We left from the stunning new Eurostar terminal at St Pancras.

In terms of convenience and ease, I really can't say enough about Eurostar: there was no laborious airport wait; it was straight on the train, a game of cards, a magazine and voila, here's Paris.

Our hotel was a gorgeous little boutique establishment in the bustling Latin Quarter.

With stylishly schemed décor, The Five Hotel will certainly appeal to design fans. It's all very cool and classy, but avoids the chichi pretension of some nouveau hotels.

After sampling some delicious local croissants (as important as any sightseeing), we spent one of our mornings at the city's most famous flea market, the enormous Les Puces (meaning 'the fleas') in the far north of the city.

It's a short walk from the Metro station, in which you have to hurdle, barge and dodge a colourful collection of fake-watch and designer underwear salesmen, only to be greeted by an uninspiring set of stalls selling exactly the same crap you've just tried to avoid en-route.

Look a little further, however, and you discover the many other markets that make up this secondhand utopia.

Antiques dominate the collections, but there are trinkets for everyone and the Paul Bert market boasts the fantastically kitsch Chez Louisette, a garish but traditional restaurant with singing staff that makes for a great lunch spot.

Like any great city, the best way to see Paris is on foot, and it's just a short walk from Les Puces to the quaint, cobbled streets of Montmartre. Many parts of this formerly-thriving bohemia have now succumbed to tourist domination (namely the area around the impressive Sacre-Coeur), but it's still surprisingly easy to lose the crowds in the winding, hilly streets of Amelie-fame.

The area's artistic tradition is certainly still alive and there are some wonderful little gallery shops tucked away on the side streets. And, as touristy as it is, the Sacre-Coeur boasts some stunning views of the city, particularly at sunset (and you don't have to queue for an hour to see them, a-la-Eiffel Tour). One word of warning: the Moulin Rouge is nothing more than an ugly pink windmill next to a strip club on a drag that has the mystique of Leicester Square on a Saturday night ... do not be seduced by the film!

Another great neighbourhood to stroll around is the Marais. Just north of the river, in the 3rd and 4th Arrondissements, this area boasts yet more old-fashioned narrow streets, but with more of the central-Paris buzz than Monmartre. There are plenty of cozy little cafes (try Le Quincampe on rue Quincampoix), stylish bars (stop for cocktails at Andy Whaloo on rue des Gravilliers), galleries and boutiques.

The iconic Pompidou Centre is nearby and well-worth a look, although bear in mind that the immediate vicinity is a fairly tacky high street shopping area that heaves like Oxford Street on a Saturday.

And now we come to the food. Even more than its bars, cafes and shops, Paris is famous for its restaurants.

It boasts perhaps the most famous restaurant in the world, La Tour d'Argent, which I expect is lovely if you can afford several hundred pounds for dinner. If you book early enough (we didn't), you might also get in at L'Atelier de Jöel Robuchon, the Paris establishment of world-famous chef Jöel Robuchon, who is something of a Michelin star collector (he has 17).

We ate at two restaurants during our stay, our undisputed favourite being La Fermette Marbeuf, not far from the Champs Elysees in the 8th. The food and service at this elegant early-20th Century brasserie were second to none, but it was the stunning art nouveau décor that really made the dinner experience.

Three hefty courses later and all intentions of cocktails and clubbing had fallen by the wayside. Walking - slowly - was about all we could muster, so we headed to Ile St-Louis and Ile de la Cité, home to Notre Dame Cathedral.

These picturesque islands are ideal for romantic evening strolls, the charming and tranquil Ile St-Louis, in particular, seeming so distant from the urban bustle just across the water.


* Dan Frost travelled with Eurostar, which operates up to 17 daily services from London St Pancras International to Paris with return fares from £59. Tickets are available from eurostar.com or 08705 186 186.

* At The Five Hotel, Dan Frost stayed in a superior glimmering room, with canopy, priced 210Euro per night, or 190Euro per night for a three night stay.

* Expect to pay around 40Euro per person for three courses at La Fermette Marbeuf, not including wine. Alternatively, they have a very impressive three course set-menu for 32Euro.