I met Brittany a few years back when she was working at a start-up here in San Francisco. She's part-techie, part-super model and 100% amazing individual.
She has since left and is now living in NYC working for a new start-up called Velocity. Here's how they describe their app on their store page:
Discover - browse 100s of the world’s best restaurants from Michelin-starred classics to hot new openings, from Coya in London to Carbone in New York. Our team of experts handpick a curated collection of hot places to eat and drink for dining that is intelligent and inspired.
Pretty cool right? I just downloaded it and am looking forward to checking it out. You should too! I mean, who doesn't like being in the know of the best and hottest restaurants around?
Anyways, the reason I'm writing this post is because Brittany is going to France in a few weeks and was looking for recommendations on what to do and where to go.
When I saw her post this open question on Facebook, I jumped and started writing off my list of places and things to do in Paris (one of her stops) because I just have so much love for that city!
Over the years, I've received some fantastic recommendations from friends and family and have discovered some cool places myself, so why not pay it forward and share it with not just my friend, but with all of you too!
I received this list from my travel buddy/one of my bff's Audrey.
She received this from one of her friend, Jasmine, before we went on our epic trip to Paris in 2012. These are the places she recommended to us below:
A few steps away from the main entrance of the Louvre. Best spot to relax after a visit to the museum and also to do some people watching. Order "un noisette" (small coffee with a drop of cream) or a glass of champagne, because why not? You're in Paris!
2. Dame Tartine
A fun restaurant with a very nice terrace facing revolving sculptures that move in the middle of a large pool of water. It's located in the 1st Androissement by Le Centre Pompidou (the modern art museum). They serve delicious small plates all day long. Recommendation: Le Poulet aux morilles or Le tartare de saumon.
This place is an ice cream/sorbet institution! One of my favorites when I'm in Paris. A must post-dinner or mid-day treat.
This is an upscale restaurant with a terrace located at the top of Le Centre Pompidou. You get to have a panoramic view of the city. The decor is insane: organic shapes of brushed steel and lots of color dividing a huge space. It's almost worth seeing as much as the museum itself. Sometimes a DJ spins at night (don't sit too close to the speakers)
4. La Place Du Marche Sainte Catherine
A little pedestrian square, gem of gems. A half dozen good restaurants with an open terrace await you there. Recommended restaurant: La Blinisserie (delicious dishes from eastern europe). On weekends, musicians play in the middle of the square. It's hard to find, but all you need to do is walk around La Place des Vosges and ask people.
This is a parisian institution, the bistro of all bistros and it is located in St. Germain, at 43 rue de Seine in the 6th Androissement.
If Le Cafe La Palette is closed, visit this one instead. It's open until 4 AM. It's located on Le Boulvard St. Germain at Rue de Buci. They serve food all night, and they serve Berthillon ice cream there too. Recommendation: Pear sorbet + Pine nut ice cream. The music can be a bit loud, but its worth it as it is a fun, hip hang out where you can watch crowds walk by.
7. La Mosquee
Spend an hour at the La Grande Mosque and check out the beautiful architecture. The cafe inside, La Mosquee is located inside (note they do not serve any alcohol). The indoor and outdoor settings are out of this world, everything is made to make you believe you are in Morocco: the mosaics, the smell of the eucalyptus from the steam room next door, the music, the mint tea, the pastries. Recommendation: Les cornes de gazelles (delicious almond pastries) & cous cous if you're there in the evening. Also, near this area you can check out the dinosaur collection in Le Jardin des Plantes. The gardens are amazing.
8. La Boussole
French cuisine with a twist in the heart of St. Germain. If it is too crowded, you can try out their sister restaurant, Seraphin, which is also very good
Try to come early (6:30 PM) or late as it can get very crowded.
10. Les Portes
Located in Bastille, this is another great restaurant. They serve excellent French food, traditional and light at the same time. If the first floor is crowded, they have more tables downstairs.
11. Rue Oberkampf
This is located in the 10th Androissement. There are a lot of cool little restaurants and bars, like Cafe Charbon, La Mercerie and Le Cafe D L'Industrie. You can also find great music at Cithea. Weekends can get really packed here.
Jess's recommendations for Drinks:
Fancy Night Out: Buddha Bar near La Concorde (8 bis rue Boissy d'Anglas in the 8th) or Le bar de l'Hotel Plaza Athenee (25 Avenue Montainge in the 8th). These places are upscale and have a strict dress code policy.
Casual Night Out: La Palette or Cafe Mabillon in St. Germain. If you like jazz, visit Les Trois Maillets (56 rue Galande in the 5th). Le bistro du Peintre is also a nice casual spot near Bastille (116 ave Ledru Rollin in the 11th)
Here are some spots that I recommend you should check out if you haven't done this already:
1. Eiffel Tower
I recommend going at night and pay for the ticket to go all the way to the top. There is a bar there where you can order a glass of champagne and take in the city views.
This has to be one of my favorite asian restaurants ever. It's delicious and fresh. Casual ambiance and recommend it if you need a little break from traditional french cuisine. Audrey and I celebrated when we found this gem in the 13th. It's near the Pont D'Ivry exit.
Because when you're in Paris, you have to go and visit the home of the best macaroons in the world! Recommendation: buy the chocolate and pistachio croissants along with a few macaroons to share. Great for afternoon snacks.
My friend's older brother, Glenn, gave us some great recommendations of places to check out in and outside of Paris as well. He currently lives there with his wife and adorable daughter and works for UNESCO.
1. Short road trip: Loire Valley to see the chateaus (namely Chambourg & Chenaceau) and do some wine tasting.
2. Visit the Champagne region, which is only 2 hours away by car from Paris.
3. Mont Saint Michel Abbey is really incredible and is only 3 hours away from Paris. There are usually day tour operators that can facilitate one day trips to these regions.
4. Nightlife: Usually you can find stuff going on near Grand Boulevards (younger pubs like Corchorans, O'Sullivans, and Cafe Oz), Marais (hipster bars like Candelaria and Le Perle), Latin Quarter (mixed bars like Chez Georges, Coolin, and Frog and Princess), Oberkampf (bohemian area with alternative bars), Bastille (lots of bars near rue de Lappe)
5. Restaurants in Marais: Des gars dans la cuisine, le Bouledogue, Au Bourguignon du Marais, Bofinger, le 404.
6. Bars in Marais (Chill vibes): La Perle (hipster bar), Candelaria (chic bar), La Tinquette (wine bar), Stolley's (alternative bar), Auld Alliance (Scottish pub), Au Petit Fer a Cheval (French bar), The Lizard Lounge (English bar)
More lively bars: But if you're looking for something more lively, you may want to check out the pubs near Grand Boulevard (O'Sullivans, Cafe Oz, and/or Cochorans), Mabillon (Chez Georges, Coolin, Frog & Princess, La Pena), Oberkampf, rue Mouffetard, etc
I hope this helps out a little bit Brittany! Have a fantastic time in Paris and wherever else you visit in France!
Update from Brittany! from her trip:
"Next time you go you MUST go to the Ritz and go to the Hemmingway Bar and the bar across from it too…maybe one of my faves in the city. Drinks were pricey at 30 euros a pop but definitely worth going for the vibe. I also reccomend Ferdi (best burger in the world) and Hotel Costes as well for going out. Super hip/chic bar that might be my fav I've ever been to!"