So I’ve been back from Paris for a week now and I still can’t stop thinking about the dreamy three days I spent there with my friend Maisie. This was probably the least ‘touristy’ holiday I’ve ever had and I felt like I experienced local life as much as was possible in three days. We spent most of our time eating, shopping and going to different exhibitions and found so many gems, so I thought I’d share what we got up to here, ranking the things we did categorically! I’m not going to talk about where we stayed because, honestly, that was probably the worst part of the trip. We stayed in an apartment just outside of Montmartre, the location was fine but not as central to Montmartre as we would have liked, that had no real bed (we slept in a mattress on the floor) and a fridge that either made a loud buzzing noise or leaked. Our accommodation by no means ruined our experience though as we spent barely any time there. So anyway onto the recommendations! Oh and just a heads up, I’m vegan so all the places we ate at are either vegan or vegan friendly.
1.Shakespeare & Co
This shopping recommendation is the only one that isn’t fashion-based but it has to be my number one because I loved everything about this bookshop. It’s been a dream of mine to go here for some time as an avid book-lover and it did not disappoint. The location right next to the Seine is dreamy, with second-hand books for sale outside and the interiors are even better- they even have a resident cat! They stamp any books you buy with a ‘Shakespeare & Co’ stamp which was such a nice touch and they also had really beautiful copies of all the books you could conjure up. If you’re a reader, or even if you’re not, you have to go here.
I found Killiwatch on the premise that it was a vintage clothing store but it’s even better. Not only does it have an amazing, curated selection of vintage clothing but it also stocks clothing by independent Parisian designers. When I visited there was construction work going on inside the store which, I must admit, tarnished the experience a little bit. But not so much as it’s still sat at number 2 on my list purely because the amount and the quality of the clothing in there. I ended up picking a vintage scarf that I’m using as a hair scarf and a jacket by an independent brand, Tinsels, that is 100% linen & cotton- what a dream. If you follow me on Instagram you’ve probably already seen them but if not I’ve posted a photo of them here.
3. The Frankie Shop
Number three on my list was a close competitor with Killiwatch but I’ve decided to rank it lower because of the price points of The Frankie Shop, which I couldn’t really afford. The Frankie Shop stocks designer clothes plus some of it’s own-brand clothing and 100% of the pieces in there are beautiful. The prices are reasonable (eg. around the €130 mark for a good quality jumper) but were out of my price range on this trip. However I did end up picking up a perfume which has such a unique smell to it for only €35 which was a bit of a bargain. If you have money to spend on good quality, beautifully designed clothes then definitely head to the Frankie Shop but, if not, it’s still worth visiting as it’s a beautiful store.
Merci really does have it all. I would probably design it as a concept store but it has everything from furniture, to clothing to a half cafe/half vintage bookstore. I didn’t buy anything here but it was a lot of fun to walk around and we did sit outside to have one of their homemade lemonades as well.
Sezane is a French brand that sells clothes for the Parisian woman and everyone who aspires to be like her. The clothing is beautiful, classic and it’s all made sustainably. The Sézane Apartment in Paris is seriously beautifully designed and, with citrus infused water available as you walk in, it’s definitely an enjoyable and relaxed shopping experience. I didn’t buy anything, not because of lack of want but lack of money, but, as they’ve opened their first UK store in London, I definitely hope to in the future. The only think I didn’t enjoy about this shopping experience is the fact that I did think the staff there were a little bit contemptuous, but maybe this was just a bad experience on my behalf.
6. Mona Market
Finally for my shopping recommendations is Mona Market. This is in the same area as The Frankie Shop and Merci and we actually just stumbled across it. It’s a concept store stocking furniture and trinkets that are basically what my interior dreams are made of. It was wicker heaven and I’d honestly trust the visual merchandisers of this store to design my perfect home with no guidance.
This is known as Paris’ first digital art museum and it is an incredible experience. Artwork from various different artists, modern and classical, is projected all over the ceilings, walls and floors of a warehouse-like room. It’s a completely immersive experience and something that I’d 100% recommend doing if you’re in Pairs.
2. ‘Les Magasins Des Petits Exploratuers’ Exhibition at the Quai Branly Museum
This exhibition is all about the post-colonial idea of ‘the other’ and after studying this in depth during my first year of university I found it so interesting. It looked at literature, film and other ways in which the Western world has presented the Eastern world as ‘other’, especially for children, and the effect this has had. Whether you’ve heard of this concept before or not it’s a really educational and interesting exhibition. Plus the exteriors of the Quai Branly are incredible as they have planted an immense amount of greenery all around the museum.
3. The Louvre
A visit to the Louvre was probably the most ‘tourist-y’ thing we did and the best thing about it for me was the architecture of the Louvre itself, as I’m not a big fan of classical art. I’m glad I went but the tickets were pricey so unless you’re particularly interested in classical art or you’d like to see what the pyramids look like from the inside, I wouldn’t insist that you go to the Louvre.
I’d heard amazing things about this little vegan cafe and was highly anticipating eating there and it did not disappoint one bit. Everything from the aesthetic to the food was incredible! It had a typical French cafe feel and we sat outside in the sunshine to eat. I went for the Nutella waffles with a vanilla milkshake which completely satisfied my sweet tooth and Maisie had the pizza, which I also had a slice of and I can quite confidently say that it was the nicest vegan pizza/cheese I’ve tried. It’s also super close to lots of the shops I talk about (Killiwatch, Sezane and more) so it’s the perfect place to eat lunch in between shops.
2. Le Pain Quotidien
I’m told that this is a chain that has branches in London too but this little bakery/cafe felt so very Parisian. Plus they have great vegan options! They have branches all over Paris but we stumbled across the one in Montmartre for some afternoon fuel in the form of cake. I had their vegan blueberry muffin which was delicious.
3. Hank Burger
This vegan burger place is really relaxed, kind of like a nicer version of a fast food place and fairly affordable. The vegan burger I had was really good and they even had vegan mayo on tap (I’m not a big mayonnaise fan but if you are this is probably a good place for you). They also have a bakery and I sampled one of their cookies which was also delicious.
4. Cook n’ Saj
This little cafe serves middle eastern food, has great interiors and very friendly staff. Maisie and I both had falafel wraps which were really nice and filling. It was really chilled out in the cafe itself and this is a great place to go if you’re looking for a guaranteed good meal in the middle or at the end of a busy day.
I really hope you’ve enjoyed this post and have found some useful recommendations. I created my own Google Map for our trip with all the places we visited and some others that we didn’t quite make it to, which also might come in handy for you if you’re visiting Paris too. You can take a look at it here. Let me know in the comments if you’ve been to Paris before and if you have any other recommendations, as I’m looking for any excuse to go back, or let me know, if you do end up going to any of these places, what you think of them!