DTLA
Kinda Day

Torino: who knew?!

Reisen Paris, Je t'aime!
Paris is great. This is something I really never thought I’d say - after two visits to the city in the last decade, it took a lot to make me give it a third pass, and in my mind, this was Paris’ last chance to impress. As with so many cities that have such long histories and have gone down in international legend in so many different ways, I always had such high expectations and was always disappointed by the places I went and the people I encountered. This last visit was completely different though. Of course there is a different air in the city right now, but outside of recent events, the people of Paris seem to have mellowed in the last years. Gone are the aggressively Parisian waiters and the looks of distaste directed towards the blatant tourist. People were friendly and welcoming in every quarter of the city - not just in service, but also helpful on the streets, sharing smiles by the canal; and the young generation of entrepreneurs are mixing their businesses in with the old establishment, giving you a perfect mix of old guard and fresh ideas to enjoy. There are co-working cafes that have character, revival in buildings that would otherwise be lost to the ages, and of course a shed-ton of cheese and wine. Vive la France et Paris je t’aime! Of course visit the tourist spots that afford you the best views of the sprawling ancient city, but once that’s achieved, try heading to some of our favourite places dotted around Paris:
Eating

Chez Louisette

136 Avenue Michelet (Clignancourt Antiques Market)

Sometimes you stumble across a place in an unexpected corner that’s pure magic and you’re so glad you turned right and not left for no reason at all. I have to tell you Chez Louisette is quite the most remarkable restaurant I might have ever been in. Tucked away in the depths of the Clignancourt market, the following things tickled me beyond all reason: 

 

  1. All the waitresses are over 60 years old and feisty as they are old.
  2. There is a similarly aged chanson and band who perform sets throughout dining hours.
  3. When the chanson takes a break, sometimes one of the aged bar staff takes a turn - in this case, he was definitely a friend of Serge!
  4. It looks like a Christmas grotto.

Have some cheese, have some wine and be thankful you turned right!

 

Liberté Patisserie 

39 Rue des Vinaigriers 

All the staples of French baking can be found here, produced on the premises (in fact, in front of your eyes) by a team including young apprentices learning the ancient trade. You can tell it’s going to be good by the line that quickly forms and just as quickly disperses as countless Parisians collect their loaves and sweets for the weekend, and the mille-feuille is to die for!

 

Mamie Gâteaux

66 Rue du Cherche-Midi

If your lust for French baked goods can’t be sated by one bakery recommendation (ours certainly couldn’t!) then you need to take yourself to our other favourite baked goods outlet in Paris. Mamie Gâteaux is known for its tars and pies, but they also do a great homemade lunch menu with wine thrown in for free. If that’s not reason enough to go there, the brilliant cross section of Parisians who pass through the door should seal the deal.

 

Drinking

Gravity Bar

44 Rue des Vinaigriers

If you get tired of drinking in classy bistros (it’ll never happen, but anyway…) this is a perfect alternative for a great drink and little bite or two. For sure, everyone knows it’s one of Paris’ hippest cocktail bars right now, but at least that means the cocktails are great, and the people watching is even better…

 

Buvette

28 Rue Henry Monnier

I’d love to tell you that Buvette is just a great place to have a drink, but you’re going to end up eating something there too (do you see a theme in this article??) The wine list, menu of small plates, interior, and staff are all specifically chosen to give you the best all round experience you can imagine.

 

 

Shopping

Merci

11 Boulevard Beaumarchais

If you like your couture with a side of good karma, then Merci should be top of your list. Opened by Bernard and Marie-France Cohen, all the profits from the store are donated to charity, so you can splash out on a special something for yourself completely guilt free!

 

Thankx God I’m a VIP

12 Rue de Lancry

The buyers at TGI-VIP select only the best vintage and second hand garments and accessories to create the perfect Paris fashion excursion. You’re a thousand miles away from weird granny smells (sorry granny!) - it’s a haven of classy, good condition gems.

 

 

Entertainment

Le Grand Rex

1 Boulevard PoissonniEre

Not only is Le Grand Rex the largest cinema theatre in Europe, it’s quite possibly the most opulent. Even the beautiful facade cannot describe the deep air of old luxury and detail of the art deco interior - walking up the carpeted stairs, you can absolutely feel the time warp. As well as maintaining is status as a fully functioning cinema with a full rosta of independent and mainstream films, if you’re very lucky you can catch a live concert there.

 

 

Only in Paris

Le Comptoir General

80 Quai de Jemmapes

No visit would be complete without stopping in to see our Folkdays friends at Le Comptoir General. Set in an old stables building alongside the canal, it’s the perfect place to drop in during a stroll at any time of the day. The whole place is like a living film set and everything - really everything - is for sale at the right price. A percentage of all profits from this quietly social enterprise feed back into various projects that support everyone from coffee growers and clothing pickers in Africa through to Paris’ marginalised homeless community.

 

Montparnasse Cemetery

3 Boulevard Edgar Quinet

There are plenty of beautiful cemeteries in Paris that are well worth a visit, but if you want to combine it with some celebrity spotting, this covers all the bases. Montparnasse is the final resting place of some of the biggest names in Paris’ history: Charles Baudelaire, Simone de Beauvoir & Jean-Paul Sartre, Samuel Beckett and Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi who was the sculptor of the Statue Of Liberty (and who designed his own grave) can all be visited. But for me, the most important of them all is Serge Gainsbourg. His grave is a real haunt for fans, and is constantly covered in offerings relating to Serge’s songs - from ticket stubs to cauliflowers. The other bonus of this particular cemetery is the proximity to Rue de la Gaité and surrounding streets which are all covered in unfussy crêperies ready to feed you a perfectly Parisian lunch.

 

Text and Images by Ruth Bartlett