If there is one place that every romantic soul on Earth is dying to visit, it's Paris without a doubt. Whenever I'm in need of a little taste of what the magical Paris feels like I just hop over to Haleigh's blog Making Magique. This girl is a seriously francophile American living in Paris for the past three years. She works in advertising but prefers to imagine she lives in a Tim Walker photograph. Her blog is beautiful, inspirational and a must read for all you Paris lovers out there. She was sweet enough to share her favorite Parisienne spots with us. I'll definitely print this out for the next time I'm visiting! (probably soon) ;)
Whether awaiting her first trip to Paris or returning time and time again to rekindle the romance of The City of Lights, the dreamer let’s her mind wander in the most picturesque of expectations and outings for her upcoming stay. She’ll sample pastel macarons at the best patisseries, stumble upon secret gardens on tiny cobble stone streets, drink champagne over a sunset on the Seine, and browse boutiques in her most adorable outfits in search of the perfect Parisian souvenir.
Yet before these dreams become reality out comes Frommers, Fodors, and other generic sounding informational overloads. This is not our Paris dream! Our inner gypsy knows better than to waste her precious Paris moments with our noses stuck in a tourist encyclopedia outside the Louvre. We turn to our more trusted sources, the dreamers and the seasoned explorers like us.
To each her own perfect Paris, but with the heart of an eternal tourist and the insight of a local I might dare to say the best way for the dreamer to experience Paris is a balance of French tradition, “Parisian” insider suggestions, and self discovery. Below is a quick introduction to my favorite spots I have discovered through friends or chance passing by, where I am now proud to call myself a regular, and am happy to share with kindred and curious gypsies hearts like my own.
Le Bon Bon Au Palais : 19 Rue Monge 5eme
Recently on a Saturday stroll I discovered this adorable candy shop. The tables and walls are lined with giant glass terrines filled with the most colorful candies. These aren’t your average candies though, they are like none you have ever seen before. Between candied flowers and fleur d’oranger marshmallows you can still find all your usual favorites though. This little shop will bring out the childish spirit in everyone, and I believe that was the owner Georges’ intention when he created this fun space. Visit their website for a cute little film about the store.
Le Derriere : 69 Rue des Gravilliers 3eme
A charming and whimsical restaurant for the light at heart and serious about food. Feels a bit like John Malkovich invited you over to his house for dinner. Play ping pong between courses or head upstairs to the fumoir (smoking room) that has a secret entrance disguised by a mirrored wardrobe you’ll have to step through to travel there. You can even dine sitting in bed. Reservations recommended. 69 Rue des Gravilliers 3eme
Cupcakes Chloé S. : 14 Rue Jean Baptiste Pigalle 9eme
Chloé is quickly becoming the new cupcake queen of Paris! Her adorable little shop in a small street beneath Montmarte is decorated head to toe in delicious bubble gum pink! Select from her very creative flavors of cupcakes while she whips you up a coffee, hot chocolate or tea go wash it down. She also specializes in other American desserts like whoopies and stocks cute cupcake accessories. Several times a month she offers cupcake making classes where you can learn her trade in the store’s pink kitchen complete with a pink fridge, pink mixers, and pink aprons. You can book these classes in advance on her website. Seriously adorable!
Fifi Chachnil : 231 Rue Saint-Honoré 1ere
The French are known the world over for their fine lingerie. Fifi Chachnil certainly lives up to all those expectations, and wildly exceeds them. Tucked away from peeakaboo window shoppers in a quiet courtyard of this chic shopping street, stumbling into the boutique’s sea of pastels, frills and satin is every girly girl’s dream. Fifi is not to be missed.
Manoush : 75 Rue Vieille du Temple 4eme – 16 Avenue Montaigne 8eme
The first time I came to Paris I established an instant love affair with Manoush. In fact, each time I bring home something new my boyfriend automatically assumes it’s from Manoush. Manoush means gypsy in French, and the creator of the label lives in Morroco. She mixes the inspiration of her surroundings with her feminine French origins to come up with her adorable collections. While there are many locations in Paris, my local Marais Manoush is my favorite followed by their location on the ultra upscale Avenue Montaigne. J’adore!
Fripstar : 61 Rue de la Verrerie 4eme
In Paris the frip is oh so fun ! Dig for affordable treasures in piles upon piles and racks and racks of threads from décades past. Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty. There is something for everyone waiting to be discovered. I have found some of my most cherished wardrobe items hidden in the this fashion rubble.
La Perle : 78 Rue Vieille du Temple 3eme
Very typical French bar. The hip and stylish congregate here to share a drink weekdays and weekends alike. It closes early (1am) even on the weekends so my friends and I pre-party at La Perle before heading elsewhere. Sadly, lately it is known as the in famous location of John Galliano’s racist slip-up, but before it was just my favorite neighborhood bar.
Le Carmen : 22 Rue Douai 9eme
Once a beautiful hotel particulier, this was recently turned into a bar serving up cocktails to Paris’ coolest crowd. With it’s original splendor virtually untouched you’ll feel like an indie rock princess sipping piscines on Louis XVI furniture below ornate wedding cake ceilings and historical murals. This pretty place has just the right amount of edge however with skulls and owls popping up here an there. You can even take a drink in human size birdcage at the entrance.
Le Magnifique : 25 Rue de Richelieu 1ere
Never have I been to Le Magnifique and not stayed several hours longer than I should have, admittedly the sun is usually up when I leave the place. I have also spilled my fair share of cocktails on their fur rugs in the mirrored Salon Main Delon. However I wouldn’t be the only one guilty of such good times au Magnifique. They even have the “California” table but if you want to sit there bring your credit card if you know what I mean. The playlist is the perfect mix of oldies and newies. Order some “piscines” from the bar…champagne, vodka, strawberries, and fabulousness! Dress to impress and ring the door bell when you arrive.
Les Buttes Chaumont
My favorite park in Paris to spend a sunny afternoon with friends. Sprawl out on it’s grass covered hills with a blanket and books. I usually love to bring my oil pastels as the panormic view of Paris from here tends to inspire me. Once the sun begins to set you can stop by the park’s café, Rosa Bonheur, and visit my friends bartend there.
Bois de Bologne
In the far west of Paris you will find this small forest. In the fall it is amazing for romantics walks amongst Fallen autumn leaves. On the lake you can row boats next to the swans as well.
Quai du Rive Droit
I spend almost every Sunday now walking along the right bank of the Seine. Each Sunday they close off the river side highway so that pedestrians and bicyclists can enjoy it without the dancer and noise of traffic. It was beautiful walk along the river perfect for taking you time just like you should on a Sunday. Stop at the parks on the benches for a little rest. In the cold months I bring a lot a hot spiced chai to go and stroll with it. One of my most specials moments and place in the city. I suggest starting at Point Marie and heading west from there.
Thanks Haleigh for sharing your magiqual Paris with us, and if you need any further convincing just look at this BEAUTIFUL video from her! Hot stuff!