I love Paris (on the European scale of expressing emotions). I’ve lived there for a while and sometimes visiting friends ask me for recommendations.
[Last updated April 20 2022]
Paris is a stunningly beautiful city and going for long walks has been my favourite way of exploring it. The city looks particularly beautiful on clear, sunny days in spring or autumn.
5th arrondissement. Go for: a very charming, beautiful neighbourhood, some of Paris’s oldest historical landmarks and universities, beautiful parks, some very good restaurants. Begin at Jardin des Plantes go towards Place St. Medard, wallk up rue mouffetard, check out the Pantheon, descend to the Sorbonne, head to the Jardin de Luxembourg.
11th and 20th arrondissement. Go for: some of Paris coolest neighbourhoods. Begin at Republique, walk around the canal St. Martin head up to Parmentier and then towards Belleville
1st and 2nd arrondissement. Go for: some of Paris’s most famous sights, beautiful, very posh neighbourhoods, very good Japanese food. Louvre, Jardin du Palais Royal (probably my favourite park in Paris), Opera
4th towards the 7th: Go for: Some beautiful, rich neighbourhoods, the Seine. Begin at Pont Marie, cross the islands, swing by place Dauphine, cross the river, stroll through st. germain towards Le Bon Marché
Pigalle and Montmartre. Go for a very cool neighborhood (Pigalle) and a very touristy but still cute area (montmartre). Begin on the rue des martyrs, cross montmartre while staying west of the sacré coeur, descend the hill on the north side of montmartre to see a somewhat less touristy side of montmartre.
Fait Ici En France – Modern French cuisine, probably my favourite restaurant I’ve been to in Paris in the last year. Has very good plant-based options! Upscale.
Cadence – Very good modern French restaurant. Mid-range prices.
Picotte – Very good modern French. Small plates based on different regions of France. Mid-range prices.
Miznon – Good take out place in the Marais. Recommend the cauliflower pita.
Lao Siam – Very good Lao place. Mid-range prices.
Sanjo – Excellent Japanese place. Mid-range prices.
Thai Yïm Very rude service, great Thai food. Very good value.
Tien Hiang – a pan-asian restaurant where all dishes are vegetarian or vegan. Quite good! Lower-range prices.
IMA Cantine – a good vegetarian restaurant. General Mediterranean cuisine, some very good salads. Lower-range prices.
Habesha – In an (actually quite) rigorous comparison of Ethiopian restaurants in Paris, Habesha came out on top. Very good Ethiopian food in the 15th. Good value.
Table d’Hami Very good bibimbap next to the Jardin des Plantes – haven’t tried other dishes here. Good value.
Palais de Tokyo. Contemporary art gallery in a beautiful 30s building that’s recently received a very barebones renovation. Very high variance exhibitions, we’ve often come away from exhibitions feeling somewhat confused and distraught but have also seen some of our favourite contemporary art exhibitions there. Just going there to have a look at the architecture is worth it, I think.
Centre de Pompidou. Excellent permanent exhibition of all the big names in modern and contemporary art. Very recognisable, looks-like-a-nightmare-to-maintain architecture.
Louvre. obvious recommendation, but also still very much worth visiting. Worth being strategic about when you go as it can get very busy – though not Musei Vaticani-busy.
Bourse de Commerce. recently and expensively renovated contemporary art collection in what used to be a commodities exchange.
Grand Palais. Stunning, enormous steel and glass construction built for the world exhibition in 1900. Have been there for various events – worth going just to check out the building, I think.
Fondation Louis Vuitton.
Paris 104. Communal space in the north of Paris. Museum with wide range of different exhibitions. They host a digital arts biennale and the 2019 edition was one of my favourite exhibitions I’ve ever seen.
Cafes, Bakeries, Patisseries, Grocery stores
Partisan Cafe. Good coffee. Big fan of the interior design and the space.
Cafe at Place St. Medard (the terrasse is a really nice place to sit, the coffee’s not particularly good)
Terres de Cafe. In terms of the coffee, this might be my favourite cafe.
Utopie is one of my favourite bakeries in Paris and has excellent patisserie
Fromagerie Laurent Dubois
Ice cream’s good at Pozetto, Grom and Folderol, and Fabrique Givrée
Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève, 5th
Signing up’s reasonably quick and free for anyone. Beautiful library and surrounds. Gets busy/full in the afternoons sometimes. PhD students and researchers get priority access and a separate reading room (reservation needed).
BnF Richelieu, 2nd
Re-opening in September ’22 after ten years of renovations!
Lots of cool bars on the Rue Oberkampf
Hang out with extremely fashionable hipsters at Le Saint-Gervais
or at le progrès
Danico is a cool place and has very good cocktails – Daroco, the restaurant has good Pizza.
Folderol is a very cool wine-bar-cum-ice-cream-parlor
Galignani. Beautiful, well-curated bookshop with many English books.
Rue Vieille du Temple. Shopping streets with lots of cool clothing stores.
Rue de Marseille. Another street with a lot of cool clothing stores.
Things to do
Having drinks on the quais in spring or summer.
When its warm and not raining, people get together to dance in the evenings on place de la république, on the banks of the Seine around here, and on the terrace of the Bibliotheque National de France in the 13th.
Le Mazette is a club on a boat on the Seine close to Gare d’Austerlitz. Dancing on the boat’s roof-terrace can be a lovely way to spend an afternoon in spring or summer. Expect house music and a pretty diverse crowd (think more of a festival crowd rather than a clubbing crowd).
Get some Pétanque balls, get some Rosé, dress up (slightly), and wile away a few hours on the beautiful triangular Place Dauphine.
Philharmonie de Paris
The Opera at Palais Garnier
La Gare, a Jazz club in what used to be a train station. Sometimes big names show up to play unannounced.