Paris is often hailed as the city of romance, the city of love. Famed for its iconic off white buildings, wrought iron clad balconies and serene sunsets, it does feel like the perfect setting to share with someone you love. It was a pleasure walking hand in hand with my boyfriend along the winding streets during a crisp autumn morning and I imagine a stroll along The Seine on a hazy summer's evening would be equally as romantic. However, the romantic description alone would be doing a disservice to this dynamic city packed with varying cultures and diversity. Paris has so much more to offer than just romantic vista's and attractive buildings, the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre. The art scene in Paris is tucked away, hidden from the touristy walkways and it is there where you really find the voice of the youth. During my stay I saw Almine Rech Gallery host 'Of false beaches and butter money,' a sensual solo show by Canadian artist Chloe Wise which explores the link between female self-presentation and forms of betterment. Be sure to keep an eye on the art schedules seasonally to make sure you don't miss anything.
CAFES & RESTAURANTS
1 Rue Charles-François Dupuis, 75003 Paris
Season is my interior design dream. The exposed concrete walls, the bare plaster, the wicker chairs and natural colour scheme are made comfortable with soft velvet cushions and wooden flooring. I love honest spaces such as this. Not a lot has been tampered with, the foundations are exposed in parts and the space is flooded with natural light. Enough about the decor though, I came here to eat! As the name suggests, Season is built around the fresh produce that is available seasonally, meaning the menu is changed every three months and serves the healthiest plates with a French inspired twist. I opted for the acai bowl, light and textured with granola, oats berries and pumpkin seeds alongside a delicious matcha latte. My boyfriend chose the oh-so-good but not-so-good pancakes topped with banana, minced almonds, home-made almond caramel, coconut & gomasio. Delicious!
28 Rue Henry Monnier, 75009 Paris
I mean, did you really even go to Paris if you didn't eat at Buvette? This tiny quintiessentially Parisian cafe holds an equally small menu which is simple yet perfect. Sometimes we are often handed menus with lengthy descriptions and endless choices and you become overwhelmed, but not at Buvette. Offering just a slice of bread selection with a sweet or savoury topping, pastries or eggs. I opted for the eggs with home made bread, goats cheese and tomatoes.
22 Rue de la Folie Méricourt Paris
Cafe Mericourt is my favourite cafe in Paris. Tucked away down a quiet side street, you would never even know it was there. Sister restaurant of Cafe Oberkampf, Mericourt offers more seating, longer opening hours and reservations are accepted. Both cafes are famed for their incredible, spicy Shakshuka and it certainly did not disappoint. It is one of the best I have ever tasted. For me however, the pancakes were the star of the show. Recently switching from the summer menu that offered the usual summer berry accompaniment, we were offered the autumnal menu pancakes instead. Served with kiwi fruit, roast fig, pistachio, maple syrup and a light vanilla mascarpone, I had never tasted roasted fig before and so far my favourite pancake topping to date. One I will be definitley recreating at home.
107 Avenue Ledru-Rollin, 75011 Paris
A picture says a thousand words. Really you don't need my commentary on how great the food was at Passager. My first time in a while tasting English pancakes in a breakfast spot, soft and light they are similar to crepes and topped with maple, banana and pecan nuts. Not too heavy and very tasty! My granola bowl was exactly what I would usually make for myself at home for breakfast. Healthy, filling and sweet it was made up with greek yoghurt, honey, and a mix of berries. The atmosphere was really relaxed and we opted to sit at the window seat, drinking peppermint tea as we watched the world go by.
15 Rue de Babylone 75007 Paris
Marcel doesn't just offer light, healthy breakfasts. It offers big hearty plates of food too. Stacks of pancakes, fish finger sandwiches, club sandwiches - you name it and they've got it. If you're looking for a larger meal to set you up for the day then Marcel is your place to go! The restaurant seems like the type of joint that wouldn't look out of place in Shoreditch and definitely has a more casual, relaxed feel. Go for the waffles - they are perfection!
OB LA DI
54 Rue de Saintonge, 75003 Paris
Ob La Di is featured as one of the 'must-try' brunch places on every bloggers list, no guide would be complete without mentioning this instagramable hot spot. Beautiful floor tiling and marbled counters all contained within a postage stamp sized space ensures that this place is packed right through until close. Is it worth the hype? I would say so. Not only are the baked goods on offer, super delicious - a lot of them are also gluten free and vegan. Win! Sat eating my avocado toast (I know, I'm a cliche) listening to a killer playlist, I was in my element.
76 Rue des Tournelles, 75003 Paris
I have to be honest and say I did not sample anything from the lunch menu but was tempted in by the smell of hot, freshly baked cinnamon buns. Sat on the counter top, they were just as you would expect to find them in Stockholm or Copenhagen. A small little knot with lashings of cinnamon. I am so glad I found them, tucked away just north of the Marais and definitely worth a visit for mid day Fika.
HOTEL GRAND AMOUR
18 Rue de la Fidélité, 75010 Paris
Grand Amour Hotel restaurant was pure perfection. Stopping by to have some drinks, we were seated in the beautiful, candy-striped pink courtyard. People were wining and dining, socialising and the atmosphere was lively. Overlooked by the more demure restaurant, I could see tables filling up and candles being lit. Dishes were arriving on tables and the food and ambience inside looked heavenly. I requested a table and began scanning the menu. I just had to eat here! Plenty of fish and vegetarian courses were available and I opted for a seafood starter and fish main course. The food was presented beautifully. It was full of flavour and the perfect balance between fine dining with good quality ingredients and still having a decent sized portion of food on your plate. I could not recommend this place enough! Great for a glass of wine in the courtyard or an evening meal - or why not both! The perfect spot for a romantic date night.
54 Rue de Seine, 75006 Paris
Getting a reservation at Semilla on the day is near impossible, so definitely book in advance. We quite literally ran across town, from our leisurely wander around the Rodin museum, in order to make our reservation - but it was worth it! We ordered three courses and each was wonderful. The menu, inspired by the seasons, is large enough to accommodate everyone, including vegetarians. The selection of vegetables and the preparation is unlike anywhere I have eaten before. Almost raw, they were packed full of flavour and complemented by a delicate flavoured white fish and garlic puree. Vegetables are the star of the menu and Semilla aim to keep the produce as fresh and untouched as possible. With the wine list, you are spoilt for choice! it is well priced and includes a good sized selection available by the glass, Something for all three courses perhaps? Be sure to get a table at the bar, it feels more relaxed and you can discuss your food at length with the bar staff, as well as having a chat to the regulars sat next to you who know exactly what to order.
OTHER CAFES & RESTAURANTS
FOLKS & SPARROW
203 rue Saint-Honoré Paris, 75001
Le Labo is a perfumers whose ethos is that, the soul of a fragrance comes from the intention with which it is created and the attention with which it is prepared. When you experience one of their stores you will learn something new each time about the scents and the blends. After choosing one of their fragrances, it will be freshly hand blended just for you. Le Labo wants you to engage with the making process and learn about the wood maker to the metal worker to the candle pourer to the lab technician to the rose picker to the illustrator and of course, the perfumer.
THE BROKEN ARM
12 Rue Perrée, 75003 Paris
The Broken Arm has to be top of everyones list when visiting Paris. Offering multiple brands of clothing from Stone Island to Balenciaga, the capsule is perfectly formed and feels youthful and urban. The collections are complimented by books, accessories, magazines and objects (check out the gorgeous tote bags!!) That is not all, The Broken Arm also runs as a café and restaurant which is open from breakfast until late afternoon, and the lunch menu is elaborated and changed daily.
14 Rue Debelleyme, 75003 Paris
Visiting Études we were initially welcomed with a Wolfgang Tillman's Anti Brexit poster which provoked a discussion with the store assistant of how Tillman claims to be a product of a European cultural exchange. Etudes represents a global experience of visual culture. Established in 2012 and based between Paris and New York, the brand operates this discussion and exchanging of cultures across platforms such as the menswear (although the designs are unisex) to its publishing materials. Etudes claims to be reflecting and engaging the contemporary landscape through diverse but distinct content, which is apparent from the zines and books available in store to browse and buy. I walked away with my Tillman print feeling engaged and informed.
17 Rue de Sèvres, 75006 Paris
I had to make it a priority to see the stunning newly opened concept store by Hermes which was designed by French architects. The building was a disused 1930s swimming pool building and has been transformed using 'design pods' to house Hermes collections. Underneath, the flooring of the pool has been integrally preserved and compliments the design and structure beautifulyl. Definitely worth a visit.
ACNE STUDIOS SHOWROOM
3 Rue Froissart, 75003 Paris
Now of course, my favourite brand. I visit the stores in every single city. However, the newly opened Parisian flagship store is beyond-words-beautiful. Take a look at the pink concrete stairs - I had serious interior envy! Paris has got it covered when it comes to mixing great designers with incredible architecture and this Acne store cannot be missed.
THE CORDS & CO.
104 Rue Vieille-du-Temple, 75003 Paris
While it may not be deemed cool to wear head to toe corduroy, I really do not care. I love it! This store will help you get your cord jeans, dresses, dungarees and flares too while you're at it all under one roof. Reasonably priced and a huge selection of fits and styles, this is basically your new Levi's. Free U.K shipping too, whats not to love?
27 Rue du Château d'Eau, 75010 Paris
O/HP/E, an acronym for exactly what this store offers - objects, homemade patisserie and epicerie meaning groceries. Inside is a beautiful selection of pastries and coffee but beyond that is an array of hand crafted ceramics for the kitchen. Beautiful teapots, cups and saucers and dinner plates. I couldn't believe my luck when I managed to pick up a set of two mugs with matching saucers for just twenty four euros. I have made quite the habit of picking up handmade ceramics from every city I visit as a reminder of my travels.
LE BON MARCHE
OTHER POINTS OF INTEREST
PIGALLE BASKETBALL COURT
17 Rue Duperré, 75009 Paris
Previously painted in blocks of primary colours, French design and photography agency Ill-Studio and fashion brand Pigalle have redesigned and repainted the Paris Duperré basketball court founded by Stéphane Ashpool with support from Nike. Inspired by the 1990's basketball era, the new transformation packs a punch.