Here are some personal favourites and some new discoveries from our recent trip to Paris! We had a long list of recommendations however only 4 days. Some places we wanted to try were closed for their Summer break or weren’t suitable for kids aged 6 & 8. The kids discovered a love for duck and pigeon which was a delightful surprise!
In planning our stay we used a few sources, mainly friends in the industry who had been in the past 12 months, David Lebovitz blog and wine suppliers in France. As with any recommendations though, they are just that, and may not be everyone’s cup of tea, so a bit of reading beforehand is a great idea to make your list if you are planning a trip, or just wing it!
We left our hire car in Valence and took the TGV to Paris which was super convenient and stress free. We walked a lot, used the metro on the weekend and a few taxis at night when everyone was too tired to walk anymore!
The restaurants we visited are not Michelin starred however not inexpensive. If you don’t want to over do it, I suggest do some research beforehand and perhaps choose one to experience the menu, the tasting menu is always our pick. Small traditional bistrot’s are a great choice if you prefer to eat light and stay on a budget and have a typical Parisian experience – when I visit Paris on my own that is usually what I am looking for – however as this was Matteo’s first experience he was quite keen to fit in all he could!
35 rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud 75011 Paris Tel +33 1 43572588
Clean, well positioned and economical. It’s the second time I’ve stayed here and it’s a well run private hotel, the staff are lovely and helpful. Only downside was no aircon which we knew about when we booked and just had to roll with it as the temperatures reached the high 30’s. There are lots of bars in the area and the famous Le Chateaubriand is a 5 minute walk up the road.
7 Antione Vollon Paris
We discovered this busy little patisserie on David Lobowitz blog and although some of the staff were not as warm as others the pastries are amazing! It’s located across from a park in a shady street and away from the crowds and open on weekends.
DU PAIN ET DES IDEES
34 rue Yves Toudic Paris
The croissants, pain au chocolat, pain au raisin and Le Flan were all out of this world and I’m not sure anything will ever compare!! We went back to join the queue 3 times and bought more for the train trip ahead. You must try the Pain des Amis as well as as many pastries your stomach will allow! The coffee was actually really lovely too, we had espressos with cold milk and sat at shared tables outside. NOTE: closed on weekends
114 rue Amelot Paris
We tried to book for dinner one night and were told the earliest booking available each night we were in Paris was 11pm! So we came for lunch Friday and were the first to arrive and the last of the lunch guests to depart! Beautiful clean flavours, stunning produce, well paced for a relaxed shared lunch. Great wine list. Certainly not traditional and a little Italian influence.
LE REPAIRE DE CARTOUCHE
8 Boulevard des Filles du Calvaire Paris
This was recommended by friends that visit Paris often and René Jean Dard, one of our wine suppliers. A fabulous traditional French restaurant with wonderful produce, lovely service and great wine list. Their Sunday buffet sounded really lovely too.
4 rue Biscornet Paris
The chef from Repair des Cartuches recommended Amarante and it was just what we were looking for. Traditional French food, beautiful quality produce and wonderful service. Amazing slow cooked veal, duck fillet & steamed fish were all delicious and nice wine list. The chocolate mousse made with 100% cocoa from Claudio Corallo was just right to share and finish off dinner. We discovered one of our favourite grower Champagnes at a VERY reasonable price so we ordered it to start.
9 rue des 3 Bornes Paris
A great little wine & craft beer + cider shop and bar just down the road from our hotel.
LA GRANDE EPICIERIE
38 rue de Sevres Paris
No visit to Paris would be complete without La Grand Epicerie! 4 levels of anything and everything to do with cooking & entertaining and all well researched and high quality. We had lunch here twice over the weekend which was the best choice considering it was early 40 degrees outside. After a short wait we had beautiful crisp prawns, freshly shucked oysters and a seriously memorable brioche roll filled with Homard Breton (common lobster), baby cos lettuce and French mayonnaise. A glass of chilled Chablis and some delicious rye bread with French butter was perfect. Finished off with Tarte au Framboise in the patisserie section….a crisp tart base with a thin layer of almond crème patissiere and then jam packed with ripe juicy raspberries. This is a great area just to wander.
Musee de l’Orangerie and Musee d’Orsay are my 2 favourite galleries in Paris, with a stroll through the Tuilleries gardens and time for contemplation. As the staff at the hotel recommended, get going early to any galleries or touristic places to beat the heat but also the crowds. We visited on a Sunday and it was free entry.
I love wandering through Rue de Bac, Le Grande Epicerie, The Conran Shop, Le Bon Marche, Le Grand Comptoir, Maison du Bac. I also love the Galleries Lafayette department store and their branded clothes some of which I have worn for nearly 20 years.
The pre-loved clothing and homeware stores of Chercheminippes in Rue de la Cherche-Midi, Saint-Germain-des-Pres have been open for over 4 decades and offer some amazing second hand French brands at good prices, I particularly love the kids shop – however they do close in the middle of Summer…
If I could choose I would visit Europe in Spring or Autumn, the days are not too short as they are in winter or too hot as it can be in mid Summer and you will find shops and restaurants open.