Although I’ll detail it more later or perhaps never, depending on how I’m feeling, it will suffice to say that the last 14 months were, for lack of a better word, a shitshow.
Thankfully, I’m coming out of it now, though not completely unscathed, but at least with clarity and some confidence that I’m making the right decisions for myself.
It seems only fitting that during this extended reset, I managed to book a trip to Paris, that ended up being a week of rediscovering myself, my energy, and my love for travel and people.
Sara, one of my saviors this year (and throughout the last 12 years), invited me to Paris as she attended a conference there. I was only too happy to join, and, serendipitously, the trip fell perfectly into my job transition plans. We’d both been to Paris before and knocked out a lot of the standard tourism, so we decided to focus on food, drink, and revisiting some old favorites. We gathered recommendations from bloggers, friends, locals, and pure intuition.
My two favorite experiences were 1) afternoon drinks at Septime La Cave where we befriended the somm and he sweetly got us a table at the impossible-to-get-a-table-at Septime AND 2) live music performed by handsome men at Lulu White, a speakeasy near Moulin Rouge, followed by a tasting menu at Verjus, where we found some California counterparts, with whom we hung out with the next day.
Below are tried and true places. The star denotes our favorites. Also as a tip, make a reservation whenever possible!
Lulu White:* This New Orleans inspired speakeasy, serves up innovative cocktails near the Moulin Rouge. But the real reason you should go is the phenomenal live music. The night we went, the place was packed with hot French locals and the band was five attractive men playing covers of 1960s classics.
Septime La Cave:* The tiniest little wine bar, so Parisian and young and fresh.
Le Mary Celeste: A cute, urban cocktail bar, with a great Mezcal cocktail.
Paname Brewing: A large bustling brewery perched at the end of the canal, with gruff but friendly bartenders.
Le Reminet: We received this recommendation from two arty, older, American women living the dream and living in Paris half-time in the retirement. So classic, low-key, a bit pretentious, but the best food.
Septime: Um. The best restaurant in the world basically. Tasting menu, nearly impossible to reserve, and a once in a lifetime experience.
Verjus:* My friend Emily recommended this lovely place, in an unassuming house-restaurant thing. Lovely service, innovative, seasonal menu, AND we met two randoms who were friends from SF and London reuniting in Paris… and then we became best friends with them (Hi Kyle and Courtney!)
Le Chateaubriand: My friend Lindsay told me this was a must, and walking distance from our AirBnB, we obviously had to go. A) the servers are hot, B) the food is seasonal, ever changing, and unique, but still v. classic.
Le Dauphin: A Spanish tapas bar with the coolest clientele. It’s v. Euro, a scene, and super hipster.
Derriere: Set up like a 60s/70s vintage house, with vintage posters, record players, shag and velvet, go here during the day for the Instagram opportunities. Classic, French, family fare, with the best fish I’ve literally ever eaten.
Café Charlot:* I’m tearing up thinking about how much I love this place. A festive, classic, brasserie, with the typical French fare you need to have, i.e. escargot, mussels and frites, free flowing wine and a young Parisian crowd. #takemeback.
That Tourist Lyfe:
Notre Dame: Ugh. I am devastated by the fire, but you must pay your respects.
Sacre Couer: Go at sunset.
Musee De L’Orangerie: Epic Monets.
Louvre: Allow at least four hours and go on a weekday.
Café de Flore:* The it-girl place for a chilled glass of wine in the afternoon after a bit of shopping, always crowded and yet picturesque.
Dose: A coffee shop for your American coffee addiction
Mariage Frere: A favorite of mine, this tea house, with a few outposts throughout the city, was founded by two brothers with an obsession with teas from around the world. It’s a cozy place for a respite from the bustling streets and cold winds of spring.
Angelina:* this is where French grandmothers take their grandchildren for afternoon hot chocolate. It’s luxe, with pale blue velvet dining room, and gold accents. And I dream of the hot chocolate.
Boulangerie Utopie: The baked good. My god.
Café Brezieh: We had rainy day crepes here and it was so sweet and rustic (and a line out the door).
Buly 1803:* A favorite photographer/blogger/life guru of mine often discusses Buly, a perfumerie, in her content. We stumbled upon it and it is an experience of smells. It feels like an ancient apothecary and is so indulgent is its service and products.
Pharamacies: On very corner. Obvi to stock up on my French beauty products: Embryolisse cream, Avene thermal water, Nuxe body oil.
Sezane: This apartment, filled with gorgeously tailored clothing, light and plants, is basically a blueprint for my future life. It’s a necessity to gain that French girl chic vibe we all look for.