We get questions from people about where to go and what to do in Paris. Over the many years we've been coming to Paris, Katherine and I continue to seek out new places, people and things on each visit. While we reserve special places and sources for our ParisTilton tours, there are many other resources to share. It is not possible to answer each e-mail request for information individually, so we'll post some favorite sources under this heading from time to time. I have not listed addresses, but links to the websites, so use Google and your maps app to find the exact location, and always check online to be sure of opening days and hours.
Each new posting will have a new consecutive number and all will be tagged with 'ParisTilton Bests' making the posts easier to find.
Where to shop for fabric is the most asked question. In truth, we have a much bigger selection here in the US, but there is the mystique of finding something wonderfully chic and Frenchy in Paris. The most elegant and quintessentially Parisian fabric store is Janssens & Janssens, located just off the posh rue St. Honore, and a 5 minute walk from the Elysee Palace, home to the French President. Janssens & Janssens is small, but filled with fabric from current couture houses. If you are a sewist, you must go, it is an education in fabric and textiles whether you purchase or not. Don't miss the special occasion fabrics downstairs as shown in the photo below, where the saleswoman carefully pulls out each tissue wrapped bolt for the customer. Prices start at about 65 euros a meter and go up from there, and they will issue the VAT detaxe for purchases of over 175 euros.
Discovered thanks to a David Lebovitz blog, Le Nemrod is now one of our go-to lunch spots on the Left Bank. Just a block from the Bon Marche (my favorite Paris Department Store), and Le Grand Epicerie (the immense Bon Marche food hall), Le Nemrod has good simple cafe food, ambiance and people watching.
A favorite, we love this restaurant and have become friends with owners Ann and Hughes: Ann is out front and Hughes is in the kitchen and their daughter pitches in after school. We take our tour group here for the last evening celebration dinner. In the video, Ann and her daughter translate the menu for our fabulous group from May 2016. The food is wonderful and if you are gluten free, they will cook for that or any other dietary requests. A gem, we go back again and again, and take French friends who love it too!
We seek out uniquely French products and love the concept of 'fait main' or handmade which is cultivated in France.
These wonderful beauty products are produced from the seeds of the Pastel plant which gives them their distinct blue color. The Pastel plant comes from antiquity, used for healing properties and skin care. We first discovered this line at a small booth in an organic street market, now there are 2 beautiful shops in Paris. We love the face, hand and body creams and this makes a beautiful gift as these products are not available in the US.
Merci is a concept shop started by the owners of a successful chain of childrens's clothing stores. The profits go to charity, hence the name, 'thank you'. It is worth going to see the store itself, a study in good design, where the clever displays change often. Merci is a visual delight! We go to browse, you'll find clothing, housewares, gift items etc....but we really love to go here for lunch. The salads are wonderful, and I am crazy for the pistachio cake. Shown here, one of the restaurants, a salut to the concept of a French philosophers' cafe.
Trippen has opened a new boutique in the north Marais, a bit off the beaten touristique path. These shoes are a favorite, eclectic and comfortable.
Shopping in Paris for clothes is a time honored experience, and one I love to indulge in. But the French sizes tend to run small, and it is hard to find a larger range of sizes...most stores size range ends at 40 or 42 (a US 12, maybe 14). Olivier Jung has filled the niche for not-so-large and larger sizes, with interesting styling and affordable prices. As you can see from the storefront, sizes run from 38-56.
Too much fun! Our niece, Annie Tilton, was with us in May 2016, and we wanted to do something new together. This 4 hour experience was wonderful. Riding an electric bike is easy (well, I only took one tumble), and feels like flying. The tour takes you to places you will not see on your own, and is laced with fascinating tales and history....Johnny Depp's former house, the location of the inventor of the guillotine. Loved it!
It pays to do your homework before you go. My iPad is full of Paris books, these 3 are at the top of my list.
Must Eat Paris is a must for foodies. I'm so enamored with this one that I'm taking the hardbound version in my suitcase.
As I post this, we are in Paris wandering and exploring, excited to meet up with our November 2016 ParisTilton group tomorrow. We'd love to have you join us on a future tour, hope you enjoy this peek into our love of Paris! Both Spring and Fall 2017 tours are open for registration.
Marcy and Katherine