Last month was my very first visit to Paris. Yes, my FIRST visit ever. This is a little strange to some, since I have travelled to a lot of places further from home and Paris is just a short trip from Amsterdam. With one of my favorite human beings on earth I discovered a lot of hidden gems in this romantic city. This is my Paris City Guide!
Paris is the city of electric scooters, beautiful balconies, little cosy wine bars, beautiful subway stations, finger licking good restaurants and unique shops. After doing my research: googling night after night like a well developed obsessive-compulsive, to find the most special spots in the city, we step on board of the Thalys!
Le Marais / Paris City Guide
The comfortable Thalys takes you from Amsterdam to Paris in just 3,5 hours! We find our seats in the Premium Class, where we enjoy complimentary drinks and a tasty meal! The internet is a bit faster too in the Premium class. One of the biggest benefits of travelling by train is being able to work with WIFI. The meals are much better than the ones you get on board of a flight. We try the lentils with goat cheese and a delicious, authentic, French sausage. They even serve my favorite Cawston Press Rhubarb drink. After dinner we have a good glass of red wine… ofcourse..;-) When you book the Premium Class you can wait in the Thalys Lounge at one of the stations! Click HERE for all the extras you get when you travel in Premium Class.
I love travelling by train because it is a lot better for the environment than flying. Also, when you fly, there is a lot of waiting involved because of the check-in, luggage etc. When you travel by train you simply jump on board, store your luggage and off you go. Click HERE for the best rates for the Thalys.
And now it is time for my TIPS!! There is soooo much to see and do…
Sleep / Paris City Guide
We stay at the perfectly located Maison Nabis by Happy Cultures. This stunning, small hotel, is located in Montmartre, one of my favorite areas in Paris. The hotel is close to a couple of subway stations that will get you anywhere in the city. The subway system here is really good en efficient. Our room is beautifully decorated! We even have a typical French balcony. I love the shower too. Click HERE for the best rates.
Our stunning hotel: Maison Nabis in Montmartre / Paris City Guide
In the morning we start the day at Maison Nabis with a perfect French croissant, granola and fruit. After a long day of exploring Paris, we open the door to our room and find a little card on the floor. It offers us 2 glasses of champagne on the house downstairs! Yaaassss! I LOVE this place. Happy Cultures has a couple of hotels in the city and when you book a room in one, you can use the services at the other hotels too. You can get an umbrella when it starts to rain or leave your bags in one of the hotels if you can’t handle the weight of your new buys anymore… Click HERE for more photos of cosy Maison Nabis.
Best restaurants / Paris City Guide
Balagan: This place is one of a kind. What a vibe! The kitchen likes to sing and dance and the fusion dishes with Moroccan, Israeli and French influences are absolutely delicious. Wow! When a chef with 3 Michelin Stars is having dinner next to you, you know you came to the right place. The playlist is one of the best I have ever heard at a restaurant and is a mix of Mmmbob by Hanson, The Backstreet Boys, Eastern music and a whole lot more. Having dinner at Balagan is an experience. An experience I would love to have again, when I go back! Balagan means ‘beautiful mess”. I think my name should have been Balagan Pijnappels… A full blogpost is coming up soon.
Dishes at restaurant Balagan | Paris City Guide / Photo credits: Randy Fokke
Caffè Stern: Top notch! This restaurant is run by the famous Alajmo family. They own restaurants with Michelin Stars in Italy. A full blogpost about this place will be up on the blog soon. I LOVED the Dill Tagliolini with Pistachio Sauce, shellfish and dentex (see photo below). Giovanni made us feel right at home.
Dishes at Caffè Stern / Paris City Guide/ Photo credits: Randy Fokke
Pink Mamma: WOW! They don’t take reservations here, but at 18:45 the doors swing open with a loud: “Buena Sera!!”. Try to find a seat on the top floor! This place is HEAVEN for truffle lovers like me. Try the Double Truffle Pizza or the truffle pasta and you will hear the angels sing. Trust me. Everything is beautiful here. The prices are excellent, just like the dangerously good cocktails. Loved it all. A full blogpost is coming up soon.
Pontochoux: cute little Japanese restaurant.
Photos above: Pink Mamma / Paris City Guide / Photo credits: Randy Fokke
Buvette: super fresh products and a local’s favorite. We had a lovely lunch here!
Ob la di
Oultma: tea house
Miznon: Israeli food
Coffee / Paris City Guide
Soul Kitchen: close to the Sacre Coeur.
Comets: a great spot for a Latte & Laptop session! They sell vinyl records here. Close to Père LaChaise.
Alma the Chimney Cake Factory: unique and popular cakes from Transylvania. Savory and sweet options!
First photo: Comets. Last photo: Astier de Vilatte / Paris City Guide
Drinks / Paris City Guide
Le Comptoir Général: ahamaaaaazing place! I mean: the bar is a ship…Ofcourse it is. The plants make you feel like you are in the heart of a jungle in Africa.
Pink Mamma: there is a ‘hidden’ speakeasy bar inside…
Gossima Ping Pong Bar: ping pong your heart out.
Kouto: cocktail bar
Candelaria: Mexican restaurant & cocktail bar
Monkey: wine bar
Lulu White Drinking Club: cocktail bar
Dirty Dick: cocktail bar
First photo: a handsome bartender at Pink Mamma / photo credits Randy Fokke. Last photo: Le Comptoir Général / photo credits Lionel Moreau / Paris City Guide
Shops / Paris City Guide
Nature and Discoveries: huge concept store where I wanted to buy EVERYTHING.
SUPER Shop: beautiful jewelry! Concept store in Montmartre.
La Pistacherie: delicious Japanese Mochi!
Astier de Vilatte: unique handmade tableware, with a matching price tag.
Merci: big concept store with (expensive) clothes and items for your home.
The Sacre Coeur and the view from the steps / Paris City Guide
To do / Paris City Guide
Père LaChaise: special and beautiful cemetery with graves of many famous and important people like Jim Morrison and Edith Piaf.
Le Marais on a sunday (or any other day of the week): beautiful quarter in Paris, with lots of shops and bars.
European House of Photography: we visited an impressive exhibition of French photographer JR.
Atelier des Lumières
The Louvre : plan a full day for a visit.
The Big Mosque of Paris: with a beautiful spa.
The Wall of Love
Climb the steps of the Sacre Coeur at sunrise or sunset.
The Notre Dame
Jardin du Luxembourg
Pont Alexandre IIIThe huge antique market in the North of Paris, with unique vintage shops.
The Eiffel Tower and Arc du Triomph
Don’t forget to buy some supplies at the pharmacy! I love Bioderma and Avène and bought Humex and Doliprane just in case I will get sick this winter and Donormyl, sleeping pills, for long flights. You cannot buy these in a pharmacy in Amsterdam without a prescription. Read the information leaflets before you try something.
First photo: Pont Alexandre III. Last photo: selfie at The Wall of Love.