By Theresa Braun
City Guide: Paris
I have visited Paris on three occasions, spending a grand total of 97 days in one of the most beautiful cities in the world. During this quality time, I have discovered quite a few gems that I recommend to visitors.
Here are a few of my favorite spots in Paris.
For brunch: Holybelly
This mecca by Canal Saint-Martin is a Melbourne-style cafe lovingly run by owners Sarah and Nico. I cannot rave enough about the pancakes (fresh fruit, bourbon butter!) or the no-fuss attitude of the friendly staff. Really, the only things you need to know about Holybelly are the mottos printed across the mugs: “Damn fine food and coffee,” and, “It’s good because we care.” (Yes, expect a wait on weekends. Yes, it’s 100 percent worth it.)
For coffee: Telescope Cafe
I have never met anyone who takes coffee more seriously than the folks at Telescope Cafe. Located around the corner from the Louvre and tucked along a narrow street, the minimalist cafe offers high-quality cups of joe, along with an assortment of sweet and savory treats.
For drinks: Candelaria
If you find yourself wandering around the Marais feeling nostalgic for hipster Williamsburg cocktail bars, have I got the place for you. Step inside Candelaria, a simple taqueria, head straight back, open the door, and enter the cozy, hidden bar. While it’s not technically a “speakeasy,” you’ll feel like you’ve been let in on a secret. Among the candlelit, bohemian atmosphere, sip on inspired and masterfully mixed signature drinks complete with fresh ingredients made in-house.
For people watching: Cafe Charlot
At the corner of Rue de Bretagne and Rue Charlot sits this buzzing cafe. When you come to Cafe Charlot, opt for the sidewalk seating (even if it means waiting for five or ten minutes) in order to take advantage of the location. You’ll be afforded a prime view of the bustling street filled with well-dressed Parisians as you enjoy your lunch. (Try the club sandwich with chicken.)
For art: Musée de l’Orangerie
Choosing a favorite museum in Paris is as impossible as choosing a favorite place to get a croissant (just kidding; the best croissants are at Du Pain et Des Idées). While I love the Louvre and the Centre Pompidou, my favorite spot for art is the Musée de l’Orangerie. Located in the west corner of the Tuileries, this gallery houses impressionist and post-impressionist paintings from masters like Matisse, Renoir, and Picasso. Go for the permanent collection of eight water lily murals from Monet, displayed in a panoramic fashion.
For a picnic: Parc des Buttes-Chaumont
This sprawling park in the 19th arrondissement offers sloping lawns, an artificial lake, and the famous Temple de la Sibylle. Buttes-Chaumont is home to the “ginguette” Rosa Bonheur (which is akin to the Parisian version of a beer garden), but it’s also the ideal place to spread out a blanket, break out the bread and cheese, and picnic the afternoon away.
For reading material: Shakespeare and Company
Much has been written about this renowned English-speaking bookstore across from the Notre Dame, so I’ll sum it up by saying: There’s simply no place like Shakespeare and Company. Opened in 1951 by George Whitman and now run by his daughter Sylvia, the historic shop is home to impressive stacks of literature, second-hand books, visiting writers, two cats, and a revolving door of “tumbleweeds.”
For a night out: Silencio
Previously a publishing press, this underground club houses a cinema, lounge, smoking room, stage, gallery, and art library. Silencio was founded and meticulously designed by David Lynch as a space for artists to come together. The intimate club is reserved for members and their guests before midnight.
Have you been to Paris? What are your favorite places?
Theresa Braun: By day, I work as a content strategist, editor, and freelance writer. By night, I write narrative essays and short fiction. At any time, I can be found scrawling poems along coffee cups and advocating for the Oxford comma. Home is New York, but I am currently on sabbatical in Paris.