paris city guide
by Juliet Bryant
When we were planning our European tour, Paris was not high on our list. In fact, I had always thought of Paris as being a bit cheesy. The Eiffel tower emblem is hugely overused (find on many a keychain, tshirt, or notebook cover) , but we just sort of wanted to tick it off our bucket list.
Boy were we in for a surprise! As it turns out, Paris is the one place that I would so LOVE to be able to live! There is truly a special magic about it that you can’t quite explain. A je ne sais quoi.
Paris. Well dressed women walking down the street in perfectly put together, yet effortless outfits, bed head hair, and rouge lips. À la mode. Men in dark tailored suits riding motorcycles to work. Bakeries which beckon you with the most delicious smell of croissants and baguettes as you walk by. Flower shops - Fleuriste. Parks full of people relaxing, drinking wine - du vin, and chatting in french (bien sûr!). A city from which muses such as Jane Birkin, Bridgette Bardot, and Jeanne Damas hail. Street markets (marché de rue) - full of fresh juicy fruits, every kind of fish or squid you can imagine, and anything you could ever want to cook with. Watch as a lady will ask the man behind the fruit for what she want, he will ask her when she will be eating it, or what she will be cooking with it, and he will select the Crème de la crème for her needs, and she will stow it in her market basket.( Did you know it is uncouth to select your own fruit, in France?) Lovely white appartements everywhere, balcons overlooking the city, the Tour Eiffel in the distance. That is Paris.
The best way to understand the neighborhoods (Arrondissements) Paris is as a giant snell shape, with the first neighborhood in the center, and the numbers going up as it spirals outwards.
Arrondissements 1-8 are best to stay in when you visit the city of Paris, because they were be near to the sites you want to see! Better to stay closer to the attraction, and you will spend more time enjoying the city and less time traveling. Maybe even enable you to walk to some of the attraction, a great way to be able to observe more of the culture of Paris. Real Parisians walk a great deal. We had a lovely stay in this airbnb, but there are some amazing design hotels in Paris as well:
- Hotel Le Cinq
- Le Citizen Hotel
- My Favorite & incredible location: Hotel La Maison Champs Elysees
- Hotel Henriette
- Hotel Bienvenue
Le Marias Neighborhood is a lovely place to wonder around and has some of the best places to eat! Some of my ver favorites are:
- Marlette: a lovely spot for lunch!
- Pinson: best place for a coffee pick me up!
- Wild & the Moon: breakfast, lunch, or a good chat!
- Restaurant PNY (Paris New York) if you want some delicious Parisienne burgers with style!
Paris is full of cafes with amazing aesthetic combined with incredibly delicious food. Some of my top choices throughout Paris are:
- Paperboy Paris
- Cafe Oberkampf
- Broken Arm Cafe
- Coutume Cafe
And for finer dining in style? Try L’Alcazar Restaurant!
Paris is a place where you really do want to visit the classics, but don’t do it like the typical tourist. Here’s a few ways to do things a bit differently. Buy a french shopping basket at a little general store. Go to a street market and bakery, and fill your basket with scrumptious things to eat. Paris is full of lovely communal places, and the locals picnic at almost all of the best spots. The gardens of the Louvre, the Eiffel Tour, along the Seine River, the Garden’s of Luxembourg, for instance! As for the secret of the best place to see the Eiffel Tour sparkle at sunset? Climb the Arches de Triumph in time to see it and the landscape of Paris shimmering in the day’s last rays. A great way to take home some vintage french souvenirs, visit the french flea market first thing in the morning!
Le Marias is FULL of amazing restaurant and stores and bursting with energetic young people and creativity. Le Marias is the only place in Paris that you will see vintage jeans worn (jeans are too casual for Parisians in other places!) Wonder around here to get inspired! You can’t help but find shops that make your soul happy if you just walk along. I was excited to step foot into my first Acme store here, as well as many others!