On Some of the Best in Paris.
On Mondays class ends at 12:15 for me, and I don't start again until 2:30 on Tuesday. I took this gap of time as a sign that I should explore Paris on Monday afternoons and evenings. I find that in a city, one's default places are part of what makes them feel settled and at home. In this time I set aside each Monday afternoon/night, I have been able to discover some of my favorite places in Paris- the ones that I have turned into my regular places, the ones that I will be likely to miss.
-Number one: That no-name tiny café where things are cheap, everyone is local, and the crowd is nice. I live almost on top of to the Canal Saint-Martin in the 10tharrondissement ie. If I were to lean out my window and shout really loudly, I could have a conversation with people on the other side. And that's about where you would find my favorite café…I honestly don't know the name, but it has a bar on the right, 8 dark-washed wooden tables with a slight gold design on each, a glass door, a spiral staircase leading to nowhere, two plush velvet red chairs, and in between them--a little out of place--a screen with fake fire. They also bring you your coffee on a little tray with designs. I like it because it is dim, but not too dim for reading and lit by candlelight at all hours of the day wit simple, white candles on each table. You can get coffee here until they close (usually around 1AM each day), and they don't hassle you to move if you're doing work.
Finding it: Find Chez Prune
(another good/semi-famous brunch spot). Cross the Bridge across the canal next to that famous brunch establishment. Turn left once you hit the other side…It will be your first café on the right, the sign is yellow.
-Number Two (and 3): I really enjoy mixology. If you can make a truly good cocktail, I will have mountains of respect for you--for, as I have found by cocktail hunting in NY and in Paris, making a good drink is no easy task. The Bar Le FORVM
(The Forum) is right next to "Place Madeleine." I'd heard about their drink quality through their rave reviews and went for the first time solo on a Monday evening and ordered a "Red Light District." Normally, I'm not a fan of fruity drinks-but this one was done well, and incorporated cinnamon. Being alone, I struck up a conversation with the barmen asking for their recommendations of places to go, drinks to try, etc. They were extremely nice, gave me a list of places, and I have been back many times since--even becoming friends with a few of them, which lead to having a little unorthodox thanksgiving celebration after the closing of the bar that night, complete with a Turkey, side dishes, great wine, and this caramel whiskey. You couldn't ask for nicer bartenders, or better drinks.
-(3) One of the bars on the list of recommendations was 'le 29'
. It's one of those places where you wouldn't know it was a bar unless you knew it was a bar. Really close to Trocadéro (on a street that is completely dead at night), this retired gentlemen's club most recently turned bar is one of my favorite places to get a good drink in Paris. The owner and only bartender, Geoff, speaks a ton of languages, smiles a lot, and will make you whatever you please (in the bespoke cocktail fashion), so long as he has the fresh herbs/fruit he needs to do so (his supply changes daily). This bar, which you have to ring a bell to get into, opened in early October--and often hosts afterparties for bartending events in Paris. Its red velvet interior makes it inviting, and the quality of the drinks make you want to stay.
-Number Four: A Brunch Place: Definitely Sésame
on the Canal Saint Martin. The service is great (a shocker for Paris), the cups of tea are enormous, the fruit smoothies are fresh, there are bagels, and everything on the menu is mostly healthy and very delicious. It's a light-lit space with pastel colors, and appears at though it could very well be part of New York. You get to look out over the Canal Saint-Martin while you dine, and even if there is a wait on the weekend (which there most likely will be), the food will be worth the wait. fé where things are cheap, everyone is local, and the crowd is nice. I live almost right next to the Canal Saint-Martin
(The Rest): Other amazing thing I don't frequent but love: 1) Place de la Concorde
- monument-wise, I think it's gorgeous...you can see la Madeleine, the Tuileries Gardens, the Obelisk Napoleon I 'received as a gift' from Egypt, the Grand Palais, and the eiffel tower. 2 ) Sacré Coeur at sunse
t. You can see all of Paris, and boy is it amazing. If you're at the top, facing all of paris, walk to the right, then follow a fence around to the left a little- the view you get of the eiffel tower will be breathtaking. 3) The Canal Saint-Martin
. 4) For Partying- métro stop Grands Boulevards
...lots of pubs that turn into discothèques at night (and charge no cover). 5) Take a bus around paris...You get to see so much. 6) if it's warm enough, eat/drink/be merry/chat/do anything by the Seine
. 7) The Library at the Centre Pompidou
. It will feel like a really big version of Bobst, as there will be rows and rows of French students at tables kind of doing work (like in the stacks) with large windows all around looking out onto the immediate surroundings of the Museum.
(place images mine, via