Paris: a City Guide
Ahhh, Paris. Being only a hop, skip, and Eurostar journey away from London, I’ve taken full advantage of its proximity and visited quite a number of times over the years. Like London, Paris’ restaurant scene is always thriving with a wide variety of new openings, serving a range of cuisines. I’ve stacked up a whole list of recommendations across my visits that you’ll find below, as well as my favourite places to visit and see that they are a far cry from all the usual tourist hot spots.
The Hoxton’s first venture in France is a beautiful Parisian townhouse in the heart of the 2nd arrondissement, super conveniently located within short distance to many of the popular sites in the 1st, and Le Marais (also known as the 3rd, and my favourite district in Paris). Expect a buzzing atmosphere in the hotel lobby (which functions as an all-day cafe and bar) with its sweeping spiral staircase, as well as multiple areas scattered across the property where guests are welcome to lounge throughout the day. Rooms are cosy and slick, and remember to head to the hidden upstairs bar Jacques’ for a nightcap. The overall hotel is modern, trendy, and luxurious all in one: I’ve stayed here twice now, and probably will do so every time I’m in Paris, as I really can’t fault the design or location of the hotel.
Ahhh, Buvette. My favourite French restaurant in Paris, this cosy and rustic spot is located in the south Pigalle. Head here after a wander around Montmartre, and choose from their classic menu and extensive list of wines…I’d recommending the melt-in-the-mouth croque monsieur, and make sure you save some room for dessert: we’re talking warm madeleines served with a scoop of Nutella, or homemade waffles with fresh berries and cream.
Season has built up a reputation as a bit of an Instagram hotspot since its opening, and its biggest branch in Le Marais is a bright and buzzing, spacious cafe. Expect avocado toast and pancakes on the menu, and an LA-style atmosphere here.
Located in Republique, this cafe is a busy spot serving specialty coffee and colourful brunch dishes.
This cosy specialty shop in Le Marais was a step ahead of the coffee game in Paris when it originally opened. Featuring rustic wooden tables, a giant poster of Bruce Lee behind the counter, and an all-round relaxed vibe, you’ll be able to find oat milk, avocado toast and Swedish cinnamon buns on the menu here…all before they became mainstream popular, and still just as good as when they started.
This elegant breakfast spot is super near the popular tourist spots in the 1st, and offers a range of set breakfast menus, as well as a huge array of delicate and delicious homemade pastries.
This quaint cafe is located in Le Marais, features photogenic interiors, and is known to serve the best shakshuka in Paris. I’m not so much a fan of shakshuka, but they do a brilliant ‘green eggs’: baked eggs in a skillet with kale, pesto, and avocado. Yum!
I love this tiny spot on Boulevard Beaumarchais: here you’ll find inventive and delicious brunch dishes, including their amazing toasted crumpets, served with a range of toppings, including avocado and halloumi, or scrambled eggs and tomatoes. You can also expect a yummy range of homebaked treats, and proper coffee; I just wish the space was a little bigger!
One of my favourite restaurants in Paris, Frenchie to Go serves gourmet ‘fast food’ in a casual environment. You’ll find incredible pulled pork burgers, and salt beef sandwiches here, but don’t expect the prices to be cheap. If you’re fancying a meal that’s a little more refined, their sister restaurant Frenchie, is just next door.
Hardware Societe is a gem of place, located in Montmartre. Avoid the touristy restaurants and head to this Aussie cafe located on a quiet street near the Sacre-Coeur, where you’ll find friendly staff, delicious brunch dishes, and homemade cakes.
Anyone who lives in Paris will tell you that if you’re in search of falafel, you’ll want to head to Rue des Rosiers, where you can find a multitude of Israeli institutions, all claiming to serve the best falafel in town. Head to Miznon, a buzzing eatery, where you’ll find an extensive menu offering warm pita, stuffed with a variety of fillings. Besides falafel, they also serve beef, lamb, cauliflower and many other tasty offerings.
Set inside a flower shop, Peonies is an Instagrammer’s dream. You can expect pink everything here: pink tables, pink flowers, and the staff all wear pink t-shirts…but the food isn’t just for photographing. Sure, the fluffy matcha pancakes, avocado toast, and matcha lattes all come with a healthy sprinkling of edible flowers, but it actually tastes good too.
Located right next door to Peonies, is 5 Pailles, a specialty coffee and brunch spot. Serving up a decent roast, homebaked matcha cookies and an extensive menu with options such as berry pancakes and avocado toast, you can’t really go wrong here.
One of my favourite restaurants in Paris for an elegant lunch or dinner, Carbon serves unfussy, modern French food in a stunning, industrial-like setting. The staff are also super accommodating for any dietary requirements too.
Another of my favourite dinner spots in Paris, Nanashi is a casual Japanese restaurant in Le Marais. The space is contemporary and spacious, and the atmosphere relaxed. Expect tasty Japanese classics on the menu, such as soba dishes, bento boxes, and salmon chirashi bowls…all are delicious, fresh, and served fast. Desserts also include the most incredible matcha fondant cake you’ll ever taste.
My favourite coffee shop in Paris, Dreamin’ Man is a tiny, rustic space on the edge of Le Marais. Here you’ll find the best coffee in Paris and the most delicious homebaked goods (the fresh scones here melt in the mouth, and served with fresh yoghurt and strained rhubarb)…just wow.
This tiny cafe is located just off the Jardin du Palais-Royal, in the heart of the city. Grab a cup of coffee to go, (as well as a Japanese-style pastry) and head for a stroll around the gardens.
A tiny cafe in Le Marais, Boot Cafe’s focus is to serve specialty coffee (and pretty much just that) well. And it does just that.
Also: Holybelly for a serious Australian brunch (expect to queue), Coutume for coffee and brunch, Le Merveilleux de Fred for a sugary pick-me-up (meringues doused in fresh cream and nuts), L’eclair de Genie for the most incredible homemade eclairs in a range of inventive flavours, and L’attache for a relaxed evening drink.
Musee Rodin is my favourite museum in Paris, and is dedicated to the work of the sculptor Rodin. The artwork (including his most famous works) is displayed throughout the elegant house and gardens, and the museum is beautiful to visit on a sunny day.
Originally the house of artist Gustave Moreau, this building is now a unique museum dedicated to displaying his drawings, paintings, and sculptures, and is absolutely stuffed to the rafters with the painter’s artwork.
The fascinating Parisian studio of sculptor Antoine Bourdelle, this museum is a beautiful, forgotten fragment of late 19th-early 20th century Paris. Entering the atelier feels like you’re stepping back in time, and is well worth a visit.
Where to go if you want to see Monet’s famous lily paintings, spectacularly displayed as spanning the walls of the circular galleries. Located in the heart of the Tuileries gardens, this museum is easily accessible from most of the usual tourist sights.
Located next to the Pompidou Centre, this bright and minimalist museum is a reconstruction of the sculptor Brancusi’s studio, and houses an impressive collection of sculptures and other artwork.