The most 'Parisian' French verb is profiter, which stands for the action of benefiting and enjoying. That’s exactly what Paris provides at its best — whether it’s the vegan croque-monsieur, an Albert Marquet canvas, the architecture of Le Corbusier or the fresh air in Bois de Boulogne.
This is the city - Paris, France. It is just like any other big city - London, New York, Tokyo - except for two little things. In Paris, people eat better. And in Paris, people make love - well, perhaps not better, but certainly more often.
From "Love In The Air" (1952)
At a first glance, Paris strikes as a small city. Usually it takes 30 minutes to get from one side of it to another (if we don't take into account the days with the public transport strikes). However, the true Parisian lifestyle is all about going downstairs to sit in a cafe opposite your flat - not about crossing the river bank in search of a perfect cup of coffee. Although there is a stigma that Paris is all about drinking bottles of wine and making love, this city can provide a much broader range of healthy spots and inspiring places then it seems at first.
Today we provide you with a guide that would be particularly helpful to the people visiting the 4 districts I got to stay in most: Palais Bourbon (7th), Bourse (2nd), Marais (3rd and 4th) and Bastille (11th).
7th arrondissement: picnic at Les Invalides, a run around the Eiffel Tower and your neighbour Macron
Remember seeing the Eiffel Tower from the window like in 'Ratatouille' movie? Yeah, that's here. Local millenial have an inside joke that nothing happens in the 7th. That's probably the reason that the president Emmanuell Macron appreciates the district so much, let's be honest.
One of the locals’ favourite running route is around Champs de Mars and down to the Seine, where once the evening light settles down, it creates the perfect spot for having a picnic. If stone embankment is not your piece of cake, then make sure to head up to the grass of the Invalides Palace. Every weekend these streets are full of people walking their dogs or hedonistically playing ball sports like in an Edouard Manet painting.
One more walking route: pass the Esplanade des Invalides, visit Rodin’s Museum, buy a cold brew coffee at Cafe Coutume and drink it in Jardin Catherine Labouré. Inspired by nature in the heart of the city, you won't be able to pass by the gastronomic department of Bon Marché - Grande Épicerie de Paris, where you'll find tasty souvenirs from Paris, fresh fruits, cheese and extraordinary vegetarian sweets from all over the world.
2nd, 3rd and 4th arrondissements: green squares, vegan brasseries and best museum in the world
The liveliest street in the 2nd arrondissement is Rue Montorgueil: here you'll find loads of cafes and bars with terraces, overlooking the loved by many stores like COS and Other Stories. If you have no idea where to have lunch or dinner (this is what we're here for) go to Brasserie 2ème Art. This fully vegan brasserie provides you with a typical French meal on the terrace, which you can enjoy along with having a glass of wine. When your eye gets lost among the many appealing menu options, make sure to give the famous riz-au-lait (a rice porridge with pear and lemon) a try. In the same area you'll find a tiny bar called Jefrey’s, where they put the brand logo on each ice cube. Since Jefrey's is only open in the evening, go to Cloud Cakes for breakfast in order to enjoy their famous vegan croissants and cupcakes.
Now on to everybody's favourite: le Marais (3th and 4th arrondissements). It's senseless to try and be original here, so just make your way down to the Centre Pompidou. Firstly, take in and enjoy the biggest collection of modern art in Europe. Later, head up to the 5th floor where you'll find a great terrace - not one with a typical restaurant, but one filled with sculptures of Henri Laurent and the fountain. Centre Pompidou also has a library with a great variety of books about art, cinema, architecture, music and media. Entrance to the library is free from Rue Beaubourg.
If like us, you are a coffee appreciator and addict, head down to the Ob-La-Di, which was named after a Beatles song. The Loustic coffeeshop is also a must if you are in search of the perfect cup of filter coffee. Square du Temple is great to have a sit in with a salad or juice from the very instagrammable Wild & The Moon. At dinner time make sure to add Nanashi to your route plan, where the restaurant's chefs interpret Japanese cuisine in a very French way (udon with tofu and mushrooms is our winner).
11th arrondissement: Bastille, couscous in a mosque and a greenhouse in Jardin des Plantes
The metro station 'Bastille' is one of the most convenient ones in Paris, with access to many different lines as well as République station. It’s fast and allows easy access to Marais through the Boulevard Richard Lenoir, where you should grab breakfast at Cafe Mericourt (one of the few places in the city which provides all-day breakfast, 7 days a week), or through Boulevard Beaumarchais , where the little Merci concept-store is located. Later on, head down to the square at Place des Vosges for some quiet alone time.
More river bank walks for all! Head to the Avenue Ledru-Rollin, grab breakfast at Passager Cafe, where the pancakes (both sweet and savoury) are to die for, pass the bridge and you get to the great park Jardin des Plantes. There you can spend few hours with a book, and later on when you get hungry, go to Grande Mosquée de Paris. Order a couscous at the mosque's restaurant, but be careful: the portions are huge! Grab some mint tea with oriental sweets and take a table at the mosque’s court, if a full meal is not really what you're in the mood for on the day.
In Bastille, you can find restaurants from the famous chain Big Mamma Group with Italian food and best pizza in town: East Mamma and Ober Mamma. Other restaurants of the chain are the Pink Mamma, Popolare and the biggest restaurant in Europe: La Felicità.
The german philosopher Nietzsche wrote that 'an artist has no home in Europe if it's not Paris'. The city is not only an open-air museum, but also the capital of all the most important art-events (just take the annual Paris Photo exhibition in Grand Palais). Other inspirational spots are located in Monnaie de Paris, Grand Palais, and the Cartier and Louis Vuitton foundations. Don't forget to visit Museum of Modern Art of Paris (MNAM), located next to the Palais de Tokyo, where their collection of modern art is as great as it is in Centre Pompidou, the Philharmonie de Paris will also steal the heart of any music lover.
If you are looking for presents from the city of love, then the Saint-Germain district has the bookshops where you'll find rare artifacts in both, French or English. Note that the shop of the Taschen publishing house always has books on sale near the shop's entrance. The ArtAzart bookshop near Canal Saint-Martin will surprise you with their choice of art and design books.
For individual herbs mixes head to L’Herboristerie du Palais Royal. There, essentials oils and ingredients for DIY-beauty products in Aroma Zone will make your friends loyal customers of the store for ages, and all the vegan products including chocolate and superfoods can be found in Un Monde Vegan, Biocoop, Naturalia, Bio’c'Bon.
Every Paris district is different. Each one has its own life and its identity. Everyone will tell you that you are facing something half-absurd or half-fantastic, but Paris steals each heart in a special way. Whatever happens, however, make sure you always keep the quote from "Casablanca" in mind — we’ll always have Paris, won’t we?
Cafe Coutume | 47 Rue de Babylone
Brasserie 2ème Art | 49 Rue Montmartre
Jefrey’s | 14 Rue Saint-Sauveur | 10 - 18 €
Cloud Cakes | 6 Rue Mandar | 3,8 - 16 €
Ob-La-Di | 54 Rue de Saintonge | 2,5 - 10 €
Wild & The Moon | 55 Rue Charlot | 4,5-11 €
Nanashi | 57 Rue Charlot | 4 - 15 €
La Cantine Merci | 111 Boulevard Beaumarchais | 6 - 16 €
Cafe Mericourt | 22 Rue de la Folie Méricourt | 3,5 - 10,5 €
Passager Cafe | 107 Avenue Ledru-Rollin | 4 - 12,5 €
East Mamma | 133 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Antoine | 7 - 18 €