Paris is always a good idea.

Always and in any seasons but there is nothing better than an autumn weekend in Paris. See you there!

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Here you can find few ideas what to do in Paris in Autumn.

And here more Paris photos by Monika.

Photo credits: @Jasmin / Foter / CC BY-NC-SArunintherain / Foter / CC BY-NC-SAjohn-aïves-1946 / Foter / CC BY-NC-NDWorld-wide-gifts.com / Foter / CC BY-SA,  john-aïves-1946 / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

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In Paris on Budget

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A trip to Paris usually has a noticeable impact on most people’s budget so if you are postponing your trip worrying about the costs check our list of places which, at least, will help you spend less on food.

For breakfast try my latest discovery in Marais, Comme a Lisbonne (37 Rue du Roi de Sicile), a tiny Portuguese coffee bar with the best custard tars I have ever had. Taste them once and you will come back every day. Espresso + cake for less than 2€ = one of the best bargains in Paris. But if you are one of those who need much more than a piece of cake to be able to face the day check the selection of fresh sandwiches and pastries in the nearby Saveurs de Pains boulangerie (32 Rue Vieille du Temple).

For me, on budget or not, nothing can beat lunch at Le Garde Robe (41 Rue de l’Arbre Sec). One of my favourite places in Paris and one of those that always makes me happy. Their 12€ daily lunch menu (fresh vegetable juice + starter + main course) is probably the best value for money in the city and is always prepared with what the chief finds that day in the market. For a bite between meals try their meat or cheese boards – really exceptional, especially the hazelnut cheese! Add to this a glass of great wine (after all Le Garde Robe is a wine bar) and I would be happy to spend a day there.

Le Loir dans La Theiere (3 Rue des Rosiers) has gained the reputation of the best brunch place in Paris, which unfortunately also means that it’s constantly full with lots of people queuing for their table outside. If you don’t mind waiting a bit it’s a great place for an inexpensive light lunch with a piece of cake. The menu is limited – few salads, 2 types of omelettes, lentils, sandwiches but at very affordable prices (around 8-10€ per dish). Their wonderful homemade cakes are displayed on a large table in the restaurant, just warning you, as it’s hard to leave without trying at least one of them.
On the other side of the river I like Le Comptoir du 5ème (1 Rue des Grands Degrés) – a tiny bar in a pretty street with a great view over Notre Dame and the islands. The cheapest lunch menu (starter + main course + dessert) is only 13€.

If you like African or Middle Eastern cuisine you will enjoy bars and restaurants at Marché des Enfants Rouges (39 Rue de Bretagne), one of the oldest markets in Paris. Big portions, great food and very affordable prices plus you can get some extra fresh groceries for cooking yourself or to eat at a picnic.

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My favourite picnic spot in Paris is at the moment the area of Voie Georges-Pompidou (close to the Louis-Philippe bridge). Just buy what you need in the market or the little shops in Marais (i.e. sandwiches from a Saveurs de Pains boulangerie, 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 to enjoy your meal with one of the best views over Île de la Cité. The banks of Seinne are full of similar great places so choose the one which suits you best and enjoy eating out in Paris.

The area of St Martin canals (metro stop la République) is another good place to find great food at quite affordable prices. It’s always full of students who eat their lunches sitting among the canals or in the small Jardin Villemin. I don’t yet know this area very well but I have seen there few interesting places, especially among rue Bichat so feel free to investigate more to find something you would like.
Those who are on gluten free diets will like Helmut Newcake patisserie (36 Rue Bichat) where everything is 100% GF. They offer simple lunch choices too, around 8 – 9€ per dish, but make sure you arrive early as they go very quickly.

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Some useful tips:
– It is ok to drink tap water in Paris. It may not be the tastiest water you have ever had (it never is in any big city) but it will save you few euros. Simply ask for l’eau du robinet (direct translation) or better une carafe d’eau (carafe of water as opposite to bottle of water which is usually mineral water).
– A bottle of wine with your meal is always nice but it is usually the most expensive item of your lunch or dinner. House wine, vin de maison, is usually the cheapest option in most restaurants and you can always ask for demi-litre, half a litre carafe to save even more.
– Most of Parisian restaurants have daily menu options (menu du jour) – few choices of starters, main courses and often desserts at a set price. If you are on a budget but you still need a large meal to keep you going this is probably the best choice for you.
– Staying in a rented apartment and cooking for yourself is the cheapest option for Paris. There are plenty of great markets, local shops and supermarkets across the city where you will be able to find all ingredients you need. Check our previous posts about post to find some inspiration.

More reading:
What to do in Paris in spring
Parisian restaurants open on Sunday
– Guides to Paris part I, II and III

Some tips on what to do in Paris while on budget by Adrienne from the Rich Life on a Budget  (PS. I also like falafels from rue des Rosiers – if only the queues were a bit shorter!)

Photo credits: Mr. Physics / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-NDGregory Bastien / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

Sans Gluten à Paris

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The French do like their baguettes and croissants but if you are on a strict gluten free diet you don’t have too worry too much that you will miss any fun when in Paris. I have checked many places in the French capital which either offer totally gluten free menus or have options acceptable for you. You don’t have to limit yourself to sans gluten restaurants only, many other places will be safe for you as well and you can enjoy what best and coolest in Paris now.

For lunch in Marais try Le Loir dans la Théière (3 Rue des Rosiers, 75004 Paris) – a cute little bistro where hip Parisians and tourists who know what’s going on meet for lunch or a cake. The menu is quite limited but there are few salads, omelettes and a great lentil dish (all changes slightly every day depending on what’s available in the season), which are fine for no gluten diets. The place gets quite busy, especially in the mornings and during lunch times, so be prepared for queuing or arrive early. I am sure you will like their laidback approach, unpretentious atmosphere and simple but delicious food.
Unfortunately, you won’t be able to try any of their incredible desserts (they are, cruelly, displayed in the eating area) but don’t worry too much because we have found a gluten free heaven for you. Close to the St Martin canal, in a nicely renovated loft, Marie (gluten intolerant for over 20 years) and her husband Francois Tagliaferro run the first patisserie in Paris, Helmut Newcake (36 Rue Bichat, 75010 Paris), where everything is 100% gluten free. I am sure you will feel like all your dreams came true as you will be able to eat, without any worry, anything – lemon tarts, éclairs, cheesecakes, pistache rouge, chocolate fondants … Some desserts are even milk or sugar free.
During lunch hours on weekdays Helmut Newcake offer few plats du jour (all reasonably priced below 10€) and a nice big brunch on Sundays (booking necessary).

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There is another completely gluten free restaurant in Paris, called Noglu (16 passage des Panoramas- 75002 Paris), but I have to admit it didn’t win my heart. The food, created by three chefs, each one coming from a different continent, is great, their chocolate cake was one of the best I have had for ages but the place is overpriced, pretentious and not very welcoming. So despite being so gluten intolerance friendly I don’t think we will be coming again… Check yourself though, it may work for you. Make sure you make reservation, even during weekdays as Noglu is located close to a busy business area and gets full really quickly during lunch hours.

If you thought that because your allergies you will never be able to have a tasting menu at a fine dinning restaurant any more you should try my favourite place in Paris – Ze Kitchen (4 Rue des Grands Augustins, 75006 Paris). It’s very high end, a bit pricey (but absolutely worth it!) and serves the best combination of Asian flavours and French finesse. Their wasabi ice-cream is to die for, as are most of their dishes to be honest and the staff is not only polite but also very attentive and careful with all requests. Most food they serve is naturally gluten free and with the rest they will be happy to find a replacement. Even their teriyaki jus, one of the highlights of their early spring menu, was completely safe for people with gluten intolerance. Highly recommended, just make sure to explain what you can and can’t eat before you make your order.

L’Atelier Maître Albert (1 Rue Maître Albert  75005 Paris) is another fine dinning restaurant which we found to be gluten free friendly. Their roasted meats and chickens are served with simple sauces and a wonderfully creamy mash potatoes (my suspicion is that this mash is a very guilty pleasure though as there may be quite a lot of butter in it), all sans gluten. For dessert you can try their cheese but don’t forget to ask to have it served without any bread.

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For something simple and cheap I recommend Le Garde Robe (41 Rue de l’Arbre Sec, 75001 Paris), an incredibly friendly and slightly quirky bistro in the 1st arrondissement. The menu is very limited and sometimes, unfortunately their plats du jour may include gluten contaning options but their cheese plate is one of the best I have ever had and perfect for a nice nibble.
All food is made internally so don’t be worried to check with the staff if you can have it. And if you won’t find anything for you, don’t, at least don’t miss the chance to try Le Garde Robe’s wine – after all they came second on the list of my favourite wine bars in Europe.

Unfortunately, not many supermarkets in Paris or France have special ‘free from’ sections, gluten free bread is often stored in the general bakery section (it’s always properly protected though), cakes are among regular wheat stuff… If you can’t live without a piece of bread I would recommend to bring some with you, it’s also useful to take your own GF pasta or stock if you are planning to cook for yourself.
Hédonie (6 Rue de Mézières, 75006 Paris), an organic grocery shop in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, offers some sans gluten products, I especially liked their selection of savoury and sweet biscuits.

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For more information check:
–       HiP blog and their reviews of Noglu and Helmut Newcake
–       David Labovitz’s guide on how to survive on GF diet in Paris
–       Gluten free à Paris (French only) to learn about the latest GF discoveries from a local

You can also check our Gluten Free tag for recommendations in other European cities.
All cakes on the photos from this post are GF and can be bought at Helmut Newcake.

What to do in Paris in spring

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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

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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.

Parisian lunch

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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!

Romantic dinner

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

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You can also check our previous posts and guides on Paris:
– Guides to Paris part I, II and III
– Our previous post about Merci
– And Le Garde Robe

Spring in Paris

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Winter in Provence, spring in Paris – I am definitely being spoilt. As always, I have brought lots of new ideas for you from my trip too.
Paris is good any season but if you feel a bit blue after this awfully long and cold winter just book your tickets now to forget about your worries and improve your mood. It worked perfectly for me, the only problem is I will have to start my diet now.

Spring has finally came to Paris and the life slowly moves back to boulevards, cafes and restaurants. Parisian girls, again, prove why their city is known as the fashion capital of the world, couples stroll across banks of seine, chefs make you forget you are on a diet, tourists annoyingly get in your way… It seems everything is back to normal in Paris.

So if you are planning your trip already or just want to learn a bit more about Ville Lumière visit Food and the City next week to learn about all the places we checked for you

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how to find gluten free paradise in Paris

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what the best spots to check and admire the style of Parisians are

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and how to survive in the city of lights on budget

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Check also our older posts about Paris.