When I first arrived in Paris (and for the first few years), this was me:
By the end of the six years… this was me:
After six whole years, I was ready to kiss the French goodbye (sans tongue, bien sur), except one (so I married him and took him to London with me).
Not even two years later, I pine for Paris (on occasion). Don’t get me wrong, I love London more than a mere blog post could ever express, but there is something magical about being in Paris. As a special hommage to the City of Love (a.k.a the place I called home for the majority of my adult thus far), here is part one of my most favorite things (the croissant, pinot noir and sweet dreams edition).
A Manger (to eat):
- Le Dindon en Laisse – 18 Rue Beautreillis (Metro St Paul) – this is one of my favorite restaurants in Paris. It is a super cute tiny French bistrot with fantastic French food . If you ever go here, please have risotto as starter, the duck as your main, a glass of pinot noir and the fondant for dessert. You will thank me after.
- Le Buron – 119, avenue Felix Faure (Metro: Lourmel) – From the outside, this looks like the run of the mill, average French brasserie but it has the most amazing salads and a chorizo œuf cocotte that makes me want to jump on the next train to Paris. Also… nutella tiramisu. Enough said. This is where I had my last meal in Paris before moving to London and it would be a tough choice between Le Buron and Le Dindon en Laisse for my last meal ever.
- Creperie Suzette – 12 rue de Harpe (Metro St. Michel) – by far the best creperie in the city. This gem is owned and operated by one of my BFF’s and her husband (who does most of the cooking himself). Their menu is excellent and has a mix of traditional and unique sweet and savory crepes.
- Le Soufflé – 36 rue du Mont-Thabor (Metro Concorde) – A very traditional, white-linen tablecloths and polished silver, French restaurant with savory and sweet soufflés. Their lunch menu is extremely reasonable and is the same as their dinner but less pricey! They also do a souffléd salmon which is divine. My favorite dessert soufflé stars a puffy pear soufflé with a side of hot chocolate sauce.
- Hacienda del Sol – 157, boulevard du Montparnasse (Metro Vavin) – If you are going to Paris for vacation, no need to hit this place up. For anyone living or staying in Pareee for any extended amount of time, this is a must. As an American living in Paris, I would have a hankering for quality Mexican cuisine and this is the only place that ever really hit the spot (most “Tex-Mex” restaurants in Paris are guilty of microwave-melting, fake-cheddar, industrial tortilla, quesadilla-making… gag). Hacienda del Sol is authentic Mexican and is run by a French-Mexican husband and wife chefs! Their margaritas are the best I have had this side of the Atlantic.
- La Farnesina – 9, rue Boissy d’Anglas (Metro Concorde or Madeleine) – This gem is located right behind the American embassy and is a fabulous candle-lit Italian restaurant which (OMG) specializes in truffles. It is a very good thing I found out about this place later in my stay, otherwise I would have spent every single centime I had on truffle risotto at this fantastic place.
A Boire (to drink):
- Le Violon Dingue – 46 Rue de la Montagne Sainte Genevieve (Metro Cardinal Lemoine) – No drinking list (of mine) would be complete without Le Violon Dingue. The amount of time spent in this expat bar far outweighs the amount of time I spent in the library at the American University of Paris. Even when I was done with school, this was my go to place for birthdays and nights out with the girls (dim the lights and cue “Don’t Stop Believing”). The bartender knew us by name and by cocktail (caramel vodka, soda and a pink straw – oh heavens). For years, our go-to bartender was a French-Irish hottie aptly named Beau… we found out towards the end that his name was actually Mo and we had mistaken it for years due to the blaring hits from the 90s that rocked through the bar until the wee hours of the morning. But let’s just pretend his name was Beau.
- Footsie – 10-12 rue Danue (Metro: Opera) word on the web is that this place is closed now, but if you are in the area, it is worth verifying in person! This place had a price list that ran like the stock exchange, with prices of drinks fluctuating on the basis of supply and demand.
- Le 10 – 10, rue de l’Odeon (Metro: Odeon) – this is a cute, little hole in the wall sangria joint that is worth a stop. It is full of French students and locals, which is a welcome change from the majority of touristy spots in the area.
- Candelaria – 52 rue de Saintonge (Metro: Filles de Calvaire) – this place looks like a Mexican taqueria when you first walk in – all tacos, no liquor but if you squeeze through the hallway in the back you find the coolest, hidden bar. The drinks are amazing and the atmosphere is super branché.
- But the very best place to drink in Paris is outside! On the quais of the Seine (try Ile Saint Louis), the Champ de Mars (while the Eiffle Tower sparkles), Esplanade des Invalides, a park bench on the Pont des Arts, the courtyard of the Louvre, the Tuileries or Luxembourge garden, on a bateau mouche or on the terrace of any cafe. These are all places where you can buy or bring your own (cheap or expensive – both can be good in Paris!) bottle of wine or champagne, sit, soak up the atmosphere and watch the world go by.
But after all this eating and drinking, where shall we sleep?
If you want to live like there is no tomorrow (because after one night you will be completely bankrupt), you must stay at the Ritz or the Crillon. Both are in the process of being renovated or have been recently renovated and they are la crème de la crème of Parisian hotels. And if it tickles your fancy, follow in the footsteps of Coco Chanel – just move into the Ritz and call it home.
My absolute favorite place to lie my head in the City of Lights is the Sofitel Le Faubourg on Boissy d’Anglas (Metro: Madeleine). We stayed here on our wedding night and it was BLISS. Beautiful rooms overlooking rue Faubourg Saint Honore, the Hermes flagship store, the American Embassy and the Crillon. We had one of the luxury suites for the night, complete with champagne, chocolates, room service, rose petal drawn bath and the fluffiest bed I have ever seen. We spent most of breakfast the next day (made to order eggs benedict with truffle-infused wilted spinach) trying to figure out a way to live at the Sofitel forever.
If you are looking for a more reasonable (yet central) option for visiting Paris, there quite a few nice hotels in the 15th arrondissement:
- Hotel Residence La Quintinie Square: 5 rue de la Quintinie in the 15th. They have several studios and double rooms available, starting at 89 euros a night.
- Concorde Montparnasse
Another post to come shortly on all the fun things to do in Paris when you aren’t eating, drinking or sleeping!