The ULTIMATE Paris Guide: Paris from the Pros
I have been researching like a wild woman with my upcoming trip to Paris. It is going to be amazing with Maison et Objet, Vaux le Vicomte, Market at Saint Ouen and a private tour of Pierre Frey archives just to name a few of the adventures I will share with a handful of designers from all over the United States.
I am a planner and I love to plan travel. Here are a zillion fun articles, sights, and resources from friends and online that I want to share. I have done the legwork…go plan your Paris trip.
"I never had a day in Paris that I didn't like, " says Ina Garten, the personality behind the bestselling Barefoot Contessa cookbook series and popular Food Network show. The "easy entertaining" guru is so enamored with Paris that she bought an apartment there five years ago and has since tasted her way through France's capital city, producing a cookbook — Barefoot in Paris — along the way.
While the book covers French cooking at home, the intrepid travel editors at Fodor's pined for the story behind the recipes — the insider scoop on where to eat and what to buy. From organic produce markets to bargain cookware shops, here's Barefoot Contessa's guide to Paris.
Fodor's Travel: What do you love about Paris?
Ina Garten: When I used to go there just on vacation for a week, I'd always go to the street markets and I wished I had an oven, so I could just take a chicken home and roast it. As Adam Gopnik said in one of his books, "Everyday things in Paris are wonderful." It's walking down a tree-lined street; going to the parks, the street markets, and the places to buy bread; sitting out at a café; going to the museums; or just taking a walk along the Seine. It's just an incredible city.
What street markets do you like to visit?
The one in front of my apartment on Boulevard Raspail. It's called Le Marché Biologique. Three times a week I go to the Boulevard Raspail market. It goes from Cherche-Midi to Rue de Rennes. Biologique means organic. On Sundays, it's an organic market. There's a guy who makes potato pancakes. They have all the produce and cheese and everything you can imagine in a market, including an American guy who makes muffins.
Where do you live in Paris?
I live on the border of the 6th and 7th arrondissement, between three things that I think are the best things in Paris: the bread bakery Poilâne (8 rue du Cherche-Midi), the cheese shop Fromagerie Barthélemy (51 rue de Grenelle), and Bon Marché (38 rue de Sèvres), a huge specialty food store that's amazing. I'm also near Marianne Robic (39 rue de Babylone), a great flower shop. It's great because there's everything you could possibly want for giving a dinner party within a few blocks, and I love to give dinner parties in Paris.
Are there any hotels that you would recommend?
I'm a pushover for Le Bristol, which is just a deeply wonderful hotel. It's very French. I think Americans think of French service as very haughty, but really good French service is very warm. And I think that's what the Bristol is. It's one of the best hotels in the world. The restaurant there [Le Bristol Restaurant] is fabulous. For lunch, on a nice day, they serve lunch in the courtyard. It's just dreamy.
What are some of your favorite things to during the day?
Spend an afternoon at the flea market (Marché aux Pouces, Porte de Clignancourt). Take a taxi there in the middle of the day, have lunch at Le Soleil (109 avenue Michelet, 93 Saint-Ouen). It's a very earthy French restaurant, very good. And it's right in the flea market. While you're there, go to Muriel Grateau (37 rue de Beaune), a discount outlet at the flea market that has markdown tableware, mostly dishes and glasses.
Go to the Louvre. Go to the Museé Des Arts Décoratifs (107, rue de Rivoli) and then have lunch at Café Marly out in the sun. It's on the terrace of the Louvre. Walk down Rue de Rivoli to Galignani (224 rue de Rivoli), an English and French bookstore. And then take your new book to the Tuileries and sit down in one of those chairs and read.
Or have a picnic. Stop in to Gerard Mulot (76, rue de Seine), a specialty food store right down the street from the Luxembourg gardens. Get a picnic and take it into the Luxembourg gardens. For shopping, there's a cookware store called E. Dehillerin that has every imaginable piece of French cookware.
For cocktails and evenings out, what would you recommend?
Au Bon Accueil, near the Eiffel Tower. You go to dinner and after you walk out of the restaurant, you're at the foot of the Eiffel Tower. It's just fabulous. And you just go walk down the Seine after that.
Or for a Parisian café experience, Café de Flore is really quintessential. My idea of the perfect meal in Paris is an omelet and a glass of champagne at Flore. To just sit outside at 10 o'clock at night is wonderful. You can just do that and go home satisfied.
Any suggestions for travelers who don't speak French?
Most people in Paris speak some English. I speak enough French so that I could get by easily. But I think it's changed dramatically in the past 20 years. Before, if people did speak English, they wouldn't speak English to you. Now it's not really a problem. I find that French people really are welcoming. My experience there has been lovely.
What about side trips from Paris? Any spectacular itineraries to recommend?
Rent a car and go to Reims. That's where all the champagne is made. It's a wow — a total wow. And then you stay over, right up the street, there's a hotel called Les Crayères — it's one of the most luxurious châteaus I've ever stayed in. You drive there on the super highway and you drive back through champagne country. It's glorious.
Read more about Ina Garten at inagarten.com or buy her cookbooks:
1. Le Fumoir – This spot, across from Hotel de Ville, is where to go when you’re “wined” out and want a real cocktail – like a martini.
6 Rue de l’Amiral de Coligny, 75001 Paris, France
2. Palais Royal – Palais Royal is an unexpected bevy of designer stores from Stella McCartney to Acne to famed vintage shop Didier Ludot.
3. Chez Louis Phillipe – A local slice of heaven right on the river; this is where to go for a true café lunch or dinner in Paris.
66 Quai de l’Hôtel de ville, 75004 Paris, France
4. Les 3 Marches de Catherine B – This month’s tastemaker – Nate Berkus – tipped us off to this spot, and we fell in love. This is a vintage paradise, with amazing collections from Chanel, Hermes and more.
1 Rue Guisarde, 75006 Paris, France
5. Dary’s Paris – An incredible collection of vintage jewelry
362 Rue Saint-Honoré, 75001 Paris, France
6. L’Avenue – The perfect lunch spot on Avenue Montaigne for food and people watching after a long day of shopping.
41 Avenue Montaigne, 75008 Paris, France
7. Chez Papa – We love this jazz club for post-dinner drinks. With a mix of American and French classics, the dark cave-like atmosphere is tough to trade up.
3 Rue Saint-Benoît, 75006 Paris, France
8. Manufacture Cosmetique – A little store and salon with a delicious selection of skin creams, body lotions and soaps that all seem crafted to perfection. Scents you wouldn’t find anywhere else – this is a “product” addict’s paradise.
78 Rue de Vaugirard, 75006 Paris, France
9. Images et Portraits – This little photo store on the hidden Rue Charlot seems made for Monica Rich Kosann. With stacks and stacks of vintage photos to look through, some with different scribbles on the back, you find yourself exploring an endless variety of stories. You can buy a small photo of a couple posing in 1911 or of an Italian family feasting in Corsica in 1920…the selection is limitless.
37 Rue Charlot, 75003 Paris, France
10. Fish La Boissonnerie – Perhaps the best Prix Fixe in Paris, this dinner spot on Rue De Seine let’s you eat something a bit different than the French cuisine you’ve been eating on your trip. Arguably the best seafood in Paris, it’s an amazing spot to go for something a little more on the cutting edge that never fails to make mouths salivate!
69 Rue de Seine, 75006 Paris, France
Photo by David Bacher
Back in 2009, I wrote the Paris City Guide with help from some of the Paris designers I featured in our regional round-up. I don’t think I knew at the time that I’d be moving to Paris later that fall, where I’ve been for 2.5 years now. While I’ve done a lot on my own blog, Prêt à Voyager, to create helpful guides to the city I call home, my D*S guide was my first, and it’s still a valuable resource that I send the never-ending stream of visitors that come through Paris. While this is a tried-and-true guide to the city, it was time for an update. The good news is that lots of great design shops have come to the city, so it was easy to update. Bon voyage et à bientôt! — Anne
The full guide continues after the jump!
From my experience, there are certain “must-sees” that everyone who visits Paris for the first time is inclined to see. If I had it my way, I’d tell people to rent an apartment, wander the streets and sit in cafés (and people watch). You can do this for weeks and never get bored. But for those who want to see a bit more of Paris, here’s an update with special ways to see the major spots along with some of my favorite places that guide books won’t necessarily send you to on your first visit.
LES MUSEES [MUSEUMS]
Paris has no lack of museums to pick from, but here are a few favorites. Checking out the posters in the metro is a great way to see what’s going on without even trying. Paris.fr is another great resource. When it comes to museums, be sure to check opening hours before you head out (many museums are closed either Monday or Tuesday). Better yet, check for the days that the museum is open late. This not only allows you to take advantage of daylight hours when shops are open, but it means shorter lines, fewer crowds and, sometimes, discounted ticket prices. It’s a good idea to check what’s showing at each museum because it will help you narrow down your “to see” list and make sure you hit your favorites.
I dare you to go to Paris and skip the Louvre. Despite being the most well known of the bunch, it can be overwhelming. (Even after a semester-long course, I was not able to see it all!) If you do go, try Wednesday or Friday evenings when it’s open until 9:45 pm. They no longer offer discounts, but one can only hope that there are fewer crowds. And if the Mona Lisa is on your “must-see” list, make sure you take the time to people watch, as watching people’s faces and reactions can be equally as satisfying as seeing the real deal.
The premier museum for French Impressionist art, Musee D’Orsay is worth visiting just to see the architecture of this former gare [train station]. Visit the restaurant upstairs for a beautiful view out of the clock/window toward Montmarte. Thursdays are the night the museum is open late.
While on the smaller side, this is the kind of place you’ll want to stay all day and hang out in the gardens surrounding the main museum. Filled with sculptures by Rodin, this is a delightful place to spend the afternoon pondering The Thinker.
If you’ve never been to Asia, this is a great place to get a thorough overview of the culture. The museum layout and lack of tourists make it a peaceful visit.
PALAIS DE TOKYO
Typically not at the top of visitors’ to-do lists, this contemporary museum can make for an interesting visit. The changing exhibits will always give you something to think about, and even if you’re not a fan of the current show, you can process it over a beer at the bar or restaurant housed in the museum. Possibly the coolest thing about this museum is that it’s regularly open until midnight, making a great evening activity (especially teamed with dinner in the restaurant, which is outside in the summer). There is also a great bookstore inside with tons of design titles. Make sure you see what’s on before you head here because they have been doing some renovations. The Musée d’Art Moderne happens to be next door, too, so you could catch them both.
104, aka Centquatre, is a former funerary hall turned contemporary art center in the 19th arrondissement of Paris. There are often large-scale installations or events taking place in the main hall. Also fun is a visit to their photo booth, cafe (or pizza truck), bookstore and Emmaus (France’s version of Goodwill).
CENTRE GEORGES POMPIDOU
Commonly referred to as the “eye sore, ” this modern museum was very controversial when it first opened, as it definitely stands out against the more traditional rooftops of Paris. Part of the experience is wandering the fountains around the building, taking in the street performers out front and riding the clear escalators up to the top floor for amazing views of the city (the cafe may be pricey, but at least visit to check out their view and latest decor). The public library and film series are also worth checking out if you have the time. The museum is open until 11 pm on Thursdays.
LA MUSÉE DE LA CHASSEE ET DE LA NATURE
Located in the heart of the Marais, this “hunting museum” is an unexpected gem that will transport you to a fantastical world of colorful rooms, decor and “stuffed” animals, in a most beautiful form.
MUSEE DES ARTS DECORATIFS
Another place in Paris where the bookstore shines as much as the museum. Located just next to the Louvre along Rue du Rivoli, the typical tourist may lose this museum but not the designer.
MUSEE EUROPEENNE DE LA PHOTOGRAPHIE
A wonderful resource for photography in the city. With ever-changing shows and the extensive library, you can’t help but leave this place inspired and ready to break out your camera with a fresh eye. The center’s quaint location tucked in the Marais makes for an easy visit followed by a fresh pastry around the corner.
JEU DE PAUME
Inside the grounds of the Tuilleries gardens, this museum can be a quick stop if the current exhibition interests you. (It’s usually something good!) If you’re visiting in winter, head over to Angelina’s on Rue de Rivoli for to-die-for hot chocolate. During the summer, grab one of the chairs surrounding the fountains in the garden, kick back for awhile and people watch to your heart’s content. (Colette is also within walking distance.)
VARIOUS GALLERIES are located all around the city, so don’t be afraid to pop in if something in the window piques your interest. Vernisage is the term used to describe an opening, so check for posters in windows, and maybe you can snag a free glass of wine with your dose of art. If you’re visiting in fall, keep your eye out for “open studios tours” where galleries around the city open their doors in the evening and you can hop from one to another.
A guerrilla art project that pops up around the city (and the world) with tiled “space invaders” based on the 70s video game. It becomes a fun game to spot the little buggers around the city.
LES GRANDS MAGASINS [DEPARTMENT STORES]
Unlike the stigma attached to many US department stores, department stores in France are held in high regard. The architecture of many of these stores is incredible, and window displays show off the latest fashions through exceptionally creative displays. The winter holidays are a real treat, as the stores go all out (inside and out!). Several are known for their amazing views of the city from the upper levels. Also noteworthy are Les Soldes, the twice annual (January and July) mega sales that happen all around the city (at nearly all shops). Deep discounts are offered, and the French and tourists alike jump on the opportunity to get great deals to make room for the new season of goods and fashion. Head to the Marais or Rue des Abbesses in Montmartre for the best in local shops.
GALERIES LAFAYETTE: 40 boulevard Haussmann, 75009
Even visiting their website will give you a sense of the French department store’s charm. Galeries Lafayette is always known for its exceptional holiday window displays and seven-story Christmas tree that stands in the central atrium of the store. You may have to ask around (or just follow the fanny-packs) and make your way to the roof view of the city.
PRINTEMPS: 64 boulevard Haussmann, 75009
Part of the appeal of French department stores is that there are “mini” stores within the store. Favorite shops like Mango and Zara have their own representation in the larger store. (Don’t worry; there’s no lack of those popular, stylish chains around town.)
BHV: 52 rue de Rivoli, 75004 Paris
Perhaps the least glamorous of the grands magasins, this has long been a favorite of mine for its fantastic selection of office, craft and art supplies on the second floor (sometimes they give tutorials). The basement “hardware store” level also has its own appeal, as it’s a great place to pick up your favorite French signs or those blue house numbers that you see around the city.
Even if you don’t have tens of thousands of Euros to spend, it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy witnessing this auction house in action en francais. Scope out times and auctions in advance to make sure it fits your fancy.
FAIRE DU SHOPPING [TO GO SHOPPING]
ASTIER DE VILLATTE: 173 rue St Honoré 75001 and 63, Boulevard Masséna 75013
Magnificent little boutique known for their ceramics and great for inspiration (seriously — just look at the website!). The company regularly invites artists and designers to create special-edition pieces.
FRENCH TOUCHE: 1 rue Jacquemont 75017
Charmingly curated collection of independent goods for the designer in you. The perfect place to look for a great gift with a dash of handmade French flair.
COLETTE: 213 rue Saint Honoré 75001
From clothing to books, make-up products and more, Colette is the premier shop for design when you think of design in Paris. Always looking to push the next best thing, it’s so hip, there’s even a water bar down stairs.
MERCI: 111 ave Beaumarchais 75003
This should be the first stop for any D*S reader! Don’t miss the red car out front that changes monthly with each installation of this three-story design concept store with three cafés. Head a few doors up to BONTON (5 Boulevard des Filles du Calvaire, 75003), which is a kid’s version of a design concept store (with photobooth and props!).
ATELIER BEAU TRAVAIL: 67 rue de la Mare 75020
Belleville studio/shop that consists of four designers: Delphine Dunoyer (Aconit Napel), Céline Saby (Céline Saby), Else Puyo (Olivelse) and Séverine Balanqueux (Titlee). Every Saturday afternoon, they open their doors to the public to showcase their creations. Every few months, an exposition of a different theme takes place featuring the work of other designers, as well.
PA DESIGN: 2 bis, rue Fléchier 75009
The name Pa Design comes from being against the idea that design is only a style — this object is design, this place is design. The boutique/showroom is open to the public to act as a laboratory of ideas to get reactions (and open to artists who want to share their conceptions). Products from the likes of Tse-Tse and numerous other (and many young) designers.
LE ROCKETSHIP: 13 bis, rue Henry Monnier 75009
This is a local coffee shop/design boutique with a friendly owner who speaks English. Around the 9th arrondissement there are quite a few noteworthy local shops to visit (see the bottom of this post).
LUKA LUNA: 77 rue de la Verrerie, 75004
Boutique with a beautiful selection of primarily French items — small series made by hand, accessories for the home, jewelry, paper goods — all harmonious and perfectly presented.
LE PETIT ATELIER DE PARIS: 31 rue Montmorency 75003
A charming shop tucked in the Marais showcasing beautiful, neutral handmade ceramics that are the perfect touch for any home.
PETIT PAN: 39 rue François Miron 75004
Adorable, dreamy and handmade. Colorful Chinese fabrics are used to make kid wares, clothes, accessories, kites, etc. They also offer ateliers/workshops for fabric printing and kites.
BONTON & BONTON BAZAR: 122 rue du Bac 75007
Of all the shops in Paris devoted to the universe of children, this is one of the best. Perfect if you’re looking to decorate a children’s room. Its location on rue du Bac is also appealing, as it’s an adorable street with lots of great shops.
MARIE-HÉLÈNE DE TAILLAC: 8 rue de Tournon 75006
Wonderful jewelry showcased in lovely window displays.
DEHILLERIN: 18 rue Coquilliere 75001
Everything for the kitchen, for the professional and foodie alike.
LES TOURISTES: 17 rue des Blancs Manteaux 75004
Collection of softgoods created with beautiful patterned textiles.
LES FLEURS PETITES: 3 passage de la Bonne Graine, 75011
A feminine universe full of unique handmade accessories. The boutique has a great reputation on the Internet (complete with online shop), but be sure to check the address before going in person, as it’s expanding and changing location.
EKOBO HOME: 4 rue Hérold 75001
Beautiful, sustainable, contemporary home-deco products made from bamboo. Products are designed in France and hand-crafted in Vietnam, cutting out the middleman, and with attention to quality and detail.
ANTOINE ET LILI: 95 Quai de Valmy 75010 & multiple locations around the city
Colorful storefronts along Canal St. Martin specializing in homewares and adult and children’s clothing. While most French stick to basic black, Antoine et Lili is not afraid of color. Lots of great kitsch goods from Asia that are perfect for the home. Skip stones along the canal like Amelie to celebrate your new purchases.
GALERIE VEGETALE: 29 rue des Vinaigriers 75010
This gallery comes alive — with plants! Various installations completely change the feel of the space, for anyone who loves greenery.
MUSKHANE: 3 rue Pastourelle 75003
Showroom and boutique. Handmade wool and cashmere wares from Nepal. Gorgeous rubbed wool objects (rugs, pillows, accessories) in lovely colors plus cashmere winter items, sweaters, gloves and pillows.
LE SENTOU: 26 boulevard Raspail 75007
Fantastic resource for modern home accessories, from tableware and chairs to lighting.
HOME AUTOUR DU MONDE: 8 rue des Francs Bourgeois 75004
Boutique for the home with a great selection of young designers. There are lots of shops in the area that you will enjoy.
COMPTOIR DES COTONNIERS: various locations
A classic French brand with pieces that will last you years.
PETIT BATEAU: various locations
This shop may have been created for children, but you’ll find just about anyone picking up their famous cotton clothes there these days.
BA&SH: various locations
My favorite place to splurge on a party dress and feel a bit more French.
KILIWATCH: 64 rue Tiquetonne 75002
Great location for quality vintage clothes (prices are a bit high, but the clothes are in good condition, too). New fashions in stock, as well.
ELLIPSES CHAUSSURES: online + various shops
The best way to add color to your wardrobe is with these loveable shoes.
Interested in vintage clothes shopping while in Paris? Here’s a guide of 20 vintage shops!
LA LIBRARIE [BOOKSTORE]
Shakespeare & Co.: 37 rue de la Bucherie 75005
English language bookstore not far from Notre Dame, covered floor to ceiling in used books. The likes of many famous people have spent time there. More recently, it had a cameo in Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris.
ARTAZART: 83, Quai Valmy, 75010
This is the kind of bookstore where a designer can get lost for hours and spend an entire paycheck and still want to come back for more. The great variety of titles are in English and in French. There’s even a gallery in the front of the store that looks out to Canal St. Martin where Amelie skipped stones.
MUSEE DES ARTS DECORATIFS
With tons of titles, this shop feels more like a library for design rather than a bookstore. Primarily books but good for gift design, too.
The “librarie” inside 104 will have you picking up every design book in sight.
PALAIS DE TOKYO
Books and magazines with a contemporary spin inside the museum.
GOÛTER [SNACK] + BOIRE [DRINK]
I’m not even sure that a list of all the patisseries and boulangeries in Paris exists — there are so many! You really can’t go wrong with any of them, but part of the joy is trying them all and testing something new each time (pain au chocolat, tarte aux pommes, croissant amandes, palmier, etc.). Definitely try the local spots for superior quality (even the chains hardly look like chains, but you’ll know because you’ll see the same name popping up around town). Or, if you don’t have a sweet tooth, you could always have a glass of wine.
Enter Marie Antoinette’s dream world with a rainbow of colorful macaroons. If you can’t decide which one to try, you may as well try them all (they’re small after all) and wash them down with a French herbal tea. The macaroons also make for a beautiful (and delicious) souvenir to bring back home. The tea room has several locations around the city, and each one is a bit unique.
LA MOSQUEE: 39 rue Saint-Hilaire 75005
Travel to the Orient for the afternoon with a visit to the salon du thé [tea room] at the Mosque in Paris. In spring and summer, enjoy the open courtyard (in winter sit on beautiful cushions around tin tables inside) while sipping tea out of beautiful glasses and snacking on North African treats.
ANGELINA’S: 226 rue de Rivoli 75001
One can only imagine that the kitchen of this place looks like a scene out of Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory, as everyone comes here for the same thing: hot chocolate with fresh whipped cream. It’s definitely worth the wait to experience it at least once in your life. I actually go for their famous Mont Blanc dessert.
JOSEPHINE VANNIER CHOCOLAT ARTISANAL: 4 rue Pas de la Mule 75003 (near Place des Vosges)
Chocolate like you’ve never seen before, these works of art — from a chocolate painter’s palettes to African masks — look too good to eat.
A LA MERE DE FAMILLE: 35 rue du Faubourg Montmartre 75009
Traditional sweet shop that is a feast for the eyes. Treat yourself to one of the many French sweets, and try the ice cream in summer.
LES EDITEURS: 4 Carrefour d’Odeon 75006
Traditional café that pays homage to literary greats. In typical French fashion, chairs and tables face out for prime people watching around Odeon. It’s the perfect place for vin chaud [mulled wine] in winter or a kir [a traditional aperitif from Dijon] in summer. As for fall, they pull out heat lamps when it starts to get cool to keep outdoor seating.
TAVERNE HENRI VI: 13 place du Pont Neuf 75001
Wine bar on Pont Neuf that, years ago, was run by a Frenchman who wore Tabasco sauce neckties and was very friendly to Americans. I don’t know if he’s still there, but its location on Ile de la Cité makes it great for a late afternoon pit-stop. (If it’s summer time, you’re within walking distance of the famousBerthillon ice cream on Ile St. Louis behind Notre Dame.)
AU RENDEZ-VOUS DES AMIS: 23 rue Gabrielle, 75018
This is a very convivial wine bar in the heart of Montmarte, with great deals, good energy and a great planche (cheese and sausage plate).
The saying goes, “Americans eat to live, and the French live to eat.” Nothing could be more true. First, a trip to the market is a complete must (you can find a map and listing here). Not much gives you a better idea of culture than they way people care for their food. My favorite was always the Sunday market along Blvd Richard Lenoir (near Bastille), where I’d regularly purchase a fresh roasted chicken and potatoes seasoned in the juices (c’est si bon!). (It’s the same market whereDavid Lebovitz and I went shopping for our D*S video). Nothing beats a lunch of apple, brie and a baguette (and maybe a cheap bottle of wine from the grocery store) as you sit along the Seine or in one of the endless parks or gardens around the city. If you’re looking to go out but on a tight budget, keep your eyes open for “Paris Pas Cher” [cheap Paris] signs around the city. You can find some really wonderful places this way, and the sign means it’s not only cheap but it’s good, too. Many times you will find a “menu fixed, ” which is a multi-course meal for a set price, which is typically a good deal. There are endless places to eat around the city, but here are some of our favorites (with extra recommendations from some great Parisian designers):
BOUILLON CHARTIER: 7 rue du Faubourg Montmartre 75009
A favorite among locals and tourists alike, this place is mostly about the experience. They don’t take reservations, but it’s well worth the wait to experience this famous (and very affordable) restaurant that has been around since 1896 (it even makes a cameo in A Very Long Engagement in its days as a dance hall). Don’t be surprised if you have to share a table with another couple; it’s part of the experience, along with the waiters who write down your order on the tablecloth.
CAFE DES DEUX MOULINS: 15 rue Lepic 75018
Despite the tabac being removed to make more room for tourists, this cafe looks nearly identical to how it did when Amelie worked in it (complete with “toilettes” sign from that oh-so memorable bathroom scene). The food is typical of any French brasserie, and believe it or not, the prices are not inflated here to compensate for its newfound fame (and the location is close, yet far away enough from Montmartre to avoid the main stream of crowds and tourists). The epicerie[vegetable stand] from the film can be found nearby at 56 rue des Trois Freres, and of course, the pathway up to Montmartre was an important scene in the movie, too.
CHEZ OMAR: 47 rue de Bretagne 75003: 01 42 72 36 26
A restaurant in the Marais with a fabulous reputation, and where to go for couscous.
404: 69 rue des Gravilliers, 75003: 01.42.74.57.81 (need reservation)
Excellent North African food in a decor that feels like a cozy and comfortable Moroccan paradise (and it helps that the staff is super friendly, too).
CAFE CHARBON: 109 rue Oberkampf 75011
Great place for a night out with friends on the now-trendy rue Oberkampf. Jazz clubs are nearby if you’re looking for something post-dinner.
SUPER NATURE: 12 rue de Trevise 75009
A favorite among Anne Hubert and her friends for Sunday brunch or lunch. Excellent and affordable.
LE TAXI JAUNE: 13 rue Chapon 75003
On a quiet street in the Marais, Chef Otis pays great attention to everything you will eat.
BOB’S JUICE BAR: 15 rue Lucine-Sampaix 75010
If you’re looking for organic, this is where it’s at. Created by New Yorker Marc Grossman.
LE BAR A SOUPES: 33 rue de Charonne 75011
If you’ve never tried French soup, you’re seriously missing out. Soup is trendy right now, and you can have your pick here.
LE CHATEAUBRIAND: 129 avenue Parmetier 75011
Famous place with a famous chef. You can’t go wrong. It’s much talked about, so you’ll always need a reservation (only 2 weeks in advance).
SEPTIME: 80 rue Charonne, 75011
Another up-and-coming restaurant for dinner and a great deal at lunch, it’s part of a new generation of restaurants putting a fresh spin on the French bistro.
VERJUS: 52 rue de Richelieu, 75011
Started by the American couple behind the famous underground restaurant, Hidden Kitchen (in their home), their latest creation consists of a cave-like wine bar, and “tasting menu” restaurant.
SPRING: 61 rue Bailleul 75001
Daniel Rose’s popular restaurant is known for great food and pairings with excellent wine.
KRUNG THEP: 93 rue Julien Lacroix
Best Thai in Paris.
PHO DONG-HUONG: 14 rue Louis Bonnet 75011
Famous stop for Vietnamese food. Also a great deal!
LO SUSHI: multiple locations
Sushi goes around on a conveyor belt (price is determined by the color of the plate) while you write and draw messages on your touch screen with a chopstick to send to people in the restaurant.
Every day around Paris, there are markets around the city. Check out Paris.fr for the complete listing and map.
Back in my days as a student in Paris, Buddha Bar and Barrio Latino were the itplaces to be (they even sold their own soundtracks so you could take a bit of the experience home with you). And I think I’ll always be a fan of Favela Chic for its unsuspecting location and delicious Brazilian dinner that later turns into a dance party with mojitos and caipirinhas and dancing on tables if you stay late enough. These days, although a bit farther out, Mama Shelter is a new hotel (Philippe Starck designed) with a buzzing bar and resto. Definitely don’t be afraid to venture out of central Paris. Although it’s more of a summertime place and closes at midnight, Rosa Bonheur inside Parc Chaumont is great fun if you can beat the crowds for tapas, beer, cheap wine and dancing.
MARCHE AUX PUCES
Flea markets happen all over the city; what you’re looking determines where to go. Try St Ouen, which is good for clothing, antiques and 20th-century design (Jordan wrote a helpful guide/map for getting there). Puces de Vanves is great for antiques. There is also a new, trendy market for design and great for haggling that happens a couple times a year.
Translates to “white night” where very year during the first Saturday in October the city stays awake all night as art/lighting installations pop up around the city and bars stay open all night.
All year, Paris is host to various events. Salons (expos of sorts) happen for almost any subject possible, from cheese to chocolate. Anyone can go, as long as you pay the entry. My personal favorite was the Salon de la Photographie which happens every November on the grounds of the Louvre and Maison Objet is the twice yearly (September and January) mega-design trade show.
A program started by the mayor a few years ago that remains a huge hit. Every summer, loads of sand are trucked in along the Seine to create a faux beach for city dwellers to indulge in for the summer. Some streets remain closed to promote outdoor activity.
JARDINS DE PARIS
Over 400 parks and gardens pop up all over Paris. The green spaces were created as calming places for city residents to escape city life. Each is unique and has its own personality and style, ranging from those modeled on the gardens of Louis XIV to completely modern spaces. My personal favorites are Parc Monceau and Promenade Plantee (a garden created on top of an old viaduct, and underneath artists have studios and shops in the archways).
The irony of riding to the top of le Tour Eiffel is that when you’re at the top, your view includes everything except the iconic tower itself. Instead, skip the long lines (beware of pickpockets and people trying to sell you things/make you sign things/give you rings), and opt for a picnic on the Champs de Mars, the grassy area in front of the tower. Not only can you enjoy the view, you can enjoy a great meal (and wine) at the same time. Stay into the evening and watch the tower twinkle the first five minutes of each hour on the hour, which is truly magical. Or in the winter, ride up to the first story for ice skating (ice skating at night outside Hotel de Ville is also magical).
Nothing perplexed me more than when, in high school, I saw a French movie with a couple who went on a date at a cemetery. I thought it was the weirdest thing ever and laughed about it for years . . . until I visited Pere Lachaise, the most well known of the beautiful cemeteries speckled around Paris. Walking through the grounds is seriously like taking a walk in the park. You can pick up a map of the site on your way in and make your way to noteworthy graves, such as Oscar Wilde’s (covered with lipstick kisses) or Jim Morrison’s (for die-hard followers).
Sounds creepy, but it’s a really fascinating collection of patterns of bones and more bones in an underground cemetery that was created when the city cemeteries could not support the number of dead bodies.
Totally a touristy thing to do, but still, it’s a great way to see the city. The boat tour at night is particularly beautiful. Only about 10 Euros, too!
Thousands of bikes are available around the city for minimal fees these days, thanks to the introduction of the new Velib bike-share program throughout the city (not always easy to access if you don’t have a European style “chip” in your credit card). However, if you’re looking for a guide to take you around or do something fun with a bit more structure, check out Fat Tire Bike Tours. They also offer Segway tours. A little geeky? Yes! Touristy? Yes! Awesome riding around Place de la Concorde at night on a Segway? Yes!!!
STUDIO HARMONIC: 5 passage Thaillandiers 75011
A professional dance studio located near Bastille, this place made my day every time I went to my tous-niveau (all levels) hip-hop class. Enter and be prepared to be intimidated by the advanced level ballet and modern classes happening in the main studio, but go and test your skills in a new form of dance in a beginning-level class (en francais) and have a true experience! If you ever mess up on a move, just pretend it was because of the language barrier, not because you can’t dance 😉
PARIS PRACTIQUE: GETTING AROUND
A PIED [WALK]
Paris is meant to be explored by foot. In fact, you could spend a day doing absolutely nothing except getting lost turning from street to street. As for actually getting lost, nearly every Parisian carries a map. Rather than lugging around a giant guide book and looking like a tourist, pick up your very own Plan de Paris at most newsstands or bookshops. The mini book is divided into maps of each of the 20 different arrondissements (districts), and every street is listed in the back and references various maps. Museums and cultural institutions are listed, as well.
PAR METRO [BY METRO]
There are 17 metro lines, four commuter rails and a new line circling the city that connect Paris. When trying to get anywhere, keep in mind that it’s about one minute between each station, and count on five minutes any time you have to make a change. You should be able to get anywhere you need to be with only one change, and it takes about 45 minutes to take the 1 line straight across Paris (Bois de Bologne to Bois de Vincennes). Use color, number and end destination clues to figure out where you want to go. Before you know it, you’ll be a pro and will know where to stand on the platform to make your connections. Locals have a “navigo” pass they swipe to go through the turnstile, but for anyone visiting, purchasing a carnet of ten tickets is cheaper than buying tickets individually.
PAR BUS [BY BUS]
Buses work on the same ticketing system as the metro. Routes may take a little more figuring out than the straightforward metro lines, but being above ground is a great way to see the city. As with the metro, many bus stops have digital displays noting how long until the next bus.
PAR VELO [BY BIKE]
Velib is a citywide program with thousands of bicycles available for the public for a minimal fee. (At one point, American credit cards were an issue because they do not use the “smart chip” cards that Europeans use.)
Written and compiled by D*S contributing editor (Sneak Peeks) Anne S. Ditmeyer. For more Paris happenings, you can follow me on twitter: @pretavoyager. This guide was updated and adapted from the guide originally written in 2009, which was compiled with special thanks to Lily, Marieke, Boo Louis, Nathalie Lete, Anne Hubert, Stephane Froger& Antoine + Manuel!
HAS Paris lost its edge? Mais non! The city’s bohemians are just harder to find. The artsy denizens and creative tastemakers, always on the hunt for cheaper rents, have migrated to the city’s fringes, like Belleville and the former red-light district of Pigalle. There are even fashion-forward hangouts in the postcard-perfect center — a pop-up restaurant here, a taxidermy-stuffed speakeasy there. And, of course, a modern take on the classic Parisian bistro or boulangerie will never go out of style.
1) GALLERY GHETTO
The ghosts of Paris’s master artists are everywhere, but if you want to dive into the city’s contemporary art scene, head to Belleville, where the steep hilltop streets are dotted with upstart galleries and cozy wine bars. Among the earliest galleries was Bugada & Cargnel (7-9, rue de l’Équerre; 33-1-42-71-72-73;bugadacargnel.com), which specializes in both French and international emerging artists. Newer arrivals include Gaudel de Stampa (3, rue de Vaucouleurs; 33-1-40-21-37-38; gaudeldestampa.fr) and Marcelle Alix (4, rue Jouye-Rouve; 33-9-50-04-16-80; marcellealix.com). For a mix of art and fashion, swing by Andrea Crews (25, rue de Vaucouleurs; 33-1-45-26-36-68; andreacrews.com), where vintage duds are transformed into fast fashion.
2) LA BOHèME WINE BAR
Perched above the Belleville park, Le Baratin (3, rue Jouye-Rouve; 33-1-43-49-39-70 ) is an unpretentious and intimate wine bar with antique tile floors and worn wood tables. Despite the local buzz, it has managed to stay low-key, so it’s still possible to walk in at an odd hour, sans reservations, and join the bohemian crowd as they sample the dozen or so small-production wines, scratched on the chalkboard.
3) CHIC BISTRONOMIQUE
Here’s the trick to getting a table at always-packed Le Chateaubriand (129, avenue Parmentier; 33-1-43-57-45-95). Park yourself at the bar around 8:30 p.m. the day of, and fortify yourself with wine and snacks — and people watching — while you wait for a table. It’s first come first served for the 9:30 seating. (Otherwise, you have to make reservations at least two weeks in advance for the 7:30 seating.) The young Basque chef, Iñaki Aizpitarte, serves a five-course menu that changes daily. Recent meals included a foie gras served in miso soup, and a sea bass served with red chicory and lemon crème fraîche. Prix fixe: only 50 euros, or $65 at $1.31 to the euro.
4) RED LIGHT SPECIAL
In recent years, the area around Pigalle has drawn Parisian tastemakers looking for a good time — with their clothes on. Start with a drink at Hôtel Amour (8, rue de Navarin; 33-1-48-78-31-80; hotelamourparis.fr), an artsy hotel decorated with disco balls and Terry Richardson photographs that is partly owned by the reigning king of Paris night life, André Saraiva. Then continue to Chez Moune (54, rue Jean Baptiste Pigalle; 33-1-45-26-64-64; chezmoune.fr), a former lesbian cabaret that is now a popular hangout for the city’s polysexual fashionistas.
5) WHERE LADY GAGA SHOPS
By now, you can pretty much find those Lanvin flats and Céline bags back home. But Bambi-shaped shoes? Or a Kermit the Frog jacket? The aristocrat fashion designer Jean-Charles de Castelbajac has a new boutique in St.-Germain (61, rue des St.-Pères; 33-9-64-48-48-54; jc-de-castelbajac.com) where fashion inspiration comes from unexpected places, like “Paradise Lost” and Donald Duck.
6) POP-UP BISTRO
Even jaded Parisians have waited weeks for one of the 12 seats at the pop-up restaurant Nomiya (13, avenue du Président Wilson; online reservations at art-home-electrolux.com), a glass box that floats on the rooftop of the Palais de Tokyo. Instead of dinner, come for lunch, when seatings are easier to come by, and the views are more spectacular. The five-course meal cooked up by Gilles Stassart might include foie gras with eggplant confit and scorpion fish served with a vegetable medley (80 euros for lunch and 100 euros for dinner). Nomiya’s run has been extended until spring 2011.
7) SHOP THE CANAL
On sunny weekends, stylish young families and boho-chic couples stroll the gentrified Canal St.-Martin — fast becoming a charming little shopping hood of indie boutiques. Dupleks (83, quai de Valmy; 33-1-42-06-15-08; dupleks.fr) sells eco-friendly fashions, Espace Beaurepaire (28, rue Beaurepaire; 33-1-42-45-59-64; espacebeaurepaire.com) carries street-art prints, and La Piñata (25, rue des Vinaigriers; 33-1-40-35-01-45; lapinata.fr) has wooden children’s toys. Style hounds especially like Sweat Shop (13, rue Lucien Sampaix; 33-9-52-85-47-41;sweatshopparis.com) , a funky D.I.Y. collective and cafe with sewing machines to rent by the hour.
8) SAVORY AND SWEET
One bite, and you’ll understand why there’s a long line outside Du Pain et Des Idées (34, rue Yves Toudic; 33-1-42-40-44-52; dupainetdesidees.com), a cultish boulangerie in the Canal St.-Martin neighborhood. The escargot chocolat-pistache, a snail-shaped pastry filled with chocolate and pistachio, will shatter the will of any dieter. So will the mini-pavés, savory knots stuffed with spinach and goat cheese.
9) AMERICAN TRANSPLANTS
Paris-obsessed food bloggers will roll their eyes, but Spring (6 Rue Bailleul; 33-1-45-96-05-72; springparis.blogspot.com), an intimate restaurant that moved this summer to the First Arrondissement, deserves the hype. The French-trained American chef Daniel Rose takes something as simple as eggplant and prepares it four eye-opening ways. Dinner prix-fixe menu: 64 euros. If you can’t make reservations months ahead of time, head to the newly revamped Minipalais (Grand Palais, Avenue Winston Churchill; 33-1-42-56-42-42; minipalais.com), a loft-like brasserie with an American-friendly menu that includes a terrific duck burger with foie gras. Or try the new Ralph’s (173, boulevard St.-Germain; 33-1-44-77-76-00; ralphlaurenstgermain.com), owned by Ralph Lauren in St.-Germain, which, believe it or not, is fashionable with a young Parisian crowd.
10) LE CHIC ET LE GEEK
Ever since the legendary Le Montana reopened during last spring’s fashion week, le party hasn’t stopped. Resurrected by André Saraiva (yes, him again) and Olivier Zahm, Le Montana (28, rue St.-Benoît) draws an A-list crowd of models and actors. But be warned: getting past the bouncer is harder than squeezing into jeggings. Fortunately, a 20-minute walk away is the geeky hot spot Curio Parlor (16, rue des Bernardins; 33-1-44-07-12-47; curioparlor.com), a speakeasy-style lounge popular with a chic Parisian crowd that sips single malt whiskey.
11) GRASS IS GREENER
Since the historic dance hall and watering hole Rosa Bonheur reopened in 2008 (2, allée de la Cascade, in the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont; 33-1-42-00-00-45; rosabonheur.fr), it has brought the city’s party crowd to the great outdoors. By day, middle-aged hippies strum guitars alongside hungover clubkids. By night, it turns into a full-fledged party complete with velvet rope and D.J. This winter the party continues inside with the restaurant Mimi Cantine overseen by the Michelin-starred chef Armand Arnal.
12) FANTASTIC MR. FOX
Blame it on Wes Anderson movies or an obsession with the cult taxidermy shop Deyrolle, but nothing gets a Parisian bohemian more excited than a room filled with stuffed animals. Get your fix at the Musée de la Maison de la Chasse et de la Nature (62, rue des Archives; 33-1-53-01-92-40), a quirky museum with an eccentric collection of taxidermy and antique weaponry. There is also a room dedicated to unicorns, which adds just the right amount of je ne sais quoi to the intentionally musty space.
IF YOU GO
Give Philippe Starck two years, a jaw-dropping budget and a grand Parisian shell, and you get the new Raffles Royal Monceau (37, avenue Hoche; 33-1-42-99-88-00; leroyalmonceau.com). Steps from the Arc de Triomphe, the 85-room hotel leaves no detail too small to escape the designer’s touch, with rates from 780 euros, or $1, 000.
For a taste of the seedy-cool district of Pigalle, book a room at the Hôtel Amour(8, rue Navarin; 33-1-48-78-31-80; hotelamourparis.fr), the brainchild of the graffiti artist turned nightclub entrepreneur André Saraiva and Thierry Costes of the Costes family. Rooms start at 100 euros.
The year-old Hotel Banke (20, rue La Fayette; 33-1-55-33-22-22;derbyhotels.com/banke-hotel-paris), near the Place Vendôme, combines Belle Époque-style architecture with not overly trendy touches, with 94 rooms starting at 260 euros in December.
Paris, a city known for resisting change, is shaking itself out of its long languid spell.
There's a new energy in the air, spurred by the arrival of a generation of new culinary talent and a movement to breathe fresh life into forgotten buildings and dormant institutions.
Gastronomic creativity is coming from restaurants the size of pocket squares, run by young chefs who hail from—or have at least lived—elsewhere. Their imaginative yet unceremonious approaches mean surprising and affordable fare for diners.
Spring, one of the most coveted tables in Paris since 2006, has moved to an airier space, with its acclaimed American chef, Daniel Rose, presiding over an open kitchen upstairs and a casual food-and-wine bar below.
Around the corner, an outpost of La Régalade offers the same generous contemporary fare as the original spot on the south end of town, sans commute. And on the Left Bank, the new Sola serves Japanese-inflected French cuisine that is as beautiful to behold as it is to taste.
Much of what's cool is happening in the east. The 11th Arrondissement is a foodie hotbed, thanks to new addresses such as the prix-fixe Rino, a buzzing green market–driven modern French bistro. White-hot chef Inaki Aizpitarte's Rem Koolhaas–designed Le Dauphin serves the kind of tapas-inspired dishes that put his Le Chateaubriand on the map. And Jeanne A—a rotisserie-épicerie concept spun off from the restaurant right next door, Astier—manages to successfully combine high-end takeout with a neighborhood market.
Photos: Food, Beauty and Romance in Paris
Once a Belle Epoque trysting place, Lapérouse is where where "it-girls" mingle with Old Guard.
Forgotten buildings are also getting second acts. At the restaurant/gallery 1728 (named for the townhouse's date of birth) you can now have tea in the Louis XVI-style Salon de Musique. The city's Neoclassical icon, the 18th-century Hôtel de la Monnaie—once Paris's official currency maker—is getting a fancy new tenant, with chef Guy Savoy moving his three-star eatery to the landmark. Last month, the soaring salons of Georges Bizet's former home, a 19th-century landmark, reopened as Carmen, the "hype"spot for nouveau mixology and dancing.
On the lodging front, after a half-century of acting as a government building, a "hôtel particulier" commissioned by Napoleon's grand-nephew Roland has been restored and reopened as a sumptuous Shangri-La. The Philippe Starck-renovated Royal Monceau hotel now offers amenities like an in-house art library where guests can browse rare tomes and follow live art auctions. (Breakfast is by star pastry chef Pierre Hermé.)
However, the most talked about awakening is that of La Samaritaine. The legendary department store on the Seine, which opened in 1869 and closed in 2005, is expected to reopen over the next two years, transformed, in part, into a luxury hotel by the Pritzker Prize–winning architecture firm Sanaa.
All these alterations don't exactly add up to revolution—and that's for the better. The city may guard its heritage jealously, but that keeps intact the beauty that brings us back time and time again. Paris, don't ever change…well, not much.
Fifth-generation owner of Cadolle lingerie, inventors of the bra; costumer for Crazy Horse cabaret
Getting Lit:Le Bar Hemingway at the Ritz Paris. The mythical hangout of James Joyce, Coco Chanel and "Papa" himself still endures with head barman Colin Field presiding. He instantly sizes up which cocktail has your name on it—and never gets it wrong. 15, Place Vendôme, 1st, ritzparis.com
Pastries:Carette. Ever since I was a little girl, I've been hooked on the macarons there. And the Sunday brunch at both locations is a people-watcher's delight. 4, Place du Trocadéro, 16th, carette-paris.com
Love Letters:Cassegrain. If you still treasure the handwritten missive, this stationer is a must for its engraved letterhead. Just visiting provides inspiration to make every word count. 109, blvd. Haussmann, 8th, cassegrain.fr
House of Wax:Maître Parfumeur et Gantier. The scent of their myrrh candle is that of paradise itself. This fragrance emporium has gorgeous marble floors and precious curio cabinets. 5, rue des Capucines, 1st, maitre-parfumeur-et-gantier.com
L'Evier de Cuisine:E. Dehillerin. This treasure trove of kitchenware was founded nearly 200 years ago. They have cooking accoutrements—in copper, cast-iron and bronze—you never dreamed existed. 18-20, rue Coquillière, 1st, e-dehillerin.fr
In-house perfumer for Hermès; founder of perfume house The Different Company
Petal Pushers: Monceau Fleurs. For a handful of Euros, you can pick up here enormous bouquets of iris, freesia, tulips and anemones, arriving each morning. 92, blvd. Malesherbes, 8th (among other locations), monceaufleurs.com
Chocolate Buzz:La Maison du Chocolat. There's always a line at this multiple-location confectionery. In addition to its gourmand boxes, they serve delightful individual pieces—a different sensation each. 19, rue de Sèvres, 6th, lamaisonduchocolat.com
Club Sandwich: Ladurée. On the Rue Royale, this original location of the circa-1862 tea and pastry salon is so intimate and romantic. They're renowned for their macarons, but it also makes the best club sandwich I've ever had. 16, rue Royale, 8th, laduree.fr
Stroll Through Time: Jardin des Tuileries. Like Proust, this is also my favorite place to walk hand in hand down the chestnut tree-lined paths. This 17th-century formal garden bridges so many eras—not to mention the Louvre and L'Orangerie museums. Ave. du General Lemonnier, 1st, 33-1-40-20-90-43
Garden Reading: Librairie des Jardins. This character-rich, Louvre-owned shop houses over 3, 000 books on the world's most magnificent gardens. Main gate of the Tuileries Gardens at Place de la Concorde, 1st, 33-1-42-60-61-61
Owner of La Chocolaterie de Jacques Genin; chocolatier to Paris hotels and restaurants
A peritif: L'Avant Comptoir. The owner, Yves Camdeborde, is an old friend who has created a joyful spot for my gang to hang out in. It has a diner-like counter. And they serve wonderful natural wines. 9, carrefour de l'Odéon, 6th, 33-8-2610-1087
Satin & Silk:Aubade. This shop creates lingerie of exquisite style and workmanship. A naked woman is beautiful; to see her semi-dressed, and then guess at the rest, is most excellent too. 33, rue des Francs-Bourgeois, 4th, aubade.com
House of Tomes:Librairie Gallimard. This is my favorite bookshop because it's inside a grand old French house that remains family owned. 15, blvd. Raspail, 7th, librairie-gallimard.com
Pastries:Blé Sucré. If it's not from my own shop, then it's got to be from Fabrice Le Bourdat's sweets emporium. His shop tops "best pastry" lists yearly. Don't pass up the orange-glazed Madeleines. 7, rue Antoine Vollon, 12th, 33-9-61-36-09-01
Sweet Leafs:Maison des Trois Thés. When you enter, you can smell the 100-percent natural aromas of the world's finest teas. They're such purists that customers are requested to not wear perfume in their tasting room. 1, rue Saint Medard, 5th, troisthes.com
The Jewelry Designer
Victoire de Castellane
Creative director of Dior Joaillerie since 1998
Fine Dining: Prunier. The stunning Art Deco interior is by architect Louis Hippolyte Boileau. Try the eggs in aspic with caviar. 16, Ave. Victor Hugo, 16th, prunier.com
Green Market:Marché du Pont de l'Alma. What could be more sensual than roaming the markets of Paris for exquisite seasonal produce? My favorite for its selection is this bountiful market. Pont de l'Alma, 16th
Fruit de Mer: 21. This low-key restaurant draws an A-list clientele and art world players, thanks to the minimalist fish dishes like marinated herring and mackerel and shrimp with pasta. 21, rue Mazarine, 6th, 33-1-46-33-76-90
Confectionery:Chocolat Debauve & Gallais. It was the official purveyor to the last three kings of France, preceding Napoleon III. I love their iconic boxes. Founded more than 200 years ago, the building itself is an historic monument. 30, rue des Saints-Pères, 7th, debauve-et-gallais.com
Magisterial Bouquets:Moulie Savart. Originally opened in 1870, this florist is known for having catered to ministers and couturiers. But it's for all of us flower lovers too. 8, Place du Palais Bourbon, 7th, mouliefleurs.com
The model, actress and activist gives us her guide to navigating Paris with the kids, including her favorite fun spots for sweets, culture and weekend getaways.
My perfect Sunday with the kids…
Escaping to the Parc Floral de Paris in Vincennes, at the door of Paris. There are concerts in the summer, plants all over and a butterfly greenhouse.
And if we are in the mood for culture…
The Louvre — it’s a classic, but there is so much to see. You can’t appreciate it all in one visit. And before we go, we eat at Le Saut du Loup in the summer because it has a terrace or at Kunitoraya for Japanese noodles.
One under-the-radar activity with kids only locals know…
The exhibitions at 104 (Le Centquartre) are amazing and a lot of fun. We have lunch there at Café Caché or grab a pizza from the pizza truck located inside the building.
My children’s favorite restaurant…
Kunitoraya. They always order soba — they’re in love with soba!
For a sweet fix, we go to…
L’Éclair de Génie for chocolate or fruity éclairs. It’s small place and the éclairs are so delicious.
For great children’s clothes…
Zef — they have a few stores in Paris. As I have boys, it’s hard to find cool clothes and Mariù, the owner, is really good for boys’ clothing.
A great weekend escape…
We go to Château de Graville for fresh air and nature. There, we sleep on top of a tree in a tree house. We take walks in the forest, play soccer and observe the leaves — like I did with my mum when I was a kid.
My favorite thing about being a mother…
Unconditional love. You know when you become a mother that you’ll be loved and you will love your children forever.