Design-led Food & Travel
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Paris – France

BAKERIES:

  • Boulangerie des Invalides-Jocteur – One of the prettiest bakeries in Paris, the counters are laden with delicious breads, pastries, sandwiches and tarts.  A nice place to snack, in good weather there’s an outside terrace – the quiches are enormous and divine.  (14, Avenue de Villars, 75007 / +33 1 45 51 33 33)

BARS / CAFES:

  • Café Bonaparte – Located on the pretty St Germain des Prés church square with lots of tables outside on the generous terrasse, this newly refurbished brasserie is a much better (and cheaper) option than nearby fancy Café de Flore or stuffy Café Les Deux Magots.  Delicious croque-monsieur, chèvre chaud, burgers, pommes frites, soupe à l’oignon.  (42 rue Bonaparte, 75006)
  • Café Charlot – Wicked corner brasserie with typical menu (croque-monsieur, excellent burgers, tasty chèvre chaud salad), very friendly staff, nicely decorated with a large terrace and well-positioned tables on the pavement, perfect for people-watching.  Reserve the round banquet tables if you’re a small group.  A good option for Mondays.  (corner of rue de Bretagne and rue Charlot, 75003)
  • Café Latin – Traditional yet stylish café in the heart of St Germain, close to La Seine.  Its simple food, relaxed yet prompt service and extremely well priced menu sets it apart from the rest of the tourist traps.  This is a fail safe place for late night, Sunday or Bank Holidays with food served until 10pm.  (rue St Andre des Arts)
  • Café Ruc – Part of the Costes empire with prices to match but this stylishly contemporary take on the Parisian café is great for watching people as they come and go from the Hotel du Louvre and even better as a stop off en route to a morning in the Louvre itself.  (159 rue St Honore, 75001 / +33 1 42 60 97 54)
  • Le Fumoir – A brilliant bar right by the Louvre and the Seine which also serves great food pretty much all day long.  Another good option on Mondays when everywhere else is closed and a lovely apero stop on the way to dinner.  (6 rue de l’Amirale de Coligny, 75001 / t: +33 1 42 92 00 24 / www.lefumoir.com)
  • Vieux Colombier – Striking, unusual, art deco style café on the corner of rue de Rennes, just around the corner from APC (rue Madame) and Pierre Hermé (rue Bonaparte). (rue de Rennes / rue St Sulpice)

 

BEAUTY:

  • Yves Rocher – Mon–Sat, 10am – 7pm.  Virtually painless, matter-of-fact bikini waxes and every other kind of beauty treatment available at reasonable prices.  Ask for Melanie or Jessica.  (142, rue de Rennes, 75005 / t : +33 1 42 22 08 28)

BOOKS:

  • Taschen – Cool, design-led, coffee table-style books.  Open very late in the evening on Fridays with books on tables outside as well as a larger selection inside.  (2, rue de Buci, 75006 / t: + 33 1 40 51 79 22 / www.store.paris@taschen.com)

CHOCOLATES:

  • Sadaharu Aoki– Very cool (& colourful) chocolates with beautifully designed packaging.  (35, rue de Vaugirard, 75006 / t: +33 1 45 44 48 90)
    • Also, 56, Boulevard de Port-Royal, 75005.

 

CLOTHING:

  • APC – So utterly French it’s not true.  Cool, simple, fantastic quality men’s and women’s clothing and every day basics.  (38 rue Madame, 75006 / t: +33 1 42 22 12 77 / 112 rue Vieille du Temple, 75003 / t: +33 1 42 78 18 02 / 5 rue Marseille, 75010 / t: +33 1 42 39 84 46 / www.apc.fr)
  • BA&SH – Great designs for women from this couple of stylish Parisian mothers (rue de St Père)
  • Isabelle Marant – When she gets it right, it’s oh so good. Great for linen t-shirts and boots.  (16 rue de Charonne, 75011 / t : +33 1 49 29 71 55  / 1 rue Jacob, 75006 / t: +33 1 43 26 04 12 / 47 rue de Saintonge / t: +33 1 42 78 19 24 / www.isabelmarant.fr)
  • Loft – With a mainly neutral colour palette of white, grey and black, this is a brilliant for basics like linen t-shirts, hoodies and scarves. (56, rue de Rennes, 75006 / +33 1 45 44 88 99 / www.loftdesignby.com)
  • Maje – Boutiquey, up-market Zara for the cool, rock chick look.  (49-51, rue Veille du Temple, 75004 / +33 1 42 74 63 77 / 42, rue du Four, 75006 / +33 1 42 22 43 69 / www.maje-paris.fr)
  • Sessun – Pretty, girly, South of France-inspired dresses, blouses, skirts and tops (30 rue de Charonne, 75011 / t: +33 1 48 06 55 66 / www.sessun.com)
  • Repetto – Ballet shoes and clothing. (22, rue de la Paix / t: +33 1 44 71 83 20)
  • Au Vieux Campeur– Outdoor and ski wear.  This is the place for thermals, hats & gloves. (75, rue St Jacques, 75005)
    • 9, rue Thenard – thermal underwear.
    • 80, Boulevard St Germain – socks.
    • 27 shops in total across the quartier, each specialising in different products.

 

CONCEPT STORES:

  • Colette – Where else?  This is the destination shop for all self-respecting Parisians and followers of art, design and fashion.  The downstairs café and water-bar (more than 30 different types of bottled mineral water on offer) is over-priced.  (213 rue Saint-Honore, 75001 / t: +33 1 55 35 33 90 / www.colette.fr)

CRÊPERIE:

  • Crêperie du Comptoir– Once voted best place for a lunchtime sandwich by Le Figaro magazine, this crêperie has now been taken over by Le Comptoir de Relais (next door) and acts as a convenient place to wait before snaffling a table in the restaurant, or a cute bar for a quick apero & crêpe.  (9, Carrefour de L’Odéon, 75006.  9am-1am daily)
    • My favourite street crêperie is on rue St Andre des Artistes, directly opposite Cafe Latin.

DEPARTMENT STORES:

  • Le Bon Marché – Paris’ answer to Selfridges or Harvey Nichols.  Gorgeous and beautifully maintained belle époque department store, where you can buy anything and everything.  (24 rue Sèvres, 75007 with additional entrances on rue Babylone and rue du Bac, opposite The Conran Shop / t: +33 1 44 39 80 00 / www.lebonmarche.fr)

 

FLORIST:

  • 360° By Fleurs – While there are florists on every street corner (Parisian men stop off to order two bouquets of course; one for their wife and one for their mistress), this one is pretty stylish and reasonably priced.  (39 rue de Babylone, 75007 / t: +33 1 53 63 14 00)

 

FOOD & GROCERIES:

  • La Grande Epicerie – A dream shop for anyone who likes food or cooking.  The cheese counter is exceptional and it’s probably the only place in Paris you can pick up Marmite.  (Part of Le Bon Marché, access via rue Sevres, 75006)
  • Marché rue Daguerre – Montparnasse’s pedestrianised market is crammed with fish, meat, cheese and fresh pasta stalls.  (rue Daguerre, 75014)
  • Marché rue Cler – Market style shops bursting with fresh produce such as cheese, fish, fruit & vegetables.  Good place to pick up every kind of tomato you could ever imagine exists as well as fresh mushrooms in season. (rue Cler, 75007)

 

HOTELS:

  • Hotel Amour – Bobo-style hang out, very reasonably priced and particularly well-known for its weekend brunch and restaurant.  Each room has been decorated by a different designer or French personality: 401 disco ball room; 405 André room. Rooms from 100 Euros.  (8 rue Navarin, 75009 / t: +33 (1) 48 78 31 80 / www.hotelamourparis.fr)
  • Chat Noir Design Hotel – A very reasonably priced, well located independent design hotel in the 18th, on the edge of the 9th, near to Pigalle, Moulin Rouge, Montmartre & the Sacré Coeur.  Highly recommended by anyone who has stayed there.  (68, Boulevard de Clichy, 75018 / +33 1 42 64 15 26 / www.hotel-chatnoir-paris.com)
  • Hotel du Petit Moulin – Christian Lacroix’s first hotel in the very trendy 3rd arrondissement.  All rooms are individual and spacious.  Avoid the rooms next to the lift shaft in the corner.  204 good. No restaurant but a standard continental breakfast is offered in the groovy downstairs bar every morning and there are plenty of great places to eat on the hotel’s doorstop (29-31, rue du Poitou, 75003 / t: +33 1 42 74 10 10 / www.paris-hotel-petitmoulin.com)
  • Hotel Le Bellechasse – Lacroix’s second hotel, this time fantastically located in the heart of the Rive Gauche, moments from the La Seine.  (8 rue de Bellechasse, 75007 / +33 1 45 50 22 31 / www.lebellechasse.com

 

MACARONS:

  • Pierre Hermé – Quite simply the best mini meringue biscuits you’ll ever eat.  Fruit de passion is a taste explosion.  Try too, the Wasabi, Truffe, Rose and Mexican chocolate. There’s always a queue, especially long at Christmas or special holiday times.  Open Sunday.  (72, rue Bonaparte, 75006 / t : +33 1 43 54 94 90 / www.pierreherme.com)
    • Also, rue Cambon, 75001, 185, rue de Vaugiraud, 75015 and soon to open on Avenue de l’Opera.

RESTAURANTS:
Brunch/Lunch

  • Al Taglio – Pizza by the square slice and weight.  Imaginative toppings such as truffle and potato or pear and gorgonzola, as well as the usual buffalo mozzarella and tomato or four cheese-topped pizzas. (2bis, rue Neuve Popincourt, opposite rue Oberkampf, 75011 / t: +33 1 43 38 12 00)
  • Cuisine de Bar – Fantastic tartines made to order at the open kitchen.  Toppings include copa ham, goat’s cheese and tomato, St Marcelin and thyme.  Two tartines per serving means that you can always share and split your order if you’re torn between toppings.  Individually quite pricey for what is essentially posh cheese and toast but the menu fixe is god value as it comes with juice, coffee and salad.  Very popular so be prepared for a wait to be seated.  Closed Sundays and Mondays, open from 8.30am – 7pm.  (8 rue du Cherche-Midi, 75006 / +33 1 45 48 45 69) 
  • Laiterie Saint Clotilde – Truly scrumptious yet effortlessly simple and seasonal menu with a buzzy vibe in the 7th, especially at lunchtime.  Good wine list and very friendly staff.  Highly recommended and a great option for Mondays. (64 rue de Bellechasse between Varenne & Grenelle, 75007 / +33 1 45 51 74 61)
  • Pizza Chic – Crazy prices for pizza, even in Paris’ most expensive quartier, so come here for dessert, sit at the two-stool bar and tuck into a Nutella pizza!  (corner rue Madame and 13 rue Mezieres, 75006) 
  • Rose Bakery – Fantastic organic place, perfect for a weekend brunch or lunch.  Owned by a French-English couple – Rose set up ran Villandry on Great Portland Street.  Expect exquisitely perfect bacon & eggs or aubergine and tomato tarts, the best carrot cake you’ve ever had and delicious, imaginative salads.  Take away too.  (46, rue des Martyrs, 75009 / t: +33 1 42 82 12 80 / 30, rue Debelleyme, 75003)

Dinner

  • Café Buci – Contemporary Italian restaurant in the trendy 3rd.  Very good pasta, pizza and (apparently) Milanese.  Ask for a window seat, especially if you’re a couple, which means you’ll sit facing the street looking through an open window in good weather.  There are also pavement tables.  Large spaces available for group bookings.  (36, rue de Turenne, 75003 / t: +33 1 42 71 36 70)  
  • Café de l’Esplanade – From the Costes stable of restaurants, this is a good bet if you’re around Les Invalides or the Eiffel Tower and has a nice pavement terrasse. (52 rue Fabert, 75007 / t: +33 1 47 05 38 80)
  • L’Altro – Brilliant neighbourhood Italian, cool deco and friendly staff.  (16, rue du Dragon, 75006 / t: +33 1 45 48 49 49)
  • Le Cinq Mars – Straight from the pages of Elle Deco magazine the design is cool but not pretentious.  This is a fantastic bistro with friendly staff and a strong menu of simply crafted yet delicious dishes.  Open Mondays. (51 rue de Verneuil, 75007 / +33 1 45 44 69 13 / www.lecinqmars.com)
  • Thoumieux – This eponymous neobrasserie in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower is one of Paris’ hottest restaurants right now.  Ideal for group dining, the décor is glamorous with red velvet banquets, low lighting and mirrors.  The welcome is warm, service is friendly and the food is classic French with a twist.  Don’t leave without trying the churros (a type of doughnut) and space dust dessert!  (79, rue St Dominique, 75007 / +33 1 47 05 49 75)

Top Nosh

  • Kong – Famous for appearing in a scene of Sex and the City.  Incredible views, very cool roof-top space and pretty good Asian-fusion food.  (1, rue du Pont Neuf, 75001 / t: + 33 1 40 39 09 00)
  • Le Chateaubriand – The restaurant’s title and chef’s name, Inaki Aizpitarte, conjures up the idea of Japanese teriyaki beef.  In fact, this is ‘bistronomy’; creative, modern, and crucially, affordable haute cuisine in a very cool space just off the rue Oberkampf in the trendy 11th.  The fixed menu means that everyone gets the same and there are usually 4-5 courses.  The food is inventive and tasty, and vegetarians or anyone with a specific dietary requirement, are well looked after.  Being named in the San Pellegrino Top 50 Restaurants in the World makes it harder to get a table but if you don’t mind eating late, you can always turn up at 9.30pm for the no-reservations second service.  Perfect for a special dinner.  (129 avenue Parmentier, 75011 / +33 1 43 57 45 95 / http://www.theworlds50best.com/awards/1-50-winners/le-chateaubriand)
  • Le Comptoir du Relais – It’s not possible to book at this place but that doesn’t stop the locals from queuing come rain or snow.  The reason is simple: high quality French cooking and the world’s best croque monsieur. (9, Carrefour de l’Odéon, 75006 / t: +33 1 44 27 07 97)
  • Le Timbre – Quite literally the size of a stamp, this teeny, tiny restaurant is run by a talented and hardworking British couple who between them, cover all bases from acting as chef, front of house, sommelier and waiter.  A mix of Anglo-Saxon locals and in-the-know Parisians fill the resto every night, happy to sit at tightly packed tables because the food is just so good.  Traditional French fare such as Anchovy tart with pistou sauce, beef medallions Andouillette cheese and puy lentils, homemade fois gros terrine with onion jam or Black Pudding with ginger and coriander.  The wine list is short but good and vegetarians can be catered for.  Three course menu 30 Euros.  Closed Sunday, Monday and Tuesday lunchtime. (3 rue Sainte Beuve, 75006 / +33 1 45 49 10 40 / www.restaurantletimbre.com)
  • Ze Kitchen Galerie – Innovative and refreshing, this is a great restaurant for a special occasion.  Contemporary space and Asian-inspired menu but not fussy or pretentious.  (4 rue Grands Augustins, 75006 / t: +33 1 44 32 00 32 / www.zekitchengalerie.fr)

Push the Boat Out

  • Gordon Ramsey at Versailles – Gordon might not be in the kitchen but his first-ever launch into France is definitely worth the hike out of town.  The La Veranda brasserie is slightly cheaper and looks out onto the parklands of Versailles.  Jump on a train from central Paris (40-minutes) and take a stroll around the Palace and its gardens after lunch.  (Hotel Trianon Palace, 1 boulevard de la Reine, 78000 Versailles / +33 1 30 84 50 00 / www.triononpalace.com)

WINE:

  • La Cremerie – Great independent wine shop.  Dedicated, friendly and knowledgeable service.  (9 rue Quatre Vents, 75006 / t: +33 1 43 54 99 30 / lacremerie.fr)