Best of Paris
When people find out I’m familiar with Paris, they often ask for recommendations. This post will consolidate all that information for ease of reference as well as saving me time going forwards.
Restaurant La Mosquée
This cafe in the Paris Mosque has great couscous, mint tea, and avocado salad. The building itself is gorgeous, and provides a nice change of pace from more stereotypically Parisian locales. (39 Rue Geoffroy-Saint-Hilaire, 75005 Paris)
l’atelier du Chocolat
My favorite chocolate shop in Paris, l’atelier du Chocolat, has chocolate covered orange peels, chocolate bark, and chocolate covered ginger, among other confections. The chili bark is especially good. (109 Rue Saint-Antoine, 75004 Paris)
This is a major French retail chain which combines food, clothing, household goods, and gifts into one store. I usually get some groceries like their chèvre frais au poivre noir (goat cheese with black peppercorns) or the one with green peppercorns when they have it. They are also a great place to stock up on Kinder Surprise eggs of all sizes. (71 Rue Saint-Antoine, 75004 Paris)
Boulangerie St Antoine
Of all the places to get a tarte aux framboises, this is perhaps my favorite. Their bread and quiches are also outstanding. You can go to l’atelier du Chocolat, Monoprix, and this boulangerie all in the same trip before heading over to the Place des Vosges to enjoy the picnic you just bought. (29 Rue Saint-Antoine, 75004 Paris)
Loving Hut Paris
In 2013 I was in Paris over Christmas with friends and family, we found ourselves looking for a place to have dinner on Christmas Eve. As you can imagine, there were essentially no grocery stores open, and restaurants had been booked up for weeks. Much to everyone’s chagrin, I suggested we try this place, a vegan health foods restaurant in a city known for its bread and cheese. We got a reservation and were not disappointed–there was live music, excellent service and food, as well as everyone singing along to Christmas carols. When we left, the staff, as well as all the guests in the restaurant wished us a good night and happy holiday season. While it is perhaps not quite as magical on a normal night of the year, it nonetheless holds its own without relying on animal products. Loving Hut is an international franchise type chain, with each restaurant having its own unique personality. The one in Pittsburgh is quite good as well, although the one in Hamburg seemed a bit under par. (92 Boulevard Beaumarchais, 75011 Paris)
Place des Vosges
One of my favorite parks in the whole city, the Place des Vosges is a beautiful park in the 4th arrondissement. It’s a great place to have a picnic, bring the whole family to the playgrounds there, or just walk around and enjoy a bit of peace and quiet away from the noisy streets. (Place des Vosges, 75004 Paris)
The Pompidou Center, built in high-tech architectural style, houses the largest museum of modern art in all of Europe. It also contains a few other institutions including a center for music and acoustic research. Directly adjacent is the Stravinsky Fountain which is also worth checking out. (Place Georges-Pompidou, 75004 Paris)
Le Jardin du Dragon
If you have kids or any sense of childish wonder left in you, the garden of the dragon is an absolute must! Imagine a dragon sculpture with a playground as its spiny back which you climb through before finally exiting down its tongue made in the form of a slide. The current version of the dragon is not quite as thorough as the old version, which was likely closed due to safety concerns, but is nonetheless a sight to behold for people of all ages. (In the Parc de la Villette)
Situated directly between the dragon slide and the Cité des sciences et industrie (Science and Industry Museum, the largest science museum in Europe), the Geode is a mirror covered geodesic dome that houses an Omnimax theatre. Even if you don’t see a movie, it is quite unique to see from the outside. If you like the Bean in Chicago, you will probably enjoy seeing la Géode. (30 Avenue Corentin Cariou, 75019 Paris)
Institut du monde arabe
The Arab World Institute houses a museum, library, restaurant, and more. Founded by 18 Arab countries in partnership with France, the Institute seeks to promote Arab civilization, art, and culture in a secular space. It’s exhibits are very well done, as is the restaurant on the 9th floor with great panoramic views of Paris, including Notre-Dame. (1 Rue des Fossés Saint-Bernard, 75005 Paris)
Père Lachaise Cemetery
Housing Jim Morrison, Oscar Wilde, Molière, Frederic Chopin, Honoré de Balzac, and more, Père Lachaise is the most visited necropolis in the world, and the largest in Paris. Founded in Napoleon in 1804 on the principle that “Every citizen deserves to be buried regardless of race or religion” the cemetery has quite an interesting history. You can take a guided walking tour, but you are probably better off just getting an app or looking at a website that tells you where everyone is and then just wandering around. (16 Rue du Repos, 75020 Paris)
I’m sure I’ve forgotten some things but those should be a good place to start. Paris probably has more to see than anyone can in an entire lifetime, so knowing what balance of focused interactions and casual wandering around you want is crucial.
Photo is of Romauld Hazoumè’s Exit Ball on display at the Louis Vuitton Collection in Paris.