We’ve been here since Thursday and I hardly spoke my own language- said The French when we sat down to a dinner at Rivié, a restaurant at The Hoxton hotel in Paris. We were surrounded by an international crowd but that’s wasn’t what he was referring to. The energy in the city was palpable. Things were definitely happening- and it felt as if everything was possible.
According to Lindsey Tramuta, the author of “The New Paris” (wonderfully rich and thoughtful book) and a blog “Lost in Cheesland”, there has been a shift in a debate from “how can Paris protects itself from the effects of globalisation” to “ how can the city embrace its past whilst innovate and look into the future”. There’s a new wave of artists, chefs and entrepreneurs leading the way.
Where to stay: The Hoxton
It may be bloger central but The Hoxton is probably THE coolest hotel in Paris. I’ve been a fan of the Holborn branch (London) for a while so when an opportunity came up to spend a long weekend in the Paris branch, we jumped at the chance.
Virtually every corner of the hotel is instagrammable, from striking lobby to seriously stylish rooms decked out with vintage Roberts radios and retro telephones. My favourite piece of furniture was a red lacquered desk.
Secret Escapes has some great deals so its worth checking it out before you book your trip.
Where to eat in Paris
Well, what do you fancy? There is so much happening right nowin Paris, food wise. Young but well trained chefs, following a voice of passion, opened a host of bistros and brasseries where they offer inviting atmosphere, democratic prices and some serious quality cooking. Try Le 52 Faubourg Saint- Denis or Le Servan, inspired by the owner’s Filipino- French background.
Paris’ love for Japan resulted in sushi joints popping up all over the place. I also found my personal favourite, Korean food. I can sniff bibimbap from a mile off and on a recent trip we came across a small, unassuming Korean restaurant (called Bibimbap) located on an unfashionable stretch near Gare D’Austerlitz train station. Their signature dish was simply amazing an it later transpired that the place is recommended in this year Michelin Guide.
If you fancy a traditional French kitchen or are a fan of sea food, I recommend Le Suffren restaurant, where I return time and again for a classic French experience. Insta bonus point- the restaurant is literally just round the corner from the Eiffel Tower.
Where to: have a coffee
Shakespeare & Company it’s a Parisian institution. A magnet for the likes of Hemingway and Fitzgerald, it had shut its doors during Nazi occupation to reopen in 1951 when George Whitman took over the place. His daughter who is running the bookshop today, opened a coffee shop next door. After book shopping, you can relax with a cup of coffee and a view of Notre Dame cathedral.
Where to: Instagram in Paris
That will be difficult as Paris backdrop generally lends itself to some great photo opportunities, but there are insider secrets worth knowing.
Rue de l’université– not as crowded Champ de Mars by the Eiffel Tower, here you’ll find the perfect backdrop for your photos, with Eiffel Tower surrounded by elegant townhouses.
Pont Alexandre III– not only it’s beautiful in its own right, but you’ll also enjoy a an iconic view of the Eiffel Tower (yup, her again). If you come in the morning (no crowds) and have a semi decent camera, you can get really great photos.
Place Dauphine– a little piece of a very old Paris just a stone throw from Notre Dame. An elegant square hidden being Palace of Justice provides a “parisian” background to your photos and a respite from the crowds surrounding Notre Dame.
Do you have favourite places in Paris? Share them with me, I’d love to check them out next time I’m there!