I moved to Paris in June 2017, but have been visiting since 2010, and regularly since 2012 when I started dating a Frenchman who I later married. Here are my favorite spots.
- Merci | It makes every shopping list for a reason. Find everything from clothing to dishes to the most chic scissors you never knew existed. The Used Books Cafe inside is an amazing spot to read | 111 Boulevard Beaumarchais, 75003
- Manoush | Ultra-feminine pieces and gorgeous dresses. Pricey | Multiple locations across Paris.
- Claudie Pierlot | Feminine with lots of bows and ruffles and lace. Moderate | Many locations across Paris.
- Pablo | Well tailored, similar to Claudie Pierlot but not quite as girly. Moderate | Many locations across Paris.
- STOCK shops for major brands | Sales are rare in Paris, but some of the popular French brands (Sandro, Maje, Les Petites, A.P.C., Claudie Pierlot and more) have opened what are called stock or outlet shops inside Paris that sell the previous year’s season. Discounts are generally 40-50% off.
Some notes about museums in Paris: The first Sunday of each month some museums are free, so check before you go. If you have a journalist or teacher ID card, many museums give you a free ticket. For the most popular museums, it is often faster to buy tickets or a museum pass ahead of time online to avoid waiting in line too long.
- Musée Rodin | Dedicated entirely to the French sculptor Auguste Rodin, the works and garden are magnificent | 79 Rue de Varenne, 75007
- Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature | The museum of hunting and nature is a private museum that mixes the beautiful and bizarre | 62, Rue des Archives, 75003
- Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle | The National Museum of Natural History has a grand hall that feels like you’re on Noah’s Ark, and the extinct animals exhibit made me cry | 57 Rue Cuvier, 75005
- Centre Georges Pompidou | There’s great modern art in Paris as well. The Pompidou also treats you to one of the best possible views of the city as you ascend the escalator up to the top floor | Place Georges-Pompidou, 75004
- Jardin Du Luxembourg | In my opinion the most impressive park in Paris, perfect for a romantic stroll anytime of day | 75006
- Parc des Buttes Chaumont | A beautiful place with not so many tourists and a couple of great spots for drinks including Rosa Bonheur and Pavilion Puebla | 75019
- Jardin du Palais-Royal | A smaller jardin surrounded by an arcade of high-end shops. Grab a coffee at Café Kitsuné and take a break by the fountain | 6 Rue de Montpensier, 75001
- Place des Vosges | A small park inside the square, this is my favorite place for a picnic | Place des Vosges, 75004
Only in Paris
- Deyrolle | A legendary taxidermy shop full of beautiful and weird things | 46, Rue Bac, 75007
- Les Petits Passages de Paris | Of the original 150 covered arcades in Paris only 20 survived the Haussmann redevelopment, making them some of the oldest rues in the city. Many of the passages are in the 2nd arrondissement. My favorites are:
- Passage du Grand Cerf | 145 rue Saint-Denis, 75002
- La Cours du Commerce-Saint-André | 75006
- Galerie Vivenne | 4 rue des Petits-Champs, 75002
- Marché des Enfants-Rouge| Named for an orphange that was once in that spot, now a cherished covered market. Hours differ by day. | 39 Rue de Bretagne, 75003
- La Grande Epicerie de Paris | The most impressive fine food market in Paris. Located right next to the Le Bon Marché department store, it’s gorgeous but has high prices to match the level of products | 38 Rue de Sèvres, 75007
- Marché Saint-Quentin | Large, indoor market with a lot of variety and a number of restaurants inside | 85 Bis Boulevard de Magenta, 75010
- Marché Saxe-Breteuil | This was my neighborhood market when I lived in the 7th, quaint and not very touristy. Only open Thursday and Saturday | Avenue de Saxe, 75007
- Hôtel de l’Abbaye à Paris| 4-star hotel in Saint Germain with a charming garden that is also a great place for breakfast or glass of wine in the afternoon | 10 Rue Cassette, 75006
- Hotel Paradis | Small, but well decorated rooms in a hip area and rates are often less than 100€ per night | 41 Rue des Petites Écuries, 75010
Cafes, Coffee + Breakfast
- Cafe Hugo | Perfect place for a croque madame and a glass of wine with a view of the Place des Vosges. Lovely on nice days out on the terrace, cozy inside when Paris gets drizzly. Named for one of the Place’s most famous residents, Victor Hugo | 22 Place des Vosges, 75004
- Cafe Coutume | Great coffee, sleek and trendy setting, organic lunch options. In the 7th not too far from Musée Rodin | 47 Rue de Babylone, 75007
- Boot Cafe | Run by a stylish Japanese man who speaks little French, coffee is excellent and the cafe is chic | Two locations: 19 Rue du Pont aux Choux 75003 + 26 Rue des Grands Augustins 75006
- Fragments | Very trendy right now. If avocado toast is your thing, the one here is delicious (and large). But the cinnamon bun is what brings me back | 76 Rue des Tournelles, 75003
- Le Loir dans La Théière | A good choice anytime, but I especially like to have breakfast or brunch in this cozy restaurant | 3 Rue des Rosiers, 75004
Restaurants for Lunch
- Restaurant Cinq-Mars | Beautiful and delicious bistrot in Saint Germain, I suggest you get the lunch special. Good choice for after visiting the Musée d’Orsay | 51 Rue de Verneuil, 75007
- Miznon | Hot spot with inventive, modern Israeli food in the Marais. Casual and not very expensive | 22 Rue des Ecouffes, 75004
- Chez Prune | This Bobo (French hipster) favorite serves up unfussy French food right next to the canal Saint Martin. Good prices and portions | 36 Rue Beaurepaire, 75010
- Creperie Josselin | One of the best for traditional crepes | 67 Rue du Montparnasse 75014
- Trois Fois plus de Piment | Sometimes you need a break from French food to have something super spicy. This Sichuan spot lives up to its name (Three times more spicy). Get the beef noodle soup. Spicy level is 1 to 5 — I get 2 which I promise is still very spicy. Sister restaurants: Deux fois plus de piment and Cinq fois plus de piment | 184 Rue Saint-Martin, 75003
Restaurants for Dinner
- Brasserie Bofinger | My favorite of the old-school brasseries in Paris. The steak au poivre is to die for and it is Alsatian, so also famous for the choucroute. Always try to sit in the cupola room, it is the best one by far | 5-7 Rue de la Bastille, 75004
- Carbon | My favorite new restaurant in Paris. Focus is on fire-cooked dishes, and it feels both upscale and relaxed at the same time. | 14 Rue Charlot, 75003
- Le Petit Marché | Fantastic French food with an Asian flair, and open late even on Sundays and Mondays. The tuna appetizer is killer and the steak is big enough to share | 9 Rue de Béarn, 75003
- Chez Janou | Provincial restaurant with over 80 types of pastis and a jovial (though crowded) ambiance. Can be very busy, especially in high tourist season, so call and make a reservation (they speak English) | 2 Rue Roger Verlomme, 75003
- Les Maquereaux | Summer only. All-seafood restaurant on the Seine, also great for drinks. Get the sardines and rillettes. | Quai de l’Hôtel de ville, 75004
- Big Mamma Restaurants | Annoying to get into, worth it if you can. Big Mamma Group has five Italian restaurants in Paris, none take reservations, but some let you put your name down at 6pm. Line starts at least 30 minutes before opening. Truffle pasta is worth the hype, but everything is delicious | Locations across Paris.
- Restaurant Moustache | One of me and my husband’s go-to spots, especially for double dates. Delicious bistrot with French classics, a friendly ambiance and more locals than tourists | 3 Rue Sainte-Beuve, 75006
Drinking + Dancing
- Pavilion Puebla | Located inside the Parc des Buttes Chaumont in the 19th arrondissment, the outdoor seating ambiance is top notch, and you can get a pizza or panini and stay all night. Open 6pm-2am | 39 Avenue Simon Bolivar 75019
- Sherry Butt | Comfy spot with delicious and inventive cocktails in the Marais | 20 Rue Beautreillis, 75004
- Ground Control | Looks like a food truck festival you’d find in NY or California, with cool and eclectic outdoor seating, lots of food options and games. Seasonal May-October. | 81 Rue du Charolais, 75012
- Jangal | Nightclub that plays hip-hop music. Sleek decor and great for dancing if you don’t like euro music or spots full of tourists. Open only Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights from 12am-6am. | 5 Avenue de l’Opéra, 75001
- Au Petit Versailles du Marais | I love sitting outside on the terrace for people watching almost as much as I love the quiche and cakes | 1 Rue Tiron, 75004 Paris
- If you love Éclairs | My husband the eclair expert recommends an Éclair au Chocolat from either Pierre Herme, Fauchon, or la Maison de l’Eclair
- French Cooking Classes (In English) | My sister took classes at La Cuisine Paris and loved them. She especially liked the technical courses. | 80 Quai de l’Hôtel de ville, 75004