W&D City Guide: The Paris Edition!

Travel & Leisure

Illustration by Raquel Benedict for Wit & Delight

Finally! 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 and remember to enjoy the food and theatre Paris has to offer!

To Eat

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 pasty) 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. 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. 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!

Marche des Enfants Rouges: This is one of the oldest spots to enjoy an affordable meal in Marais and include a variety of ethnic food stands along with fresh produce. Cuisines include Caribbean, Italian, and Moroccan.

To Drink

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.

To See

Tuileries Garden: 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 Sacre-Coeur: We attended part of a mass here and said a prayer for Dee’s fiancé and their upcoming wedding! A very touristy experience but breathtaking. There are some important landmarks around the church, including the Van Gogh Museum. The Montmartre is worth spending a few hours in!

Musée du Louvre: Takes my breath away every time. A must on any art lovers list of things to do when you’re in Paris, no matter how many times you’ve been.

St-Ouen Flea Market: 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. When maybe I have more of a budget for rare French antiques. But really – I just want to browse!

Merci: A must-see for any W&D reader. This place has everything you could love. A cafe for reading, 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, shopping off both the original studio and rooms of YSL dresses. The studio is really lovely— showing wall to wall shelves of his 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.

To Shop

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 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: A great shop to visit if you’re in Paris with a male companion. Classic French staples for both him and her and curated homewares. I found the selection to be high-quality pieces with lovely details that worked for both professional occasions or a date night.

Citypharma: The Mecca of drugstores. You can find most of the items we included in our skincare roundup at this location.

Tilt Vintage Paris 4th: A sweet little vintage shop filled with a variety of unique pieces to add a little uniqueness to your everyday staples.

Le Slip Francais: If there is one other 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.

For Les Enfants

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 coolest kids clothing brand in Paris. Great for kids who are entering their school-age years and need some duds to match their zest for life.

Bonpoint: Prices 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.

Jacadi: I picked up a ton of things for Bennett and August on sale here. Traditionally French styles but with a traditional twist. They have a wide array of stores across the country and the website is in English so, you can shop away without visiting Paris!

Book and Art Stores

Papier Tigre: Bright, geometric and totally utilitarian stationery products that would make any paper lover’s heart go all a flutter. A great spot to stock up on gifts for yourself and others!

Merci: Needs another mention here because they have great paper products!

Magasin Sennelier: Located across the Seine from the Lovree, Sennelier has been serving artists since 1887. Degas was one of their first clients and they’ve been known for creating its 700-color range of pastels. It is still owned by the family (who we got to meet!!!) and you can really feel the history when you’re inside. A special experience for me, for sure and I’m glad I came home with Sennelier brand inks and pastels. The staff was great and saved me from purchasing a $70 paintbrush, too. So… good people, too.

To Stay

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!

Other options to consider: Hôtel Grand Amour and The Hoxton.

BY Kate Arends - March 14, 2019

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March 14, 2019 4:26 pm

I’m dying to visit Paris soon, it looks so beautiful! This has got to be one of the best guides I’ve read, thank you for such amazing suggestions! x

Shannon | https://shannonmichelle1.blogspot.com

March 15, 2019 4:17 am

Just went there last week! Ah for the next trip I saved your tips 🙂 LOVE the illustration and photos, superbe!

March 15, 2019 1:33 pm

Definitely planning to take notes. I am heading there for a month in the fall and looking for ALL the recommendations especially the places off the tourist track!

March 16, 2019 1:40 am

[…] little guide to Paris is making me dream happy […]

April 15, 2019 2:57 pm

Ouch, this post had unfortunate timing – considering what’s happening to the Notre Dame Cathedral now. >_<

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