We love Paris (who doesn’t?). We?re self-confessed Francomanian?s – we love the food (and wine), history, shops, architecture, lifestyle and the ultra-chic Parisian?s. It?s somewhere we go to at least once a year, and having been there so many times; we?ve got into a bit of a routine with some long-standing favourites, and some more recent discoveries.
There is so obviously so much to see, do, eat, drink, watch and explore in Paris… These are some of our personal musts; take from it what you want, and feel free to leave a comment with any of your favourites – we would to hear from you!
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Hotel Verneuil : We love this quaint little hotel in the heart of Saint Germain, minutes from the river Seine and the Louvre. The rooms are very small, but they?ve got everything you need, with a really cozy atmosphere and friendly staff. Reasonable, amazing location and super chic this is one of our go-to hotel?s when in Paris.
Hotel De Nell : This is a luxury boutique hotel in the 9th arrondissement. With minimalist decor and clean lines, this place is classically decorated and elegant, with top rated cuisine and excellent spa facilities.
Le Bristol : This is a five star hotel located in the vibrant area in Rue du Faubourg Saint Honore the heart of fashion, design, and art. Renowned for its historic architecture and luxurious interior, this is definitely the place to see and be seen for local and international cool cats, with amazing people watching in the bar area.
Hotel Costes : This hotel, restaurant, bar and night club located in the elegant 1st arrondissement (part of the ultra exclusive The Costes Group) is one of our favourite places in Paris. The decor is exuberant, dark and opulent albeit the service isnt the best, it is still one of our go-to?s to stay, eat, dance and drink for the ultimate Parisian experience.
La Reserve : If you like your privacy, yet a luxurious standard La Reserve is a high-end set of serviced apartments facing the Eiffel Tower. Clean, central and easy!
One Fine Stay : Have you ever wondered what it is to live in one of those amazing apartments you only ever see in interior magazines, always owned by the most elegant and successful kinds of people? Well, One Fine Stay is exactly that a tightly curated selection of apartments (hand picked by the OFS team), where you get your own front door key to that dream apartment.
AirBnB : The economy version of One Fine Stay, ideal for someone on a budget looking to spend their money on food and wine instead (we hear you!), and after a more personal stay in the City of love.
Musee du Louvre : This central landmark of Paris is one of the worlds largest museums and a historic monument in its own right. A must stop when in the city; even just to view it from the outside, or venture into the vast space (over 60,600 square metres!). Prepare yourself for long queues though, this place gets busy!
Musee dOrsay : If you can?t bear the masses of crowds at the Louvre, head to the home of France’s national collection from the impressionist, postimpressionist and art nouveau movements. Albeit this place also gets busy during peak times, it?s worth the wait! An art nouveau showpiece, the building is grand and filled with masterpieces spanning from the 1800s (yet manageable to cover in a few hours if you want a quick art fix).
Eiffel Tower : No need for further introduction, this iconic landmark gets us every time. We tend to stay clear going into the actual tower (due to the thousands of tourists) but whenever we visit, we always seek it out, from close or far away.
Les Invalides : Les Invalides contains museums and monuments, all relating to the military history of France as well as a hospital and a retirement home for war veterans, the buildings original purpose. The grand and historic building has beautiful surrounding gardens and is an interesting visit if you have time!
Sainte-Chapell : This architecturally astounding building, with stained-glass windows, is seriously worthy of a look in. Considered one of the greatest accomplishments of Gothic architecture, prepare to be overwhelmed (in a good way).
Notre Dame : Believe it or not, the Notre Dame is more popular than the Eiffel Tower, in terms of visitors! This historic cathedral is another Gothic master piece, and a definite must-see (if it?s your first time in Paris).
Pont des Arts Bridge : Aside from the masses of crowds on this bridge, the Pont des Arts Bridge is stunning, being coined the Love Lock bridge – where couples have for years been confessing their love for one another (and Paris), through a padlock etched with their initials (it is called the City of Love” after all.)
Marche Bastille : One of the biggest markets in Paris this place is is foodie heaven, with an array of amazing fresh fish, cheese and vegetables selection. We like to come here and snack on oysters and pick up cheese to bring back home. The vibe is fun, friendly and filled with locals.
Marche aux Puces : This is a place you go to if you have time on your hands! With over 2500 stalls, be prepared to pack an empty suitcase if you are serious. This flea market is crammed with bric-a-brac, antiques, vintage fashion, and tiny trinkets. Sure, there is plenty of tat, but theres definite treasures there too (if you have the patience!).
Palais de Tokyo : Paris?s modern and contemporary art destination, set within an impressive building and located along the river Seine across from the Eiffel Tower. If not only for the art enjoy a drink from their restaurant (Monsieur Bleu more on that below), and take in the view!
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Ferdi : Coined as a fashion industry favourite, this unassuming (and small) restaurants is charming and bustling; everything you would expect from a Parisian dining experience. A note on the door states in three languages: Good food takes time. We have the food. Do you have the time? To sum it up; prepare to wait (always book in advance) and embrace the local ambiance. Highlight dishes include the cheeseburger, Caponata (ratatouille with pine nuts), Ceviche and Shredded Beef served with Black Beans.
Rose Bakery : This is one of our absolute must?s when in Paris especially for breakfast or brunch, which is their speciality (also making it near enough impossible to get a table during the weekends!). The cafe, run by a Franco-British couple, prides itself in high quality ingredients – organic or from small producers – from their fresh DIY salad plates, daily soups, risottos, eggs (best in Paris) and delicious fresh and sweet treats. The dining room is minimalist but welcoming and vibrant.
Hotel Costes : Already mentioned as one of our favourite hotels in Paris for the magical athmosphere, this restaurant is one of Paris?s hot-spot and go-to for the ultimate elegant Parisian atmosphere. The service isnt excellent and the food and drinks menu is overpriced; but we always have an amazing time here soaking up the ambiance, music and good food. We love the Tom Yum Chilli Sea Bass, Seared Tuna & Yellow Tail & Spicy Lobster Pasta. Tip: make sure you request for a seat in the oustide courtyard during the summer months for the ultimate al fresco dining.
L’Avenue : This is the sister restaurant to Hotel Costes, and yet another fashion and celebrity hot-spot in Paris not only for the food (which is always very good) – but mainly for the ultra-chic Parisian vibe; we could sit there for hours people watching (preferably on the outside patio area) and watch the world go by. Our highlight dishes include the Spicy Tuna Tartare, Lobster Salad, Shrimp Risotto and Tomato Salad.
Cafe de Flore : Located in Saint-Germain, one of our top areas in Paris this place is buzzing, busy and serves uncomplicated egg dishes, amazing bread and pastries. It?s overpriced for what it is, but you?re paying for the location and the vivacious vibe.
Barthelemy : If you?ve come to Paris for some cheese, or if you just love the stuff – this is the place. A little hidden gem, this is the ultimate cheese heaven (and totally worth the indulgence)!
Cinc Mars : We love this place for it?s delicious, yet simple menu. Lively and relaxed atmosphere with reasonable prices and flavoursome dishes. Also located in Saint-Germain, this restaurant serves up local French cuisine with a twist; we like the omelette with chanterelles, sauteed clams and chocolate mousse!
Chez Paul : As much as there are certain places we always go to when in Paris (some of which are definite must?s in most city guides) – we always like to seek out local and authentic eateries. Chez Paul is a recent discovery, and is a truly authentic Parisian restaurant, trading since the early part of the last century. Serving up delicious examples of classic cuisine, such as Onion Soup, Basil Marinated Salmon and Sardines with Ratatouille, you wont find a more local vibe than here.
Monsieur Bleu : With its south-facing terrace overlooking the Eiffel Tower and the Seine, part of the legendary Palais de Tokyo and set within an immense Art Deco dining room with a 10m ceiling height — Monsieur Bleu is the setting for the Parisian high life. That said, the atmosphere is understatedly elegant, relaxed and suave, with great service and a diverse menu; from American comfort food, to French brasserie classics, and their delicious caviar and raw bar selection.
La Patisserie Des Reves : Because one has to have pastries in Paris (and these ones are pretty delicious!).
Caviar Kaspia : Do you love caviar, lobster and vodka? This is definitely the place in Paris. This luxurious and traditional establishment has been a landmark for over 80 years and a favourite amongst the Parisian smart set. We love the Lobster Medallion, Baked Potato with Caviar and Smoked Salmon with Home-made Blinis.
Eclectic : This modern brasserie is ultra chic and elegant (designed by the legendary Tom Dixon) nestled into the mall of the Beaugrenelle quarter, famous for its gigantic towers erected in front of the Seine. Expect an array of eclectic food, such as oysters, sea bream carpaccio, classic steaks and tuna tartare with avocado.
Le 6 Paul Bert : This place offers simple, yet first class dining at affordable prices. What?s there not to love about that? Using less fat and heavy ingredients in their signature tapas style dishes, our favourite meals include the Roasted Scallops, Quail with Beetroot, Pickled Carrot Salad and Mullet Carpaccio.
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Merci Merci : A definite must whenever we?re in Paris; this iconic and eclectic concept design store located in the trendy are of Marais, offers style, substance and something to eat all in one location; from fashion, jewellery, stationary, interior, household products with all profits donated to charity. How amazing is that? We could spend hours browsing this magical and inspiring place; and when we need a rest we head downstairs for fresh salad, or chill at the front book cafe while watching the world go by.
Collette : Another impressive one-stop concept shop, this cult classic remains a top destintaion for the fashion-conscious; with a wide range of kitsch gadgets, niche make-up brands, coffee table books and high end fashion labels such as Saint Laurant and Marni. If you get hungry and in need of a quick pit stop, there?s a restaurant in the basement to re-fuel.
Le Bon Marche : We love this place for many reasons; one of which being their impressive food hall! An amazing selection of fresh produce, groceries and kitchen essentials this is foodie heaven. We also love their beauty counter, which always stock the most cutting-edge and rare brands, among the classics. Their fashion department is also excellent; we prefer it for the contemporary French brands, such as Isabel Marant, Maje, APC and See by Chloe.
Printemps : This is the creme de la creme when it comes to Parisian department stores currently holding the largest shoe and beauty department in the whole of Europe (!). With fashion, jewellery and beauty spread across six floors, you could find yourself spending hours here.
Galeries Lafayette : This iconic department store first opened its doors to the public in the late 1800s, and still remains a fashion institution. Featuring cutting-edge fashion, beauty, accessories, home furnishing this place has it all. We personally love the Lafayette Gourmet, their food market filled to brim with fresh produce, a huge array of take-away options and a cheese counter to die for.
Isabel Marant : With four stores located in Paris?s hip areas this is our go-to designer when in Paris. The epitomise of boho chic; the stores are all individual and beautiful in their own right, always featuring fresh and fun clothes (we adore her more affordable line Etoile Isabel Marant for a quick fashion fix).
Chanel : Need we see more? If only to browse, this is a definite must when in Paris.
G E T T I N G T H E R E :
The simplest way to travel to Paris (from London) is by the Eurostar, from London St Pancras International to Gare du Nord in central Paris in as little as 2hr 15min. Within Europe, most international flights arrive at Paris Charles de Gaulle (17 miles north of the city), popular airlines include British Airways, EasyJet and Air France. When you arrive, we use Uber to get around, or jump on the Metro, which is an incredibly easy system (and relatively clean!).
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Needless to say, Paris is beautiful all year around but our personal favourite time to go is early spring, with less tourists around and a pleasurable temperature!