Since I moved out of Paris (Dec.2011), I have been coming regularly once or twice a year. In this time  I have created a little list of the places that I go to every time I come back,  if I have time. No sentimentality or nostalgia behind the choice, but only good quality, great experiences behind them.
Living in Paris was definitely a great experience, especially since I was studying and then working in creative fields. The inspiration is everywhere, the exhibitions are unique (I have seen the YSL retrospective, Fornasetti, Stefan Sagmeister, Hussein Chalayan, Ralph Lauren’s car collection, Edward Hopper and many others, not to forget small galleries). Nevertheless, this experience is way different from coming there as a tourist. Here are a few points to complain about, the French style:
  • you have to deal with paperwork, taxes, rent, gas and electricity (which is not fun anywhere) in French, which doesn’t make it more poetic 🙁
  • you start getting irritated by the amount of tourists and newlyweds, attacking the city from March to October. Especially when you are late somewhere and try to get to the metro station through the crowds staring at the animated vitrines of Galerie Lafayette.
  • the streets off the tourist routes are really dirty. Look down! Even Anne Hidalgo, Paris’s great mayor, admits this sector to be a weak point, “point faible de la gestion de la capitale“.
  • French are not interested to be friends with expats. They have their own circle from college or/and office.
  • shop sellers and waiters are nice to you only if you speak good french (now I have noticed this is slowly changing,  there are more people speaking English in cafes and restaurants).
  • when you are a student, well, life is expensive, especially in Paris.
Other than that, life is beautiful in Paris, and I love to go back and every time I feel at home, as I know all the streets, metro lines, parks and like to know the changes and new food trends.
Photo credit: Carette
4 Place du Trocadéro et du 11 Novembre, 75016 Paris
+33 1 47 27 98 85
Open from 7AM
It not a very touristy place, although it overlooks the Eiffel Tower through the arch of place de Trocadero, on the other side of the Seine. In the morning this place is popular among classy dressed businessmen, who work nearby. In the afternoon, the beautifully dressed Parisiennes change them. Classy is a usual look in the bourgeoise 16eme district and I love that about it. Besides the usual patisserie and coffee, they serve very nice lunch and surprisingly good club sandwich.
1 rue Jules Valles, 75011 Paris
+33 1 43 71 49 52
11th district might not be on your bucket list when visiting Paris, especially its quite street, Jules Valles, But if you want to see a 100 years old restaurant with a notable chef, Cyril Lignac, go to Chardenoux. Created in 1908 by the Chardenoux family, this authentic Parisian bistro is rumoured to have been open even through the war times. Nowadays it is classified as a historical monument. Despite such resume, this place is very down to earth and has average Parisian prices.
End your meal with a signature Rum sponge cake 🙂
My first flat in Paris was in the heart of Le Marais, so it is the area that I know the best. Living here was, on one hand, great, as there were always great places open and buzzing, people were friendly, but there were too many temptations on my commute route: shops, pastry shops, ice cream shops, vintage stores, they were all screaming: “Check me out! I have something new and exciting for you today!”. Walk from Pont Marie to rue Saint Paul, then turn to Place des Vosges, from there take rue Francs Bourgeois, and then turn to rue Pavee and turn right on rue des Rosiers. Turn to rue Vieille du Temple and walk there and back. Get lost!
Stop by on the way to have a coffee and a Tarte Tatin at the Les Philosophes. Its a great place to have it while people watching on the terrace.
Dammann tea shop is like a tea box itself, full of different drawers, boxes and shelves filled with tea, its a great place to buy a tea related gift. Beautifully branded with elegant black background and serif font, teas from here are a real luxurious treat.
This cosy shopping mall in the middle of Le Marais district has a floor dedicated specifically to arts and hobbies and I must say, its vast! And if you haven’t even thought about having an art hobby, you might consider having one, after visiting that floor.
Not to forget to mention, the creative team behind the BHV’s Instagram are doing an amazing job creating a beautiful feed, that is a must to follow for design lovers:

This maze in between rue de Rivoli and quai des Céléstins as well as rue Saint Paul and rue de Fourcy is filled with shops and ateliers. The best time to go is the weekend, as there are many places that are closed during the week. Also check advertisements on the street for special Brocante openings. Here is a very good map of the village with all the shops’ locations.
6 Rue Thérèse, 75001 Paris
+33 1 40 15 91 07
Because apart from Asia and New York, its hard to find a good one. This places located among the numerous japanese joints of rue Sainte Anne, it is frequented by Koreans, that  proves that this is really great food here. While they mostly order bibibap, I am a crazy fan of their barbecue and the marinated meat that they do.
Jan Tchi Kore Restaurant in Paris

Secluded from the city by the gallery, this accurately organized garden, Palais-Royal, is a perfect place to have a break. grab your coffee at the fashionable Cafe Kitsune and sit by the fountain in the middle of the park.

107 Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris
If you like decorative and applied arts, from chairs to jewelry, graphic design and photography,  this place hosts epic retrospectives of designers, creators and artists, as well as brands. Anyone can find something to like out there, something that will inspire and enrich. If I could, I would never miss one ever. Have a look at the list of some past exhibitions here, and you will know what I mean.
Photo credit:
12 rue de Lancry, 75010, Paris
Vintage store with carefully selected garments. Sometimes you can find ones from YSL, Courreges, Lanvin, etc.

Here are all these places on the map:

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