catacombs of Paris is also an intriguing place.
Where can we buy the best croissant?
That is a very good question! I shop for croissants at any boulangeries in the
street. But Yann Couvreur is an amazing pastry chef I discovered last year. I haven't tried the croissants yet, but I have heard they are the best in town.
Where would you take a partner for a special dinner?
I would take him to Victoria 1836. I love the design of the place and the atmosphere. You can enjoy a glass of Champagne while looking at the best night view of the Arc de Triomphe.
How long should we stay in order to see Paris' best bits?
I would say at least a week.
Other than the Louvre, what are your favourite museums to visit?
Orsay Museum would have to be my favourite. I also like the Pompidou Centre's Beaubourg Museum for Modern Art, mostly for the different artists' exhibitions they host during the year.
If you hired a car and could go out of the city for a day trip where would you suggest?
To the Champagne region. It is only 45 minutes by train or just under two hours by car. Visit Reims and its cathedral and then go to Epernay to walk on the beautiful and unique Avenue de Champagne, where the Perrier-Jouet Belle Epoque House is located.
The common opinion is that Parisians don't like tourists very much. Is
I guess it is a question to ask to other Parisians! I do love to see tourists and meet people from the other side of the world in Paris.
How can a Kiwi visitor avoid looking like a tourist?
By walking very fast in the subway and staying on the right side of the escalator if you are standing.
Any other insider secrets you'd like to share?
Yes, Le Marche des enfants rouges is a market hidden in the 3rd district that looks more like a food court. You'll find international cuisine and you can sit there to enjoy your lunch. Very charming!
Mathilde Laborde is Champagne Ambassador for Perrier-Jouet, the official champagne partner of Le Diner en Blanc, held in Auckland on Saturday, March 4.