This year I am determined to catch up on posting about our travels from 2019 starting with Paris.

I didn’t know if I would fall as madly in love with Paris as I was expecting prior to going to Paris, but I most certainly did. I could live there in a heart beat. I find myself incredibly inspired walking around the city – people watching, strolling through the gardens, and taking in the jaw dropping architecture. {I studied architecture in college so I have a soft spot for it all}.

While it is a major urban city, it does have a distinct romance and almost quaintness to it. Compared to New York, and most American cities in general, the people in Paris felt less overwhelmed by life. It seemed as though Parisians savored more of their day; taking time to read a few pages of their book while have a cappuccino at a cafe, taking a long lunch with a friend or sitting with a glass of wine outside and simply watching the bustle on the streets. There simply seems to be a… if the general vibe in the US is live to work, in Paris {and most of Europe in general} it’s work to live. Which I can definitely get on board with.

Now I wouldn’t say I’m an expert on Paris. I’ve been there once for a week in September, but I am planner when I travel. I build massive notes on where to go, what to eat and drink, and where to shop and always ask locals and friends for their recommendations. I’ll definitely be going back in the future, and as I do, I will continue to evolve this list with all of my favorite places.

travel guide 7 days in Paris

Lodging

For this specific trip I wanted to stay in a hotel mostly because it was the last leg of our trip and I wanted to be comfortable. We knew we wanted to splurge a bit, but we also didn’t want to run the risk of booking an AirBnB with an uncomfortable bed, loud neighbors or blinds that didn’t actually block out light at night. We wanted to to make sure that we came home to a room that we knew we could rest in after a day of being out and about.

Unfortunately we were in Paris during the heat of Fashion Week so everything was a good 50% more expensive than usual. We also booked our hotel extremely late so a lot of my first choices were booked up. We stayed at Sofitel Le Scribe Paris Opera which was great in terms of location, but outside of that, and for a 5 star hotel, I wasn’t too impressed.

The rooms were good, but not great. We had to change rooms because ours lacked basic things like a rack to hang towels and had lights that didn’t work. The bed was honestly the best part about it – sooo comfortable. The hotel was also under construction so amenities like the spa and fitness center were basically non-existent. {The “fitness center” was a treadmill and a bike in a standard room that they emptied out…}.

All in all it was good for what we needed, but mildly disappointing. Especially coming from Castel Monstero in Tuscany.

Eat + Drink

Wolf and The Moon – We literally went here at least once a day. We’d usually start our mornings there with their coconut-almond milk lattes and a green juice or stop in for lunch. Everything is plant-based, gluten-free, dairy free and refined sugar free. They have something for everyone {cold-pressed juices, smoothies, salads, super bowls, desserts etc.}. Everything is made in house using organic, locally and ethically sourced ingredients without additives, pesticides or GMO’s. I can’t say enough good things about this place. They also have tons of locations around the city.

Paris travel guide wolf and the moon  gluten free granola

Maisie Cafe – Another gluten and dairy free, plant-based caffe that I can’t recommend enough. This place literally has the best gluten-free focaccia and sweet breads that I’ve ever had. Their house-made granola is delicious as well – crunchy and not too sweet. This a great spot for breakfast, lunch or an afternoon snack. Everything is made in house and they have a plethora of juices, soups, salads, sandwiches and tarts to choose from to it in or take away.

Marcelle – This is a charming little bakery-cafe in Marias that’s a great spot for breakfast, coffee, lunch or an afternoon glass of wine and a snack. They have lots of gluten-free and vegan options and even make their own almond milk.

Paris travel guide Marselles dairy free cafe

Tomy & Co – We went here for dinner with a friend from high school that happened to be in town and I’m so glad we did! It was delicious. The interior is super cute – minimal and modern, yet warm and inviting. The dishes were creative without being off-putting and beyond flavorful. This wasn’t on my radar going to Paris, but it’s definitely staying on it now!

Glou – We had the most delightful wine and dinner here. Maybe it was the wine or the fact that we could sit outside in the warm autumn air people watching while we sipped on a glass of biodynamic wine, but it was the perfect end to a day spent wandering around Marais. They’re mostly known for their wine, but it’s easily a great spot for a meal.

Season – We stumbled in here to hide from the rain and were pleasantly surprised by their menu. Definitely a more Californian-Australian inspired menu with lots of vegan, dairy-free and gluten-free options. You could easily come here for a coffee and a smoothie bowl or a vegan lasagna for lunch.

Frenchie – Another recommendation from a friend of mine who is in Paris a bunch, this place is adorable. They actually have several establishments in Paris, one of which just got their first Michelin star in 2019. We stopped into their wine bar for snack and a glass of wine before dinner. It was small, crowded and perfect. It had a really neighborhood restaurant vibe to it. We ordered a vegetable curry dish that came with their house sourdough that was crispy on the outside and wonderfully fluffy on the inside. Book early, or come with no timeline, things book up quickly.

Du Pain et des Idées – While I can’t say that I’m an expert in this arena, in my humble opinion they have the best croissants. Granted, I did some researching on the best croissants {it was this article and this article that sold me on Du Pain} in Paris and this came up time and time again, but I can whole heartedly agree. Croissants aside, the real reason I love this place is because of the history.

The bakery was started by Christophe Vasseur after making a life changing career shift from fashion to baking. A self trained baker, he opened Du Pain in 2002 after buying a bakery that was going bankrupt. At the core of Du Pain is a devotion to traditional baking techniques. In fact, the technique they use to make their croissants are no longer taught is no longer taught in French schools {?!?}.

They use very high quality primary ingredients {including organic flour}, make everything by hand, and, most importantly let the dough ferment {rise} for a long time {longer than most bakeries or commercial operations} and cook the products for a long time. This is contrary to even those most quaint and romantic looking bakeries that use industrially made croissants.

I could go on and on, but you’ll simply have to try this place yourself. It’s a little out of the way in the 10th arrondissement, but it is 100% worth the trip.

Telescope Cafe – A small, minimalist spot in the heart of the 1st, but a perfect spot for a pour over made using predominantly Scandinavian beans. They have full coffee and tea menu along with several food items like avocado toast and baked goods. They even have matcha, but if you ask me, Paris has a better coffee scene. Fun fact: the owner used to be a fashion photographer.

Honor Cafe. – Delicious coffee “shop” started by two Australians. Their “coffee shop” is more of a courtyard cafe in the heart of Paris’ fashion district. Perfect spot to enjoy a cappuccino or latte outside on a sunny or not so rainy day.

Shop

Sézane – I’ve been following Sézane for a few years now and love their brand. I feel like their products are well-made, well-priced and on trend without being trendy. Their designs are classic with a vintage je ne sais quoi and made to last. They’ve also made a strong commitment to manufacturing, designing and producing in a sustainable way.

Le Bon Marche – My favorite department store in Paris. I much prefer Le Bon Marche to Galeries Lafayette. The layout is easier to navigate and there is more space to roam to Galeries Lafayette and I feel that Le Bon Marche is better curated than Galeries Lafayette. I could spend a whole day in Le Bon Marche. On the flip side, the architecture at Galeries Lafayette {once you get out of the basement…} is beautiful. I went alone just to take in the ceiling.

Merci – A very cool, chic concept store in Marais with everything from fashion {men’s and women’s} to books, to home and art. They even mix in vintage with their normal assortment.

Eric Bompard – The most beautiful French cashmere that’s been around for 30 years. I discovered them a couple of years ago and while I don’t have any of their pieces, I am intrigued by their brand. Their cashmere is from Mongolia which is traditionally known to produce the highest quality cashmere due to the climate. According to their site, they are meticulous about the quality of their garments and are completely transparent about their garments ply {aka the number of cashmere threads twisted together to make yarn} and knitting process. They’re also committed to animal welfare and sustainability with 100% of their textiles being Oeko-Tex certified by 2020.

Nose – A fun beauty concept store with a unique approach to perfume. They have an “olfactory diagnostic” tool online {and in store} to help you find your personalized scent. You simply fill in 1-3 perfumes that you like, have worn, or currently wear and it spits out your preferred fragrance profile complete with your favorite notes.

Polene – A French handbag brand that recently opened a store in Paris. The brand was started by a sibling trio and their bags are simply darling. They have a very tight, focused assortment of handbags and wallets. Their bags are made in Spain and fashioned completely by hand.

Mes Desmoiselles – An enigmatic French brand that I actually discovered in a boutique in Melbourne. I fell in love with their silk dresses and blouses. There are several locations around Paris which makes popping into one very easy.

Carmina – I can’t take credit for this one. My husband {Chris} actually introduced me to the brand as I was trying to find a good pair of Chelsea boots that I could invest in. They happen to have a store in Paris that we stopped into. If you’re looking for a good pair of shoes, they make a good damn pair of shoes. Especially boots, loafers and oxfords.

Their brand dates back to 1997, but their family craft dates back to 1866. The key differentiating factors for me with Carmina are their construction and quality. All of their shoes are made using traditional Goodyear stitch meaning the sole is actually stitched to the upper vs. being glued which is how most mass shoes are made. The result is a more durable shoe with a longer lifespan as the sole can be replaced once it wears out. Additionally, the space between the sole and the upper is filled with maleable mix of natural cork and ground leather. Overtime, the sole molds to the wearers foot.

Heschung – Another quality footwear company that Chris introduced me to. They are slightly more affordable than Carmina, but just as well made. They are a French brand that dates back to 1934 with a fascinating history including ski boots. If you’re in the market for a pair for a good pair of boots, loafers or oxfords, this is a great brand that makes high quality shoes that will last a lifetime.

Vintage

Reciproque – I nearly died when I stepped into their store. Not only is it huge, but it’s also filled to the brim with designer vintage from Chanel to YSL and everything in between. It is a bit like walking into a TJMaxx simply due to the way it’s laid out and displayed, but it is organized. Just make sure you have time to dig through the racks.

Thanx God I’m A VIP – A very well curated and organic store with less designer vintage, but no shortage of great pieces.

Depot Vente Lux – 100% luxury vintage and well worth a stop. Double check the address on Google against their website – we spent 30 minutes walking in the opposite direction when we went here.

I do love a good vintage store and keep a running list of places in LA, NYC, Portland, Paris etc. Leave a note with your favorites below!

Do

Versaille – We went on a Monday when the Palace was closed, but it was still worth it. You could easily spend a day in the Gardens alone. We rented a golf cart for an hour and drove around the entire grounds. I can’t recommend this enough.

Versaille gardens Paris travel guide

The Royal Gardens & Jardin de Tuilleries – I would go to Paris simply for the gardens. They’re stunning. Well designed, plenty of space to roam and overall a beautiful place to stroll, sit, or lounge.

Paris Flea Market – Paris is known for their robust flea markets. There are several flea markets in Paris, but we went to the biggest one, St-Ouen, that is north of the city center. We tried to do it in an hour and failed miserably. It’s a gold mine of antiques, vintage jewelry and clothes, and art. Even if you aren’t a shopper, grab a cup of coffee and stroll through it.

Paris travel guide flea market

Eiffel Tower – If there’s one thing I learned while in Paris is that most of the “tourist attractions” are actually worth it. The Eiffel Tower is definitely something to see. We didn’t go up it or even walk up to the base. Simply sitting on the lawn on a cool sunny day is enough to take it in.

Louvre – I have mixed emotions about the Louvre. Architecturally, it has a fascinating history, and in terms of art it does house a phenomenal collection. What gets me though is the sheer amount of people that circulate through the museum on a given day making it difficult to stroll aimlessly through the museum. People aside though, it is absolutely worth going to, especially if you can do it in the morning, or evening, on a weekday. Just make sure you book your tickets in advance!

On My Radar

Before I got some place new, I spent hours scoping out places to go – eat, shop, do, wander, you get the idea. Naturally I don’t get to everything and ear mark a few places for next time.

Healthy Eats & Coffee

Bob’s Inc. – They have a kitchen and a juice bar with lots of different healthy breakfast and lunch options.

Juice Lab – One of the few juice places that I found in Paris.

Neighbors – By the same duo behind Honor. This is their restaurant featuring Australian inspired healthy eats and well sourced coffee.

VG Patisserie – A vegan bakery in Paris?!

Caffeine

Umami Matcha – Matcha is not as big in Paris is it is in the US, but this place looks like it knows a thing or two about matcha.

Cafe Kitsune – Part fashion brand, part music label, part coffee shop, this place is right up my alley.

Dinner

Fitzgeralds – I don’t know if I’m more interested in the interior and vibe or the menu.

Semilla – Actually found this restaurant while writing this. Their menu changes with the season and has a strong international influence.

Big Mamma Group – They have 7 different trattorias around the city, all with their own personality, specializing in Italian.

Balagan – Another well recommend restaurant specializing in Israeli food.

La Potager du Marais – Traditional French food, but make it vegan.

Wine

Vivant – natural wine bar with a heavy focus on provenance

La Verre Vole – As Bon Appetite puts it “the OG natural wine bar that’s also seriously about food”

Verjus – Part of the Ellsworth family that started as more of an underground restaurant. Apparently it has a killer wine bar.

La Buvette – Natural wine bar a little outside of town.

Culture

Musee d’Orsay – I so wish we made time for this on our last trip. It houses the largest collection of impressionist and post-impressionist paintings {including Monet} which I tend to be a fan of.

Luxemborg Gardens – One can never visit enough gardens in Paris.

Shop

L’Exception – A beautiful looking concept store featuring a lot of French brands.

Maison Labiche – A French label specializing in quintessential Parisian tees and sweaters.

Centre Commercial – A concept store with fair-trade clothing, artisan brands and VEJA shoes.

What are you favorite places in Paris? Leave them in the comments below!

XO

-S

January 24, 2020

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