Finally! I’m sharing the little Paris guide my friend Dee and I put together for our trip last month. This is FAR from an all-encompassing guide to shopping, eating, and sightseeing in the city but it includes what we most wanted to check off our itinerary. We hope it helps you enjoy your time in Paris. While you’re there, remember to enjoy all the food and theatre the city has to offer!
Stohrer: The oldest pastry shop in Paris! A must-see for history buffs who also have a sweet tooth. The shop opened in 1730 which just gets me dreaming all about what those walls could tell us about the people who have been in and out of those doors! Evidently, Nicolas Stohrer’s baba au rhum (rum-soaked sponge cake) and puits d’amour (caramel-topped, vanilla cream–filled puff pastry) are at this location. The pastel murals are worth the trip alone.
Restaurant Au Passage: A small neighborhood bar, this is a great spot to avoid tourists and get a real Parisian experience.
Les Deux Magots: The classic French bistro experience. So chic and Parisian it’s a must every time I find myself in the city. For whatever reason, we always choose Les Deux Magots over Cafe Flore.
Boulangerie Utopie: Get a baguette here if you are in the area—it’s especially recommended. Other popular treats are the black sesame roule, black baguette, and brioche.
Cafe Charlot: A cute little cafe that we got salmon tartare and some red wine at after shopping. It is adorable and there are lots of chic people hanging out at all hours!
Le Bonaparte: An adorable cafe in St. Germaine. A good spot to just sit and participate in the theatre of Paris.
La Fontaine de Mars: As classic a French bistro as they come! You can order just about anything you’d like here and I love how there were little dogs and toddlers hanging out here like it was totally normal. They all seemed to know how to behave … which says something about the way the French raise their kids and pets!
Ob-La-Di: A lovely café in La Marais for tea, coffee, and brunch. It’s not your traditional French bistro, however. The decor includes minimalist materials, brightly patterned encaustic tile, and stripped-down seating.
Septime: This has been a hotspot in Paris for a while now and was recommended to us for dinner. It’s cozy, casual, and worth trying to get in. The menu is centered around high-quality, seasonal ingredients without a lot of fuss. You can book reservations online in advance, so if you’re a planner, make your reservation before you depart!
Marché les Enfants Rouges: This is one of the oldest spots to enjoy an affordable meal in Marais and includes a variety of ethnic food stands along with fresh produce. Cuisines include Caribbean, Italian, and Moroccan.
Pink Mamma: A great late-night spot for dinner and people watching. Order a steak and a few cocktails. There is a speakeasy bar in the basement and a glass house at the top of the building that is covered with ivy.
Lulu White: Stop here for a late-night drink while exploring lively Montmartre. You most likely will find live music, from jazz to blues, all inspired by the music culture in New Orleans.
Andy Wahloo: Located in “Nord Marais” the bar boasts some of the best cocktails in the city, manned by Kaled DeRouiche. It’s considered pretty trendy and known for its variety of drink options and champagne cocktails. The decor has got a cool Morocco vibe that is distinctly retro.
Tuileries Garden: This is one of my favorite places in Paris to just sit and talk about life. Bring a baguette and some cheese and plan to stay for a few hours. Enjoy the views, the manicured landscapes, and your company.
Basilique du Sacré Coeur: We attended part of a mass here and said a prayer for Dee’s fiancé and their upcoming wedding! It was a very touristy experience but breathtaking. There are some important landmarks around the church, including the Van Gogh Museum. The Montmartre area is worth spending a few hours in!
Musée du Louvre: It takes my breath away every time. This museum is a must on any art lover’s list of things to do when in Paris, no matter how many times you’ve been.
St-Ouen Flea Market: This is the largest flea market in the world! I’m so sad we weren’t able to experience this when we were there but I will someday … maybe when I have more of a budget for rare French antiques. But really—I just want to browse!
Merci: This is a must-see for any W&D reader. This place has everything you could love. A cafe for reading, a lovely restaurant, great fashion to browse, home decor, and a beautiful courtyard. You’ll love it.
Musée Yves Saint Laurent Paris: If you love fashion, add this to your list! It’s small and beautiful, with shopping off the original studio and rooms of YSL dresses. The studio is really lovely, with displays of wall-to-wall shelves of references books (Proust, Mondrian, etc.), personal photos, and small dog figurines. Be sure to get tickets beforehand and remember it’s a small museum so it’s not a full or even half-day experience.
Sessùn: A timeless French brand with clean lines, they have great basics with a little personality. There are a couple of stores around the city that are worth popping in.
The Frankie Shop: The very trendy Paris location for “unfussy, minimal, wallet-conscious styles.” There’s plenty of “affordable” lux here but remember that it’s affordability in relationship to designer duds, so you’re still dishing out a couple hundred bucks for a statement piece. I loved this store so much and found the curation of each piece to be really thoughtful.
FrenchTrotters: This is a great shop to visit if you’re in Paris with a male companion. It has classic French staples for both him and her and curated homewares. The selection is full of high-quality pieces with lovely details that would work for both professional occasions or a date night.
Citypharma: This is a mecca of drugstores. You can find most of the items we included in our skin-care roundup at this location.
Tilt Vintage Paris 4th: This is a sweet little vintage shop filled with a variety of pieces to add a little uniqueness to your everyday staples.
Le Slip Francais: If there is one thing the French are known for (aside from food, art, fashion, and skin-care products) it is how to make undergarments. Le Slip has comfortable undergarments for both him and her made entirely in France.
Finger in the Nose: With a name like this, you might not know what to expect when you walk in, but it’s considered one of the coolest kids’ clothing brands in Paris. Their clothes are great for kids who are entering their school-age years and need some duds to match their zest for life.
Bonpoint: The prices here are way too steep for me but if you really want to experience the perfectly styled dresses and sweet corduroy pants, it’s worth a trip.
Centre Commercial Kids: This space is packed with kids’ clothing from brands all over Europe and gives you access to all sorts of unique duds for your kiddos that they’ll love as much as you do.
Jacadi: I picked up a ton of things for Bennett and August on sale here. This store carries traditionally French styles with a twist. They have a wide array of stores across the country and a website where you can shop away without visiting Paris!
Papier Tigre: This shop carries bright, geometric, and totally utilitarian stationery products that would make any paper lover’s heart go all aflutter. It’s a great spot to stock up on gifts for yourself and others!
Merci: This shop needs another mention here because they have great paper products!
Magasin Sennelier: Located across the Seine from the Louvre, Sennelier has been serving artists since 1887. Degas was one of their first clients and they’re known for creating a 700-color range of pastels. It is still owned by the original family (whom we got to meet!!!) and you can really feel the history when you’re inside. It was a special experience for me and I’m glad I came home with Sennelier brand inks and pastels. The staff was great and even saved me from purchasing a $70 paintbrush.
Hotel Providence: This is the lovely hotel we selected for our trip. The rooms are small but lovely and traditionally French in their decor, with a mix of velvet, lacquered wood, antiques, and vintage paintings. Breakfast is a real treat, featuring fresh juice, jams, bread and rolls, crab salad, and meat and cheese platters—all things I didn’t know I craved in the morning!
BY Kate Arends - March 14, 2019
Thank you for being here. For being open to enjoying life’s simple pleasures and looking inward to understand yourself, your neighbors, and your fellow humans! I’m looking forward to chatting with you.