3 Days* in PARIS
We all know her, the woman who arrives fashionably late at a party, turning heads of men and women alike. She’s sophisticated and elegant and she possesses a certain je ne sais quoi that electrifies the room. As if straight out of Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast she exudes culture, intellect, style and mystery. To me that woman is like Paris, the City of Light and Love.
Day 1* in Paris
Oh Montmartre, you wonderful, quirky Bohemian hilltop maze and home of ‘Amelie’. Le Coquelicot is a sterling spot to start your Paris infiltration. Located near the Abbesses Metro station this typical French boulangerie serves pastries to lust for like the evil but oh so delicious almond-pistachio-chocolate croissant. From here it’s all uphill... literally.
Make your way through picturesque alleyways towards La Basilique du Sacré-Coeur, located high above the city. The church is one of Paris’ most renowned sights, but it’s also the view of the city that’s worth every calorie you burned getting here. An obligatory stop for art lovers: the nearly adjacent art market, Picassos’ studio, Le Bateau-Lavoid and Mur des Je t’aime. A few oysters on the terrace of La Mascotte and off you go…
The Metro Line 12 at Abesses drops you right at Place de la Concorde. Walk up the Champs Élysées towards the Arc De Triomphe and if you’re a macaroon enthusiast, Ladurée is the name of the game.
Mosey through the posh 8th Arrondissement, along the Seine and towards the Eiffel Tower. I never bothered with the lines to get up on the tower and the view from Trocadéro is plenty jaw dropping.
Try to get here around sunset and you’ll get to appreciate this iconic landmark during magic hour and as its lights come on. You’ve walked enough! Uber your way to L’Ami Jean for a well earned, exquisite Basque dinner and rice pudding desert.
Day 2* in Paris
Holybelly near the canal in the 10th Arrondissement will introduce you to their ultimate bacon pancake that you’ll reminisce about many drunken nights later. Wander along the Quai de Valmy and down Rue de Marseille and Rue Beaurepaire for some local designer and pop-up shops.
From Place de la République it’s a short walk into the 3rd Arr. called Le Marais - another favorite. The streets are lined with galleries, shops and bars enticing you like only the Parisians can. Its buzzing main artery, Rue Vielle du Temple has the best variety plus the one of the finest crepes in town at Breizh Café. Buckwheat dough makes it totally acceptable to order a savory and a sweet crepe.
Musee National Picasso is definitely worth a stop and an espresso on the roof terrace will inject you with enough energy to continue your explorations. Over the Pont Marie you’ll reach Isle-de-Louis, a little island on the Seine straight of out a romance novel. The island is connected to Isle de la Cité, home of the Notre Dame and Victo Hugo’s Quasimodo. Pont Neuf is a must for all you romanticists, after all, even Juliette Binoche fell in love on this bridge in the movie "Lovers of Pont Neuf".
Grab a bottle of wine, baguette and cheese and enjoy a sunset picnic with the locals along the Quai des Tuileries. Watching the colors of the city change from the bank of the Seine is definitely a journal-worthy moment.
Many might object, but I suggest visiting the Louvre after sunset and only the exterior. The largest museum in the world deserves its own 3 Days* but for a short trip the lines are just not worth it. After dark considerably fewer tourists crowd the square around the pyramid and the space is rather magical. Brasserie Bofinger near the Place de la Bastille serves perfectly fresh seafood, to be enjoyed with art deco décor and a very French attitude from the waiters. To round out the day, sip a drink at the Hotel Costes courtyard where the staff is hired for their good looks rather than their service skills. It’s not hard to imagine that Coco Chanel sat here before, sipping on a glass of Champagne.
Day 3* in Paris
Another typical French ‘petit déjeuner’ in one of the cafés around Place de la Contrescarpe and off you go, exploring the cobblestone pathways around the Quartier Latin and the Sorbonne University area and through the Jardin de Luxembourg towards St-Germain. Steak frites – Relais de L’Entrecôte Saint Germain scratches that itch.
To avoid a beef induced food coma, keep on trucking. The Musee D’Orsay, an old railway station is an ideal place to brush up on your knowledge of impressionist masterpieces, housing some of the most famous Van Gough, Monet and Renoir paintings. Then you can meander around Pont Alexandre III, the Esplanade des Invalides and the Grand and Petit Palais to satisfy any remaining need for Old World architectural extravagance.
For the remaining time I’d like to send you back to Montmartre, for an idyllic dinner at Le Moulin de la Galette. Located underneath one of the two remaining historical windmills that used to pepper the neighborhood, this spot impresses with its Parisian ambience, superb service and seasonal menu. Save room for desert at the little ice cream stand Scaramouche for some of the most exquisite and unusual flavors you’ve ever experienced.
Up the steep staircase at the end of the alley is the ultimately charming Au Petit Théatre du Bonheur. Poke your head in, you might just get lucky and catch a chanteuse á la Edith Piaf performing in this heartbreakingly delightful shoebox theatre.
Make the Moulin Rouge your last stop. Located in the midst of the red-light district this (in-) famous theatre puts on two cabaret shows a night. Touristy and overpriced, it’s still on many bucket lists, so enjoy the seductive can-can dance by leggy, modern-day courtesans. À la prochaine (until next time), Paris!
- Maje – For Bohemian edge, tactile materials and funky prints
- Étoile Isabel Marant – For a relaxed statement piece from the trendsetting designer’s more affordable sister line
- Zadig & Voltaire – For preppy rock-chic that spells pure Parisian cool
- EXTRA: In case you have a little extra time on your hands, a trip to the famous flea market Les Puces de Saint-Ouen is always worth the time
- “Casual” has a different meaning in Paris than it does in the States, so leave the sweatpants, big white sneakers and hoodies at home: A blue and white striped Breton shirt, if you want to fit in: For men or women
- Your favorite red lipstick like these from MAC, Yves Saint Laurent or Clarins
- Crossbody purse or a handbag with a zipper: Pickpocketing unfortunately can be a real problem in Paris.
- The narrow cobblestoned Rue des Thermopyles (14th Arr.) was featured in Paris Je T'Aime (2006). Is this what Paris might have looked like in the 1920s?
- Enjoy a spectacular view of the city from Deli-Cieux de Printemps (the famous department store).
- Paris' oldest covered passages Passage des Panoramas (2nd Arr.) is a quaint stop on a rainy day.