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Travel Guide: Paris Part II

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We’d like to thank Thalys and the Paris Convention & Visitors Bureau for their hospitality during our recent press trip.

From the awe inspiring architecture and art to the delicious cuisine, there’s always something new and surprising to discover in Paris.

In this article we’ll be focusing on the unique attractions, shops, restaurants and nightlife that call Paris home, from a royal wine cave and a secret bar to notable concept stores.

Let’s go explore the city of lights!

GETTING THERE

We’re happy to have partnered with Thalys for this trip to Paris. They offer five departures daily from Düsseldorf, making the trip easy and enjoyable. Tip: Get premium perks like bigger seats, faster wi-fi and meal service, all at discounted prices, with the new Premium Mini fare.

SHOPS

If you’re looking for authentic places to shop, don’t miss the Marais neighbourhood. Its home to a variety of boutiques and stores, many of which can only be found in Paris.

Start at Merci, a vast multi-level concept store with its own restaurant and a cosy café. Inside you’ll find a range of hip products, from clothing and home decor to Merci’s line of wristwatches.

Next, drop by Fleux, a concept shop made up of several storefronts lining a single street. Inside each one you’ll find a new collection, ranging from cool design products and houseplants to novelty gifts.

Just across the street you’ll find À Rebours, an art store with an assortment of unusual and quirky design items, fashion and décor. 

Nearby, Sergeant Paper offers a curated selection of modern and retro themed art prints at reasonable prices. It also hosts various special exhibits by notable artists, so there’s always something new and interesting on view.

La Super Marquette is a souvenir shop, but not in the typical sense. If you’re looking for Parisian gifts with a twist, whether an illustrated map or letterpress greeting cards, this is the place to find them.

Marais Neighbourhood, Paris
Marais Neighbourhood

La Garçonnière specializes in stylish products for men, from electronics and fashion to food. It also has its own café, and even a barber shop.

La Garçonnière
La Garçonnière

Bobbies is a boutique shoe shop for women & men. Their fashionable yet reasonably priced footwear is designed in Paris and handmade in Portugal.

Bobbies Paris

Affiches Anciennes – this great gallery, tucked away just around the corner from the Musee d’Orsay, specializes in rare and vintage art posters. All of the pieces are originals, and the owner is happy to answer questions about the collection.

“A walk about Paris will provide lessons in history, beauty, and in the point of Life.”

Thomas Jefferson

FOOD

Paris is home to some of the world’s best food, from fine dining to simple pleasures like a picnic in the park. Here are a few of our recommendations:

Des Gars dans la Cuisine in the Marais serves modern French fare and great wine. The celery soup, salmon, and rich chocolate fudge cake dessert were standouts. Tip: On Sundays a 3-course lunch is available for just 23,50 euro per person.

Poilâne is known for its exceptional La Miche Poilâne, a sourdough loaf that’s made using just four ingredients. It’s a staple at some of the finest restaurants in the city, but one of our favourite ways to enjoy it is fresh from one of their four bakeries. For a sweet treat, we recommend the flaky and delicious Tarte aux Pommes (apple tart).

If you have your heart set on traditional french food, with an authentic Art Nouveau interior to match, don’t miss Bouillion Racine. Dating back to 1906, it’s listed as a historical monument and is truly like stepping back in time.

Bouillion Racine
Bouillion Racine
The Pantheon (just a short walk from Bouillion Racine)

NIGHTLIFE

Your day doesn’t have to end when the sun goes down, after all, you’re on holiday.

For a memorable experience, head to Pizzeria Da Vito. Though the pizza is well reviewed, our focus is on the secret bar which is cleverly hidden behind what looks like a refrigerator door in the back of the restaurant. Open the door to enter Moonshiner, a posh 1920’s style speakeasy bar.

The art deco interior is spot on, the bartenders were friendly, and the drinks were top notch. Put this one on your list, and surprise your date!

Not far away, Septime La Cave is a casual wine bar with good music and servers who know how to have fun with the crowd. Small plates are offered, but if you’re in the mood for a proper meal, Michelin-starred Septime restaurant is right next door.

EXPERIENCES

Paris is home to an incredible array of must-see experiences, from the iconic Eiffel Tower and The Louvre to the Arc de Triomphe.

But beyond the hotspots, there are plenty of surprising experiences that you should know about as well. Here are some of our top picks:

Le Caves du Louvre

Le Caves du Louvre

Le Caves du Louvre is an entertaining way to learn about French wine in a one-of-a-kind setting – the former private royal wine caves of King Louis XV.

Previously off limits, it’s now open to the public for the first time. Don’t miss the excellent guided tour and tasting which features fun interactive exhibits, an art gallery and more.

Le Caves du Louvre
The Louvre
The Louvre (a five minute walk from Le Caves du Louvre)

Les Grandes Serres et Galerie de Botanique

Get lost inside a lush forest of tropical flora and prehistoric plants. From it’s massive palm trees to the multi-story waterfall, the grand greenhouses are an oasis of calm in the middle of the city.

Archives Nationales

Archives Nationales

The Archives Nationales (French National Archives) are housed in the historic Hôtel de Soubise, previously one of the finest private mansions in the Marais.

The building’s stunning interior helps bring the the archive’s collection of rare historic documents and art to life. After your visit, be sure to explore the gardens, which are free to the public.

Disneyland Paris

Disneyland Paris is a great place to have some easygoing fun – for kids and adults alike. Much more than an amusement park, it’s truly like stepping onto a live movie set.

The mix of excellent scenic design, technology and storytelling make for a memorable experience. Don’t miss Pirates of the Caribbean, Big Thunder Mountain and the nighttime spectacular Disney Illuminations, which features impressive fireworks and projection mapping effects on the castle.

Parc des Buttes-Chaumont

Parc Buttes Chaumont

There are a lot of perfectly manucured parks in Paris, from the Jardin des Tuileries to the Jardin du Luxembourg.

But if you’re looking for something completely out of the ordinary, don’t miss Parc des Buttes Chaumont.

With a grotto, waterfalls, rolling terrain, rocky cliffs, a lake and a suspension bridge designed by Gustave Eiffel – there’s a lot to love about this park. Climb to the top of the buttes for excellent views of Montmartre and the Sacre Cour.

Le Palais Garnier

The Palais Garnier, home to the Paris Opera, is an architectural masterpiece both inside and out.

We highly recommend taking a guided tour. You’ll not only learn about the opera’s fascinating history, but also have a chance to step inside the Grand Escalier, foyer, salon, and if your timing is right, the stunning auditorium.

Ornate Seating inside the Palais Garnier Auditorium
Palais Garnier - Paris Opera

Fun fact: When the Opera Garnier was originally built its cellar continually flooded with groundwater. Architect Charles Garnier solved the problem by creating a reservoir, or lake, made up of tunnels and passageways deep beneath the building. This mysterious location inspired part of Gaston Leroux’s novel The Phantom of the Opera, which is set in the building.

Palais Garnier - Paris Opera

Missed part one? Read it here: Paris Travel Guide Part I