so you’ve been to paris, and you’ve done all the sight-seeing. you took your photo in front of the eiffel tower, browsed the louvre, had steak-frites, and took a train ride to versailles. but paris is so rich in culture, beautiful architecture, and things to do— even on the coldest or rainiest days. so if you want another take on the city outside of the usual tourist stops, here’s my take on the most unconventional parisian hotspots:
first stop (after the louvre): to get you into the parisian mood, walk along the seine river by the old vendors. you can find some amazing copies of classic french books, comics, paintings, and souvenirs. if you’re looking for a gift for a child, definitely make a quick stop to a book vendor as some have the most adorable (classic) french children’s books. the vendors are set up beautifully along the river, making also for a great photo-op.
as unconventional as italian food in paris seems… you’ve got to make a stop at paris rome in the marais. classic italian fare in a cozy, home-like french setting. if you’re looking for something fresh, authentic, and delicious in the marais— this is your place. run by two italian brothers, this small restaurant is nothing short of good service, a hearty menu, and food made out of love. served in the photo (right) is their specialty truffle homemade pasta. it. was. delicious. let’s be honest, i’m no food critic, but i’ve had some (overpowering) truffle dishes around the world and this one was just subtly truffle-icious. yes, i just made that a word 😉
the most instagram-worthy (and delicious) desserts in paris? look no further: carette, located in the 16th arrondissement, is every blogger’s happy place. (note: carefree has a few locations in paris but this one is notably the most popular). expect macaroons in every flavor possible and pastries of all sorts. after a light lunch and dessert, skip over to the jardin du trocadero to get your classic shot in front of the eiffel tower.
if you decide on having dinner and dessert, make sure to time yourself to get to trocadero on the hour to catch the golden lights sparkle on the eiffel tower. soo… tea, macaroons, and sparkly light show at the eiffel tower? sounds like a dream to me.
okay okay, more italian food. i know what you’re thinking 🙄 italian food in france. i did mention that this was an unconventional take on paris right? so moving forward— the mama empire: get ready to wait in line at pink mamma paris. no reservations here. if you don’t do it for the food, then at least do it for the gram. this restaurant had four beautiful floors with different layouts and decor. if you don’t get a table on the fourth floor, make it a point to go pay it a visit after your meal. the beautiful green bar at the top floor surrounded by earthy greenery is quite the backdrop. if anthropologie had a restaurant, this is what i’d imagine it to be like. but i will say: if you’re looking for fancy, top-notch service (but then again, paris isn’t known for it’s friendly citizens), and to-die-for food, this ain’t your space.
craving steak? make sure to grab reservations at chez robert et louise. no seriously, you need a reservation or the man at the door with his vintage notebook won’t seat you. fire-grilled steak, potatoes, mushrooms, and salad were all delish. i promise you won’t leave hungry.
tapas in france? yes please! don’t forget to make a quick stop at l’avant comptoir. they’ve got a few locations, and they’re all quite different in terms of menu. when you go, make sure to bring a translator considering the staff will be too busy to translate all 45 plates for you. post 9pm, you’ll be lucky to find a spot to stand as there is limited seating at either of their locations. consensus: lively spot to grab a small bite and a nice glass of wine.
looking for a place to meet a friend in the afternoon and enjoy a cup of coffee (or espresso martini)? visit the hoxton. find vine-covered walls and inviting comfy couches in the hotel lobby bar. the cafe-like setting makes for the perfect afternoon meetup spot.
if you’re around after 6pm, don’t be shy to check out their cocktail bar upstairs: jacques’ bar. featuring: moroccan-inspired drink menu.
easily one of my favorite stops in paris: ferdi. text them in advance to make your reservation— because you’ll need one (resy by text only). if i would sum up my experience at ferdi in one word, it would be "scrumptious.” everything from the service to the food was a genuinely fantastic experience. if you’re looking for a low-key, cozy setting, and some comfort food— this is your place.
next up, pitstop at rue des rosiers for the infamous l’as du fallafel. i never leave paris without having my fallafel (i’m so serious). on any given day, you’ll find a line outside the pick-up window of this establishment. go for their original fallafel, and make sure to sauce it up and grab some extra napkins. take the rest of the afternoon to walk around the marais and enjoy all the shops and boutiques.
not in the mood to go into the museum, but want to enjoy the scenic louvre area? if you’re lucky enough to get a seat on the terrace, stop by le cafe marly right outside the museum. first of all, you can watch the glorious sunlight shining down on one of paris’s most beautiful landmarks— it’s an absolutely stunning view. and not to mention, great people-watching spot 🤔 what better way to enjoy a morning cup of coffee and a delectable pastry?
looking for a classy parisian bar experience? and by classy i mean 27 euros for a glass of wine: bar 228 in the hotel le meurice. no but seriously, go. the ambiance and decor are exceptional. the velvet curtains, leather couches, and ceiling murals make for the ultimate relaxing bar experience. come here to wind down and enjoy a special glass of wine.
the best thing about parisian cafe and restaurants? heated outdoor seating. those lamps kept me warm throughout my entire trip, and let me thoroughly enjoy my parisian people-watching experience. (i promise i’m not a creep!)
so you want to sit outside under those warm heat lamps on a chilly afternoon and people watch like the parisians do? stop by for a glass of wine of a hot cappucino at le compas. if you’re feelin’ hungry, order some of their marvelous escargot or french onion soup. located centrally on a busy street, this was one of my favorite outdoor spaces.
it’s the end of the week and you’re ready to wind down at sunday brunch... you’re feelin’ eggs and some good old fresh-squeezed OJ? skip the impossible hardware societe and walk a few doors down to les perches du chai in montmarte. if you don’t mind waiting your turn for a seat in this fun house, manned by three friends, stop in for a hefty brunch at 27 euros. this hard working trio made our brunch so much fun. the food was made with love, and with such great energy. they’ve got one man manning the bar, one cook, and one server. we had so much fun chatting with the guys, they asked us if we wanted to come help them out 😂 [p.s. that’s one of them washing cups for our coffee right in front of us].
last note: the french have been taking their cocktails very seriously as of late, so i wouldn’t skimp out on the cocktail experience. check out my top three favorite cocktail bars after dinner: