Steph’s Notes on Paris (Non touristy; where to eat drink shop in Paris)

I am writing this for future reference, and to keep these memories golden forever.

Montmartre

Touristy, but absolutely magical to climb the steps and walk the ancient streets that Picasso, Modigliani, Van Gogh, Matisse, Renoir, Degas, Toulouse-Lautrec, Dali and many others hung out at. The view at the top when you reach the Sacre Couer cannot be justified with words. Beautiful.

Pigalle 

(A short walk from Montmartre. Pigalle used to be a sleazy part of town for prostitutes. It has now cleaned up and is emerging with a few hip spots and night clubs, but generally still quite quiet like it is waiting to be discovered.)

Buvette – Named as the place Lefooding fell in love with the most this year. Me too. Cafes need to learn from Buvette. It has a simple yet satisfying menu. We had a tasty chicken salad and a waffle sandwich and wine. Sometimes, a simple meal like this is better than any Michelin starred fine dining meal. Highly recommended.

Glass – A new bar in the neighbourhood. Dark, rustic, wooden interior. Music is very good soul/jazz. They have daily specials and I couldn’t stop complimenting them on their slushie shots that go for 3 euros each. Refreshing and tasty and a brilliant way to salvage leftover ingredients. They serve complimentary salted popcorn, and we also ordered a piping hot and toasty hot dog. Delicious.

Other worthwhile visits: Dirty Dick

Opera

Porte 12: This restaurant was only three weeks old when we visited. We were lucky to snag a table because I made a reservation the minute they opened. Why is there so much hype around this restaurant? Chef Andre Chiang, whose eponymous restaurant in Singapore is #38 best restaurant in the world, has opened an outpost Paris. However, he is not helming the kitchen here. Chef Vincent, who worked with Chef Andre before, created the menu. Even the staff have worked with Andre before. Great food! So much thought went into the dishes and every component is well balanced! I might do a solo post on this restaurant if I have time. 68 euros per person before tax and wine.

Le Richer: They do not accept reservations so be prepared for long queues here! It is a casual bistro-style restaurant with pretty complex dishes and fresh ingredients.

Shopping: Galeries Lafeyette and Printemps are the biggest names here. I recommend that you walk through it if you must, then make a beeline straight to the top floor of Lafeyette for the rooftop garden where you can take in sights of the Eiffel Tower, the Opera and Paris.

Other worthwhile visits: L’Office

Goncourt/ Votaire/ Charonne/ Bastille

(Home to the hippest restaurants in town!)

Bones: This reminded me a lot of my favourite restaurant in Singapore, Burnt Ends, possibly because both have Australian chefs. Rustic, smokey flavours. I loved this from start to end. It is 70 euros per person without wine.

Le Chauteaubriand: Hot favourite restaurant recommended by so many people from Anthony Bourdain to a friendly bartender. Hipster french food. They have the most mind blowing dessert! It is 70 euros per person without wine. Check it out for yourself.

Le Floreal: I like this place because I get an extensive list of wines and cocktails, and fresh seafood platters to go along with it. Good fresh seafood in a very hip atmosphere! Right next to the metro station, very convenient.

Other worthwhile visits: Frenchie, Septime, Perchoir

Marais

Glou: Recommended in the Michelin guide, you know it’s good. I love it for its laidbackness, and quality of food is top notch. Order a simple steak tartare and it will probably be the best you have ever tasted. There’s a special something in their food.

Breizh Cafe: Some say they have the best crepes in Paris. Definitely worth a stop. I would choose the savoury crepes made from buckwheat because I think they are definitive of Paris. Sweet crepes can be found anywhere. They have wide selection of ciders to go along with your crepe.

Shopping: Shine at15 Rue de Poitou carries a lot of things I like. You can find comptoir des cotonniers, Helmut Lang and Zadig & Voltaire along the same street. The Kooples and Sandro shops are along Rue Des Francs Bourgeois (must visit), Karl by Karl Lagerfeld at Rue Vieille du Temple, and a department store BHV Le Marais. End off your shopping day by taking in the magnificent sight of Hotel De Ville, a stone’s throw away from BHV. When I was there, a timeout event was going on and the square was filled with giant white balloons, with the magnificent building as backdrop

Other worthwhile visits: Marche L’Enfants (outdoor food market) and Bibi Idea Shop (where i bought the whole shop down!)

St Germain

L’Atelier Joel Robuchon: This branch at St Germain has 2 michelin stars. A discovery meal is 175 euros per person. Surprisingly, it is not hard to get a table. I managed a walk-in and was seated. Something I must point out is that it is not suitable for big groups because it is bar seating. The food is French, not many surprises from the meal. It is okay.

L’Comptoir: As you can see from my restaurant recommendations so far, I am not fan of traditional french food because it is too rich and heavy. However, L’Comptoir scaled down portions and revised it for modern palates. Another plus point is it is open all day, meaning you can stop by for a snack and wine at 4pm. Recommended by Anthony Bourdain.

Prescription Cocktail Club: Opened by the illustruous Experimental Cocktail Club brand, a small speakeasy that has no signboard on the exterior, and the bouncer will ask you a question before you are allowed to enter. It has loud music, but is comfortable with its couches and lounges. We tried a couple of their creative cocktails, but ended off with our favourite classics: Side Car for me and Old Fashioned for him. Always.

Terroir Parisien: Chef Yannick Alleno who received his Michelin star at Le Meurice left to open this bistro. He gives his modern take on traditional french food in this vibrant venue.

Shopping: Boulevard Saint Germain has boutiques like Kenzo, the first Diptyque store, and most importantly, department store Le Bon Marche. Equally well stocked as Printemps and Lafayette, but with NO TOURISTS. Be sure to check out their gourmet wing as well.

Rue Saint Honore

Colette: The one shopping stop I highly recommend. I always tell my boyfriend that the merchandising in Colette is one I strongly admire. Everything is interesting, conversation worthy, trendy, unexpected, and so much more.

Chanel store at Rue Cambon: It is such a chore to buy Chanel in Paris. There is so much waiting involved. But if you are interested in getting your Chanel fix in exclusive white boxes and white paper bags, go to the Rue Cambon store. There are a few other stores down the next street. Those have shorter waiting times but black paper bags. The decision is yours.

Bookmarc: Marc Jacobs’ only bookstore. Drop by, get a pen or sharpie or notebook.

Eiffel Tower

Les Tablettes de Jean Louis Nomicos: Michelin starred restaurant near the Eiffel. The set menu comes with two glasses of wine and is a reasonable price of about 80 euros for a Michelin experience.

David Toutain: Hottest place to eat in Paris now! Lots of vegetables in this meal. Hard to get reservation.

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