Paris is wonderful anytime of year, but I think September might be my favorite time to visit. Parisians have returned from their August holidays and the temps are starting to cool off making days spent wandering the city extra enjoyable. While this travel diary is from our visit to Paris at the end of July, I’d recommend my favorite spots anytime of year. Read on for all we did on our four day trip to Paris. (And you can find diaries from our past trips here!)
We stayed with friends in the 16th for the first part of our trip, and after dropping our bags we freshened up and got out to explore. It has become a bit of a ritual to go to Carette first thing, mostly because the experience is familiar, the food is reliably good, and they’re very used to tourists so if I can’t muster any French due to jetlag, it’s still a smooth experience. My favorite dish is their croque madame, but often try to resist it and opt for the nicoise salad so I start off my day with food that will fuel me, rather than a load of carbs that will put me to sleep! (Though, I could not resist the chocolate chaud which we shared as a dessert.) After lunch we wandered across the Trocadero for views of the Eiffel Tower on the way to the Musée Rodin, which is a personal favorite. I love Rodin’s rugged approach to sculpture which is especially handsome set against the romantic architectural detail of the museum walls, which was a hotel prior to being purchased for the museum. The grounds are just as lovely as the museum and a great place to sit and enjoy a moment of calm in the middle of the city. Afterwards we returned to our friends place for a night in catching up over pizza and wine.
We moved our luggage to our hotel, Relais Christine before wandering down to Musee D’Orsay to take in their impressionism exhibits and sculpture hall. We picked up a picnic lunch from La Parisienne Boulangerie including the most delicious raspberry macarons and spent the afternoon at the Jardin du Luxemborg, which was overflowing with gorgeous blooms and people enjoying the gorgeous sunny day. On our way back to our hotel we poked our heads into a few shops including Simrane, which is a favorite for block print textiles and picked up a few pieces for one of our guest rooms. We booked Pres De Seine for dinner at the suggestion of the hotel, which has wildly impressive reviews and the food was quite good, but we were a little concerned that there were at least 3 gnats in each glass of wine they brought out. We figured the first glass David ordered was an anomaly, and we just fished them out but when the second glass arrived with more gnats we began to wonder and decided to skip dessert. We ended the day at Le Recamier, one of our favorite spots and it seems we can’t visit Paris without having one of their marvelous soufflés! (We just ordered dessert here this time, but we’ve had full dinners here and I love their savory soufflés!)
Fueled by a pastry from The French Bastards Bakery, we set off for a day of antiquing. I always try to plan visits to Paris over a weekend so I can spend a morning wandering Les Puces de Saint-Ouen in search of something beautiful. Since I visit roughly twice a year I’m starting to recognize (and be recognized by) some of my favorite shop owners, which makes the day so fun catching up and getting new recommendations for the shopkeepers favorite spots around the city. Paris has many flea markets but here is a list of my favorite shops where I always find treasures – all of which are clustered in Marché Paul Bert.
@lestablesdeva – tabletop
@lesmerveillesdebabellou – vintage clothing
@stephanie.corvez – vintage and antique jewelry
@objets_de_hasard – majolica + tabletop
@galerievauclair – rattan and ceramics
@lila_k_antiques – furniture + tabletop
In the past I’ve stopped for lunch or a chocolat chaud at Le Paul Bert, but Laurence, owner of Galerie Vauclair recommended La Péricole as a better option. Tucked down a back lane, this is the go-to spot for shop owners to order their beautiful hot lunches and we saw several delivery boys head down the street with trays to delivery lunches while we were seated. It’s a great casual spot for lunch amidst a day of shopping.
DAY 3 EVENING
After a day of antiquing we were tired and hungry. Thankfully we had dinner reservations at Allard which is just a short walk from our hotel. Known for their very traditional menu, their duck with olives for two is not to be missed!
We woke to a knock on our door and a fabulous breakfast which we enjoyed in bed. (Croissants! Perfectly scrambled eggs! Coffee! Fruit! Don’t hotel breakfasts just taste better somehow?) In an effort to burn off our breakfast we walked to our lunch reservation at Le Chardenoux, which was a lovely path past some of the city’s most iconic sites like The Notre Dame Cathedral (which is currently being restored) and along the charming I’Isle Saint-Louis with it’s sidewalk cafes and people strolling with Bertilion ice cream in hand. Le Chardenoux was one of our favorite meals and easily the most beautiful bistro of the trip, which should come as no surprise as Cyril Lignac’s restaurants never disappoint. (His restaurant Aux Pres is one of our absolute favorites and a must if you haven’t been!)
DAY 4 EVENING
That evening we had a couple hours before a late flight to Marseille and wandered the Tuileries, stopped by Cafe Marly for a cocktail and a quick bite at DS Cafe (such a healthy menu and they have locations all over the city!) before catching our flight to Marseilles.
Chanel Slingback Flats (less expensive and almost identical version here)