Paris Guide

A guide to my City of Light

Night Life

L’International: Music every night, no cover charge, affordable drinks and the hippest of the bobo crowd—what more could you ask for? This venue is my go-to spot for shenanigans. 5 rue Moret, 11th arr., métro: Ménilimontant

Le Piano Vache: Hidden somewhere in the shadow of the Panthéon, le Piano Vache is bursting at the seams with the edgiest of the Parisian college scene. Want an authentic local bar? This is it. Bring your French translator friend, cause this place doesn’t even have a menu. 8 rue la Place, 5th arr., métro: Cardinal Lemoine *Best Ambiance*

Image from here.

La Bellevilloise: Notorious for wild parties and eccentric crowds, this bar/restaurant/venue is the heart of Belleville. Check out their events ahead of time and make sure to wear a costume. 19 rue Boyer, 20th arr., métro: Ménilimontant

Au Chat Noir: Don’t be fooled—this isn’t THE Chat Noir you see on those overpriced post cards. Au Chat Noir is a bar and concert venue that features a very happy happy hour and a very diverse range of performers. Come on Monday nights for Spoken Word hosted by the expat poets of Paris. 76 rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud, 11th arr., métro: Parmentier

Food and Coffee

Arobase Café: Tucked away behind the Bibliothèque François Mitterrand in the 13th, the Arobase is a quiet café that serves various coffee drinks and absolutely delicious homemade food—quiche, tartes, cakes and….bagel sandwiches! It is a great place to write, read, study or hangout with friends, and it is very affordable! 101, rue Chevaleret, métro: Bibliothèque F. Mitterrand

Sugarplum Cake Shop: This cute and quaint little cake shop boasts to be the one and only American coffee shop in Paris, and my friends, it is true. Not only do they serve a variety of teas, coffee beverages and sweet treats, but they offer coffee refills! Another bonus, they’re open on Sundays! Must devour: the carrot cake. 68, rue du Cardinal Lemoine, 5th arr., métro: Cardinal Lemoine *Best Carrot Cake (in the whole world)*

Lili’s Brownies: For any homesick American, Lili’s is the place to go. Here you’ll find a wide assortment of American pastries, including cookies, brownies and donuts, along with banana-nut bread, carrot cake, lemon cake, and more. You can take your coffee to go, or perch yourself at one of the high-tops to watch the bobo parade of Saint-Germain-des-Prés. 35 rue du Dragon, 6th arr., métro: Saint-Sulpice *Most Authentic American Ambiance*

Various loaf breads at Lili’s Brownies, photo from Une libanaise à Paris

Strada Café: A new addition to the Parisian café scene, this petit franglish café severves up great coffee and great food. It’s cozy, cute and friendly. Looking for a tasty Sunday brunch? Strada has it! 94, rue du Temple, 3rd arr., métro: Rambuteau

Coutume Café: This haut gamme café serves up the finest coffee from all over the world, all of it roasted on-site in the Paris boutique. You can taste the quality of the coffee in every cup—and don’t worry, they serve you cupfuls, not spoonfuls! 47, rue de Babylone, 7th arr., métro: Saint-François-Xavier *Best Cup of Coffee*

Instants de Saveurs: I discovered this place spontaneously while looking for a fast, healthy lunch. After my first meal from Instants de Saveurs, I made sure to go back every week. Affordable and fresh, the food here is served in neat portable, recyclable plastic ware. You can eat it there or on the go. And you won’t regret it. 31, rue Lecourbe, 15th arr., métro: Sévres-Lecourbe

Mandalay: Imagine French cuisine with an asian twist. Now add exquisite wine and delicate desserts. Open your mouth, and savor the rich, flavorful taste of Mandalay. Come here for a nice night out, far away from the sounds of the city. Friendly service and fantastic dining. 35, rue Carnot, Levallois Perret, métro: Louise Michel

Ravioli Chinoise Nord-Est: Truly a hole in the wall, this genuine Chinese restaurant serves the best ravioli at an unbeatable price (as in 10 ravioli for 4 euros!). Order a variety of raviolis to share and enjoy a chinese beer while you’re at it. 11, rue Civiale, 10th arr., métro: Belleville *Best Bang for Your Buck*

Parks and Gardens

Jardin du Luxembourg: Like to jog? How about day drink? Tai chi? You can do it all at this beautiful, historic garden. , where I spent many a morning jogging and doing yoga. Watch the sail boats in the pond during the summer time, sit and read amongst the trees. 6th arr., RER B: Luxembourg

Buttes Chaumont: This is perhaps the only place in Paris where you can sit on ALL the grass. Ponds, caves, waterfalls, winding trails…I could (literally) get lost in this wonderland. 1 rue Botzaris, 19th arr., métro: Buttes Chaumont *Best Place for a Picnic*

Buttes Chaumont

Atop les Buttes Chaumont

Parc de Bercy: This is simply a splendid place. Meander across the river and into this park after a few hours at la Bibliothèque Nationale. Bring a frisbee, or a book, and enjoy the grass, gardens and ponds, then take a stroll through Bercy Village for some shopping. 128 Quai de Bercy, 12th arr., métro: Cour Saint-Émillion

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Did I miss a place? Leave a comment or send me a message and I’ll check it out!

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