If you happen to be a Parisian, like our new US editor Francky (hey, it’s me), who suddenly found herself plopped down in the Big Apple with a case of culture shock, you might be yearning for a cheat sheet of sorts — a means to finding a little bit of Paris in New York. There’s a special kind of romance between these two cities. They kind of wink at one another from across the Atlantic, taking notes on how best to bake (and break) baguettes and bagels à table, drink too much good wine (is there such a thing?), and safeguard their respective cinematic temples. So for Parisians and of course Parisphiles living in ze big city, we’ve cooked up a guide to mend your (and my) homesickness…
The concept of brunch has only taken off in Paris during the last few years. For New Yorkers, on the other hand, it’s a weekly ritual. Sauvage is a happy meeting place between the two, a low-key Brooklyn restaurant with meticulous art nouveau detailing and, most importantly, a sprawling terrasse, complete with Parisian bistro chairs.
905 Lorimer St, Brooklyn, NY 11222; (718) 486-6816.
Sundays au musée
To top off your week, you need a relaxed museum visit. There’s no place like The Frick Collection for a good dose of snobby 18th century portraits and a foyer that feels like a corner of le petit palais. The Frick has been one of the nation’s grandest little museums since 1930, with pieces by Fragonard, Vermeer, and loads of old French limoge.
1 E 70th St, New York, NY 10021; +1 646-248-5547 for ticket questions.
The Parisian It-Girl Spot
When she’s not bicycling around the 11e, Parisian it-girl Jeanne Damas’ home away from home is Lucien, yet another unfussy bistro with frisée salads that go heavy on the lardons (that’s bacon bits in American) and fading French advertisements peeling off from the walls.
14 1st Avenue #1, New York, NY 10009; +1 (212) 260-6481.
The city has no shortage of talented bakers, the trouble is deciding which one to pick. There’s Silver Moon Bakery, Epicerie Bouloud, Amy’s Bread, Orwasher’s Bakery…we could go on (and consider that your short hand list). But these are our top two coups de couers, starting with Nick + Sons Bakery…
Nick used to live in Paris, and knows how to bake a damn good croissant. It’s so rare to find a great baguette in Brooklyn, and Nick’s spot has quickly become the line-out-the-door-on-a-Sunday type boulangerie we love. Ask nicely, and he’ll even slice off a pad of butter for you to take with your pastry on the road.
For those in Manhattan, there’s the reigning king of French pastry: Maison Kayser. The ‘Kaysers’ have become a behemoth of Paris’ better boulangerie chains, and their New York outposts don’t fail to impress.
Nick + Sons:205 Leonard St, Brooklyn, NY 11206, open every day from 7:00am-4:pm. Find Mayson Kaiser locations on their website.
There’s nothing more Parisian than heading to la cinématheque française to watch a Godard film in the afternoon — luckily, New York’s got an answer for that, too. In the words of Carrie Bradshaw (lol), “The most amazing thing about living in a city like New York is that any night of the week you can go to Paris,” and the Paris she means is, of course, Manhattan’s last single-screen theatre in existence, The Paris Theater. It’s 1948 ribbon-cutting was performed by Marlene Dietrich, and it’s constantly playing European art house films and classics in their original language.
4 W 58th St, New York, NY 10019; showtimes at theparistheater.com.
A Late-night, Time-Travelling Rendez-Vous
Maison Gatti bistro chairs line a smoker-friendly patio that’s open late, and a trompe-l’oeil cloud ceiling will help you forget it’s nearly 2:00 am. The Hotel Delmano is the perfect spot for a night with a questionable stranger, and the cocktail menu is creative without feeling contrived. Order the Devil’s Garden (twice), and poke around the dark panelled back rooms.
82 Berry St, Brooklyn, NY 11211; +1(718) 387-1945
A Slice of the Countryside
When you’re rolling with about eight hungry friends or family members, head to Le Barricou. The candles drip freely on antique cabinets, buttery escargots are a-plenty, and the Pastis never runs dry on the large table in the backroom (which also hides a piano). It manages to embrace every French classic without feeling cliché, and evenings are great for dates with friends, family, and lovers alike. We’re suckers for the Auvergnate omlette and oven-baked pancake. One word of caution: that pancake will take an hour to cook, so order a bottle of rosé while you wait.
533 Grand St, Brooklyn, NY 11211, +1 (718) 782-7372.
Mecca for the bookworms
You really can’t beat Albertine when it comes to finding a solid selection of French language books in the dreamiest of settings. Nestled inside the consulat général de France, the bookstore opened its doors in 2014 in the stunning Payne Whitney Mansion (which looks fresh out of the 16th arrondissement). The only problem? We have a hard to time browsing for books, when the hand-painted, celestial ceiling is so hypnotic…
972 5th Ave, New York, NY 10075; +1 (212) 650-0070
Du shopping, s’il vous plait
Looking for Parisian stores like the Broken Arm, Merci, or the temple of Colette (RIP)? Head to Frankie Shop, Opening Ceremony, and, oh yeah, your private Haussmanien apartment (and Pharmacie) to get your fix…
There really is nothing quite so wonderful as a French pharmacie, packed floor-to-ceiling with staple brands you’re likely to be missing from the other side of the Atlantic. Luckily for us, one of the best made the jump. Caudalie set up house in an apartment above Madison Avenue, stocked it full of its signature goodies, and transformed the space into a low-key, luxurious Parisian spa experience (yes, there is a vino therapy treatment). “The entire thing is meant to look like a Parisian apartment,” Caudalie team member (and Parisphile) Shannon Wright told us, “it’s so pretty.” 819 Madison Ave #4A, New York, NY 10065; +1 (212) 265-3182.
Your Neighbourhood Bistro
When you’re craving old-school French bistro fare, head to Chez Napoléon. Its walls are dripping in French kitsch, with the wobbly voices of famous chanteuses like Edith Piaf and Frehel crackling from the speakers. Nothing has changed in this joint since its doors first opened in 1960. And thank goodness.
365 W 50th St, New York, NY 10019; +1(212) 265-6980
Your Secret Greenhouse
We’ve talked about faking an endless summer in Paris via the city’s dreamy greenhouses, and let the cat out of the bag on its tropical themed hideout, le Comptoir Général. New York’s answer to both of those subjects is simple: Café Colette. A generous terrace for people watching and a tasty cocktail menu pulled us in, but it’s the hidden room in the back — whose walls are crawling with vines and palm fronds — that makes us stay.
79 Berry St, Brooklyn, NY 11249; +1 (347) 599-1381.
Parks for an apéro
We can’t legally advocate that you drink in public in New York, but we can advocate for a good amount of (discreet) fun in places like Socrates Park. For one, there’s nothing more French than a park named after a philosopher, and this Queens hideout has a load of ever-changing, enigmatic follies that make it a great sub for the 19e’s Parc de la Villette. Come summer, it even screens free films. If you’re looking for a park with a more classically Parisian feel, head to McGolrick Park, whose columned entryway gives off a Parc Monceau vibe (and whose weekly farmer’s market is not to be missed). Socrates Park: 32-01 Vernon Boulevard, Long Island City, Queens, NY 11106; McGolrick Park: Russell Street &, Nassau Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11222
A Hole in the Wall Hideout
Once again, you can see our bistro philosophy at work: the tinier, the better. The matchbox-sized Le Parisien has all the classics of French bistro food, and some killer profiteroles. Come here with your chainsmoking grandfather to argue about the World Cup.
163 E 33rd St, New York, NY 10016; +1 (212) 889-5489
Straight from the Streets of Pigalle
A self-declared gastrothèque with a twin restaurant in Pigalle, Buvette is a relaxed, adorable restaurant whose attention to detail (tiny French dishwares. A bike with a wicker basket posed out front.) steals the show. A careful eye will also notice that the back-side of the menu shows the daily carte for the Paris location.
42 Grove St, New York, NY 10014; +1 (212) 255-3590.
The Reigning King of SoHo Brasseries
At this point, SoHo’s Balthazar has become New York’s most storied French restaurant, attracting all walks of life (i.e. fashion week models, locals, your cultured aunt from Minnesota). But the best thing about Balthazar, is that it achieves the anomaly status unique to Parisian brasseries: it’s both nonchalantly chic, and inviting, with just the right dash of tongue-in-cheek pretentiousness. If you’re missing the Left Bank’s Brasserie Lipp or Café de Flore, head here to get your fill of waiters in all-white, and the sounds of clinking aperitivo glasses late into the night.
80 Spring St, New York, NY 10012 ; +1 (212) 965-1414.