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Shopping in Paris

 

Linda Donahue is the founder and Editor in Chief of ParisienSalon.com (www.parisiensalon.com), an online destination magazine and travel planner for Paris. You can follow her on twitter @parisiensalon. We asked Linda to tell us what advice she's give to girlfriends travelling to Paris. Here are her terrific tips...

 

Where I'd send my girlfriends to shop...

Day #1 -- Rue du Dragon and rue Cherche-midi. Located in Paris' upscale area of St. Germain des Pres these smaller streets boast many clothing boutiques, jewelry shops, and even my favorite coffee retailer: Cafes Richard. Though in a classically pricey area, good deals can be found, especially during Les Soldes (annual Paris sale in June).

Day #2 -- Rue des Archives and rue de Vieille du Temple. These two streets in Le Marais offer endless options for all budgets. You will find hidden between the pricier shops small chocolateries, antique/curiosity shops, and even the occasional bead store. This is where I found in a small Hindi shop a unique Ganesh figurine as a gift for my mother.

Day #3 -- Place des Victoires This upscale shopping area is near the Louvre Museum in the 2nd. There are several nice jewelry stores, my favorite being Clio Blue. If you go to Place des Victoires, be prepared to spend some serious cash.

 

Where I'd send my girlfriends to eat and drink...

Le Cab - This is a high-end restaurant in Paris' 1st arrondissement. The name, Cabaret, is what first intrigued me. In fact, under no circumstances should you let them seat you upstairs. You should request to sit downstairs where you will see an entirespace resembling a fusion of a 19th century French cabaret and a Moroccan bathhouse. The richly colored sheer draperies, mirrored wall, and glowing candlelight make this restaurant one of the best in regards to ambiance. The menu, a classic French fusion, also is exquisite. The scallop dish I had there was amazing! Website: http://www.cabaret.fr/

La Rhumerie - La Rhumerie is a favorite watering hole of mine, located directly across from the Mabillion metro station in the 6th arrondissement. True to its name it serves many rum-based cocktails in addition to various rum shooters. My favorite is the frozen mango mojito; tastes like you are biting into a freshly picked mango doused in rum! La Rhumerie also serves light snacks. Website: http://www.larhumerie.com/

Num - is likely my favorite happy hour destination in Paris. Located in the 1st arrondissement near Les Halles, Num is a Thai restaurant with a fabulously extensive cocktail menu. From 5-7pm they offer their cocktails at 5 euros apiece. Their mojito also is incredible, but their house specialties take the cake. The food likewise is delicious, especially the fresh mango and sticky rice dessert! However, my favorite aspect of Num is the atmosphere. Inside is an ultra modern and chic space dramatically lit, but outside is a lush, vegetated seating area. Website: http://www.restaurant-num.fr/

Le Fumoir - In my opinion they serve the best mojitos in Paris. And at 6.5 euros (regular 11.5 euros) each from 6-8pm, you can have two. This restaurant/bar is set right off of rue de Rivoli near the Louvre Museum in Paris’ high-end 1st arrondissement. It's truly amazing to find such reasonably priced cocktails in this neighborhood. Le Fumoir also has a fully menu, which I've never tried ;). The rich and earthy decor with a touch of bohemian chic makes this spot fit for any aspiring literati. P.S. Keep an eye out for some truly fabulous art while you sip your drinks. Website: http://www.lefumoir.com/

The Studio - Tex-Mex is likely not the first type of cuisine you think of when someone says Paris. However, The Studio serves up some suprisingly high-quality Tex-Mex at an even more suprising price. It's hidden in Le Marais (4th arrondissement) and it's a unique dining experience. P.S. In warmer weather they serve outdoors. Look up at the windows of the dance studio across the way and watch the couples trying out their latest dance routines. Website: http://www.the-studio.fr/the_studio/Accueil.html

Le Petit Lux - This little spot is located on rue de Vaugirard and rue Madame. It's a small walk-up bakery near the Jardin du Luxembourg. They offer sandwiches, quiche, and many desserts. All are wonderful and make for a lovely lunch as you stroll through the nearby gardens. Expect the line to be out the door by lunch. Arrive early, otherwise you will be stuck with only crumbs. P.S. Try to explore as many parks and gardens as you can. Paris’ 35 parks/gardens are free and open to the public. Visiting the various parks with lunch and a book is my favorite thing to do in Paris. A few of my favorites are Parc des Buttes Chaumont, Jardin du Luxembourg, and Parc Monsouris.

Of course, you must eat dessert - Paris is famous for pastries, pies, and other scrumptious things. Amorino, an Italian gelato chain, is one of my favorite places in Paris. Though not so secret and not even French, their mango gelato is delicious and keeps me coming back for more. My favorite raspberry tarte is from a boulangerie right below the Albe Hotel at rue de Huchette and rue de la Harpe (St. Michel metro). My favorite fondant de chocolat (molten chocolate cake) is at a bistrot in the 6th called Le Nemrod (51 rue cherche-midi).

 

Getting Around in Paris...

Be sure to use the metro! The metro is a huge part of Parisien culture with nearly 6 million riders per day. Some tourists are wary of the metro, but it is truly one of my favorite things about Paris. It is extremely convenient and efficient (unless there is a strike), and I miss it every time I am sitting in rush hour traffic back in the States. The Paris metro has 14 lines that run all over the city, and one of its many stops is almost guaranteed to put you within steps of your destination. Non-residents should get the Carte Navigo Découverte, which can be purchased at most metro stops and activated by week or by month.

If you are in Paris for just a few days then buy a carnet (a strip of 10 individual tickets). That makes the most sense budget wise.

Speaking of getting around, every traveler to Paris needs to pick up something called the Paris Practique. It is a booklet of maps. Each map shows arrondissements (neighborhoods) 1-20 and also included is a map of the metro lines and all the stops. I could not have travelled around Paris without this invaluable guide! Paris Practiques are available in some tabacs (Paris version of the corner store) or at the Gilbert Jeune (http://www.gibertjeune.fr/page/public/index.php) bookstores.

 

Advice from a guy...

Journeywoman, you asked me about my favorite moderately priced neighbourhood restaurant that a travelling woman would feel comfortable in. This is the spot that instantly comes to mind...

I like Ma Bourgogne in the place de Vosges (#19). You get to sit outdoors under the arches of the historic place, and the waiters are picture-perfect French (except for the grouchiness). All the classics are well-represented here, from steak frites, frisée salad with bleu cheese, to foie gras. Best bet is the prix-fixe menu at around €32, finishing with a scoop of coffee glace Berthillon. No credit cards, please. Metro: Saint-Paul

Ed. note: David Lebovitz has been living in Paris since 2002. His latest book, The Sweet Life in Paris, is a food-based memoir, filled with humorous and delicious stories about Paris with French-inspired recipes that are both sweet and savory. Website: http://www.davidlebovitz.com

 

Advice from a guy...

Journeywoman, you asked me about my favorite moderately priced neighbourhood restaurant that a travelling woman would feel comfortable in. This is the spot that instantly comes to mind...

I like Ma Bourgogne in the place de Vosges (#19). You get to sit outdoors under the arches of the historic place, and the waiters are picture-perfect French (except for the grouchiness). All the classics are well-represented here, from steak frites, frisée salad with bleu cheese, to foie gras. Best bet is the prix-fixe menu at around €32, finishing with a scoop of coffee glace Berthillon. No credit cards, please. Metro: Saint-Paul

Ed. note: David Lebovitz has been living in Paris since 2002. His latest book, The Sweet Life in Paris, is a food-based memoir, filled with humorous and delicious stories about Paris with French-inspired recipes that are both sweet and savory. Website: http://www.davidlebovitz.com

 

Advice from a guy...

Journeywoman, you asked me about my favorite moderately priced neighbourhood restaurant that a travelling woman would feel comfortable in. This is the spot that instantly comes to mind...

I like Ma Bourgogne in the place de Vosges (#19). You get to sit outdoors under the arches of the historic place, and the waiters are picture-perfect French (except for the grouchiness). All the classics are well-represented here, from steak frites, frisée salad with bleu cheese, to foie gras. Best bet is the prix-fixe menu at around €32, finishing with a scoop of coffee glace Berthillon. No credit cards, please. Metro: Saint-Paul

Ed. note: David Lebovitz has been living in Paris since 2002. His latest book, The Sweet Life in Paris, is a food-based memoir, filled with humorous and delicious stories about Paris with French-inspired recipes that are both sweet and savory. Website: http://www.davidlebovitz.com

 

Advice from a guy...

Journeywoman, you asked me about my favorite moderately priced neighbourhood restaurant that a travelling woman would feel comfortable in. This is the spot that instantly comes to mind...

I like Ma Bourgogne in the place de Vosges (#19). You get to sit outdoors under the arches of the historic place, and the waiters are picture-perfect French (except for the grouchiness). All the classics are well-represented here, from steak frites, frisée salad with bleu cheese, to foie gras. Best bet is the prix-fixe menu at around €32, finishing with a scoop of coffee glace Berthillon. No credit cards, please. Metro: Saint-Paul

Ed. note: David Lebovitz has been living in Paris since 2002. His latest book, The Sweet Life in Paris, is a food-based memoir, filled with humorous and delicious stories about Paris with French-inspired recipes that are both sweet and savory. Website: http://www.davidlebovitz.com

 

Advice from a guy...

Journeywoman, you asked me about my favorite moderately priced neighbourhood restaurant that a travelling woman would feel comfortable in. This is the spot that instantly comes to mind...

I like Ma Bourgogne in the place de Vosges (#19). You get to sit outdoors under the arches of the historic place, and the waiters are picture-perfect French (except for the grouchiness). All the classics are well-represented here, from steak frites, frisée salad with bleu cheese, to foie gras. Best bet is the prix-fixe menu at around €32, finishing with a scoop of coffee glace Berthillon. No credit cards, please. Metro: Saint-Paul

Ed. note: David Lebovitz has been living in Paris since 2002. His latest book, The Sweet Life in Paris, is a food-based memoir, filled with humorous and delicious stories about Paris with French-inspired recipes that are both sweet and savory. Website: http://www.davidlebovitz.com

 

Advice from a guy...

Journeywoman, you asked me about my favorite moderately priced neighbourhood restaurant that a travelling woman would feel comfortable in. This is the spot that instantly comes to mind...

I like Ma Bourgogne in the place de Vosges (#19). You get to sit outdoors under the arches of the historic place, and the waiters are picture-perfect French (except for the grouchiness). All the classics are well-represented here, from steak frites, frisée salad with bleu cheese, to foie gras. Best bet is the prix-fixe menu at around €32, finishing with a scoop of coffee glace Berthillon. No credit cards, please. Metro: Saint-Paul

Ed. note: David Lebovitz has been living in Paris since 2002. His latest book, The Sweet Life in Paris, is a food-based memoir, filled with humorous and delicious stories about Paris with French-inspired recipes that are both sweet and savory. Website: http://www.davidlebovitz.com

 

Advice from a guy...

Journeywoman, you asked me about my favorite moderately priced neighbourhood restaurant that a travelling woman would feel comfortable in. This is the spot that instantly comes to mind...

I like Ma Bourgogne in the place de Vosges (#19). You get to sit outdoors under the arches of the historic place, and the waiters are picture-perfect French (except for the grouchiness). All the classics are well-represented here, from steak frites, frisée salad with bleu cheese, to foie gras. Best bet is the prix-fixe menu at around €32, finishing with a scoop of coffee glace Berthillon. No credit cards, please. Metro: Saint-Paul

Ed. note: David Lebovitz has been living in Paris since 2002. His latest book, The Sweet Life in Paris, is a food-based memoir, filled with humorous and delicious stories about Paris with French-inspired recipes that are both sweet and savory. Website: http://www.davidlebovitz.com

 

 

 

 

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