A lot of times when we travel, we’ll try to tack on a bonus location. A quick layover somewhere just because it’s the right thing to do. And during a recent trip to Amsterdam we tacked on 48 hours in Paris, just because.
We happened to be with Adam Warren who writes the What Youth food column too, so we took him for a spin to see what exactly Paris is all about. After a short train ride from Amsterdam and some serious culture cramming on the train, we checked into our hotel and hit the streets, walking everywhere to see as much as we could in a very short amount of time. Watch above to see just how Paris Paris is. And then read our guide below from a local, so you don’t have to cram the night before.
Located in the famous 9th arrondissement for over 120 years now, the Bouillon Chartier is a Parisian entity. Their idea since 1896 is to provide a worthy meal at a modest price. Sounds like it’s been working. Enjoy the décor from the Belle Epoque area and the outfits on the waiters who dress in black jackets and with large white aprons. Discover traditional French cuisine and enjoy a glass of Bordeaux along the famous “andouillette à la moutarde” or a classic steak “sauce au poivre” …
7 rue du Faubourg Montmartre 75009 Paris
Métro: Grands Boulevards
L’Hotel du Nord located at 102 quai de Jemmapes on the Canal Saint Martin is the perfect place to dine. Spectator of the “Paris after war”, the French cinema of the ’30s and the beginning of Canal Saint Martin, the restaurant is now cult. Mythical and poetic, the decor has remained true to the famous film by Marcel Carne called by the same name. Whether for dinner with your girl or with a group of friends, enjoy the cozy atmosphere and a menu offering a range of delicate French cuisine.
102 Quai de Jemmapes, 75010 Paris
Métro: Gare de l’Est or Jacques Bonsergent or Goncourt/Hopital Saint Louis
Café de Flore is the place to be if you wanna be seen or see people who wanna be seen. Expect spending some money for your espresso though, it is probably the most expensive place in Paris. That’s the price for hanging with the high society. In 1913, le Café de Flore was the headquarters of Apollinaire, André Breton and Louis Aragon. In 1930, all Paris literature was there, even the film industry used to make an appearance there occasionally. Picasso, Giacometti’s brother, Robert Desnos and many others loved to go there. From 1939, the famous couple Jean Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir would spend their days sitting at the Café. Since that time, you will see celebrities quietly drinking their coffee, reading the morning newspaper… hence the price of the coffee.
172 Boulevard Saint-Germain, 75006 Paris, France
Métro: Saint-Germain des Près
La Rue Sainte Anne in the 9th arrondissement is the neighborhood to find the best Japanese food. Yakitori, Shabu Shabu, Ramen, Udon, you’ll definitely find something you like. You can even find good Vietnamese and Korean restaurants. The streets get pretty busy at lunch time and for dinner. Be careful, the restaurants in this area usually serve until 10pm but not later…
You’ll probably notice people waiting in line in front of small places. This is the place you have to go, the line is definitely worth it and a sign of a delicious place. Try Saporo Ramen, Naniwa Ya or Aki. For a good pho, try Noodle. And for a tasty Bimbimbap, go to Jan Tchi.
Métro: Pyramides or Opéra
If there is definitely a to-go place in Paris, it would be Le Comptoir Général.
This bar is the perfect place to escape the Parisian stress. Hidden behind the buildings on the banks of Canal Saint Martin, you will pass the gates to enter a false colonial and exotic world. The place is huge and offers two rooms with different atmospheres, the decorations will give you the impression of being on the other side of the world or in a movie. Come during the week and forget the weekend if you want to avoid the infinite line. Though the bar offers all kinds of drinks, I strongly advise you to try the cocktails. Delicious and strong, they’ll quickly make you wiggle on the African or South American music. Le Comptoir Général is a militant bar and highlights African culture so feel free to check online their different events to spend an original evening either dancing salsa or watching independent movies.
80, quai de Jemmapes
Métro: République or Goncourt
Chez Jeannette is a true local spot. This bar located rue du Faubourg Saint Denis is the perfect place to go for a beer after a hard day’s work. Go there after 6pm to mingle with the locals, order a cold beer and enjoy this sweet moment to smoke a cigarette. The bartenders are always welcoming, the drinks not too expensive so the place fills up fast, the seats are rare but most people are outside smoking cigarettes anyway.
You can also try Mauri7 just in front on the other side of the street, the bar has the same kinda vibes.
47 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis, 75010 Paris
Métro: Chateau d’Eau or Strasbourg Saint Denis
Le Caveau de la Huchette is an historic place and a must for jazz and swing lovers. Since 1946, the famous place situated in the Latin Quarter, has received the biggest names in jazz: Sydney Bechet, Sacha Distel, Bill Coleman and many others.
Open every night from 9pm, the place offers excellent programming throughout the year. There’s an entrance fee but clearly worth it. Step into the vaulted cellar, sit or lean on the bar, get a whisky on the rocks and enjoy the spectacle of accustomed clients dancing to Be-bop until dawn. If you have a small budget and are brave enough, it’s free after 2am.
5 rue De La Huchette, 75005 Paris
Métro: Saint Michel
Act like a tourist
If you want to do something without having to wait in line or pay an exorbitant price, walk and explore the Galerie Vivienne and the Passage Jouffroy (in the 9th arrondissement). These passages are full of history and hold small shops full of old knick-knacks, antiques and old books. In the covered arcade of the Passage Jouffroy, look up and admire its beautiful iron and glass architecture. Enjoy perhaps even the opportunity to spend a night at the Hotel Chopin.
Breathe in the smell of old books at the small bookseller in the Galerie Vivienne, have a look at the sculptures and the mosaic floor then stop for a glass of wine at the lovely Bistrot Vivienne or Le Bougainville in one of the entrance of the Gallery.
Wherever the season, the day or the weather Palais Royal is always a good idea. Cross the large alleys dotted with trees, sit a while and enjoy the architecture that will make your head spin. Le Palais Royal is the ideal place to take shelter in the shade and read a good old book. Walk along the galleries, enjoy a hot drink at the trendy Café Kitsuné and go home the head filled with royal thoughts.
If you want an unusual experience, try the Catacombs. Paris’ catacombs are known as the largest cemeteries in the world. They stretch on nearly 300km in several districts of the capital. Some areas are accessible to the public under strict regulations. From the Place Denfert Rochereau, you will see some of the more than six million bones located twenty meters below the surface. Some locals have even risked throwing parties here despite strict regulations against it. Real and ethereal restrictions.
Métro: Denfert Rochereau
Le Centre Pompidou is the museum you’ll love if you are into contemporary art. They host big expositions about the best contemporary artists. Take the escalator and stop by the rooftop bar for a drink and enjoy the view of Paris’s roofs. Then wander around the museum, enjoying the nicest exhibitions, soaking up modern art.
Métro: Rambuteau or Les Halles
Le Palais de Tokyo is another museum devoted to modern and contemporary art. It is comparable to the Broad Museum in LA or New Museum in New York. It is open from noon to midnight and offers original and different exhibitions of classical museums. Exhibitions change regularly and are never the same.
Le Point Éphémère organizes independent pop music, rock and hip-hop concert and techno/house parties all year long. The Berliner atmosphere, the graffitis, the canopy make the bar a perfect place for an evening out. The prices are not excessive and you can enjoy the heated terrace in winter or the “apéro” parties in summer.
200 Quai de Valmy, 75010 Paris, France
Métro: Louis Blanc or Bolivar
If you wanna dance all night and are into electro music, la Machine du Moulin Rouge is your spot. Belonging to the famous cabaret Le Moulin Rouge, La Machine du Moulin Rouge — formerly La Locomotive — is a mythical place of the Parisian nightlife. The perfect place if you want to finish the night at 6am, drunk with vodka tonic dancing to some of the world’s best DJs.
90 Boulevard de Clichy, 75018 Paris, France
Métro: Blanche or Place de Clichy
Words: by Typhaine Talidec
Photos: Adam Warren