City Guide: Paris, France

Well, it’s safe to say that this blog post has been a major trip down memory lane.

Gathering my content for this travel guide has been incredibly sentimental and sweet. Our trip over the holidays was one for the books….what began as a trip that I thought would just be my boyfriend and I quickly took a left turn when our best friends surprised us for my birthday! (Which I later found out had been one of the hardest secrets for them all to keep and the planning dated back 4 months!) What I planned to be a chill trip mosey-ing throughout all the museums turned into a full-on food and wine adventure! NO COMPLAINTS HERE!

And this guide is simply that: Where to eat, where to hang, and where to drink! It’s a blend of my favorite spots, which tend to be a bit more casual, and some of my boyfriend’s favorites, which tend to be a little more “foodie” and wine-list focused (considering he is a restauranteur, HIS OPINION IS VALUABLE!). I’ve also tossed in some shopping suggestions, along with neighborhoods that we like to stroll!

First up, it’s where to eat. They are listed in no particular order, and I’ve included some details about the vibe and what I would order! Most of them are in the mid-price range….remember that eating in Paris IS NOT CHEAP. Sitting down to eat is a “thing” for the Parisians and they savor every moment of it…so enjoy yourself and soak it all up! Also, I would make reservations EVERYWHERE if they accept them!

  • Buddha Bar: If you have ever been to Tao restaurant, then consider this the Tao of Europe! While they have some of the best sushi in the area, I’m all about the krispy rice & the hot noodles!
  • La Comptoir: So this is one of those type of “foodie” spots that makes me entirely uncomfortable because I truly had no idea what I was eating the entire time! Thank goodness my boyfriend knows French…..otherwise we would’ve been so terribly lost! I still I am not really sure what we ordered, but I do know that the fried skillet eggs topped with truffles WAS FREAKING UNBELIEVABLE. (pictured below)
  • Hotel Costes: This is my go-to spot for Saturday or Sunday brunch. The spinach & goat cheese omelet is PERFECTLY COOKED every single time and not too filling. If you are wanting something a little more indulgent, order the Spicy Lobster Pasta…..it’s absolutely divine. (pictured below)
  • Ralph Lauren: (patio pictured above) You definitely aren’t going to have a French culinary experience here, but the restaurant is gorgeous, delicious, & exactly what you would expect of the brand. If the weather is nice, sit outside and burger & wash it down with a glass of rose. The lobster rolls are a personal fave & my boyfriend couldn’t leave without having his favorite dessert, the carrot cake!
  • Le Relais de l’Entrecote: If you love steak and you love french fries, then you MUST make time for this spot….because that’s LITERALLY all they serve. I guess I assume that if a restaurant makes the commitment to only offering 2 items on their menu, then they must have them down to a perfect science….and I can verify that’s the case here!
  • L’Avenue: If you are hoping for any type of celebrity sighting, chances are you will probably have it here. This spot is SWANKY x 100 and most people are trying to see and be seen instead of actually eating. I, on the other hand, ate A LOT…order the Spicy Tuna Tartare, the Shrimp Dim Sum (mix both sauces they come with together!), the Spicy Lobster Ravioli, and the Truffle Risotto!
  • Balagan: Aside from ice cream, I’m typically not much of a sweets person, but I would walk across hot coals to have the Deconstructed Snickers from here. I don’t really know how to explain it other than say its like a smashed snickers (but its homemade) and its drizzled with caramel and chocolate. I will actually admit that I 100% licked the entire plate…so there’s that?!
  • La Belle Ferrontere: There is nothing fancy about this little bistro, but the Dover Sole is MY ABSOLUTE FAVORITE. It’s perfectly buttery, and tender, and flaky, and it’s the ONLY thing I’ve eaten here, so I can’t speak for anything else on the menu….but if you like dover sole, this is our favorite spot to order it at!
  • Matignon: This is where we celebrated New Years Eve….and Lord, have mercy, we did it up BIG. The menu was lobster bisque & steak and we washed it down with way too much champagne! After about midnight, the entire restaurant is turned into a club, complete with a DJ, so its a great spot if you are wanting to go ALL OUT on a Friday ot Saturday night!
  • Pizzeria Popolare: Over French food? Pop into this adorable & very “instagrammable” pizza spot! I’m typically not a margherita pizza gal, but it was so fresh & simple. Since this restaurant doesn’t take reservations, the line wraps around the block, so get there when they open or expect to wait.
  • Paul: Okay, if you have been in Paris you might be reading this going WHY ON EARTH IS COURTNEY RECOMMENDING A FREAKING COFFEE & SANDWICH SHOP? Yes, its basically the French version of Starbucks, but lemme explain. Before the first time I ever went to Paris, I remember my boyfriend telling me about the ham & butter sandwiches you could get on any corner and how he loved them so much. I thought…HAM & BUTTER? Really? But yes, after having one….YES, REALLY. It’s so incredibly simple & satisfying and this would be our breakfast on the go every single morning. JUST TRUST ME ON THIS, okay?!

In between shopping, eating, and strolling, we would pop into some of our favorite spots to enjoy a glass of wine! Here are my favorites for everything from a simple glass of rose to cocktail hour!

  • Bar Hemingway at The Ritz: An ABSOLUTE MUST. Ask for our favorite bartender, Colin! He has been working here for decades and knows everything about the history of the bar. If you are a martini lover, they serve theirs in a glass that is frozen at -24 degrees which makes it taste even better in my opinion!
  • Hotel Plaza Athenee: This is our spot for “one last drink” before turning in for the night. The crowd is always attractive so the people watching is TOP NOTCH!
  • Mandarin Bar: Sleek, sexy, and everything you want before a night on the town.
  • Park Hyatt: This hotel is nestled in the Rue Saint-Honore neighborhood, so if you are in the area for some shopping, pop in here for a pick me up! Also, the chicken club is a good choice for some pre or post shopping fuel!

Wow, I guess it sounds like we flew to another country just to eat and drink, doesn’t it?! Well, while that was a big part of our trip, we do love sightseeing and taking in lots of the culture…and yes, shopping is part of the culture if you ask me!

  • Vintage Shopping: My favorite spot in Paris is Come on Eileen. EVERYTIME I go there, I leave with SOMETHING. The first time I found this spot, I stumbled upon it by accident and left with a Celine bag for 1300 euros & a Celine scarf for 375 euros. This time around was also a big success: A Celine cashmere cape for 600 euros & a Chanel belt for 375 euros! My girlfriend Lisa found this gorgeous fur jacket for only 175 euros! But be warned, YOU’VE GOT TO DIG….roll up your sleeves and find the needle in the haystack! And boy, oh boy, I love that kindof challenge. There is also a much more high-end vintage store, Les 3 Marches Catherine B, but note that it is by appointment ONLY. We didn’t know this, and while the shopowner wouldn’t let us purchase anything, he did let us look around & the selection is BEYOND.
  • Louvre Museum: Since everyone in our group had already been through the museum a time or two, we decided to guide our own tour guide this time around….and while it’s a little pricey (I think it was around 100 euro per person), it was WORTH EVERY PENNY. Our guide was an art history major and had so many little tidbits and nuggets of secret info that made me feel like a Louvre insider! (FYI: Most hotel concierges can book this service for you!)
  • Rodin Musuem: This museum is settled in gorgeous gardens and if you don’t care about art, then at least go for the photo opps. My favorite picture of my boyfriend and I was snapped here amongst the trees and its dreamy and romantic and perfect!
  • Rue Saint-Honore & Saint Germain: These are both, BY FAR, my favorite neighborhoods to stroll. You know those movies where they show neighborhood cafes & bistros on the sidewalks where everyone is just sipping espresso or wine & smoking (and dare I say…..it looks kindof cool?!)? Well, this is totally the vibe alongside the streets in these neighborhoods. Not to mention, your wallet will also get some exercise in the boutiques and the luxury stores.
  • Crazy Horse: Okay if you are one of my more conservative readers, then just skip along past this….but if you aren’t, then OMG YOU HAVE TO GO HERE. Yes, its totally 100% full of tourists, but I feel like its kindof a right of passage when it comes to visiting Paris. And if we are being completely honest, I have actually been to Crazy Horse every single time I’ve been to Paris because I love watching the show so much! Yes its topless (calm down, they’re just boobs) and yes its a little racy….but isn’t that what vacation is for?!

Been to Paris?! What are your favorite spots?! I would love to add them to my list for next time I visit!!

  • Robin

    Great information Courtney all noted, thank you. Have you been to KONG for dinner? Its amazing, the view is awesome. Also, 404 is Moroccan-such a cool ambiance and wonderful, funky and fun.
    There is the best designer consignment boutique in Le Maris called “Moor” do not miss it. OBSESSED..great accessories and amazing owner.
    Love following you, I watched your show. You are adorable. You should follow my store on Instagram-ShopClosetNV.

  • Docdivatraveller

    Although eating out is major part of travel, I am more of a sightseeing person! Great guide!
    http://www.docdivatraveller.com

  • Francine

    How fun!

    Do tell…what’s the denim you’re wearing in the top left pic (with the leopard coat)? Looks so good on you! I must have them 🙂

  • Shannon

    Can you explain the tax refund you got when you purchased your Hermes bag in Paris? I am going this summer and I want to visit the store you bought it at.

  • Amy

    Noted for my up coming Paris trip! It’s my first time going to the City of Lights and I’m so excited! Thanks for all the great information! Any suggestions for London?

  • Clayton Noblin

    Where are you in that picture underneath all the bars? It looks so cool!!