Due to popular demand I am reposting this list. One of the most asked questions that pops into my email is ‘what should I see in Paris?’
What is good to do in Paris? Tough question!! It is like asking someone how long is the queue at the local Tabac!! You could live your whole life in Paris and never touch the bottom and of course it depends on your taste, age and interests.
I formulated this list for a lifelong friend who had never visited Paris and I wanted to show her a fun and funky cross section and the things I do in my daily life that still make my heart sing!!
So here goes these are some of the things I love about Paris:
1. First stop Merci. Merci has become my second home. I love eveything about this shop, the products, the space, the wonderful restaurants and cafe.. But most of all I love that a percentage of profits are donated to charity. I lunch at the canteen downstairs because it has the best ‘girl food’ in Paris and you look out onto a beautiful herb garden. There are lots of lovely fresh salads, soups and organic juices that are hard to find on the menu in Paris..
111 Boulevard Beaumarchais
2. One of Paris’s most fabulous shops is found in the elegant 7th.. As you mount the old wooden stairs and enter into animal fantasyland you will be forgiven for the ‘oh my god jaw drop’.. Deyrolle is a taxidermist with a difference.. They proudly state that all animals have died of natural causes. Polar bears and lions, baby elephants and advarks.. Out the back you can have your made to order butterfly or bug selection framed. An exquisite present that has a constant line of Parisians queuing..Only in Paris.
46 rue du Bac
3. Galerie Musee Baccarat.. There are so many wonderful museums in Paris but I love the small ones. The Louvre is incredible but I get an anxiety attack everytime I go, I leave feeling guilty that I haven’t seen it all. Instead I discovered the small ones. Galerie Musee Baccarat is irresistible. Housed in ancient Hotel Particulier, France’s most glamorous glass is awe inspiring. I also adore Musee Bourdelle, Antoine Bourdelle’s incredible sculpture museum with monumental sculpture and original artist’s atelier. I discovered it whilst seeing the recent Madame Gre’s exhibition in this incredible space.
Galerie Musee Baccarat
Place des Etats-Unis
18, rue Antoine Bourdelle
4. Cakes……Paris has the best desserts in the world. I can’t get excited about the Beef Bourguignon or the Confit di Canard but put a tarte citron or chocolat chaud in front of my and I am purrrringggg.. I love the atmosphere of Angelina’s on rue du Rivoli and they make the best hot chocolate in Paris. Old world Paris, pure rich hot chocolate in silver pots with whipped cream – it could get a girl into a lot of trouble!! ps. go for morning tea and don’t even think about going on Sundays!!
You all know about Laduree and their to-die-for macaroons but there are so many wonderful local places to try in Paris. I live just around the corner from Patisserie Pain-de-Sucre and these guys take cakes very seriously. Lots of original flavour combinations and they have just opened a new shop with a wonderful bench out the front where you can sit and savour them!! And Terres des Cafe is right next door so you can grab a real coffee to wash them down..
226 rue du Rivoli
Patisserie Pain de Sucre
14 rue Rambuteau
5. Jardin du Luxembourg.. Why?? Because it is an oasis of gorgeousness in urban Paris. In April with a giant case of jetlag I crossed the river and started jogging in Jardin du Luxembourg. Let’s face it I was up so early I had hours to kill. I feel like calling out ‘silence please’ as I enter this garden. For me it is almost a religious experience to walk underneath the chestnut trees in bloom and try and discern one perfume from another. If you want to see the world’s greenest grass, this is the place. French attention for detail in every leaf..
6. Serge Lutens in the Palais Royale.. This is the double whammy.. Whilst all the tourists are circling the Louvre and trying to find space in the Jardin du Tuileries the Palais Royale is left to the locals. Tucked behind the Comedie Francaise it is one of Paris’s most beautiful spaces with a garden to boot and some of Paris’s best shops. If there is one place in Paris you should buy perfume it is in the ultra French space of Serge Lutens in Les Salons du Palais Royale. Oodles of French ambience. This place makes my heart skip!!
142 Galerie de Valois
7. Didier Ludot. When and if I ever win the lottery one of my first stops will be at Didier Ludot. Didier is the proud owner/curator of the most important vintage haute couture gowns in Paris and possibly the world. They are all here, Madame Gres, Vionnet, Chanel, Thierry Mugler, Paco Rabanne and the list goes on and on….
24 Galerie Montpensier
8. Le Petit Fer a Cheval.. Possibly Paris’s smallest cafe. I go just to brace the bar and enjoy the company of the charming staff and the knockout old world Parisian atmosphere. The tourist books will point you to Cafe de Flore and Les deux Magots but there you will be surrounded by tourists. Drop into my local bar for a quick coffee, freshly squeezed orange juice at the bar and here you will be surrounded by a colourful cast of locals. Otherwise they do a delicious lunch in the restaurant hidden behind the bar..
Le Petit Fer a Cheval
30 rue Vieille du Temple
9. Canal Saint Martin. I love the canal and the life that has sprung up in the streets around this area. It reminds me of what happened in Sydney around Surry Hills years ago. Daggy and funky mix it up. The canal is where the cult film Amelie was shot so fans will recognise the curvy bridges. So many good local bars and eateries around here with a young sassy crowd.
We meet for apero at Chez Prune
We eat real Italian pizza at Maria Luisa
We eat fresh Cambodian at Le Camboge
We buy art books at artazart
We buy baguettes and warm chausson aux pommes at Du pain et des idees
In winter we eat French at La Marine
10. Buttes Chaumont. When the sun is shining and the birds are singing I join loads of other Parisians for a picnic in Buttes Chaumont in the 19th.. This is one park in Paris where you can stretch out and lie on the grass, bring all your picnic goodies, your guitar, your kids and their balls and bikes. Buttes Chaumont is the Paris park par excellence for a picnic. When the sun is shining their is a carnival atmosphere here and you feel a million miles away from Paris.
11. To Market to Market.. And what is a visit to Paris without a visit to a local market?? I would say it is essential!! As important as standing in front of the Mona Lisa in the Louvre!! Real Parisian life revolves around the market and all you need to do is to join the crowd at Paris’s biggest market on sunday at Marche Richard Lenoir and you will see just how important food is still in a Parisian’s daily life. Keep moving otherwise you might experience caddy rage!!
I hope you enjoyed my little tour. If you have anything special that you love doing in Paris let me know..