Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Paris - my favorite places

Back here in summery Helsinki, I still feel like on a cloud after being able to explore Paris for a whole month. I have been to so many nice places, so that I would like to share the best with you. Thinking of Paris, the first things coming in my mind are food and fashion, so let's start with those.

_food & drinks
We have been to several nice restaurants and bistros and our favorites are probably the Aux Lyonnais and Chez Marianne. The restaurant Aux Lyonnais dates back to 1890 where the place served as a warehouse for coal and wood and then wine. In 1914, the Fouet family owns the place and decides to open the room on the street to showcase wines to the customers and the bistro was born. After the Second World War it became the most famous "Bouchon Lyonnais" of Paris which authenticity and  passion for the Lyonnaise cuisine and its taste soon seduced Alain Ducasse, who becomes the owner of the restaurant in 2002. The menu gives a great opportunity to taste delicacies from Lyon which is famous for its hearty cuisine. You should definitely try the quennels there, which are a type of soft oven dumpling served with a delicious sauce based on crab meat.
Chez Marianne is situated in the Jewish quarter Le Marais and serves delicious Middle Eastern food. The red ivy covered house has a lovely terrace, where you best enjoy a tasting plate with different warm and cold starters and a nice glass of wine, while you watch the busy life of the Marais quarters with its contrasts between trend and tradition.
Le Marais is also the home of our favorite Parisian cocktail bar, which I have mentioned here before. So if you are around, enjoy a great cocktail at the Sherry Butt!

Aux Lyonnais -  32, rue Saint Marc, 75002 Paris
Chez Marianne - 2, rue des Hospitalières Saint Gervais, 75004 Paris
Sherry Butt - 20, rue Beautreillis, 75004 Paris

_fashion & style
My favorite quarter for shopping is probably Saint-Germain-des-Prés. Close to the metro station with the same name, you will find for example one of the boutiques of Isabel Marant or Dries van Noten situated between small shops and cafés. Especially the boutique of Dries van Noten has an interesting interior design which is a small exhibition on its own. Close by you will also find one of the first big shopping houses, Le Bon Marché. Similar to the other "grands magasins" on the other side of the Seine, Le Bon Marché has an exclusive variety of the big names in fashion and is definitely worth a look. Amazing is also its gourmet department, with French and international treats.
If you are interested in books, you should definitely have a look at the bookshop or go to directly to La Hune which could be also considered as THE bookshop in Paris! It has a large, competent selection and the best part is that you can meander between the endless shelves until just before midnight and then sit down in one of the cafés and bars and study the newly acquired treasures.
I had my break at Les Deux Magots which was frequented by artists and intellectuals such as Jean-Paul Sartre, Ernest Hemingway, Albert Camus, Pablo Picasso and Bertolt Brecht to name just a few.

Isabel Marant - 1, rue Jacob, 75006 Paris
Dries van Noten - 7-9 Quai Malaquais, 75006 Paris
Le Bon Marché - 24, rue de Sèvres, 75007 Paris 
La Hune - 170, boulevard Saint-Germain, 75006 Paris
Les Deux Magots - 6, place Saint-Germain des Prés

If you are exploring the other side of the Seine a must for me are always the boutiques of Chanel and Dior to see those amazing creations. On the other side of the street you should also stop by at Ladurée and have a rest with some macarons and a glass of sparkling.
For more gourmet treats have also a look at the gourmet department of the Galeries Lafayette. I especially liked the Asian take away with its different kind of dumplings and the cheese section! CHEESE!!!

Chanel - 31, rue Cambon, 75001 Paris
Dior - 25, rue Royale, 75008 Paris
Ladurée - 16-18, rue Royale, 75008 Paris
Galeries Lafayette Gourmet - 97, rue de Provence, 75009 Paris

If you are more interested in fashion and its history, you should definitely visit Les Arts Dècoratifs with its changing exhibitions dedicated to famous fashion designers and its history department. At the moment it still hosts the exhibition about Dries van Noten. Close to the Eiffel tower is another fashion palace, the Palais Galliera which still hosts the exhibition of the 1950s of French fashion.

Les Arts Décoratifs - 107, rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris
Palais Galliera - 10 avenue Pierre 1er de Serbie, 75116 Paris

For local wines and food I would always have a look at the closest cavinist for good recommendations and go to one of the many markets to buy fresh cheese, fruits, vegetables, meat and fish. A very nice market is the Marché Monge in the Latin Quarter. Despite its small size, it has a great variety of local foods and very passionate and competent sellers. I also realized that each quarter has its own food street. While Rue Bretagne in Le Marais hosts a variety of different food shops and cafés in Pigalle it is the Rue Martyrs which seduces with different kind of delicacies.

Marché Monge - Place Monge, 75005 Paris
Rue de Bretagne, 75003 Paris
Rue des Martyrs, 75009 Paris 

As Paris and France in general is famous for its patisseries, you should also try out the little choux from Popelini. They are little fluffy bites filled with some delicious creams of different tastes. If you like the Japanese sense of style and tastes, go to one of the Aoki Patisseries and try out their creations. I had an amazing Zen cake with green tea notes and black sesame. Simply amazing!

Popelini - 44, rue des Martyrs
Aoki - 35, rue de Vaugirard, 75006 Paris

_favorite Parisian quarters
One of my favorite places in Paris is definitely Montmartre and Le Marais with their mix of different people and areas. If you are looking for a nice place for an evening picnic, do it the way we did and buy some nice cheese, bread and wine and search for a nice spot in the grass directly under the beautiful Sacre Coeur and enjoy the view of Paris. We actually did just this for the Bastille Day and I think we will hardly forget the atmosphere.

Another option with the possibility of taking some rays in the grass or read a nice book, is the Place des Vosges in Le Marais. As a little oasis in the middle of busy shopping streets with the latest trends, you can enjoy one of Paris most beautiful places. In case you still need a nice book, go to the charming bookshop Librairies L'arbre à lettres which is situated close to the Place de la Bastille. It has nice book recommendations and if I had more space in my bag, I would have bought half of their books!

Librairies L'arbre à lettre - 62 rue du Faubourg Saint Antoine, 75012 Paris

_vintage finds and fabrics
Montmartre is also a great place to find fabrics. Just East of Sacre Coeur you will find streets where one fabric shop is situated next to the other. I have found a lot of the material, I needed for my course there, but if you are more professional and you need something special, have a look at Lafayette Saltiel Drapiers close to the bourse. They seem to have everything one could possibly ask for and a nice service as well. I also found an interesting fabric shop with high quality Haute Couture fabrics close to Concorde.

Lafayette Saltiel Drapiers - 11, Rue d'Uzès, 75002 Paris
Jane et Françoise Tissus Haute Couture - 8, rue Saint-Florentin, 75001 Paris

For flea market and vintage lovers, I can recommend the flea markets in Saint-Ouen, North of Paris. My favorite markets were the Marché Paul Bert Serpette with furniture of different centuries, vintage fashion and finds. The smaller market, Marché Vernaison, is also charming and  I have found for example two fashion magazines from the 1930s and 1950s.

Marché Paul Bert Serpette - 110,  rue des Rosiers, 93400 Saint-Ouen
Marché Vernaison - 99, rue des Rosiers, 93400 Saint-Ouen

No comments: