Dream Destinations

12 ways to fall in love with Paris this summer

Savour a decadent gateau at the top of the Montmatre hill, explore a historic bookstore founded by George Whitman, and catch a caberet in lively Pigalle.
By Portia Chan
12 ways to fall in love with Paris this summer

Photo, Portia Chan.

Paris travel

Where to eat

Le Relais de la Butte 
Perched near the top of Montmartre, Le Relais de la Butte’s cobblestone terrace is the perfect spot to enjoy views of northern Paris over a leisurely lunch or dinner. The a la carte menu can be pricey, but the prix fixe is good value. A glass of champagne, a starter, main and dessert is €35. In the summer, gazpacho is a light and refreshing appetizer, though a head’s up: it’s not vegetarian — a garnish of smoked fish was surprising, but tasty. Creamy, rich risotto comes with perfectly grilled shrimp, while a classic crème brûlee is the perfect way to end a meal. 12 rue Ravignan Montmartre, 18th arrondissement.

We’re pretty sure all of Montmartre heads to this charming bakery cafe to buy their bread. There always seems to be a line (though it usually moves quickly) and it’s hard to find a seat at the tiny bistro tables outside. All this is for good reason: there’s probably no better baguette in the neighborhood, and the pastries are spectacular. Buttery croissants, tasty madeleines, tiny gateaux, it’s all worth sampling. Go early and you might be able to score a freshly-made Croque Monsieur, which tastes even better if eaten around the corner in Jehan Rictus Square in front of Le mur des je t’aime (the I Love You wall). 24 rue des Abbesses Montmartre, 18th arrondissement.

The Great Canadian
For homesick, or rather, Tim Horton’s-sick Canadians, this Latin Quarter pub is a must-visit. Opened by Canadian ex-pats Mark Berry and Daniel Henri in 2004, it’s part restaurant, part sports bar and all Canadian. Stop in for an afternoon pick-me-up of coffee and donuts, which arrive at the table piping hot. Or, go on a Monday evening for wing night. And definitely plan to be there if there’s a hockey game, especially if it’s a Stanley Cup game that airs at 1am local time. 25 quai Grands Augustins Latin Quarter, 6th arrondissement.

12 ways to fall in love with Paris this summerPhoto, Coquelicot.

Where to stay

Hotel du Petit Moulin
Designed by fashion icon Christian Lacroix, this 17-bedroom boutique hotel is colourful, modern and totally over the top in its approach to décor. Polka dot carpets line the corridors and each room is designed according to its own theme, be it Scandi minimalism, Moorish details or 60s mod. From the outside, you’d be forgiven for thinking the building still houses one of the city’s oldest boulangeries. The original façade, including century-old signage, has been painstakingly preserved, a hit of history among the neighborhood’s new occupants, art galleries and fashion boutiques. 29-31 rue de Poitou Marais, 3rd arrondissement.

Hotel du Lys 23
The key term here is Old World charm. Run by the same family for the past 60 years, this 22-room hotel doesn’t offer as many modern amenities as other Parisian hotels (like air conditioning or an elevator, though there is free WiFi!), but it more than makes up for it with the historical details. The already quite reasonable rates also include breakfast, and it’s within walking distance of many major sights, including Notre Dame and Sainte-Chapelle. rue Serpente Latin Quarter, 6th arrondissement.

Hotel Petit Mouline Paris superior roomPhoto, Hotel du Petit Moulin.

Things to do

Picnic at the Eiffel Tower
Sure, it’s not exactly off the beaten path, but can you really go to Paris without visiting the Eiffel Tower? We say no. Pick a grassy spot at Champ de Mars, a grassy field that sits between the tower and the military school, and have a Parisian-style lunch. All you need is some cheese, charcuterie, a baguette and a bottle of wine (bien sûr!).

Get lost in Shakespeare & Co.
Set on the banks of the Seine, this bookstore and lending library is a must-visit for bookish types. Opened by American ex-pat George Whitman in 1951, it was the meeting place for writers of the Beat movement, including Allan Ginsberg and William S. Burroughs. It’s named after the original Shakespeare & Co., which was a favourite of Hemingway and his contemporaries, but closed during the Nazi occupation of Paris.

Amaze at Basilique du Sacré-Cœur
It’s not the oldest religious building in the city (that’s St-Germain-des-Prés), or the biggest (Notre Dame, of course), but Sacré-Coeur is arguably the most beautiful. It’s strikingly white, unlike many of the city’s other churches, because the travertine stone it’s made of secretes calcite, which bleaches the stone every time it rains. Set at the top of Montmartre, it’s the highest point in Paris and offers spectacular views of the city.

Stroll along Rue St-Honoré
For window-shopping, nothing beats Rue St-Honoré. The shops on this narrow, somewhat nondescript street are as fancy as Champs Elysées but not nearly as crowded. We could easily stock our dream closets several times over: hello, Mulberry, Tom Ford, Hermes. Check out Colette , a super-cool concept shop that features couture on its top floor, streetstyle on the main floor, a water bar that serves upwards of 100 different brands of bottled water in the basement and art displayed throughout the space.
Shakespeare and company Paris storePhoto, Portia Chan.


Dance the night away at Le Tribar 
This restaurant, club and sometimes cabaret on the bustling rue de Lapp has everything you need for a fun night out with friends (though it’s not really suited for an intimate date). Skip the food and go for the fun, whether it’s a striptease or Chippendale show — unsurprisingly, this is a top spot for les EVJF, or bachelorette parties — or dancing at the basement level club, where the resident DJ spins everything from techno to rap to dancehall to funk. 20 rue Lappe Bastille, 20th arrondissement.

People watch in Pigalle
The home of the Moulin Rouge, this neighborhood is famous for its adults-only theatres, sex shops and all around scandalous nightlife. Parisians consider it quite tourist-y, but trust us: an evening spent walking down Place Pigalle, stopping at whatever bar catches your fancy for a glass of wine and some people watching is a guaranteed good time. Or, catch a concert at le Trianon, a recently restored theatre and one of Paris’ first music halls.

Enjoy live music at Au Rendez-Vous des Amis
Though it doesn’t look like much from the outside, with its white-washed walls and tiny bistro tables (chairs placed next to one another for easy people-watching, of course), this popular bar is widely praised for its authentic, laid-back atmosphere. The wine is cheap (some cost less than €3 a glass!) but very good, and you’re likely to find a mix of tourists and locals munching on charcuterie, enjoying live music and checking out the quirky art that adorns the walls. 23 rue Gabrielle Montmartre, 18th arrondissement.
Mouline Rouge Paris nightlifePhoto, Saroj Regmi/NEPMET


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