Insider’s Guide to Paris

I’ve been traveling to Paris since I was seventeen. There’s just something about this city that keeps pulling me back. Perhaps it’s the food, architecture, art, shopping or history. Maybe it’s the grand boulevards and winding side streets that lead to hidden courtyards and tiny bistros.

Perhaps it’s the Parisians themselves, with that certain je ne sais quoi and incredible ability to enjoy life to the fullest. Or maybe it’s a combination of all of these things that make Paris one of the most complex, sophisticated, indulgent and chic cities in the world.

Through the years I’ve compiled quite a list of favorites – restaurants, shops and places I return to again and again. I hope you’ll enjoy this “mini-list”, and please feel free to share with friends who are planning to visit the City of Light.


L’Ami Louis
32, rue Vertbois, 3е
Considered one of the best classic bistros in Paris. Intimate and wood-paneled, they also have the best pommes frites!

Le Voltaire
27, Quai Voltaire, 7e
Beloved by the fashion crowd, this is a great spot for lunch.

Le Comptoir
9 Carrefour de L’Odeon, 6e
Another great lunch spot (also good for dinner but make sure you book in advance) with the best pot du chocolat!

Café de Flore
172 Blvd. St. Germain, 6e
A trip to Paris would not be complete without a café crème on the terrace. The perfect spot for left bank people-watching.

Relais L’Entrecote
20 rue St. Benoit, 6e
The yummiest steak frites in Paris!

51, rue Verneuil, 7e
A cozy, affordable and delicious locals-only spot.

Le Bistrot Paul Bert
18 Rue Paul Bert, 11e
Delicious, classic French bistro fare in a traditional, un-fussy setting. A foodie’s favorite, with an amazing wine list. Book in advance.

5, rue de Nil, 2e
Colorful market cooking – very tough to get a reservation at this popular spot. If you can’t get in, try the wine bar.

Café Marly

93 rue de Rivoli, 1e
One can forgive the tourists at this lovely lunch spot under the Louvre’s arcades that looks out over IM Pei’s pyramid. You’ll see more than a few locals, too.

Le Souffle

36, rue de Mont Thabor, 1e
The best soufflés in Paris!

32 Rue de Mont Thabor, 1e
Tiny spot around the corner from Hotel Costes and Colette. Known for having the best cheeseburger in Paris, but don’t miss the charcuterie plate and a glass of wine or two.

Coupe d’Or
330 Rue St. Honore, 1e
Across the street from the shopping mecca, Colette. Wonderful café crème and people-watching. Try to get a table outside if the weather’s nice.

226 rue de Rivoli, 1e
Beloved for their decadent hot chocolate, this is a fun spot for tea and cake.


16 Rue Royale, 8e
Amazing for tea and oh, the macaroons!


Le Bon Marche
24 rue de Sevres, 7e
Best department store shopping on the Left Bank – a one-stop-shop for fabulous finds.

Isabel Marant
16 rue Charonne, 11e
In every chic French woman’s address book.

82, rue de Grenelle, 7e
Beautiful and basic children’s clothes and friendly, helpful staff.

55 bis, rue des Saints Peres, 6e
Edgy and contemporary Paris fashion for les enfants.


34 Blvd. St. Germain, 5e
Deliciously-scented candles.

213 rue Saint-Honore, 1e
Iconic mecca of urban chic. Love the first floor for unique gift items.

267 rue Saint-Honore, 1e
This sophisticated Parisian label gives you runway looks for half the price.

22 rue de la Paix, 2e
The world’s most elegant and comfortable ballerina flat. Enough said.

233 rue St. Honore, 1e
Beautiful and uber-expensive leather goods with a cult following. Don’t miss their dapper pet paraphernalia satellite across the street.

Rick Owens

130 Galerie de Valois, 1e
LA ex-pat with a love of glamour-goth in the Palais Royal.

Didier Ludot
125 Galerie de Valois, 1e
High-end vintage in the Palais Royal.


Musee d’Orsay
5 Quai Anatole, 7e
My favorite museum in Paris, hands down. A converted train station that is now the home to one of the greatest collections of Impressionist/Post-Impressionist art in the world.

Musee Rodin
79 Rue de Varenne, 7e
The sculpture garden is a must!

Place Vendome
One of Paris’ most majestic squares is home to the haute jewelers of the world, as well as the Hotel Ritz (currently under construction until 2014). Built by Versailles architect Mansart, the octagonal square is an elegant example of harmonious, graceful 17th –century architecture.

Palais Royale
Place du Palais-Royal, 1e
Once the childhood home of Louis XIV, and later the scene of elaborate and lavish gatherings, today the arched courtyard and arcades bustle with shops and restaurants.

Notre Dame Cathedral
6 Parvis Notre-Dame – place Jean-Paul-II, 4e
One of the most famous and beautiful cathedrals in all of Europe.

Ile St. Louis
Walk the beautiful quaint streets and make sure you stop for ice cream at Berthillion (31, rue St-Louis-en-l’Ile, 4e). Rue St-Louis-en-l’Ile is also the main shopping street.

Jardin des Tuileries
The Tuileries are to Paris what Central Park is to New York City – don’t miss the chance to promenade and picnic.

Jardin due Luxembourg
No visit to the Left Bank is complete without a stroll through this sumptuous garden.

©2012 Liz Dennery Sanders


  1. Mlitzsinger says

    Wonderful information Liz!  Merci!

  2. Thank you Liz!! Wonderful shares! Always love your posts- no matter what the topic! xo

  3. Love this. Thanks, Liz!

  4. Liz Dennery Sanders says

    Thanks so much, ladies! So glad you enjoyed it. 🙂

  5. I’ve never been to Paris and its on my bucket list to accomplish in the next 3 years.  Your guide just made it question free.  Now I need a list of where to stay.  Thanks so much for sharing I can’t wait to go.

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