Nov 7, 2021
7 min read
A City Guide to Paris
We could walk every arrondissement 100 times and still discover new things to love about Paris. From sipping coffee with a croissant at a sidewalk cafe, to running through the rain along the Seine, to tiny glasses of house red – Paris is where your idyllic image (allow us a little cliché here) of what the city could be actually matches its reality.
Though people think of Paris as a place for the sophisticated and fashionable (and let’s be real, everyone who lives there seems to have that cool edge), there’s something for everyone.
We figure you’ve already gotThe Louvre
and a few of the top restaurants on your list. In an effort to add some lesser known gems, and pay homage to the places we love most, check out our guide to Paris, below.
Where to stay in Paris
Yes, you will find a Hoxton on our list of “Where to stay” in any city that has one – and with good reason. Their Paris outpost is housed in an 18th century hôtel particulier and is their largest (and arguably most beautiful) hotel. Many of the furnishings come from French designers and you can choose from the Shoebox-sized room, through to the Biggy. We recommend asking for one on the top floor, as they have striking views of the Eiffel Tower. With theRivié
restaurant serving classic French fair andJacques’ Bar
making great cocktails, you really don’t need to go anywhere else.
This might be the sexiest hotel in Paris. With in-room bathtubs, views of the city, and eclectic artwork – it’s definitely a spot to book if you are going away with someone special. As much as we love the rooms, our favorite thing about this hotel is that the good time comes to you. Their ground floor not only has a vinyl record library, they also have DJs here on a weekly basis.
Experimental Group (the guys behind Experimental Cocktail Club), took a step into the hotel business and opened one in both London and Paris. Built in an 18th-century townhouse and boasting 50 rooms that are designed with rich fabrics and playful details, we would crown the Grands Boulevards the chicest of Experimental’s hotels.
Where to eat in Paris
This restaurant is loved by locals and tourists alike. The food is good, the vibe is better, and their chocolate mousse (which is literally bottomless) is the best.
Don’t come to Chateaubriand if you are a control freak. This distinctly French restaurant has one of the best and most affordable tasting menus we’ve come across – but you don’t get a choice. Truth be told, that’s fine with us because everything that comes out of the kitchen is great.
Though it’s a bit scene-y and may not be your first pick if you are trying to go to authentic Parisian places, you can’t deny that La Stresa is good fun. Pasta, velvet chairs, and ornate mirrors set the scene.
This restaurant is named after a Serge Gainsbourg song. Need we say more? Decked out in vintage wallpaper, Pamela Popo will take you right back to the 50s and 60s. It’s classic French food; and a lovely place to sit and linger when it’s warm outside.
Where to drink
Along Canal Saint Martin is one of our favorite multi-use bars in Paris. This Franco-African themed space looks like a converted warehouse loft, with mismatched chairs and vintage finds hanging on the walls. Come here for drinks and great tunes in the evening, and return the next morning for coffee.
Our favorite rooftop bar in Paris. Come here for a sunset drink (or three) and make sure to dress well, it’s a stylish crowd.
Hero is a Korean-inspired restaurant on rue Saint Denis, and while the food is great, the cocktails are even better. It’s dark and sexy, with a mix of hip-hop and K-pop in the background.
Great cocktails in a cozy-chic space (that’s also a restaurant if you’re hungry). It’s in the increasingly hip Pigalle neighborhood, so a good place to start your evening or meet for a date (you are in Paris after all).
Behind a seemingly closed storefront you’ll find Le Syndicat. This bar specializes in unusual cocktails and is bringing back old-school French spirits.
What to do in Paris
An indoor market with tons of stalls that carry fresh produce, prepared food, and more. It’s a great place to stop for lunch.
There are few better experiences in Paris than buying a baguette, a bottle of wine, and great cheese to bring to the banks of the river.
This gallery explores the history of artistic exchanges between France and Sweden, and frequently has exhibits by young creatives and artists.
Truly one of the most picturesque and romantic spots in a
photogenic city. It’s more tranquil than the other sites along the Seine and is close enough to the Marais to swing by on a whim.
Hotel Molitor’s iconic pool is very Wes Anderson, and ideal to cool off in the warmer months.
Where to shop in Paris
That little red car you’ve seen all over the internet? It’s parked in front of Paris’s favorite concept shop, Merci. This multi-floored, high-end general store has home goods, clothing, second-hand books, gifts, furniture, a flower shop and a cafe. Everything you could possibly wish for.
The St. Germain location of this super-cool men’s brand is the only place you’ll find its women’s capsule collection – we are dedicated fans of the blazers.
This is the best secondhand vintage shop in the area (although it’s worth exploring the others, too). The collection is well curated and organized by color. We have found some real gems.
An iconic bookstore you may have heard of, always worth a visit for that magical feeling that good book shops inspire.
Where to dance
In the middle ofParc des Buttes-Chaumont
, this gay bar is a great daytime or sunset spot. And once the sun goes down, it can turn into a serious dance party. Bring your best moves.
Once you walk through the unmarked door inPigalle
, you’ll find live jazz and a bar that specializes in New Orleans-style cocktails. The crowd gets rowdy in the best possible way and this is definitely a place you can dance all night.
With great tunes, neon lights, and a Moroccan-themed bar, this place creates some of our favorite cocktails in Paris. Eat atDerrière
, which is a restaurant by the same owner, ahead of dancing.
Where to get coffee in Paris
Truly some of the best pastries you will have in Paris. Come here for a tea break or lunch, or both.
One of the city’s first specialty coffee shops, similar to those you find in NYC, this cafe has a strong brew and not a lot of space. Get a takeaway and sip as you stroll.
Popular with the fashion crowd, Télescope offers great coffee, an amazing tea selection. You can’t bring your laptop, which makes it all the better for reading, writing, or people watching.
Sitting in one of these parks and watching Paris live its life while you drink your coffee is a joy. Take a picnic, take your children, take yourself and soak it all up before heading on to one of the nearby museums or galleries.
Where to get a hit of Parisian culture
AssumingMusée de l’Orangerie
is already on your list, we highly encourage a pit stop at this museum, too. It’s dedicated to photography, and located on the edge of the Tuileries gardens, just a short walk from Monet’s waterlilies.
Once the workshop of the famed sculptor, the Hôtel Biron and its gardens are now a museum dedicated to Rodin’s work and the collection of art he kept. You can visit his studio in central Paris, as well as his home just outside the city. We recommend doing both.
One of the largest contemporary art centers in Europe, Palais de Tokyo sits beside theMusée d’Art Moderne
, sharing a courtyard. With a focus on emerging and established artists from around the world, expect new works from some of recent history’s best talent. Though it may not be one of your first stops in Paris, it’s a refreshing change from the old classics.
If it were possible to have a dinner party with the dead, you would definitely want to come to the largest cemetery in Paris for the best company. Gertrude Stein, Oscar Wilde, Jim Morrison, and Édith Piaf are all buried here.
Where to work remotely in Paris
This is more like a co-working space than a coffee shop. You pay based on the hour and get free drinks and snacks while you’re there. Conveniently located in the 3rd, you’ll find fast wifi and plenty of outlets.
This large concept space is completely free to the public. It hosts cultural programming and events, and has coffee shops and bars on each floor. Make yourself at home, stay as long as you like, and check out any exhibitions or shows while you’re there.
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