I am in love with France, more specifically Paris. As many others have fallen trap to, the city of love and lights always draws me back for more and I can never get enough of it. After going abroad my freshman fall to Dijon, France, I knew for my second time around junior year, I could be no where else but Paris. I lived in a miniscule chambre de bonne (maids quarters) on the seventh floor of an appartement building, featuring no elevator. Safe to say I was able to work off some of the baguettes and macarons on my own personal stairmaster. I was lucky enough to be placed centrally compared to most people on my program, right off of the champs élysées in the 8th arrondissement.
I had been to Paris before (read: 16th birthday trip with mom) but never was able to really live there and see it in all of its glory. When my date of departure came around, for once I was not stressing out of my mind as I tend to do, but extremely excited to get there and get started. Although I traveled frequently on weekends, my main goal was to really soak up all that Paris had to offer and get to know the city that I loved so much. Luckily, my lovely, beautiful friend Kathryn from my program felt the same so we explored the city together. Therefore, I figured it would be a good idea to compile a list of all of my favorite go-to spots. I've excluded some of the obvious, more touristy options like the Louvre, Eiffel Tour etc. Buckle up folks, this could be a long one.
Colette (213 Rue Saint Honoré, 1st arrondissement)
An awesome and unique concept store filled with clothing and accessories. Also features a bookshop and a water bar with what seems like 100s of different bottle water brands (because who doesn't need 100 options?!)
Le Marais (3rd and 4th)
The marais is a neighborhood in Paris known for its small, often cobblestone, streets. It also happens to be the gay hub of the city. There are tons of small boutique shops, galleries and great little cafés. This is definitely my favorite area of Paris!
Repetto (specifically the one on 24 Rude de Chateaudun, 9th)
Home of the best ballet flat you will ever find. Yes, they are a tad pricey, but for good reason. They are the softest and most comfortable and their Rue de Chateaudun location is a "stock" boutique, meaning they often have lower prices.
Merci (111 Boulevarde Beaumarchais, 3rd arrond)
Another concept store that I absolutely loved frequenting while abroad. They have everything from clothes, houseware, stationary supplies (we all know how much I love those), jewelry, etc. They also have a flower shop, bookstore and little café that's a great spot for lunch or a coffee.
We all know it. But it's way better in Paris (all of Europe actually)!
Food and Drink:
Cafe Breizh (109 Rue Vieille du Temple, 3rd arrondissement)
As you can see from the photo above, AMAZING, genuine crepes. They have savory and sweet and they are all delicious. You will probably need a reservation for the restaurant, but in the building next door they have an informal table where you can order off of the same menu. You share a table of about 8 with whoever else is there, but theres usually no wait.
Eric Kayser (16 Rue des Petits Carreaux, 2nd)
Yes, this is technically a chain. BUT it happened to be the closest good boulangerie to where I was taking classes and Kathryn and I found our way here pretty much everyday. They have the best baguettes, cookies, pastries, sandwiches and salads. They are located around Paris and are the perfect place to stop in for a quick sandwich.
Buddha bar (8-12 Rue Boissy d'Anglas, 8th)
Kathryn and I went here to celebrate/mourn our last night in Paris. They have possibly the most expensive cocktails (I think we ordered the cheapest which was 20 euros) but they are sooo delicious. Its a two floored maze with little corners and seating areas to sip dangerously delicious drinks. Lanterns hang from the ceiling, where you can also enjoy dinner while being watched over by a rather humongous buddha standing tall at one end of the room.
Andy Wahloo (69 Rue des Gravilliers, 3rd)
This was my favorite bar. It's hidden away through an archway in the Marais and is also connected to a great Morrocan restaurant. Theres a little courtyard with outdoor tables and then an awesomely decorated bar inside. The walls are covered in bright yellow and the barstools are hot pink. They have great drinks and its always filled with a fun, young, artsy crowd.
Ladurée (16 Rue Royale, Rue Royale, 8th)
Most people know this one- it's macarons at their best. You can stop in the shop and just pick some from the dozens of flavors, or you can go upstairs to the tea room and get a coffee, food, or just dessert!
Experimental Cocktail Club (37 Rue Saint-Sauveur)
Dark, candlelit, soul music, speakeasy vibe with inventive and delicious drinks. Similar to Prescription Cocktail Club which is also great.
Bon Marché (24 Rue de Sèvres, 7th)
This is no ordinary department store. The building that houses clothing and houseware has every designer you could wish for and all beautifully decorated (especially around Christmas). The part I visit for, however, is the supermarket portion (if you can even call it that). They have all of the best produce, pastries, wine, etc as well as a section separated by region/country. Bon Marché also has some really great restaurants and cafés for those who need a break from the shopping.
Rose Bakery (30 Rue Debelleyme, 3rd)
Anglo-French bakery with fresh juices, pastries, soups, salads and hot dishes. Complete with white washed walls, concrete floors, and simple decor.
Marché Raspail (Boulevarde Raspail, 6th)
Rue Montorgueil (2nd)
These are two of my favorite markets in Paris. Both are outdoors, and perfect for a Sunday morning. When Rue Montorgueil is not having an outdoor market, all of the stores are specialty shops each with fish, meats, cheese, wine, produce etc.- so it pretty much functions as a market all the time.
La Maison Angelina (226 Rue de Rivoli, 1st)This is a beautiful and classic French tea house. They have insane desserts but the real draw is their hot chocolate. It is literally just a cup of the most high end, melted chocolate you will ever have, served with a little pot of cream. I can't even keep talking about it because I need one right now.
Musée d'Orsay (1 Rue de la Légion de l'Honneur, 7th arrondissement)
One of my favorite large-scale museums in Paris. It is known for its impressionist and post- impressionist collections.
Musée Marmottan Monet (2 Rue Louis Boilly, 16th)
Also features impressionist and post-impressionist works including those by Monet, Degas, Manet, Gauguin and Renoir. It is located in an old mansion-esque building that is absolutely stunning, nestled next to the Bois de Boulogne.
L'Orangerie (Jadin Tuileries, 1st)
ALSO impressionist and post-impressionist (can you tell I like those guys?) works. Stop by when strolling through the Tuileries. Permanently features Monet's water lily paintings in two oval rooms.
Jardin de Tuileries (1st arrondissement)
Jardin de Luxembourg (6th)
Must see gardens/parks. France has some of the most beautiful parks and these are two of the best.
Musée Rodin (79 Rue de Varenne, 7th)
To be honest, I've never been in the indoor portion of this museum. The sculpture garden really is what you come to see. The gardens are filled with bright flowers and plants and the Rodin sculptures are located throughout.
Place des Vosges (4th arrondissement)
Beautiful park by the Marais to sit and enjoy the sun or a picnic lunch.
I hope some of these suggestions were helpful. I can assure you I have tested them all more times than I would like to admit...and they pass the S&S test. Have a fabulous time in the city of love and lights!