WHO DOESN'T LOVE PARIS IN SPRING TIME?
Ah, the City of Lights. Nothing is more invigorating than visiting the capital of chic and spring is the perfect time to plan a Parisian escape. Exploring the hidden treasures of Paris really make the city come alive. Many first time visitors to Paris are left disappointed, particularly in light of the most recent economic downturn, which has spurred a bevy of corporate take-overs of Parisian bistros, and cafes, leaving unbeknownst tourists and diners scratching their heads and wondering where the good cuisine is hiding. Not to worry dear readers, I’ve been traveling to grand ol’ Paris for years and have a well curated list of shopping, eating, sleeping recommendations for the perfect jaunt to the land of joie de vivre
WHAT TO DO:
Shop the mother of all consignment shops at Reciproque- Rue de La Pompe, 75016 Paris Metro: Victor Hugo. This is the self proclaimed largest consignment shop in Paris. The store literally consists of multiple boutiques covering an entire city block of separate mini shops. One shop is filled to the brim with hand bags, another with clothes and there is an entire basement of coats. Be prepared to spend an entire day here and half of your life savings.
Shop the flea markets at St. Ouen. A vintage shoppers paradise with great jewelry, clothing , book and poster stalls. Most of the stalls don’t start opening until 10 am, so catch a few more zzz’s and eat breakfast in the city before heading out to St. Ouen. St. Ouen is in a bit of a sketchy neighborhood in Paris, so wear a money belt if you have one and withdraw cash from an ATM in Paris proper before you leave. The main action begins past the open air stalls on Rue de Rossiers (you will end up there if you keep going straight past the junky merchandise on your left). Make sure you have a return metro ticket before you leave because the metro station can be a bit scary with young French thugs presumably running some type of metro ticket scam. For a more complete breakdown of the best stalls visit my blog at Shortcutstofabulous.com and type St. Ouen in the search box. Take a food tour. There are a lot to choose from, but my favorites are Paris by Mouth (book early) tours. They have tours to suit every taste, but the taste of Saint Germain gives you insider access to the best bakeries, chocolate and pastry and cheese shops in Paris. http://parisbymouth.com/upcoming-food-tours/
WHERE TO EAT:
Alcazar- 62 Rue Mazarine 75006 Paris, France. Metro Stop: Odean. One of the more affordable Michelin star restaurants in Paris with delicious food and a chic ambiance. Service is efficient and friendly and they do have English menus if you request them.
Mariage Freres- 30 rue du Bourg-Tibourg, Paris 75004. Metro Stop: Hotel De Ville. For the ultimate in old world Parisian charm, take tea in this legendary tea salon with absolutely wonderful teas and desserts. They have a strawberry creme brûlée that made me fall in love with Paris all over again. There are multiple locations throughout Paris, but my favorite is the one in the Marais.
La Jacobine. 59-61 Rue Saint Andre des Arts, 75006 Paris. Metro: Saint-Michel/Odéon, Saint-Germain-Des-Prés. This Tea House is tucked away down a cobble stone street just off of Rue Saint Andre des Arts. It is open seven days a week from 11:30 to 23:30. They serve up delicious traditional French faire and homemade desserts baked fresh daily.
Mon Thai- 84 Rue Montorgueil, Paris 75002. Metro Stop: Artes de Metiers. When you need a break from French cuisine, Mon Thai is waiting with fresh, tasty and budget friendly food.
WHERE TO STAY:
Hotel Chavanel. 22 Rue Tronchet, 75008 Paris, France. Metro. Champs-Élysées. Perfectly located in one of Paris’s best neighborhood with lots of metro connections, this modern boutique hotel is chic and efficient. Starting at $285 per night.
Hotel Massena. 16, rue Tronchet, 75008 Paris, France. Metro. Champs-Élysées. This clean, bright and modern hotel has small, but bright and cheery rooms that wont break the bank in a great central location.
Starting at just under $200 per night.
Our Pick…Rent an Apartment:
I love renting an apartment while in Paris. What you lost in concierge and bellhop services you gain in comfort, space and really feeling like a Parisian resident during your stay. There are plenty of apartment rental sites, but I have used Holidays France Rentals with great success. http://holidays-france-rentals.com