The Paris List
If you're visiting Paris for a week, a month or just a day, we've put together a list of our favourite places to eat and visit (with a definite emphasis on food!). We think we have it all covered here.
Hidden away in the heart of Paris and close to the Jardin du Palais Royal in the 2nd arrondissement, is Galerie Vivienne. This historical covered passage with its beautiful mosaic floor, houses many fashion and home furnishing boutiques along with several great stops for dining or a drink. At the entrance is Bistrot Vivienne, a traditional-looking French bistro with a relaxed atmosphere that serves seasonal and traditional cuisine. Next door is Legrand Filles et Fils, which is a chic wine bar with a warm atmosphere. This is a great place to drink wine by the glass with the cheese and delicious charcuterie. Further down the passage is the unassuming A Priori Thé. Situated under the magnificent glass ceiling, this Parisian tearoom has to-die-for scones, which they serve with a large selection of teas. Unhurried and relaxed, this is a perfect stop for lunch or morning tea.
Situated in another of the city’s famous covered walkways, Passage des Panoramas, is Caffe Stern. Dating back to the 16th century, the interior had a helping hand from famed designer Philippe Starck and is simply stunning! The windows are like a curiosity cabinet displaying taxidermy, including a winged fox adorned with jewels. This Italian-style coffee house is open from 8.30am til midnight and it’s best to book, especially for dinner.
Further afield in the Bois de Boulogne is the Fondation Louis Vuitton. Frank Gehry's latest museum project is like nothing you've seen before with its billowing glass sails. One exhibit highlight is an enormous dark room containing huge screens where classical music concerts are projected. Completely mesmerising, you can stay here for quite a while, sit and relax while listening to the music. Once you've finished your visit, Restaurant 'Le Frank' serves up a minimal menu in a contemporary setting and a ceiling with Gehry's ethereal hanging trout lamps. The Sables with basil cream and fresh raspberries is a must!
Located on a pretty corner just one block from Place des Vosges, is Chez Janou. This bustling bistro has a lively crowd with a jam-packed bar that is perfect for champagne while you wait for your table. The menu has all the Provencal classics such as Brandade de Morue (salt-cod puree with potatoes). The colourful interior and terrace seating make it a popular spot so make sure you book.
A designated breakfast place, Claus 'l'épicerie du petit-déjeuner' in the 2nd arrondissement, is perfect if you've had one croissant too many (which is quite likely!). This chic breakfast cafe also sells a selection of jams, organic mueslis and cereals and other breakfast 'groceries'.
La Droguerie This treasure trove hidden away near The Church of Saint-Eustache in Les Halles has an amazing selection of beads, ribbons, threads, sequins, feathers and other notions all contained in vintage glass jars lining row upon row of vintage wooden shelving. An Aladdin's Cave where you will always find what you're after.
Much has been written about this Argentinean restaurant in the Marais. The walls are lined with white ceramic tiles reminiscent of an old butcher or fishmonger’s store, and filled with copper-leaf grout that accentuates the bronze backed chairs and other gold accents. The candle-lit interior creates a warm and cosy vibe with a subdued bling factor.
Margherita is a pub conversion in Saint-Germain that covers three floors and has an eclectic interior that includes chunky salvaged planks, weathered metal bar stools, marble and concrete. A wonderful relaxed atmosphere, it's perfect for families, large groups of friends or just for two. The slogans “In Pizza We Trust” and “God Bless Pizza” adorn the restaurant providing a testament to the array of wood-fired pizzas. Try the lasagna, which is a generous helping that’s designed to be shared, and is served in a beautiful copper dish - definitely one of the best we've had.
The usual suspects are always on the list with Comme a Lisbonne's Portuguese tarts, La Loir dans La Theire's selection of house-made sweet tarts (try their signature jaw-dropping lemon meringue tart), and vintage leather chairs that you can sink into at Angelina's Tea House with a Le chocolat chaud à l’ancienne dit “l’Africain” (Old-fashioned hot chocolate “l’Africain”) - the pourable, velvety smooth and gloriously rich hot chocolate that could quite easily become a daily ritual. If you’re after a respite from the sensory overload, pay a visit to the ethereal Église Saint-Paul Saint-Louis tucked away in the Marais. This serene and tranquil refuge is the perfect way to complete your visit to Paris.