Destination: Paris, France
Standing at the top of Montmartre, backs facing the Sacré Coeur -- the entirety of Paris was at our feet. Taylor turns to me and says, “I understand why they call it the City of Lights.” Little did she know that later that night, she would have one of those crazy you’ll want to tell your kids about it kind of tales, too much alcohol is involved, questionable friends were encountered, but all-in-all one of those nights that remind you that you’re alive.
This was just one of many incredible memories made with this incredible group of women. The entire time I was on the trip, I felt like I was writing this guide in the back of my mind. This wasn’t my first time to Paris, but my third. You see, Paris isn’t like London where a million visits in you might not know where your relationship stands -- sounds a lot like dating in NYC -- no Paris will always welcome you with a glass of wine and a seductive whisper of adventure.
So three trips to Paris, countless rereads of a Moveable Feast and 2 French-approved berets later, consider me your Parisian guide!
D O A S T H E P A R I S I A N S D O
”Paris is a place in which we can forget ourselves, reinvent, expunge the dead weight of our past.” – Michael Simkins
Eiffel Tower || Paris is the Eiffel Tower and the Eiffel Tower is Paris. Your first time I highly recommend that you carve out time to do the entire experience by day and night. By day, grab some fresh orange juice, champagne and fresh pastries and picnic under the tower people watching for hours. Then one night when you’ve had just the right amount of wine, maybe more, come back and time it right on the hour. BEHOLD. The Eiffel Tower lit up at the night is one of the most incredible sights I’ve ever experienced. Champ de Mars, 5 Avenue Anatole France, 75007 Paris
Arc de Triomphe || If you’ve ever visited New York’s Washington Square Park - or WaSquaPa to those who attended NYU, then you’ll recognize the intricately carved archway of the Arc de Triomphe. Start at the bottom?/top? - whichever end the archway is not - and walk past your pick of shops like Louis Vuitton, Nike and Sephora. While you’re making your way to the archway for your photo opp, stop in the renowned Laduree for a quintessential taste of the classic Macaroon. Av. des Champs-Élysées, 75008 Paris, France
Notre Dame || Another classic Paris destination, this cathedral sort of acts as a split right down Paris’ middle, dividing the left and right banks. Now I’ve never been to the top of the cathedral because…stairs, but I’ve heard it’s an incredible view of Paris. 6 Parvis Notre-Dame - Pl. Jean-Paul II, 75004 Pari
Montmarte and La Basilique du Sacré Coeur || Many say that standing atop the Eiffel Tower or Notre Dame provides the most surreal view of Paris, but trust me, the real magic happens when you stand at the foot of La Basilique du Sacré Coeur and look out with Paris at your feet. Words can’t really sum up the feeling, so I won’t try. 35 Rue du Chevalier de la Barre, 75018 Paris
The Luxembourg Gardens || Hands down, one of my favorite places in Paris. Carve out a good two to three hours to get lost in the expansive gardens, full of sculptures that will leave you inspired. Hemingway used to come wander the gardens at all hours of the night looking for inspiration, a sign, a reminder of what he was supposed to be doing on this planet. It’s incredible peaceful — perfect for a late Sunday picnic and a tipsy, wine-filled walk after dark. If you’re lucky, you may be granted a park free of others, so you can pretend it's all yours, for just a moment. 75006 Paris, France
E A T A S T H E P A R I S I A N S E A T
"Lunch kills half of Paris, supper the other half." - Charles de Montesquieu
Le Brebant || A beautiful sunlit cafe, Le Brebant serves as a nice break from a busy day of wandering around Paris. Besides the adorable waiters and the incredible caesar salad, I would highly recommend bringing a book and sitting out under the canopy for a lovely Parisian afternoon. 32 Boulevard Poissonnière, Paris
Brasserie Barbes || At the edge of Montmartre, this cute little eatery is the perfect stop before a day of exploring! Ask to sit upstairs and you'll be granted a beautiful meal in a light filled greenhouse. It's pretty traditional French fare so take your pick! Later at night the brasserie turns into a late night dance spot -- now who doesn't like a multi-purpose space?! 2 Boulevard Barbès, 75018 Paris
Big Love Caffe || I’ve had good italian food, I’ve had great italian food, but Big Love is really on a new wave length. After stumbling across this little nook of a spot, it was hard not to go in -- plants decorate the place from top to bottom and the dim lighting make this a great spot for a date or an intimate dinner with friends. 30, Rue Debelleyme, 75003 Paris
La Comete || This cafe quickly to the top of my favorite restaurants - thanks Ryan! Nestled in Montmartre and conveniently located across the street from the very instagrammable Hotel Panache, La Comete is a gem of french food at any hour. Order the “Piece de boeuf” with a side of their to die for mashed potatoes for dinner and indulge in their creme brûlée -- it’s 1000% worth it! 19 Rue du Faubourg Montmartre, 75009 Paris
La Closerie des Lilas || All the greatest poets, all the most beautiful minds, all the talents of the arts once held tables at La Closerie des Lilas. Just name dropping this list gives me chills...Modigliani, Paul Fort, André Breton, Aragon, Van Dongen, Picasso, Jean Paul Sartre, André Gide, Paul Eluard, Oscar Wilde, Beckett, Man Ray, Ezra Pound...the list goes on. This isn’t just a stop on your tour of Paris, but a destination to peek into the history of some of the world’s greatest creatives. 171 Boulevard du Montparnasse 75006 Paris
Persil et Mimosa || If you’re looking for the perfect combination of IG-heaven and French bistro, then definitely pop by Le Persil et Mimosa for a rice milk vanilla latte. It’s a tiny space thats bustling with the founder’s family members and locals stopping in for their healthy, organic fare. 3 Passage de la Bonne Graine, Paris
Cafe Marly || Cafe Marley may serve as a go-to tourist destination because of it’s prime location inside the Louvre with a balcony that overlooks the glass pyramid. I came here with a group of my friends and we sat outside and enjoyed the cafe’s delicious Caesar salad and hot mulled wine. 93 rue de Rivoli 75001 Paris
18 Rue du Pont aux Choux, 75003 Paris
22 Rue Montmartre, 75001 Paris
32 Rue du Mont Thabor, 75001 Paris
111 Rue Reaumur, 75002 Paris
D R I N K W H E R E T H E P A R I S I A N S D R I N K
”If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.” - Earnest Hemingway
Le Crocodile || This bar holds such an incredible place in my heart as it was where I’d brought my family here my second time in Paris. My brother and I, both underage at the time, flipped through their intensive list of hundreds of innovative concoctions..only to settle on the one with the most alcohol imaginable -- my 23 year old self just cringed. Le Crocodile is a skip and a hop next to Luxembourg Gardens so end your day here packed with students from the Sorbonne and being adventurous with any cocktail you can imagine. Don’t forget to snap a pic with the iconic gummy crocodile they place in the bottom of every drink! 6 Rue Royer-Collard, 75005 Paris - Latin Quarter
The Little Red Door || Ya’ll know ya girl loves a nice, strong, creatively concocted cocktail — much to my bank account’s dismay. The Little Red Door is a cute, secretly hidden cocktail bar with dim lighting and incredible vibes. To get in, don’t let the ~ actual ~ red door confuse you, the real door is hidden perpendicular to it. Knock and you shall be let in. Pro tip: Fermentation stands for kombucha. There is no real alcohol in there, I repeat there is no real alcohol in there. Don’t pay $20 for a kombucha.
Au Port du Salud || Fate is the only reason I ended up at Au Port du Salad with my three girlfriends looking for a little adventure and a lot of wine, or the other way around? Le Crocodile was closed so we ended up stumbling into this green ivy covered cottage. What we discovered inside was truly inside a novel that I only hope to write one day...we sat and drank and danced and sang with this group of young musicians hosting a cozy open mic night that turned into one of the best nights of my life. I implore you to come and stay for hours listening to the live music. 163 Rue Saint-Jacques, 75005 Paris
Bar Hemingway || If you've read every description in this guide, than you're probably sick of hearing the word 'Hemingway' - well, spare my one last use case here! I waited about 5 years to make it to this bar and I can honestly say that it was worth the wait. The entire bar is an ode to the expat novelist known for his larger than life adventures. Tucked in the heart of the Ritz Paris, the Bar Hemingway invites you to go back in time with a potent (and monetarily exuberant) cocktail to when life was do or die by your art. 38 Rue Cambon, 75001 Paris
Hotel Costes || Grab some very chic french fries and a bottle of wine at Hotel Costes and it's as if you've gained yourself entry into an exclusive french fashion show, but that's only if you can score a table. The minute you walk into Hotel Costes you know it's where deals are done and very expensive handbags are dropped casually on espresso filled tables -- fashion-lovers you'll be entranced! 239 Rue Saint Honoré, 75001 Paris
35 rue Vieille du Temple 75004 Paris
30 Rue René Boulanger, 75010 Paris
S H O P W H E R E T H E P A R I S I A N S S H O P
"In Paris, our lives are one masked ball." - Gaston Leroux
Le Marais || Le Marais is one of Paris’ cutest neighborhoods — in my opinion! This is where you’ll find cobblestone streets that seem to go on winding forever. You’ll find a mix of high end shops and tiny boutiques that you’ll love exploring in between wine and cheese breaks. This is where you’ll find Big Love Caffe and the Picasso Museum!
Champs-Élysées || If you're looking to do some serious shopping, check out the Champs-Élysées. Start at the bottom? top? - whichever end the archway is not - and walk past your pick of shops like Louis Vuitton, Nike and Sephora. While you’re making your way to the archway for your photo opp, stop in the renowned Laduree for a quintessential taste of the classic Macaroon. Av. des Champs-Élysées, 75008 Paris, France
Shakespeare & Co || Bibliophiles, prepare yourself and your pocket book. This little nook of a book shop is located right across the river from Notre Dame so I’d recommend adding this to the itinerary for before or after you explore the cathedral. My favorite part of this well-known bookshop — besides the section dedicated purely to the Lost Generation creatives — is the literary readings they hold upstairs. You could easily get lost in there for hours. 37 Rue de la Bûcherie, 75005 Paris
Merci || Come for the cute little car parked outside and stay for the beautiful trinkets inside this Parisian concept shop. 111 Boulevard Beaumarchais, 75003 Paris
Any recommendations you think I should add? Let me know -- I'm always looking to explore more of Paris!