Do you like Paris? Me, not really. Haha, that’s quite a good start for a Paris city guide, isn’t it?
But let me explain myself. Paris is incredible on so many levels: magnificent architecture, museums everywhere, delicious food, aesthetically pleasing design, tasty coffee, boutiques filled with gorgeous clothes… Wait a second, why am I not completely smitten with Paris? Oh right, the stressful vibe. I know, Parisian life must be hard: a highly competitive work environment, the rents are amongst the highest in the world and locals are invaded with more than 30 million tourists each year. Don’t get me wrong, I’d be short-tempered too!
Though I wish I could say otherwise, the tensed atmosphere gets to me. I’m extremely receptive to other people’s energy and when I go to Paris — it’s the second time I go to visit my sister who now lives there — I become super impatient and highly irritable.
I know many people feel the same way and that some are completely head-over-heels with Paris. Whichever team you’re on, I’ve gathered my favourite off-the-beaten-path spots to escape the city’s high pace whirlwind.
I had a serious slouvaki craving during my trip (I’ve no idea why!) and I stumbled upon that charming tiny restaurant specializing in Greek street food. I’ve savoured my deliciously marinated chicken sandwich down to the last crumb, sitting by the window while doing people watching. Lunch = 10/10.
9 Rue Mandar, 75002 | filakia.fr
We often forget that hotel installations are available to the public even when you’re not renting a room. The Hoxton boasts a beautiful communal restaurant and cafe space which turned out to be the perfect spot to read a book on one of their gorgeous velvet sofas.
30-32 Rue du Sentier, 75002 | instagram.com/thehoxtonhotel
If you’re one of those girls obsessed with Jeanne Damas and straw bags, that boutique will make you extremely happy. Silky garments, espadrilles made with cotton canvas, coffee table books and sleek-packaged beauty products, there’s even a (free, yay!) photobooth to immortalize your visit.
1 Rue Saint-Fiacre, 75002 | sezane.com
I’m not much of a shopper when I travel, but one thing I like to spoil myself with when I’m away from home is stationery. And that boutique holds everything I could ever dream of (paper-wise I mean), which basically makes me want to start 12 personal diaries all at once.
5 Rue des Filles du Calvaire, 75003 | papiertigre.fr
I went during Paris music festival (la fête de la musique) to attend a show by three Swedish singers (duh!) and it was magical. On regular days, the backyard is filled with long chairs for the busy souls looking to wind down. In addition to the permanent and temporary exhibitions, the space hosts conferences and other cultural gatherings. It’s worth checking out the calendar before going!
11 Rue Payenne, 75003 | paris.si.se
That’s where my sister and I celebrated our reunion when I arrived in Paris! The service was super friendly, the effervescent wine quenched my thirst and, like real Parisians, we sat down underneath the awning to indulge in our favourite activity (especially in the Marais): observing people.
101 Rue Vieille du Temple, 75003 | glou-resto.com
The Broken Arm
Even if all my savings would never be enough to buy anything from that super exclusive store (think Jacquemus to Céline), wandering through the beautiful space is still worth it. When I came dangerously close to crying because I couldn’t afford anything, I crossed to the coffee part of the boutique. Let just say that a latte, even at 5 euros, is closer to my budget.
12 Rue Perrée, 75003 | the-broken-arm.com
8E AND 9E ARRONDISSEMENT
Jeu de paume
Other than eating, visiting museums is probably my favourite activity. It’s my sister who told me about this one, which covers all forms of mechanical and electronic imagery (photography, video, cinema, etc.). It’s located at the extremity of the Jardin des Tuileries: how convenient for a walk in the park after your visit.
1 Place de la Concorde, 75008 | jeudepaume.org
Looking for real vintage? That’s THE place. Expect to find as many unknown pieces as designer ones, like a Courrèges dress priced a 150 euros, which is relatively reasonable compared to other Parisian thrift stores. On my end, I found an amazing three-coloured straw bag that is hands down my best buy of the summer.
69 Rue de Rochechouart, 75009 | facebook.com/mamie.blue.paris/
Palais Garnier – Opéra national de Paris
Okay, it’s not such an obscure recommendation, but very few people take the time to appreciate the building’s majestic architecture from the inside. The concert hall, all covered in red velvet, is mounted with a seven-ton chandelier and the ceiling is painted by no other than Marc Chagall.
8 Rue Scribe, 75009 | operadeparis.fr
Thanx God I’m VIP
You know earlier, when I was telling about thrift stores with hefty price tags? Here is one. Unless your budget is unlimited, I think you should approach that boutique as museum where you get to touch the artwork. Givenchy, Balenciaga and Hermès, all the big names are there with equally big prices.
12 Rue de Lancry, 75010 | thanxgod.com
If you’re looking for beautiful objects to bring home, don’t look any further! This huge boutique showcases tons of gems, 90% of which are made in Europe. The owners also favour pieces made out of easily renewable and reusable materials, like wood, linen, steel, clay, and glass. And I also saw a corgi while I was there, which can only be a good sign, right? ;)
11 Rue du Château d’Eau, 75010 | latresorerie.fr
Don’t worry, this is not a shopping mall, but a boutique founded by the two guys behind the eco-friendly shoe brand Veja. Carrying both men and womenswear, the pair has a soft spot for environmentally and socially conscious brands. I also noticed a couple of The Stowe bags when I went. #MontrealRepresent
2 Rue de Marseille, 75010 | centrecommercial.cc
Highly popular amongst the cool crowd, that hole-in-a-wall cafe serves food I wish I’d had time to taste (I had a coffee to go instead). I’ve heard that getting a table there can take some time, but the sandwiches are apparently worth the wait.
3 Rue Neuve Popincourt, 75011 | cafeoberkampf.com
Cité du Figuier and Cité Durmar
To feel like you’ve just entered a whole other world, you absolutely have to take a stroll through those two alleyways, just a couple of blocks away from Café Oberkampf. Cobblestone, greenery and industrial buildings from another era: those quaint and narrow streets are filled with artist studios and small-scale creative spaces.
If you’re thirsty AND hungry, I strongly advise you go to Martin. The alcohol list is both extensive and impressive and the entire food menu, made up small sharing plates, is developed around organic ingredients.
24 Boulevard du Temple, 75011 | bar-martin.fr
Musée Yves Saint Laurent
Is there a better place to hold a permanent retrospective of Yves Saint Laurent than the building where he created all the haute couture collections from 1977 to 2002, ? I think not. Make sure you go on the top floor: his studio has been replicated down to the tiniest details, like if Yves had just stepped out to go get a coffee. If you love fashion as much as I do, expect to get a little emotional.
5 Avenue Marceau, 75116 | museeyslparis.com
Fondation Louis Vuitton
Here is a museum worth your attention both for its spectacular architecture and exhibitions. A little outside the heart of Paris, the museum, designed by iconic Frank Gehry, represents a sailing ship. The art is 100% contemporary and the rooftop terrasse boasts the most impressive view of the city. Definitely a favourite of mine.
8 Avenue du Mahatma Gandhi, 75116 | fondationlouisvuitton.fr
Urban farm, hen house, outdoor theatre set on an abandoned railroad, flea market, restaurant using sustainable ingredients: la Recyclerie feels more like San Francisco than Paris. The space is HUGE (especially considering Paris rents) and has the right amount of bric-a-brac to be incredibly charming.
83 Boulevard Ornano, 75018 | larecyclerie.com
Another local-favourite spot where you can get coffee, lunch, and drinks. It’s cute, it’s tasty: in other words, it meets all my standards.
64 Rue Ramey, 75018 | facebook.com/Café-Pimpin
Like I was saying earlier, whether I’m home or on a trip, I LOVE stationery shops. This one carries numerous brands, all beautifully designed, and also offers creative workshops, if ever you feel like taking a class as to spice up your French adventure.
10 Rue Ramey, 75018 | lateliernota.com
Oh my god, what would I do without Italian food? That’s one of my sister’s favourite restaurants and I totally get why. Our waiter even gave me a private tour of the kitchen so I could taste pasta freshly made by an Italian mama. Burrata, truffle oil, and parmesan: I’ll never grow tired of it. NEVER.
5 Rue la Vieuville, 75018 | roberta.fr
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