Ahh… Paris! The land of baguettes, marinière stripes and all things effortlessly chic. If you’re lucky enough to spend a few days dans la Ville Lumière, here are a few insider spots you won’t want to miss out on. Whether you’re into eating and drinking wine (who isn’t?!), art or vintage buys, we’ve got your weekend covered.
Written by Parissa Venturini with special thanks to Louise Neil
Where to… Eat
It’s no secret that the Parisians have an eternal love affair with seafood; the city is dotted with oyster bars. The charming Brasserie Flo is the right place for indulging in a three tier fruits de mer extravaganza, while immersed in nostalgic Parisian décor. This is the place to go for healthy Bento boxes. Nanashi is a small hip fusion restaurant in the heart of the Marais that offers a meat, fish and veggie options to fill your Bento box with. They also offer a home delivery service.
Right by the Canal Saint Martin, Le Verre Volé originally opened as a wine shop and later started serving food in the evenings. Mains include the hearty traditional Toulouse sausage with cream mash or boudin noir, which can be paired with a red wine from their wide selection. It’s the perfect spot for a cosy dinner during autumn and winter.
Ibrik Café – Tucked away in the 9th arrondissment, Ibrik is a small authentically hipster bar, great for having a coffee and a bite from their homemade Mediterranean menu. They also have several plugs and (strong!) wifi, so it’s a good place to stop by if you have work that can’t wait.
Les Pinces – Les Pinces is a small chain of restaurants, located in Saint-Germain, Pigalle and le Marais. The concept is simple, you can either order a whole lobster, a lobster roll, a steak or a bit of both, and it will be quickly brought to you, accompanied by fries and a salad with their signature homemade sauce. Need we add more?
Where to… Shop
Hermès – The Hermès store in Rue de Sèvres (6th arrondissment) has become an obligatory stop since its opening in 2011. Hermès is eponymous with Parisian chic, so it only makes sense that their concept store be housed in what used to be the Lutetia swimming pool, a landmark of the Art Deco years. The store still has the original mosaic tiling of the pool and an abundance of original Art Deco features brought up to date with beautiful wooden structures and leather details, such as the leather handrail.
THANX GOD I’M A V.I.P - Vintage shopping: the world is divided between those who love it and those who hate it. If you do love it, then there is no such place as Paris to find a hidden vintage designer gem. THANX GOD I’M A V.I.P (10th arrondissement) takes out all of the rummaging (and unpleasant smell) out of the experience, and provides a colour run of carefully selected and predominantly second hand designer beauties. This is the perfect place to reinvent for an hour and possibly stumble upon a cashmere tweed Chanel jacket or a golden yellow Hermès kaftan evening gown.
Where to… Explore alternative exhibitions
Musée Bourdelle – A bit off the beaten track (15th arrondissement), this museum hosted the Balenciaga exhibition this year. Musée Bourdelle has a permanent sculpture collection, and sometimes holds temporary exhibitions around the sculptures, as was the case with Balenciaga. The Museum also has a couple of courtyards and secret gardens which are frequented by Parisians in the know-how as a place of escapism, to read a book or take a stroll amongst the sculptures and flowers on a Sunday.
Le Grand Musée du Parfum – Immersed in Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, this museum offers a conceptual multi-sensory journey through the history and science of perfume-making. Paris is the home of perfume, so a stop here is truly fundamental. You may leave inspired to buy a souvenir fragrance from of the famous Parisian parfumiers, such as Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle or Histories des Parfums.
Within Paris – If you’ve already been to Paris, the you know that the views from le Sacre Coeur at Montmartre and the Eiffel Tower are the most famous (and touristy) spots to enjoy the view. A less known viewing spot is the Arc du Triomphe, at the beginning of the Champs Elysées. The seemingly never-ending spiral staircase inside takes you up to the very top of the monument, which offers fantastic views over the City of Love. This is an absolute must for photo enthusiasts – and also a way to avoid long queues.
Outside Paris - The terrace at Saint-Germain-en-Laye gives you the best view of Paris on a clear weather day, and it’s only a 30-minute train ride from the city centre. The trip is worth the journey to enjoy the breath-taking views, the fresh air and a walk in the forest. A famous attraction worth visiting is the chateau, the birth place of Louis XIV. You can end your stroll with a spot of lunch in Place du Marche which also hosts a food market on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays.