My Paris Favorites

June 8, 2017

Parisian favorites I wit & whimsyIf you’re a longtime reader, you know that Paris is my favorite place on earth. For those of you that may be newer readers, as background: I first visited Paris when I was a little girl and ever since then have tried to return as often as possible. I spent four months studying abroad there, spent two weeks in high school on a French immersion trip and most recently, I have been lucky enough to return the past four years in a row.

Therefore today I’m pleased to be sharing the first series of photos I shot while there last month as well as all my Parisian favorites. What I love to do and see, where I like to eat and drink…every little spot I love to spend my time while in the City of Lights.

I hope you enjoy this little guide and if you’re planning a trip, please don’t hesitate to reach out! I absolutely love talking about this magical city.

Jeweled Clutch I wit & whimsy

See & Do:

  • Coulée Verte René-Dumont: An elevated park that NYC’s Highline was modeled after. I LOVED it. Seeing the Parisian rooftops from higher up was pretty spectacular. Get a coffee at Passager after or a treat at Ble Sucre. Les Fleurs is a really cute store nearby as well.
  • Jardin de Luxembourg: Always worth a stroll through on every trip! This is one of my favorite parks in the city. I also love Parc Monceau.
  • Palais Royal: I adore it here! I shot these photos here before the city awoke and this place is just so special to me.
  • Bateaux Mouche: These boat rides along the Seine are very touristy but they remain a lovely way to see the city and get a bit of history while doing so. I like to time my rides before the sun goes down so that by the time your ride is finishing it is just in time to see the Eiffel Tower sparkle!

Meghan Donovan of wit & whimsy shares her Paris favorites

  • Rue Cler: Rue Cler is the most perfect street to buy everything you need for a picnic on the Champs Des Mars in front of La Tour Eiffel. They have a boulangerie, a flower store, a butcher, a frommagerie and a wine shop.
  • Musee D’Orsay: This museum housed in an old train station is not to be missed. That being said, the lines can be very long. If you want to skip the lines and you are planning to visit multiple museums on your trip, purchase The Paris Pass. You’ll bypass the long lines at the museums you visit and you get unlimited Metro rides! I loved having mine for two days on my most recent trip.
  • Musee Jacquemart-Andre: I adore this very small museum housed in a beautiful former home.
  • Printemps Home: Pop by this department store and go up to the terrace for a beautiful (+ free!) view of Paris. You can also get a glass of wine up here. Galeries Lafayette has a similar terrace and it’s worth visiting both for slightly varied views over the city.
  • Montmartre: Montmarte is such a unique neighborhood to explore. The winding, hilly streets are full of charm and Sacre Couer is a must-visit spot.
  • Galeries Gourmet: Galeries Lafayette’s grocery store is so fun to wander or pick up picnic supplies.
  • Musee Rodin: One of my favorite museums that got a makeover recently and is just a delight to visit. See so many of Rodin’s exquisite pieces of work throughout the home he once inhabited and then wander the gardens to see even more.
  • Ile Saint Louis: A delightful small island to walk around. Head over to Ile de la Cite after to marvel at the chestnut trees and Notre Dame.
  • Place Dauphine: One of my all time favorite spots in the city! In the spring this little, tucked away Place is full of pink blooms (see them here!) and is often a quiet little oasis. Stroll through early in the morning or on a late afternoon.
  • Le Marais: My favorite neighborhood in all of Paris is also one of the oldest. It has such history and is filled with beautiful homes, gardens (Place Vendome is not to be missed), museums and shops. I spend most of my time in Paris in this neighborhood.
  • Shops: I never miss the opportunity to pick up gifts at the concept shop Merci and always visit L’apartment Sezane for clothing and home goods. Other favorite shops include Kerzon candles, Maison Codage, Les Fleurs (11eme), Mona Market, Papier Tigre, Galeries Lafayette and others included here.
Parisian favorites I wit & whimsy

Eat & Drink:

  • Poilane: Poilane is Ina Garten’s favorite spot for bread and they make some of my favorite croissants. They have a few locations now but I personally love the one in the 7eme arrondisement. (It was outside this location I serendipitously met Ina.)
  • Septime: Septime is perfect for a special ocassion meal while in Paris as it is currently one of the top 50 restaurants in the world. Everything was exquisite in taste, texture and plating in the set menu. Such a special treat to dine here!
  • Season: Season is not very French feeling but I love this place for a healthier lunch option. The menu is brimming with beautiful quinoa salads and fresh pressed juices.
  • Les Cocottes: Nestled on one of my favorite streets in Paris, I have had two really good meals here where they serve many of their dishes in traditional ‘cocottes’ (small cast iron dishes.) I highly recommend the terrine if they have it on the menu.
  • HolyBelly: An Australian restaurant in the trending 10eme arrondisement, this spot is heaven for breakfast. The pancakes and eggs are incredible but as such, expect to wait in a line here. Visit 10 Belles nearby for a coffee to sip while in line.
  • Saturne: Another special ocassion meal, Saturne feels elegant yet cozy and the set menu is adventurous but not in an intimidating way. Highly recommend the wine pairing if you book here.
  • Ble Sucre: One of my favorite patisseries in the city.
  • Spring: By famed chef Daniel Rose, this place is incredibly special. With only about 11 tables you must make a reservation and be prepared for a set menu. It was one of the most memorable meals of my life.

Parisian favorites I wit & whimsy

  • Glou: This little cafe is one of my favorites for lunch while in the Marais. It is across from the Picasso museum so it’s great to dine at right before or after you visit the museum.
  • Du Pain et Des Idees: This famed bakery is only open Monday through Friday but is a must on your trip. The pastries are unbelievable. It is a famed place for good reason.
  • Cafe Charlot: Cafe Charlot is on another of my favorite streets in Paris and nestled in the Marais so it’s perfect for a mid-day meal when your feet need a little rest. I love the goat cheese salad here – it is unreal. The steak is also good and it should satisfy your request for a traditional brasserie. They will be rude to you because you’re American ha!
  • Chez Janou: Another great lunch spot in the Marais tucked down a little alleyway and with plenty of outdoor dining. The chocolate mousse is NOT to be missed! (They bring you your very own bowl to have as much as you’d like!) The menu is expansive and the service delightful.
  • Prescription Cocktail Bar: You can tell them at the bar what you like / dislike and they’ll make something incredible for you.
  • Experimental Cocktail Club: Similar to the above, be prepared to delight in custom craft cocktails.

Meghan Donovan of wit & whimsy shares her Paris favorites

  • Les Chouettes: This spot feels straight out of the Great Gatsby and is great for a late night cocktail.
  • Ob La Di: Coffee: I adore this spot for its great coffee, beautifully tiled floors and lite bites.
  • Fondation Cafe: Great spot for a quick coffee and pastry.
  • Ober Mamma: This is part of a restaurant group who has spots all over Paris and wow, it was some of the best pizza I have ever had! I could barely decide what to order for lunch but ended up with a spicy asparagus pizza (sounds strange, tastes out of this world) and pasta with burrata and both were incredible. I was begging for my stomach to make more room because I loved it so much.
  • Cafe Kitsune: I love getting a coffee here at the Palais Royale location and wandering the gardens in the morning before the city is fully awake. Note it opens on the later side at 10am.
  • Boot Cafe: The original location in the Maris is my favorite but they did recently open in Saint Germaine. Pop by for a coffee before spending the day in the Marais.
  • Telescope Cafe: Situated nearby a lot of good spots you’ll want to visit, I love the space Telescope is housed in. Airy, bright and home to delicious coffee.
  • Mary Celeste: This restaurant feels very New York in vibe but I love all the windows and the bar with plenty of seats.
  • Servan: This menu was so cool! It changes often and a lot of the dishes feature spice so, naturally, I loved everything. The dishes are small so it’s great to go with 1 or 2 other people so you can order a few things to share.

Meghan Donovan's Parisian favorites

 Stay:

  • Hotel Therese: My home away from home while I am in Paris I can’t say enough good things about this hotel. It is centrally located but on this charming and quiet street, the staff is absolutely lovely, the breakfast delicious and the rooms incredibly cozy and chic. They ensure every detail is taken care of and I truly love waking up here while in Paris. See more here.
  • Hotel Adele et Jules: Just a short drive away from their sister property Hotel Therese and located in the 9eme, Hotel Adele & Jules is tucked away on a little alley and offers wonderful service and rooms with beautiful details like pink headboards (!) and beautifully tiled tubs. (I took a bath every night while staying there #heaven!) You are around the corner from L’apartement Sezane and a short walk from all the shopping your heart could desire at Printemps and Galeries Lafayette.

Meghan Donovan of wit & whimsy shares her Paris favorites

I am already counting down to when I can next return to my favorite city! My list is never-ending of spots I want to check out <3.

Shop the Post:

Kate Spade New York Dress // Chanel Shoes (similar all nude pair here) // Kate Spade New York Clutch

p.s. the most Instagram worthy spots in Paris and what Paris means to me.

[Hana Lê Van Photography]