If you’ve been following me, you know that Paris is one of my favourite cities. Spending a month in Paris two summers ago confirmed this love. I can’t explain my infatuation; perhaps I lived here in a past life, but Paris feels like home, whatever the reason. So when I write about my favourite places, know this comes from the heart and some romantic dream world I live in. And yes, I love to dream…but you knew this already.
The city of Paris is divided into twenty arrondissements; Champ de Mars (7th ème), Saint Germain (6th ème), and Le Marais (3rd ème) are a few of my favourite areas to stay. Honestly, I don’t think there’s a bad spot. I’m always amazed when I walk the streets, forever discovering new areas and stumbling upon a gem no one has heard of yet.
I’ve stayed in hotels like Hotel d’Angleterre and Hotel Odeon Saint Germain; I love both for their quaintness, location and price tag. Hip Hotels is a website dedicated to specifically that; their series of books on the same topic is amazing. Hotel Costes, on Rue Saint Honoré, is a très chic hotel smack in the centre of everything fabulous. Hotel Duc de Saint Simon, which I first discovered in Travel and Leisure magazine years ago, is still rated highly, giving you an authentic Parisienne experience. Lastly, for that romantic Carrie Bradshaw moment in Paris with her “looover” Aleksandr Petrovsky, the Hotel Plaza Athénée. It’s everything and more, expect to spend a lot of euros…regardless, it’s on my bucket list for one day;)
What if you needed to stay longer on a park bench? Meaning you, too, are addicted to this gorgeous city like myself? Luckily, many agencies will rent an apartment for short-term and long-term stays. For the budget conscious, I’ve used Lodgis, and for the discerning traveller, Paris Perfect, both have great selections to rent by the week or longer. Adrian Leeds, you probably recognize this name from “House Hunters Int’l,” she’s a local realtor who has managed to help her clients realize their dreams of owning in Paris. With that, she’s curated a lovely selection of rental properties for those who can’t afford to own…sigh. But, if you want the quintessential, no expense spared experience, check out, One Fine Stay; these are some of the most beautiful properties in Paris with additional rentals worldwide, truly drool-worthy.
If you’ve never been to Paris, know it is a very walkable city. The trains are user-friendly and great for when you’ve had a 20,000-step day. Don’t cram your days with everything and anything. Paris is meant to be enjoyed leisurely. Spending an afternoon people-watching or reading in the Tuileries Gardens is an epic day. Side note, they serve champagne in the park, Bien sûr! So many museums to explore, but one a day is more than enough.
Hungry? Well, you’ve come to the right place. Seriously, Paris is known for its high fashion, but it’s also famously known for its culinary creations. It’s hard to resist the temptation of patisseries and boulangeries in every block. Deli’s or épicieries fine, filled to the brim with local treasures like grilled vegetables drizzled with olive oil, patés, celeriac salad, stuffed tomatoes, potato salad made with fresh mayonnaise, “Oh mon Dieu!” It’s everything I can do not to order one of everything.
I could write a blog on Fromageries alone, truffles and cheese; GOD BLESS! And let’s not forget the wine shops. The French are definitely hoarding the good stuff for themselves. The selections are endless, and the prices are cheap…more wine, please!
Dining in Paris can be as simple as enjoying a falafel at Chez Hanna in the Marais. Or an extravagant dinner at a Micheline-star restaurant like La Tour d’Argent with sweeping city views. The selections are endless, and it’s easy to get caught up in all the picture-perfect sidewalk cafés. Let’s say they’re not all perfect.
Two iconic cafés, both in the St-Germain-des-Prés area and next door to each other, Café de Flore and Les Deux Magots. They’ve become somewhat of a tourist destination, the history alone is a huge draw and worth the experience, have a glass of wine, take it all in, c’est parfait!
Cinq-Mars I discovered on my last visit to Paris, filled with locals and felt less touristy. They serve delicious comfort food in a cozy atmosphere.
Les Antiquaires Near d’Orsay and the Louvre is perfect for after the gallery and ideal for lunch or dinner. The menu has a great selection of French classics; it’s hard to go wrong. On a sunny day, enjoy sitting outside on the sidewalk. It’s très chic.
Bistrot Paul Bert, watching Anthony Bourdain consume a peppercorn steak at this restaurant was reason enough to make the pilgrimage. I’m still craving; need I say more?
La Fontaine de Mars was a great find, recommended by my landlady while spending my month in Paris—classic French food with a lively vibe. There’s a lovely patio to enjoy during the summer months.
Aux Prés, in all honesty, I have not eaten here. I tried to get a table; it was packed! The menu was very interesting, and the decor and marble-top bar were gorgeous. Great energy! I definitely had FOMO:) I will try again next visit.
L’Avant Comptoir for something entirely different, French tapas, finger food or whatever you want to call it. Crazy combinations of food, try the double macaron with foie gras; seriously delicious, who knew? This is a standing room only, with no air conditioning, and they only serve wine, which is never a problem.
I can’t wrap this up without mentioning Marché des Enfants Rouges, one of Paris’ oldest public markets since 1615. This is a culinary treasure, and you must try to experience it, walk around and have a quick bite from one of the fabulous kiosks.
I could go on and on about more food, restaurants, and everything French. I have my favourite stops and shops and galleries to visit. Does anyone tire of admiring the art of Renoir or Monet? For me, it’s about the experience and the history. The sounds and the smells of the bakeries in the early morning; it never gets old.
Paris is not meant to be conquered in a day; there’s so much to explore and get to know; it takes time, possibly a lifetime. Paris, not unlike a lover who lures you back, needing to learn more and wanting to see you if just for one last time. There is an energy I can’t explain each time I visit, a passion for something I can’t touch, a remarkable feeling inside when you admire something so much… it must be LOVE.
Until we meet again…Avec Amour