“Lauren, I’m coming to Paris. Where should I eat? Where should I hang out? Where should I shop?” After a decade of fielding these questions as they arose, finally it occurred to me to put together some semblance of a list!
Have any questions or comments about visiting Paris? Email me, I’d be happy to answer them.
Where to eat
Le Carré des feuillants. €€€€€
Sublime, from start to finish. The wine list is exceptional as well– we’re still talking about that 1996 Chassagne Montrachet “Morgeot.”
14, rue de Castiglione
Chez Marie et Louise €€€
An unassuming bistro near the Canal St Martin with friendly service and delicious food. I’m not a dessert person but they do these things to a banana such as you’ve never imagined…
11, rue Marie et Louise
Great Thai food in a lush, sophisticated atmosphere. The food is also lush and sophisticated, full of dark bases and bright flavors.
106, rue St-Honoré
Le refuge des fondues. €€
Some people think this place is gross, or just for students, or tourists, or whatever. I don’t care. It’s great fun, and if you can tell me what is better than melted cheese on baguette with red wine out of a baby bottle, I’m all ears. Go ahead. I’m waiting.
Tél. 01 42 55 22 65
Nonna Inès. €€
My neighborhood Italian joint. Great pasta dishes with only the freshest ingredients– Laura, the chef, changes the menu every season. Very small; reservations recommended.
1, rue de l’Arbalète
Tél. 01 43 37 23 72
Bar Le Passage.
It’s pretty a well-kept secret and I’d like to keep it that way, so I’m not saying anything more specific than the name. If you can find it, enjoy!
Where to shop
Le Bon Marché. Forget Galeries Lafayette. This is where you want to be if it’s a department store you’re looking for. Be sure to visit the houseware section on the 2nd floor (that’s the third floor for the Americans) and the Grande Epicerie next door.
24, rue de Sèvres
Astier de Villatte. Pure white ceramics and other lovely curiosities for the home and mind.
173, Rue St Honoré
M° Palais Royal
A.P.C. Surplus. Discount A.P.C. What more need I say?
20, Rue André del Sarte
Printemps is my second-favorite department store, and as for Agent Provocateur– let’s just say they named their perfume for me. If you can’t afford AP, Princesse Tam-Tam is not bad either.
Printemps Haussmann, lower level
64, bd Haussmann
Less expensive and more girly than Agent Provocateur.
various locations, including:
53, rue Bonaparte
I also find Montmartre to be, in general, an excellent place to wander in and out of stores. One word: Spree. (16 rue de la Vieuville, 75018)
Where to drink
Excellent mint tea, decent menu if an apéro goes into overtime. For lunch, try the brick de chevre.
5, rue Claude Bernard
The thickest hot chocolate in Paris, a great place to work, two steps from the Place des Voges… you can often find me tucked away at one of the tables in here [Photo courtesy of Tampen].
11 Rue Du Pas De La Mule
Au Rendez-vous des amis.
The kind of bar that doesn’t exist anywhere else in the world– and that you thought no longer existed in Paris, either. Full of local montmartrois hanging out and doing their thing, drinking, having a nosh, reading a book from the in-house library, playing one of their board games, strumming their guitar or listening to some random guy play the accordion. I came here a lot more frequently when I lived in the neighborhood but now it’s sadly a bit too far for impromptu visits.
23 rue Gabrielle
La Closerie des Lilas
Don’t come here for dinner (lunch maybe) because the prices are high and the quality mediocre, but for drinks there’s no better place than this, especially on special occasions. It gets a lot of press because Hemingway et al frequented this place back when your grandmother was a toddler, and indeed there are brass nameplates on each table letting you know which expired people regularly sat where you now sit. This lends a certain undeniable something, especially when the nameplate refers to someone vaguely obscure, but whom you’re sure you’ve heard mentioned, like the Symbolist poet Henri de Regnier, whose table I had on my last visit here. Sort of pricey but the atmosphere is worth it. Try the mint champagne.
171 bd. du Montparnasse
M° Port-Royal, Vavin