First of all, let me preface with the fact that a) I’m half French and b) I lived in Paris for a time, so I can confidently say that I got all the touristy stuff out of the way as a small baguette-gnawing child and can now dedicate my time to more important things, like wine. My most recent visits to the City of Lights (just kidding, nobody actually calls it that) have consisted of lounging in pretty hotels (always a staycationer), traipsing to the Champagne and Cognac regions for mini-jaunts, and taking Instagram photos on cute side streets until it’s time to eat steak frites again – so if you’re looking for Eiffel Tower or Louvre intel, this is not the guide for you. But if you like being chic and non-basic, then allons-y.
This business class-only airline flies exclusively to NYC–>Paris and vice versa and takes transcontinental travel to new heights with perks like access to private airport lounges, in-flight gastronomic fare from Chef Christophe Langrée, spacious AF shell seats, in-flight entertainment via personal tablets, and more. So in short, La Compagnie is the answer to all your bougie hopes and dreams.
At this point, if you don’t have a smart suitcase then what are you really doing with your life? I bring my Raden carry-on with me pretty much everywhere (it charges your phone and is particularly roll-y, so great for sprinting through the airport when you’re about to miss your flight). Away suitcases are pretty great and equally functional too, so we’ll chalk it up to a matter of design preference, but you’ll be good to go with either one.
The Perfect Backpack
My personal item is my other pride and joy — I’ve been OBSESSED with my pretty little backpack from Bartaile. It’s an actually cute laptop bag, people. Let that sink in for a moment. Also, I can fit all my other random shit in there too, like in-flight cocktail supplies (it’s the perfect height for a full-length bar spoon) and a good amount of snacks, plus the occasional book if I’m feeling literary. Get one for 15% off using code TTSLOVE (good through May 28, 2017).
This little slice of heaven is straight out of a Wes Anderson-meets-low-key-aristocracy right in the heart of the 10th Arrondissement. I spent my time here drinking my way through the wine list on the terrasse and then privately drinking more wine shame-free on my balcon. Book through Mr. and Mrs. Smith for extra perks.
Hôtel Duo is smack in the middle of the Marais, which is basically the SoHo of Paris, if that helps put things into perspective. My room was a gorgeous split-level situation and it felt like a full-on apartment, so if you’re looking for comfort, this is it. Book through Tablet Plus for extra perks.
Hôtel Les Dames du Pantheon
Located right next to the gorgeous Panthéon (and within walking distance of cute neighborhoods like Saint-Germain-des-Prés), Hôtel Les Dames du Pantheon is the perfect quiet Parisian hideaway, and the rooms are quaint AF. The breakfast is pretty awesome, too.
This little spot (and former apothecary) is a total hidden gem. La Pharmacie is tucked away on a tiny side street next to Place de la République and can be easily identified by its bright turquoise exterior – they’ve got a pretty small menu but everything that comes out of the open kitchen is excellent. And the wine list will have you yasssing all over the place. Or maybe that’s just me.
Le Relais de l’Entrecôte
Le Relais de l’Entrecôte is a Parisian classic. And you’d better like steak frites, because that’s all they serve.
Their website literally says “Be carefull [sic], donnot [sic] steal the menu…Big Brother is watching you!” so between the name and the general weird vibes it’s bound to tickle your fancy.
Restaurant Grand Amour
This place is straight up darling. Located in the lobby of its eponymous hotel, Grand Amour is the stuff of bohemian dreams (thanks to graffiti artist/hotelier/restaurateur/designer André Saraiva). Great cocktails and food.
Jamie Oliver protégé Gregory Marchand is the brains behind this triple-threat fine dining destination on itty bitty Rue du Nil – here, you’ll find his restaurant, wine bar, and fast-casual concept at your fingertips, so pick your poison.
Daroco is a sexy modern brasserie with a hidden cocktail bar in the back from equally sexy Frenchman Nico de Soto (the same guy behind Mace in NYC). Nico, if you’re reading this, call me!
Les Enfants Perdus
Les Enfants Perdus is the perfect place to take your French Tinder date. It’s cute, romantic, and moody – order the honey-glazed volaille (chicken).
I personally can’t get enough of this 100-year-old legend. Sure, you might have to wait on line just to get a table, but it’s totally worth it (even just to see them write your order on the tablecloth). Chartier is about as authentically Parisian as it ‘guettes. See what I did there?
Bistrot Les Sans Culottes
This little spot is pretty random – I found it one day while I was walking around during a backpacking trip (I later named a company after it because it made me laugh). It’s an ode to the working class partisans of the French Revolution in the late 18th century and literally means “without pants.” Anyway, stop here for a café crème if ever you’re in the Bastille area.
Yep, it’s the sexy cocktail bar inside the sexy restaurant helmed by the sexy Mace guy (see above).
My friend Sébastien owns this place. Tell him I said hello and ask him to show you pics of his baby porcupine Henri! Then drink something – they’ve got an amazing cocktail list.
Harry’s New York Bar
Harry’s is an absolute classic dating back to 1911, and it entertained the likes of Hemingway and Chanel, so it’s rather charming. Order something old-school, like a White Lady (gin, lemon, triple sec).
This dark, hip restaurant and bar boasts a sprawling terrasse and some serious mood lighting. Le Hibou is one of my favorites in the Odéon area – don’t miss out on the craft cocktails and Moroccan-style fresh mint tea.
Prescription Cocktail Club
Prescription Cocktail Club in the Monnaie district is literally too cool to even have a website! It’s from the same people that did Experimental Cocktail Club, if that means anything to you. Anyway, they’ve got awesome cocktails and gorgeous wallpaper, but it’s dark in there so don’t be one of those people with the flash.
As I mentioned, no non-basic trip to Paris is complete without a visit to the Champagne region. Hop on a train (40 minutes to an hour) or bus (two hours) to Reims and visit the awe-inspiring houses of Taittinger, Piper-Heidsieck, or Veuve Clicquot; make sure to have lunch at Les Crayères.
Château de Versailles
Channel your inner Marie Antoinette by visiting her ridiculous residence in the city of Versailles, even if you just take chic photos or dine at Alain Ducasse’s restaurant, ore. Sure, the Château is admittedly SLIGHTLY touristy, but do it for the ‘gram. And last time I checked, sipping Bordeaux under the roof of a Michelin-starred chef whilst gazing out onto palatial gardens wasn’t all that basic.
Written by Staycationer-in-Chief Céline Bossart
Featured image via M-Cube Architectures