Sharlene’s Recommendations: Paris

26 Mar

Wow. It just sort of hit me how everyone has been to Paris except me. Sharlene was just there for work, so all her recommendations are fresh in her mind. Plus, she’s always the person I go to for San Francisco restaurant recommendations, so I definitely trust her!

Here’s what she had to say:
1) Don’t know if you’re going to be in Paris on a Sunday, but most stores are closed. The only good places I found to shop were the Champ-Elysees and Marais. Marais was my haven on Sundays!
2) Due to the poor shopping on Sunday, the museums are a nightmare that day. Only go if you have to.
3) It’s a little cheesy, but the Seine boat tour is a good way for the single traveler to fill her evening. I recommend the Vedettes de Pont-Neuf tour — you can sit inside or outside, and the tours are given by live guides. Though the narration is pretty lame, it has got to be better than the recorded commentary on other boats. Plus, Vedettes operates till 10:30pm, and it’s under $10 (you can get a discount by ordering online).
4) If you love Picasso (which I do), the Picasso museum was great. Very small and intimate and no crowds. The Pompidou was absolutely awesome if you like modern art (which I do), but it had tons of people. The view up there is awesome — I recommend grabbing lunch or coffee at the top. The Musee d’Orsay is worth it if you’re an Impressionist lover (which I’m not so much). I would not fight those crowds again.
5) Splurge on afternoon tea at Mariage Freres in Marais. The tea is awesome, and the desserts are pretty tasty, too. You can get them a la carte if you don’t want the complete service.
6) For affordable Italian, I recommend Little Italy Trattoria near the Pompidou (13 Rue Rambuteau, Fourth Arr.). When I’m traveling on my own, I’m a great fan of counter seating, and the bartender was really nice.
7) If you’re in Marais for dinner and can splurge a bit ($50 for prix fixe and wine), I loved Le 3 (3, rue Sainte-Croix-de-la-Bretonnerie). It has no counter seating, so you definitely need reading material, but it’s lovely and yummy.
8) Yes, I hung out in Marais A LOT. But if you want a quick, cheap meal, you have to go to L’As du Falafel. I got the hugest chicken pita ever there. I wouldn’t eat inside — cheaper and hipper to stand outside and it eat. Also, don’t go Friday night or Saturday because the restaurant (and most of the street) is closed for Shabbat.
9) Chocolate souffle at Cafe De’enfer if you get to the 14th Arr. (22 rue Daguerre). Yum.
10) Brochettes for lunch at Bistro d’Opio (5, rue Guisarde, Sixth Arr.). A nice change from the ubiquitous croque and baguette. This place is in a cute, cute area (St. Germaine has great upscale window shopping, and Luxembourg Garden is nearby), but rue Guisarde is small and hard to find. Definitely have it mapped out if you want to go!
11) A trip up to Montmartre is definitely worth it. Great views, really cute area. So Amelie. I ate at a pretty mediocre restaurant there (and many other places, btw — restaurants are very hit or miss in Paris and you should definitely get recommendations), so you’ll have to tell me if you find a gem!
12) Personally, I loved the department stores. Filled with tourists, but some had great gourmet food sections and neat housewares. The clothes brand Promod was pretty cute and relatively affordable. There were standalone Promod stores, too, sprinkled throughout the city.

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