Paris is one of my favorite cities in the world. I’ve been lucky enough to visit there five times in the last year (pinch me, I must be dreaming), and there are some places that I go back to over and over again. Here is a Paris mini guide to some of my favorite spots. Contact info is at the bottom of this post.
My favorite area is the Marais in the 3rd arrondisement. Marais means marsh, which is what the area was before it was filled it in by the city in the 14th century. When Baron von Haussman was rebuilding Paris for Napoleon III in the 19th century, he didn’t think the Marais was worth his effort. So, the oldest buildings in Paris are here, including the house of Nicolas Flamel that dates back to 1407. There is a restaurant in the house that is quite good, if a bit stuffy.
Paris is quiet on Sunday but the Marais is the exception. Rue des Franc-Bourgeois and rue Vieille du Temple are lined with boutiques and restaurants that are open, and it’s fun to stroll around (it does get crowded though). Check out the great outlet store set back in a courtyard called Piscine that has French and international luxe brands (Missoni and Girbaud for example).
I love shopping at Galeries Lafayette and Printemps. They are one block apart and an easy way to cover a lot of shopping ground. The full floor of shoes in Printemps is heavenly. I also like the bathroom on the first floor of Printemps. You have to pay 1.50 euros to get in, but the attendant on duty keeps it spotless. They have fun bathroom ecoutrements for sale, like a sculpted toilet brush that costs 370 euros.
If you are a vintage shopper, there are a couple places to hit. Reciproque is in the 16th arr., and they have three or four different stores – one for jewelry, one for clothes, one for bags, etc. Depot-Vente de Passy is another vintage store in the 16th that has luxe brands and is a bit less expensive than Reciproque, but they also have less of a selection.
Pramil is a fab restaurant. It’s on a small side street in the Marais, and it has a Michelin star. The food is amazing (I had a tagliatelle last week that was covered in truffles). The prices are pretty good for the fancy fare. You can get a prix fixe with appetizer, entrée and dessert for 33 euros or just an entrée for 20 euros. The staff speaks English and the menu is in French and English.
Dave is a recent find. A friend told me about the amazing Cantonese food, and I was intrigued because I lived in Hong Kong for four years. The walls are covered in photos of the owner and celebs. We sat under Sting and Trudy, Karl Lagerfeld and many others. Dave asked us what we were in the mood for and tailored a menu to suit our taste: three types of dim sum, plum spareribs, fresh fish in soy ginger sauce and shrimp with ginger and lemongrass. It was fantastic, and I’ll definitely be going back!
404 is very popular with the locals. The decor is charming, and the North African food, including tangines and couscous, is authentic. The owner opened a bar called Andy Wahloo next door too (see below for more info).
When shopping, I always eat lunch at Brasserie Printemps. It’s in a gorgeous, soaring, stained glass cupola that was built in 1933. The food is really good, and a lot of Parisians lunch there.
A brasserie is a great place to eat if you’re on the go or eating outside normal mealtime hours when restaurants are closed. Most brasseries are good, and I’ve found that you can’t go wrong with a salad. French salads are meals in themselves. I had one the other day with lettuce, fried potatoes, avocado and bacon. Not the healthiest salad I’ve ever eaten, but yummy!
I love Andy Wahloo. It’s a cool trendster bar with a live DJ and a little dance floor. If it’s too crowded, I’ll hit La Trinquette, the bar a few doors to the left. They have great cheese platters.
The Buddha Bar is internationally known, but not many French people go there. It is worth a trip to check out the giant Buddha and listen to the cool tunes if you’re in the neighborhood. The drinks are pricey though.
Let me know if you have any places you love to visit too. Enjoix!
ADDRESSES:Shopping Piscine 13 Rue des Francs-Bourgeois
01 48 87 59 24 Galeries Lafayette 40 Boulevard Haussmann 75009 Paris 01 42 82 34 56 Au Printemps 64 Boulevard Haussmann
75009 Paris 01 42 82 50 00 Reciproque 89-101 Rue Pompe
01 47 04 30 28 Depot-Vente de Passy 14 Rue Tour 75016 Paris 01 45 20 95 21 Restaurants Pramil 9 Rue du Vertbois 75003 Paris
01 42 72 03 60 Brasserie Printemps 64 Boulevard Haussmann
01 42 82 58 84 Dave 12 Rue de Richelieu
01 42 61 49 48 Auberge Nicolas Flamel 51 Rue Montmercy 75003 Paris 01 42 71 77 78 404 69 Rue des Gravilliers 75003 Paris 01 42 74 57 81 Bars Andy Wahloo 69 Rue Gravilliers 75003 Paris 01 42 71 20 38 Buddha Bar 8 Rue Boissy d’Anglas 75008 Paris
01 53 05 90 00