In comparison to other metropolises, Paris is small and incredibly walkable, especially its historical center. So if you’re already done exploring the usual staples, such as the Louvre and Shakespeare & Co, and tired of channeling your inner Simone de Beauvoir at Cafe des Fleurs, venture out to our favorite, locals-approved spots all across the city. It barely ever gets really cold in Paris so any time of the year is good enough for some quality exploration time. Just make sure you’re ready to resist the wind when walking along the many bridges over the Seine.
French style comes at a price but if you’re looking for a bargain, head out to the Porte de Vanves flea market. It’s less exquisite than its famous, ginormous counterpart at Porte de Clignancourt — and way more affordable. Whether you’re looking for a camel wool coat that everyone will be asking you about, a collectable doll, an antique watch or just some random bric-a-brac, show up as early as possible to score the best finds — and best prices.
metro Porte de Vanves, Sat + Sun, 7am – 2 pm
Tabio is a Japanese specialty store that has all the socks and tights you can imagine. Whether it’s a particular kind of seamless footsie sock that fits your favorite pennyloafers or a special shade of periwinkle pantyhose that fit that vintage floral dress, Tabio has it.
15 rue Vieille du Temple
Moustaches is the place guaranteed to blow the mind of the most picky pet-owners. Every hunting dog, especially Jack Russells, will love the squeaky plush foxes and ducks, while the latex pink and black pigs that make an outrageous grunting sound are good enough for human perusal.
32 rue des Archives
Christophe Lemaire has made his career as the creative director for Lacoste and Hermes. Now on his own, this minimalist designer is still in high demand: a capsule collection in collaboration with Uniqlo is about to launch this October. Meanwhile, the Marais outpost is the flagship store for Lemaire’s own brand of perfect clothes for both female and male flaneurs and butterfly catchers. It’s not cheap, though, so get ready to splurge.
28 rue de Poitou
Les Prairies des Paris is a more affordable option for fashionistas: a local label that makes inherently Parisian kind of clothing, sexy yet intelligent. A must visit for every woman who wants to bring out her inner Anna Karina and a worthy destination for men and children alike.
23 rue Debelleyme
Bonton is probably best visited by those who have children in their lives because its abundance of kids’ clothing, school accessories, toys and home furnishings, is absolutely stunning. People who have no little friend to bring a gift for should visit, too: whether it’s to use the photo booth or to buy themselves a pretty useless but glamorous red rubber fish — because life wouldn’t be the same without it.
82 rue de Grenelle
Merci is the place to find everything you couldn’t find elsewhere. An emporium of beauty and unique design, this powerhouse has it all: a cafe, a bookstore, as well as clothes, cosmetics and home accessories sections. There’s a twist, too: all the proceeds from the store’s sales go to charity. Never before has shopping felt this good.
111 boulevard Beaumarchais
Betjeman and Barton is arguably the best tea store on this planet. Their staple teas, like Earl Grey, are superlative and come in many varieties but the real gems are fruit teas, like the Cerise noir or Si Nancy m’était conté, with real dried fruit, flower petals and pieces of caramel, that make tea-time absolutely dreamy.
4 boulevard des Filles du Calvaire
EAT AND DRINK
Frenchie has a short, ever-changing menu that brings together the freshest available ingredients and the best principles at play in the French cuisine. Ask for the prix-fixe menu and wait for the gourmet high to set-in. There’s also an adjacent wine bar / cellar with a great selection of red, white and rose.
5-6 rue du Nil
Candelaria: stay in line in the front parlor and get the best tacos in Paris. Or go to the spacious bar in the back and sip on one of their inventive cocktails. “In a Gadda da Vida” is our favorite: a delightful mix of mezcal, bourbon and abricot.
52 rue de Saintonge
Paris is chock full of all kinds of burgers, including bunless beef patties topped with a friend egg that lurk in menus under a deceitful title “steak a cheval” (horse steak). Maison Burger does not concern itself with such nonsense: they simply offer five kinds of burgers, including a chicken one and a veggie one, all of which are cooked and garnished to perfection.
66 rue Gregoire de Tours
Les Deux Abeilles
Les Deux Abeilles is the place to go for light lunch (if you fancy some of the best quiche in the city) or dessert. Get a citronnade that you can sweeten according to your own taste, have some chestnut cake, tarte tatin or poundcake with freshly whipped cream and eavesdrop to fashion people discussing the hottest trends.
189 Rue de l’Université
Clamato is the place to go if you want to have great seafood but resent the thought of giving up trendy vibes. Their oysters are perfect and other dishes make best use of fruits de mers and fresh fish without compromising on inventiveness. No stiff brasserie fare here.
80 rue de Charonne
If something great is happening in Paris, odds are it’s at the GL. Exhibitions that border on the obscure and the comical, concerts of avant-garde music gods like Terry Riley and a research library on the precipice of technology and beauty — that’s only to mention the very basic essentials of this multi-functional venue that remains in the shade of nearby Centre Pompidou but grows with a conviction.
3bis Rue Papin
During his time living in Paris, Rainer Maria Rilke was mesmerized by the gem of this museum’s medieval collection, The Lady and the Unicorn tapestries. And rightly so: it’s a breathtaking collection of masterfully crafted pieces that instil serenity into the viewer. Another highlight is a wooden effigy of Jesus Christ replete with wheels, a la walking horse, in the true marriage of form and function.
6 Place Paul Painlevé
Institut du Monde Arabe housed in the state of the art building that is covered in photo-sensitive little portholes, the Institute is home to exhibitions of art and culture from different places and times in the Arab civilizations. Whether you’re interested in the depictions of animals in traditional lore, or looking to attend a Palestinian film festival, this is the place. The restaurant on the top floor also offers a sweeping view to go with your fancy kebabs.
1 Rue des Fossés Saint-Bernard
Whether you like monogrammed bags or not, Louis Vuitton is a force to be reckoned with. And their influence does not diminish when things come to art. Go upstairs in a completely dark elevator and explore masterfully curated exhibitions which bring together established artists as well as fresh young ones, and weaves their works into a singular, beautiful narrative.
60 Rue de Bassano
Montmartre is usually known as a tourist attraction, thanks to Sacre Coeur, Amelie Poulain and the terrible yet abundant restaurants with fondue and frog legs. Meanwhile it’s really worth the trip up the hill to see the art brut exhibitions at Saint-Pierre. This leading venue in outsider art forms puts together exhibitions that travel across the globe and has a great collection of literature on the subject in the ground floor bookstore.
2 rue Ronsard
This multi-purpose venue has it all: film screenings, food events and, most importantly, dance nights, with a fresh and forward take on disco and deep house Fridays.
32 Quai d’Austerlitz
Parc des Buttes Chaumont
Paris has no shortage of greenery and parks that are fitting for picnics and general frolicking. This luscious beauty is not the biggest but arguably the prettiest, replete with a Roman temple that overlooks the modern city.
1 rue Botzaris
A newly opened multiplex in the Cité is the one destination for academic, experimental and world music. The programming is always exciting, with offerings like experimental takes on music legends such as Serge Gainsbourg and Patti Smith or silent film screenings with live orchestras.
These parties have no precise regularity and no single home but are 10 years strong as the city’s most fun nights. Dress in your best and dance with abandon, or if you want, get down and dirty.
Tell us about your favorite Paris stops and shops in the comments below!
Can’t make it to France soon? Get on Grabr and order your favorite French items today!
This article was written by Katya Kazbek.