Usually, I don’t want much more from life than spending a nice sunny weekend in Paris.
Below an ideal weekend in my favourite city.
I would start with a little breakfast at Merci-Merci (open Monday to Saturday from 10:00 till 20:00)– a new concept store located at Boulevard Beamarche 111, close to the Saint-Sébastien – Froissart metro station.
Merci is a modern approach to consumerism – they support recycling, teach you how to re-use what you already have, find ways to create cool items from plastic bottles and give their profits to a charity in Madagascar.
Try hot chocolate with a toasted baguette served in their Used Books Café to start the day in a style and help rising money while you eat!
For more shopping check nearby rue Vieille du Temple with its trendy little boutiques, art galleries and cute cafés. Or pop to Marais farmers market at Parc Baudoyer for fresh fruits, roasted chicken or … Polish sausages.
I would also stop at one of the Jewish bakeries at rue des Rosiers to buy something for my dessert later. My personal favourite would be a poppy seeds cake from Korcarz.
Lunch is at one of the best wine bars in the city – Le Garde Robe (41 rue de l’Arbe Sec). You would never expect that this tiny place (completely ignored by tourists) serves the best food in the neighbourhood for as little as 15 euros for a three course meal! Everything is prepared fresh and with seasonal ingredients the owner finds that day. Plus they know everything about their wine.
There are more wine testing places in the street with the most popular Spring (6 Rue Bailleul) just around the corner if you are still thirsty.
I wouldn’t drink too much though as it’s time to get ready for the meal of the weekend at my favourite restaurant Ze Kitchen (4 Rue Grands Augustins). Earlier booking will be necessary and we have to warn you this is not the cheapest dining option but trust us, it’s worth everything you spend.
William Ledeuil, the owner and chef of Ze Kitchen, combined French and south east Asian cooking with stunning effects. Come to check yourself and definitely leave some space for his amazing desserts.
What about a romantic walk across the river to admire the city from Pont des Arts after dinner?
This should help to burn some of the calories from the day as well.
Ma Bourgogne (19 Place Vosges) bistro has one of the best views in the whole Marais, over the beautiful Place Vosges and despite being located in such a popular tourist attraction serves surprisingly good food. A perfect place for a little breakfast on a sunny Sunday morning. Just buy your paper in a kiosk around the corner and read over un café or simply enjoy looking at tourists doing their morning walks and photo sessions or old ladies on their way to the church.
Unfortunately, Picasso Museum is currently closed for refurbishment and will reopen sometime in 2012 but instead you can check Carnavalet Museum (23, rue de Sévigné) dedicated to the history of Paris.
With a collection of Napoleon’s favorite case of toiletries, personal effects belonging to Marie-Antoinette, and photos of the city by Henri Cartier-Bresson there is something interesting for every visitor.
Or take a Velib (bike to hire) to St Germain des Pres to visit art galleries, watch the trendiest Parisians on their Sunday walks or buy your pastry for an afternoon tea at the amazing patisserie of Pierre Hermes (72 Rue Bonaparte).
For a good lunch go to Café des Musees (49 Rue Turenne). I am sure you would pass it by without noticing (as I have many times before!) but this truly Parisian brasserie offers the best food at Marais at very affordable prices. Local, with many guests coming for years for their favourites, a little bit run down (like a proper brasserie should be!) – you can’t find a better place for une cuisine authentique.
After lunch take a rest in a small and beautiful park at a square named after George Cain (rue Paynenne), a long time curator of the Carnavalet Museum. The park is used as an archaeological depository and holds few monuments of the past. The centrepiece is a mysterious bronze statue named Dawn surrounded by long yellow roses.
This quiet and shadowed place is perfect for a little rest at any time of the day.
For Sunday dinner we recommend L’Entracote (20, rue Saint-Benoit). What can be more French than a nice steak with fries and salad? Arrive early as the place doesn’t take any booking and master the answers to the only 3 questions you are going to be asked:
1. How would you like your steak? (‘medium to well done’ is not an option in Paris and you may be ignored if you say well done too)
2. What do you want for drink?
3. And do you want any dessert?
If you are still not tired in the evening take a walk to rue Buci for a drink and watching Paris going by…
Each place from the list above deserves its own post so check Food and the City regularly this week to learn more about them and other places we have tried for you recently!
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