Paris is just as amazing as everyone says. After returning from a mini break in the city of Love, I can confidently make the claim that Paris is the most magical city in the world. Don't get me wrong, London is my new home and I have embraced it as the new city of my heart. But Paris oozes class and elegance. It is the hub of all that is fashion, art and food. There is no point in denying it. Paris is simply put, the one and only capital of cool. And the more I return, the more I play around with the idea that I might eventually move there to live. I'm consistently charmed by Paris. Overwhelmed by all of its quirks, weirdnesses and character flaws. And because Paris is so full of flaws, I love it. Because Paris is so full of flaws, and I accept myself as a flawed French American girl, I can't help but daydream about a future life within its beautiful city walls. This is why, after much thought and consideration, I have decided to put a list together that would summarize, in a typically London Zest Top 10 fashion, my favourite zesty activities and spots in the future city of my heart, Paris.
1. For an all around fantastic shopping experience: Le Bon Marche has everything to offer, from cosmetics and menswear, to high end designers and a fantastic selection of ladies pret a porter. Vanessa Bruno, APC, Maje, Sandro and Tsumori Chisato, the racks of this 19th century monument offer an exciting array of contemporary fashion.
Le Bon Marche, Rue de Sevres, 6eme Arrondissement
2. For some fancy food shopping: if you're a bourgeois lady heading to the shops to prepare for a dinner party in your Haussman style palace apartment, then you'll probably love to come to La Grande Epicerie inside Le Bon Marche, for your foie gras and epicerie items. It truly is Alibaba's cave when it comes to the delicacies a gourmet supermarket can offer.
La Grande Epicerie, Rue de Sevres, 6eme Arrondissement
3. For some uber-cool neighborhood boutique shopping: visit le Marais, 3e arrondissement. As usual it started all with the gays. It turns out, it is now the hippest shopping neighborhood in Paris. You'll find the upmarket labels like Isabel Marant (my fave!) and you'll also spot some reasonably priced quirky shoe boutiques like Mellow Yellow.
Isabel Marant, Rue Debelleyme, 3eme Arrondissement
4. For the best rose and people watching: La Palette is the epitome of Parisien bobo (bourgeois boheme) style, elegance and nostalgia, where The APC-clad youngsters and hipsters circle and dot this perfectly sectioned terrasse of the super hip 6eme arrondissement.
La Palette, Rue de Seine, 6eme Arrondissment
5. For a scrumpscious "burgers and hipsters" combo: also located in Le Marais 3eme arrondissement, Cafe Charlot houses the best burgers in town if you're feeling like being kooky in the homeland of Coq au Vin and Poulet Frites. Order it with a side of freaking good looking people, dressed to impress the crowds of this delightful little cafe.
Cafe Charlot, Rue de Bretagne, 3eme Arrondissment
6. For the best new hip restaurant to be and be seen: Le Derriere has "Cool New Hot Spot" written all over it. Industrially chic and fantastifally fashionable, this place loosely translated into "The Bottom (or behind)" is not only a fun people-watching venue but it also guarantees an ecclectic variety of fusion French dishes mixed with traditional fare. Un vrai delice is all I can say. Also, while you're there, don't forget to check outt he room behind the closet upstairs. Secrets are coveted in this mysterious little fumoir area.
Le Derriere, Rue des Gravilliers, 3eme Arrondissement
7. For some Paris by night: Le Curio Parlor is reminiscent of New York's Lower East Side Freeman's restaurant and bar. Taxidermy is not the only strange element you'll find in the curious parlour-type venue. Aside from stuffed foxes and pheasants hanging from the walls, you'll relish on some eccentric cocktails recipes and eye-poppingly gorgeous locals.
Curio Parlor, Rue des Bernardins, 5eme Arrondissment
8. For the best cheap eats: Situated smack in the middle of the Jewish quarter of Le Marais, L'As du Falafel has been a go-to favourite cheap-eats location of mine for years and I always recommend it to Paris visitors, looking for a bit of exotic food in their Parisien diet. This is by far the best falafel I've ever tasted. Try the Shwarma as well. While your breath will suffer for hours on end, the moment you bite into this little package of paradise, your mind will draw a blank as to where you even live.
L'As du Falafel, Rue des Rosiers, 3eme Arrondissement
9. For some tea and macaroons Parisien style: La Duree in Saint Germain des Pres, has been on my Top 10 list for a while. I'm a caramel macaroon fan and La Duree is the only answer to my sweet afternoon cravings.
La Duree, Rue Jacob, 6eme Arrondissement
10. For an afternoon nap in the sun: La Places des Vosges is in my mind, the most beautifully quaint slice of Parisien paradise. Lay yourself down with a novel in hand and doze off into a deep sleep under the warm Spring sun.
Place des Vosges, 3eme Arrondissement