We’ve all been spending a lot of time this week in front of the news. We’re obsessively trawling social media for updates on Paris, Beirut, Baghdad, Japan, and Mexico — not to mention Syria. It totally seems like the world has just gone absolute bonkers lately and I know so many people are feeling powerless.
I have exactly zero solutions for righting the world, but I’m compelled to at least throw what little solidarity I can out into the world and hope it sticks. And if I can help to tame someone’s anxious mind with a silly travel itinerary for even 15 seconds, I feel OK about that.
I spent several extended periods of my life in France, particularly in Paris. If there’s one thing I do know, it’s that the city will recover and continue to be the lovely, light-filled place that it has always been. Paris is a huge part of me, so along with sending all the healing thoughts I can muster, I want to spotlight it today.
So without further ado, here is my suggestion for a day in Paris — particularly in the 10th and 11th arrondissements, the areas the most affected.
Accommodations: I’m pretty into this little studio near Oberkampf and République (as of today, it’s $72/night). It’s just a short distance away from the Canal Saint-Martin, which if you recall, was where Amélie liked to skip stones. The host, Sophie, has excellent reviews and apparently leaves a bottle of wine for her guests — quel service!
Breakfast (around 9am): Ok, so we have two choices here, mostly because I feel sacrilegious going to a restaurant that basically serves American breakfast when I’m in the land of croissants and pain au chocolat. That said, I’ve picked Holybelly in the 10th arrondissement for its great reviews, and also because it serves a full breakfast on weekdays. Some days I really need my protein! (They do change the menu monthly, so it’s not always eggs and bacon, FYI.)
If I’m feeling more traditional, I’d pick up some croissants from Du pain et des idées and walk the five minutes to Ten Belles for a café crème. Then, I’d either sit in or go find a bench by the canal — either way, I’m settling in for some prime people-watching (the Parisian pastime).
A morning stroll (10am-ish): If it’s a nice day, the Promenade plantée is a nice walk and a good way to escape city hubbub. It’s converted train tracks, much like the High Line in New York City, only harder to find! Here is a tiny map that can help you track down a way up.
If you’re looking to do some shopping, rues Oberkampf and Bichat, and avénue de la République have lots of boutiques, especially vintage ones. Check out Pop Market for a quirky collection of gifts, or L’auto école for cute jewelry and accessories. Time Out also has a guide to shopping in the neighborhood.
Late lunch (2pm): For lunch, I’m hitting up La chambre aux oiseaux, a cozy, vintage-looking spot that’s ranked really well for brunch, but which also gets crazy crowded on weekends (reservations needed). Weekday lunch is supposedly calmer, and they serve several different sandwiches on crusty breads.
Walk it off! (3:30pm): There are a few options for an afternoon constitutional. Personally, I would choose to amble through the Père Lachaise cemetery (even though it’s in the 20th so it technically breaks with my 10th/11th theme by a few blocks — ack!). Here you can say hi to Jim Morrison (just follow the goth kids), Balzac, Oscar Wilde, Maria Callas, and many many more. Or, depending on which day of the week it is, you can take a turn through the Marché St-Quentin, one of Paris’s smaller markets, with lots to pick from in the way of local food and drink.
If you’re looking for more of an adventure, there’s an Edith Piaf museum that’s actually located in someone’s house?! So you have to call and make an appointment with the (French-speaking) resident. It’s full of memorabilia, so if you’re a die-hard fan who’s not afraid of a challenge, you should make the trip.
Dinner (7-8pm): I’m so torn here! I am obsessed with crêpes (sweet and savory! Let’s have a two-crêpe dinner!) and cider and delicious Breton food, so I definitely have my eye on West Country Girl.
However, Astier is old-school French all the way, and reportedly has the biggest cheese plate in town. THE BIGGEST CHEESE PLATE IN TOWN. Plus, Time Out says,” You just have to look at the regulars’ crimson faces to know you’re onto a good thing.” In the end, you’re just gonna have to follow your heart and choose your dinner that way.
Drinks (10:30pm-ish): For drinks, let’s finish up back at Oberkampf, particularly rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud. There are a ton of bars on the street, but in particular are L’Orange mécanique and Le Cri du glaçcon. L’Orange mécanique is a reference to A Clockwork Orange, so it’s dedicated to a 60s and 70s vibe. It’s one of Time Out’s top 100 Parisian bars and boasts cheap drink prices. Le Cri du glaçon, on the other hand, is a bit pricier, and focuses on cocktails. There’s a huge drink menu, and the bartender is supposed to be an expert mixologist.
Paris, nous vous aimons et nous vous saluons ! À très bientôt, je l’espère. 💜