How could anyone tire of this city? Is it even possible? When Paris is pissing you off, don’t worry, it’s only a sign that you’re a true Parisian…
1. When you need a night off from Parisians …
Have dinner at the only table in the restaurant:Le BonBon
An olive oil boutique by day (the best in Paris) and an intimate one-table Italian restaurant by night, La Tete des Olives hosts private dinners for 5, starting with an olive-oil tasting (of course), followed by a feast of fresh delicacies straight from the owner’s native Sicily.
La Tete des Olives, 2 rue Sainte-Marthe, 10eme / (+33) 9 51 31 33 34
Drinks at a very, very private bar:
How does this sound? Cocktails served in your very own private bar at the top of a secret stairway inside a beautiful villa in Montmartre that used to belong to the Hermès family. Not too shabby?
The historical Hotel Particulier de Montmartre indeed has its very own private bar appropriately named, Très Particulier, where David, the New York bar tender will fix you any drink you can think up from the past or present. Meanwhile you and your select guests can enjoy a night off from the Parisian bar crowd, tinkering on the old piano, playing chess and toasting to the evening under the light of dripping candlesticks.
Reservations are obviously a must– a night best planned in advance for special occasions. (Also a 5-suite hotel).
Le Tres Particulier, ring the doorbell on the black gate at 23 Avenue Junot, 18eme / (+33) 1 53 41 81 40
2. You need to go somewhere where everything isn’t so French!
Take a trip to Little India, where the air smells of exotic spices, fruits, oils and teas.
One of the longest covered streets in Paris near Gare de l’est, le Passage Brady is a little piece of India, right here in Paris. You can find wonderful and inexpensive Indian restaurants and south Asian cuisine as well as a small food market selling specialty produce, hundreds of fragrant spices and rices. It’s also the perfect place to shop for authentic brightly colored fashion, jewellery and other authentic goods sourced from faraway. If you’ve got the travel bug, get a temporary fix at Passage Brady. 43 rue du Faubourg-Saint-Martin, 10th arrondissement. Image via Jan-Clod.
3. Putain! Your favorite secret brunch place just got a write-up on MyLittleParis, and now it’s impossible to get a table.
Order Breakfast in Bed.
Fix a time and the next morning, a hot brunch will be knocking at your door. Enjoy your scrambled eggs au foie gras, salmon blinis, Club Anglais, Nutella brioches, homemade cookies and of course your coffee, all under the cozy duvet– no waiting in long queues at the brunch spot du jour watching hungrily while other people scoff their oeufs à la Benedictine.
Sophie la Parisienne is delivering gourmet breakfasts and brunches starting from 10 euros to Parisians who prefer staying under the covers on their days off. You can even order from Sophie’s ‘extras’ which include roses, champagne, the newspaper and exotic teas. And there you were thinking Paris was impractical!
4. Paris is full of tourists today! Where to seek refuge:
Get lost in the Abbey Bookshop… (the other bookshop)
The Shakespeare & Co in Paris is world-renowned for its old charm, its Hemingway connection and that magical feeling you get while ducking and squeezing through its nooks and crannies. There’s just one problem: it’s hard to catch it on a day when it isn’t flooded with tourists. And that’s where the Abbey Bookshop comes in.
Tinier, equally charming and nostalgic, this Canadian, English-language bookstore is your off-the-beaten path alternative. Beautiful books piled haphazardly to the ceiling, warm lighting, jazz music playing in the background– you can easily spend an afternoon cozying up with an old treasure you found that tumbled from a shelf. The little-known neighbourhood gem is funnily enough just a few blocks from the Shakespeare & Co– but don’t tell anyone there!
The Abbey Bookshop, 29 Rue de la Parcheminerie, 75005 Paris
5. Find yourself acting too serious now that you’re a Parisian? You need to do something silly…
Drink wine out of a baby bottle:
You read that right. Behind the charming red store-front in dreamy Montmartre, you’ll find one of the maddest and silliest restaurant in Paris. Run by a wonderfully eccentric old Parisian, the restaurant is a tight space to say the least and you’ll find yourself climbing over other diners and elbowing your neighbours (which is most likely how the wine in baby bottles idea came about), but it’s all in good fun at the Le Refuge de Fondus. For just 25 euros you’ll get yourself a cheese or meat fondu of your choice with an apéro and dippers, 1 baby bottle of wine plus desert. You’ll leave with a satisfied belly, and don’t forget to sign your name on the wall alongside signatures and messages that were engraved decades ago.
See more photos, read more about it at this lovely travel blog.
Le Refuge des Fondus, 17 rue des Trois Frères, 75018 Paris, Metro: Abbsesses
6. Fancy-pants art galleries and museums with hour-long queues is not what you consider culture. Where to go for the real deal:
Secret ateliers open their doors…
Paris is supposed to be a city of artisans right? New Paris has for the most part has concealed the old cobblestone passages from the street, but behind closed doors is precisely where the real magic of French artistry happens. Secret ateliers and artist studios are dotted all around Paris, it’s just a matter of finding out where they are and how to get inside.
Luckily, this doesn’t have to involve being caught trespassing. “Portes Ouverts” (Open Doors) is a hush-hush event that takes place several times a year in various neighbourhoods around Paris and sees artists opening the doors to their studios and showcasing their work. Modern art may not be to your taste, but hidden 18th century ateliers? New dates for the 2013 Portes Ouverts will be announced any day now, link here to the websites for the Ateliers de Belleville, Ateliers de Menilmontant and the Ateliers du Père Lachaise (or just Google ‘Portes Ouverts Paris’) to get you started. Check back to the sites for listings or sign up for their newsletters to get the dates straight to your inbox.
If you can’t wait, check out a friendly and inspiring 18th century artisan enclave in the 11th arrondissement that always has its doors open, home to designers, architects, dance studios, yoga classes and theatre troops.
77, rue de Charonne in the 11th arrondisement.
Images via one of my most-loved websites, Et si on Promenait a Paris.
7. Waiters give you bad looks when you spend all day in their café working on a laptop. You’re in need of a new home away from home…
Lounge away the day with WIFI at the Mama Shelter:
Think of it as your new trendy office– a large open space with a herd of comfortable leather couches, armchairs and coffee tables. The man behind this hotel near Père Lachaise, Phillippe Starck, world-renowned architect and practically a self-confessed hippie, would obviously encourage you to make yourself at home in the café/ lounge /restaurant as an entrepreneur in residence.
For breaks, you’ve got the ping pong table, the pizza bar and it might be worth mentioning the (best) breakfast buffet (in Paris) is only 15 euros (all you can eat bunch food Monday-Saturday until 11am). Like I said, your new home away from home.
Le Mama Shelter, 109 Rue de Bagnolet 75020 Paris, 01 43 48 48 48 (*Sunday brunch is slightly pricier at 42 euros).
8. You need to remind youseself why you fell in love with this city…
Monday Jazz night at Le Piano Vache
There’s a way to fall in love with this city again that doesn’t involve watching Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris for the third time. Because lo and behold, that Paris really does exist, and not just in the movies. Monday nights at Le Piano Vache, est 1969, are like time warps back to that first night you hopelessly fell in love with Paris.
Just a few feet from where Woody Allen’s Ernest Hemingway picks up Owen Wilson on the steps of the St Etienne du Mont for his nocturnal time travels, heavenly 1930s jazz rings out from an old bar into the dimly lit backstreet.
Resident musicians at le Piano Vache, the Rodolphe Raffalli Trio, reminiscent of Django Reinhardt, serenade the dedicated Parisian audience with gypsy jazz. The warm red glow, the tattered music posters that make up the wallpaper, dusty bottles, rickety furniture, rebellious barmen and is that Orson Welles sitting in the dark corner?
Le Piano Vache, 8 Rue Laplace, 75005 Paris
Images via CityOwls
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