Essential Paris Guide
T+L's insider guide to the City of Light
Chef Toutain’s ethereal treatment of unusual produce at Restaurant David Toutain ($$$$) has notes of Scandinavian-style naturalism, but his dishes are locally sourced. The seasonal menu may include steamed sea urchin with espresso foam or black truffle with raw hazelnuts and pea shoots.
If the justifiably famous Septime ($$$) is booked, Bertrand Grébaut’s casual Clamato (80 Rue de Charonne; 33-1/43-72-74-53; $$$) next door, with its focus on fresh seafood, is first come, first served. The crab fritters and maple syrup tart have become instant crowd-pleasers.
Chef James Henry’s flair on the grill at Bones ($$$) is the only hint at his Australian origins; his house-made charcuterie, baked bread, and cultured butter are from regional farms and producers.
With a willingness to dial up the spice, Le Servan (32 Rue St.-Maur; 33-1/55-28-51-82) specializes in updated bistro classics in a slick white-on-white dining room. The fried quail is lacquered in soy and honey, beef bouillon is served with a wonton—nods to Asian cooking that never feel like gimmicks.
A sous-chef and a sommelier from the upscale Sergent Recruteur have created a homier, but no less refined, version of the same locavore cuisine at the tiny neighborhood bistro Les Déserteurs (46 Rue Trousseau; 33-1/48-06-95-85; $$$). Portions are generous in dishes such as poached, line-caught grouper with peas and fava beans in a milky yuzu foam.
Video: Paris Bistros: Old and New
Where to Sample the Culinary Classics
Few restaurants will take the eight hours needed to cook this beef stew down to its richest extreme, but regulars at Joséphine Chez Dumonet, in Montparnasse, demand nothing less. 117 Rue du Cherche-Midi; 33-1/45-48-52-40. $$$
Antoine Westermann’s upscale Le Coq Rico, in Montmartre, offers the last word on spit-roasted bird, with special breeds from Landes, Challans, Gers, and Bresse. $$$$
Pâté de Campagne
This spiced liver loaf is a grandmotherly staple. Le Repaire de Cartouche raises it to an art form, offering five to six different choices—pork with apples and Calvados and duck with pistachio, to name just two. 8 Blvd. des Filles du Calvaire; 33-1/47-00-25-86. $$$
Celebrity butcher Hugo Desnoyer supplies Le Severo, in Montparnasse, with aged cuts, from côte de boeuf to faux-filet to pavé de rumsteak, which are served with either thick fries or green beans. 8 Rue des Plantes; 33-1/45-40-40-91. $$$
Twice-cooked in its own fat, duck leg is deceptively simple, but needs proper crisping or the dish is likely to disappoint. That’s the case at many bistros, but never at La Fontaine de Mars, in the Seventh Arrondissement. $$$
Restaurant Pricing Key
$ Less than $25
$$ $25 to $75
$$$ $75 to $150
$$$$ More than $150
The Best Flea Market Finds
Interior designer and personal shopper Riad Kneife has been steering clients through the Puces de Clignancourt since 2001. Here, his favorite addresses.
François Bachelier has amassed an unparalleled collection of antique copper pots and pans that would add character to any kitchen.
The store’s owner—who has held court at the market for more than 30 years—sells traditional 18th- and 19th-century objets décoratifs and furniture (note the nine-foot-long Empire mahogany table) and carved stone busts. Marché Cambo; 75 Rue de Rosiers; 33-6/11-66-88-10.
This travel-inspired boutique carries a selection of retro handbags and trunks by Hermès, Louis Vuitton, and Goyard. “Catherine Deneuve used to come in to swap her Birkins for older ones, because she didn’t like how shiny the new models looked,” says owner Alain Zisul.
From Napoleon III sofas and 19th-century murals to French limestone tile, Lila Kennouche has diversified beyond the crystal chandeliers for which her family first earned its reputation. Marché Paul-Bert, Allée 1, Stand 8; 96 Rue de Rosiers; 33-6/18-05-15-96.
Specializing in vintage clothing, Patricia Attwood has an impressive roster of clients around the globe. Look for silk dresses by Yves Saint Laurent, Dior, and more. Marché Serpette, Allée 2, Stand 7; 110 Rue de Rosiers; 33-6/23-15-20-71.
The carefully curated rare antique jewelry here includes such gems as a 1950’s Boucheron yellow-gold hummingbird pin with a ruby eye.
To book a tour, contact Riad Kneife at firstname.lastname@example.org or 33-6/09-56-74-25.
Video: How to Shop a Paris Flea Market
Three Boutiques We Love
With a well-edited mix of international clothing designers (Carven; Patrik Ervell; Raf Simons), the Broken Arm has become the anchor of the dynamic Upper Marais shopping area.
At the year-old Azzedine Alaïa, in the Eighth Arrondissement, the eponymous designer has debuted a three-story flagship showcasing his form-fitting silk and knit dresses, corset-belts, and more.
Ramdane Touhami has reinvented the 19th-century Buly perfume brand with the opening of Buly 1803, in St.-Germain. A highlight: hand lotions made from chamomile water.
Four patisseries from big-name chefs.
In the Ninth, the man behind Le Bon Marché’s Délicabar goes back to tradition, with classics such as the lemon tart: loose custard on top of a dense, cookie-like crust, equal parts sour and sweet.
Jean-François Piège has added a candy-box bakery to his growing Thoumieux empire. Among the standouts is the flaky kouignamann, a crisp butter cake native to Brittany.
The global rage for salted butter caramels can be traced back to one man, Le Roux, who first created the treats in Brittany. It took him a quarter-century to find his way to Paris, where he now whips up innovative versions, including pineapple-pink-peppercorn.
Patrice Chapon, a bean-to-bar master chocolate maker, also offers a single-origin “coco mousse” bar, with four airy choices available by the kilo. How about a fruity and bitter Equateur?
Video: #TLMoment: The Best Dessert in Paris
The Musée Picasso has yet to reopen in the Marais, but there are other lesser-known museums to explore across the city.
This contemporary museum has rotating exhibits that are a consistent surprise. Up now: a street graffiti installation, with artists such as New York–based Futura 2000. Don’t miss Monsieur Bleu restaurant, with views of the Eiffel Tower.
In the 16th Arrondissement, the Musée Guimet houses one of the world’s best collections of Asian art. A highlight: the Chinese pottery, from the Neolithic era to the 1700’s.
Dedicated to the history of Paris, the Musée Carnavalet, in the Third Arrondissement, has the bed where Marcel Proust wrote À la Recherché du Temps Perdu and re-creations of rooms from various periods.
When the scion of the Camondo banking family, Moïse, died, his home was given to the city. Among the building’s many treasures are Savonnerie carpets and Sèvres porcelain.
After a four-year renovation, the neo-Renaissance Palais Galliera reopened last year, to display its archive of roughly 100,000 pieces of French clothing and accessories dating as far back as the 18th century.
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Alexandra Marshall is Travel + Leisure's Paris correspondent.