“Paris is always a good idea.”
Visiting the City of Light can feel like a whirlwind, regardless of whether you’re practically an honorary Parisian or a newcomer. We’ve compiled the best of the best to make sure your Parisian adventure is nothing short of magical, whether you’re stopping in the French capital for the weekend or putting down roots for a few weeks.
Need a reboot after an exhaustive tour of the Louvre? Cafe Kitsune is perfectly located a hop, skip, and a jump from the famous museum and the Jardin du Palais Royal. Modern and sleek, Cafe Kitsune is a breath of fresh air in an architecturally ornate area of Paris. Whether you’re in the mood for a cup of (delicious) coffee, a cold pressed juice, some gluten-free cake, or a creamy matcha latte, Cafe Kitsune is a perfect place to relax and recharge.
Guaranteed to be one of the most charming holes in the wall you’ve ever encountered, Mi-Va-Mi serves up the best falafel sandwiches in all of Paris. For over 20 years, the owners of Mi-Va-Mi have watched lines snake around the corner as patrons queue in front of the humble storefront to try the famous falafel. Though you’ll likely have to wait, you won’t be sorry that you did.
At Clamato, the sea’s the limit, as most of the dishes on the menu consist of fish or crustaceans. From the owners of the wildly popular restaurant, The Septime, Clamato offers simple, elegant, and creative dishes, and this philosophy is mirrored in the beauty of Clamato’s decor. The service is warm, but obtaining a table is cutthroat. It’s always first come, first served.
Nestled on the Canal Saint-Martin alongside its locks, bridges, cobblestoned walkways, and lively waterfront, Le Citizen Hotel offers five-star luxury at boutique prices. Behind the white stucco walls are meticulously designed rooms, each providing its own hand-crafted feel. Take the metro to the city center, walk along the quay, or stay in and enjoy the modern comfort of your room — whichever you prefer, Le Citizen is right for you.
For travelers on the move, there are few better places to start your day in Paris than at St. Christopher’s. Also overlooking the Canal Saint-Martin, this award-winning hostel is ideal for people who want to wake up, enjoy a complimentary breakfast, and get a head start on a jam-packed day in the City of Light. With a lively atmosphere in the downstairs lounge, the party doesn’t have to stop when you turn in for the night.
Step through the elegant stone archway at the entrance to Les Bains, and you’ll enter a sophisticated, yet affordable world of Parisian splendor. Breathtaking terrace balconies, impeccable wallpaper designs, embroidered linens, and gorgeous bookshelves abound. The bar and lounge features high-class interior design, but if you’re looking to turn in early, worry not — the rooms are virtually soundproofed, allowing you to get a good night’s rest before another day of exploring.
Though the name “Sherry Butt” seems puzzling, we promise it’s relevant. Named after the barrel that holds whiskey as it ages, Sherry Butt offers a number of fine whiskeys, in addition to a varied selection of wine, beer, and cocktails. The lights are low and the chairs are cozy at Sherry Butt, making it the perfect locale for a date night.
A longstanding favorite on the Paris club scene, Rex Club has been delighting Parisians and tourists alike with its techno jams and house parties since 1992. Guest DJs spin a variety of tracks, including reggae, funk, and rock. Go for the music, enjoy the drinks, and stay for the dancing. You probably won’t leave until the City of Lights is bathed in early morning light.
If you want it all, you can have it all at Le Sanz: a restaurant, bar, and club in Bastille that caters to a younger, hip Parisian crowd as well as fun-loving tourists. Whether you’re hungry for dinner or just want rounds of drinks to ease into a night of dancing, the cozy red confines of Le Sanz deliver with both DJ sets and live music from jazz artists and Brazilian musicians.
For any bibliophile, no trip to Paris is complete without a visit to Shakespeare & Co., the English language bookstore on Paris’ Left Bank. Recognizable from films such as “Midnight in Paris” and “Julie & Julia,” this classic literary establishment exudes a magical ambiance and features a café and antiquarian section. Note the sign above the entrance to the reading library, “Be Not Inhospitable to Strangers Lest They Be Angels in Disguise,” and treat yourself to a new favorite or beloved classic. The bookstore often hosts events in the evenings, so be sure to check their calendar for the duration of your stay.
Calling Le Marche Aux Puces de St.-Ouen a flea market doesn’t quite do it justice. You won’t find many second hand vinyl records or old, ratty furniture here; in fact, with 3,000 merchants and almost 200,000 shoppers every weekend, it is widely considered to be the largest antique flea market in the world. With 15 markets that form more of a museum or small village than a shopping area, you could theoretically purchase everything you’d need to fill a new house! And with restaurants peppered around the 17 acres of vendors, you could spend an entire day here, if you so desired.
Looking to shop for creative accessories? Relax with a book and a cup of coffee? Try on fashionable clothes? Grab a quick drink? Pose with an old-school Fiat in the courtyard? Well, you can all that and more at Merci, a quirky concept store where anything’s possible and everything’s trendy. Part boutique, part café, part restaurant, and part bookstore, there’s something for everyone here, from window shoppers to big spenders.
Header image by Sasha Sloan.