This time my journey took me to Paris to celebrate my Mom’s birthday – right into the culinary diversity and fashion focus of this city.
I must admit, both clichés do Paris justice. We were delighted by 3 days of culinary experiences along with a lot of gorgeous, little boutiques and French fashion labels, which even put fashion capital Milan to shame.
3 days are way too short for this architectural wonder, where we discovered cute alleys, great brasseries, and many sights behind every corner we turned.
Luckily, I received a lot of foodie recommendations from Julian, who had taught Raw Food Workshops with me in the past and who had lived in Paris for some time, and so I discovered many new things, even though I had already travelled to Paris a couple of times before.
One of my recommendations is to really let yourself go with the spirit of Paris.
I usually do that anyway, but I really have to stress this in Paris. Simply visit all those different arrondissements, leave any tour guides, maps, and various apps at home to discover spontaneously and let yourself drift.
This is also true for the abundance of restaurants. I have rediscovered a couple of great ones, which I’d love to mention in this blog as tips for you. But to be honest, I had rather just tried one or two restaurants or brasseries along the way as there are so many cute establishments which would have corresponded to my mood better than the ones I had reservations for.
Well, here are my Parisian highlights which I can wholeheartedly recommend
It is easy to get lost in the many, small alleys. But if you start at Saint Germain Des-Pres and stroll in a star-shaped pattern through the various, small alleys, you will find many beautiful unique stores, delis, brasseries, and coffee shops.
The afternoon seems a little desolate all around as many restaurants simply close their shutters and reopen only in the evening. But happy hour starts at 5pm and life restarts in the various bars before dinner.
A la tête du client
In the area around the Louvre towards Les Halles you will find my favorite stylist A la tête du client. It was not my first time to Paris, and I had received the best hairstyle of my life courtesy of Antoine and his little, trendy hair studio. So, one of my first trips back in Paris took me right to him. In a short amount of time, he worked his miracles again. Well, if you want a great haircut, which is really quite ok price-wise, you really have to go visit him. The atmosphere is cool and relaxed, and his team is great and very attentive. There is a sports club across the street or one of my favorite Cafés called Claus in Rue Jean Jacque Rousseau right around the corner for your waiting companion.
Claus is a small breakfast Café which is named after its founder. Meanwhile, Claus has opened a Deli across the street as well. The little Café with its cute living room atmosphere on 2 floors offers a creative, fresh, and excellent breakfast or brunch until 2:30pm. The Deli is open throughout the day and if you don’t make it to breakfast, you can enjoy similar, delightful dishes and products “to go.” As the Café is really just as big as a living room, you have to make a reservation. Especially on the weekends it will be booked 2 weeks in advance.
A great tip for Aperos and many, cute little restaurants, delis, and so on are the small alleys around Etienne Marcel and the Gay District Les Mareis. In Les Mareis, there are many great boutiques, and it is awesome to have some drinks there at night as well.
Les Halles is actually not that great of an area and divides the great shopping streets of Les Mareis – well, a small, cultural cut between the two arrondissements – but just around the corner in Rue Gravilliers there is one good restaurant next to the other, the cuisines ranging from French, Asian, Spanish to Italian and Thai, offering cool ambiance and good quality.
One of the well-known restaurants and bars is the Derrière. The interior is very cool, decorated just like a living room of the 70ies and there is a gorgeous courtyard for the summer. There is an old motorcycle right at the entrance and the waiters are super nice. Quite the pleasant place to be! The kitchen is well known and people love it. For me it was almost too down-to-earth French, and I had some difficulties, but the quality is excellent, and so I think I might have been the exception with being not totally impressed. Vegans will find a small, creative selection on their menu as well. It is really worth checking it out, even just for drinks to enjoy the awesome atmosphere.
The prices are quite high for good restaurants but even for average meals and coffee, and partly even beat Swiss levels.
No other city is such a gourmet mecca as Paris. If you would like to try one example but skip the stiff fanciness preferring a cool, relaxed, but elegant atmosphere with a very nice team, you definitely have to try Spring. I recommend a spot on the upper level as the crew cooks directly in front of you while you watch which dishes are created.
Their specialty is that they have only one menu. You may communicate in the beginning if there is something that you don’t eat, so vegans and other diet restrictions are well served there as well. Everything else is a surprise factor and up to the chief of cuisine. The appetizers were really amazingly delicious. The main dishes were somewhat too salty for me but this might be because I only season with herbs when I cook and use only little salt. Cost wise an evening there will set you back about EUR 200 plus for two people – so it might be more for special occasions, such as my Mom’s birthday of course
Raw Food restaurants or Juice Bars etc. are a rarity, and I had only seen 1-2 small organic shops. Well, the French don’t seem to be influenced by these trends and remain loyal to their roots. This is likable as well and certainly neither better nor worse.
Another recommendation – Galleries Lafayette – they are not the Kadewe in Berlin with its deli counter but shouldn’t be missed nonetheless.
And if you would like to enjoy a relaxed coffee or eat something in the morning or at lunch in the midst of the crazy hustle of a market while strolling through the rows of a small food market, make sure to visit the Marché des Enfants Rouges.
During these 3 days I had not even thought about working out, as distances are so big that it is recommended to rent a bike and discover the city pedaling.
Of course, there are some recommendations for the athletic BootCampers among you as well:
Indoor Bootcamp: http://www.midtown-studio.com
I was at the Crossfit Paris: http://www.reebokcrossfitlouvre.com
It had a pretty cool atmosphere, however I am more of a bootcamp and boxing fan, as you can train more targeted with your own bodyweight and less with small equipment – what else 😉