Bonjour Paris !
During my recent trip to Paris, I spent from early morning to well past midnight pretending I was moving there and needed to get up to speed pronto to become "quelqu'un qui connait" (someone who knows) all the things there are to do, see, eat and shop for right NOW.
That way, upon my return with all of my bags and boxes, I could relax and get down to the business of living like a local without losing a baguette beat. (These are the imaginary games that keep me going when treasure hunting in a new or once familiar haunt.)
So, chop chop, here are my speed demon finds I discovered again or for the first time in the ever-stylish and mesmerizing City of Light after far too many years away. Turns out Paris still possesses its' addictive charm, so I hope my long list of current "Parisian Favorites" will inspire you to add to the list by going and wandering about yourself.
Quick bit of advice
Hint: if you are feeling particularly voracious to see and do a lot, I suggest clumping together experiences that hit all the bases (gastronomic, cultural, retail therapy, taking in the sights) one arrondissement at a time. For example, one day's full itinerary might include an exploration of the 6th and 7th arrondissements of the Rive Gauche (Left Bank).
Maybe start with soft-boiled eggs and dipping toast at Cafe de Flore (pictured above right) followed by a visit to fashion designer Dries van Noten's chic shop on the Seine (pictured below left) and a bit of antiquing along Rue de Lille and surrounding blocks.
Maybe return to another long time favorite-Brasserie Lipp- for a chicken and fries lunch before popping into Deyrolle just for the fun of seeing their exotic collection of taxidermy. Perhaps a lazy stroll over to the Rodin Museum for an afternoon delight of sculpture, beautiful architecture, and a pick-me-up cafe in the garden might be just the ticket to recoup a little energy for the evening ahead?
If you aren't too exhausted, wave to the Eiffel Tower before scuttling over to the Luxembourg Gardens for some fascinating, end-of-day people watching. Finally, cap off your pre-dinner adventuring with window shopping the boutiques of St.Germain-des-Près and an evening browse through Le Bon Marché (pictured below left), the most fabulous department store imaginable (closes at 9PM.) And, now, dinner! Score a reservation at the buzzy Left Bank hang out Le Petit Lutetia (pictured below right) for local celebrity spotting and more good bistro classics.
Take a Stab
Take in the changing light as it plays on the Seine. By boat or foot or through the lens of your camera. And keep doing it at every opportunity! Then indulge yourself with a scoop of roasted pineapple and basil gelato from Berthillion on the Ile S.t Louis -just across a footbridge from Notre Dame.