My short guide of what’s hot and cool this spring in Paris.
Shopping at Merci
I have already recommended you Merci as one of the coolest shops I have ever been to. It is true it’s not a cheap place (sometimes I am so surprised with its prices I have to check twice) but there is nothing more pleasant on a nice Saturday morning than browsing among their eclectic collections of furniture, clothes, plants, books, perfumes, bedding stuff and whatever else hip Parisians want at this moment. This season Merci promotes creating your own little home garden in special flexible plant containers. They are made of fabrics, are 100% recyclable and are available in different sizes and colours. You can find more about this concept here.
If you get tired after your shopping or want to check what the coolest people in the city wear this season you can try one of three Merci’s cafés. Used Book Café, located between bookstalls with over 10 000 books, is perfect for breakfast or an afternoon tea with scones and fruits.
Ciné Café is a good choice for a light lunch or a glass of carrot and ginger juice after your shopping and it’s always full of the chicest Parisians.
Booking is not necessary for any of the above places but as they get quite busy, especially on Saturdays, be prepared for some waiting.
Walk across the river
Temperatures are rising, sun is shining – spring is perfect for a little walk across Seine. It’s especially nice on Sundays when busy roads across the river on the right bank are close for traffic in the mornings and early afternoons.
The area of Voie Georges-Pompidou (close to the Louis-Philippe bridge) has finally been renovated and is now a perfect spot for a little picnic. Just buy what you need in the little shops in Marais (i.e. sandwiches from a boulangerie at 31 rue Vieille-du-Temple, cakes from a wonderful Korcarz patisserie at 29 rue des Rosiers and wine from Caves du Marais at 22 rue François Miron) and choose one of the wooden tables, benches or chairs provided there to enjoy your meal with one of the best view over Île de la Cité.
If you have time for a longer walk we recommend to stroll from Pont Louise-Philippe towards Louvre, crossing over through Pont Des Invalides and finishing with a rest at the Place Dauphine on Île de la Cité.
The Dauphine Square has also undertook some renovation works and has recently been re-discovered by young and hip Parisians who meet there with their friends for a game of le boule or a slow casual weekend lunch. One of my favourite spot for people watching.
Looking for best places for your lunch in Paris? These would be my choices:
– Le Loir dans la Théière – it’s very close to being my perfect bistro/café. A simple, unpretentious place hidden a bit in a little Marais street but always busy with locals and tourists. Their cakes, displayed on a large table in the eating area, are already legendary and are almost worth a visit to Paris themselves.
– Le Garde Robe – the friendliest place in the whole Paris! It offers cheap, healthy and seasonal lunches and nibbles served with a glass of wonderful fresh vegetable/fruit juice and a great collection of France’s best organic wines. Their cheese board is the best I have had for ages – ask especially for the special cheese coated in nuts. There is something in Le Garde Robe which makes you instantly happy – it maybe the friendliness of the waitresses, their beautiful food or just the location in the heart of the 1st arrondissement… Whatever it is I want it now!
A visit to Paris without at least one romantic dinner wouldn’t be complete, of course if you taken with you someone to share it with. It’s true it’s not a cheap pleasure but it’s always an experience of a lifetime worth (almost) any money.
If you are looking for an ultimate culinary experience and wouldn’t like to pay a fortune try my favourite restaurant of all times – Ze Kitchen. They combine Asian cooking and French finesse to take fusion food to a completely new level.
They surprise me each time and make me try the most unusual flavours – wasabi ice-cream (incredible!), snail broth, chocolate miso marmalades and it’s always incredible.
For a more traditional approach to cooking check l’Atelier Maître Albert, their roasted meats and chickens can’t be compared with anything you have eaten before and the chocolate dessert is so good I have to be stopped from ordering a second portion. It’s also beautifully located close to the river, in a quiet street at the back of Notre Dame – perfect for a nice romantic stroll at Seine afterwards.
And if you are in Paris celebrating a special occasion you may want to try one of Paris’s most famous restaurant – Le Grand Véfour. I have to admit I haven’t yet found an excuse to dine in this culinary temple but all the reviews describe it as a place which brings you to a state of a permanent bliss. The only problem is that this experience doesn’t come cheap… but if you have an occasion worth it then well, you only live once!
I hope I inspired you with some ideas for spring in Paris.
For more check:
– Paris in 4 months and their daily stories from La Ville-Lumière
– Breakfast in Paris for Paris in eyes of a watercolour artists
– And HiP Paris blog to learn what’s hot in the French capital at the moment