24 hours in Paris: There are so many people who ask me for tips on where to go and what to see in the City of Lights. I think a whole list could be a bit overwhelming if you have never been to Paris. So to break it down, here are my absolute favorite places to go if I only had one day in Paris.
Day of the week: Sunday
Where would I stay: Apartment in the Marais, or Grand Hôtel du Palais Royal
Breakfast: Sundays are a bit slower in Paris, but I still wake up to chase the light. I typically grab pain au chocolat at a local boulangerie. My favorite boulangerie depends on where I am staying. If I am at Grand Hôtel du Palais Royal, I can grab a croissant for the road or they will pack me a to-go box. I start my morning with a hot café crème.
Market: One of my favorite things about Sundays in Paris is the Bastille Market. I can either go alone or meet friends. If you go later in the day, it gets super busy and hard to walk through. I enter from Boulevard Beaumarchais, with the Bastille statue behind me. I always start on the left. For whatever reason, this is the row with some of my favorite vendors and since I am a creature of habit, I always start here. The fruit and vegetable vendors can be found towards the very end in the rows to the right. In the first row have my favorite flower vendor, as well as my cheese and olive guy. Yup! I love olives so I really can’t miss this one. In the row all the way to the right is a great fruit and veggie vendor. The line is long but they make sure to get through everyone quickly. One important tip when visiting the market: DO NOT TOUCH the fruit or vegetables. They will ask when you are going to eat the product and then choose one to their liking based on ripeness. It’s pretty amazing, actually.
My perfect Sunday includes a picnic, so after I have picked up all of my fruits, veggies, and olives, I head to my favorite boulangerie.
Boulangerie: 28 Boulevard Beaumarchais was a place I tried just by chance. I stumbled across it on my walk from Montmartre down to the Bastille market. They have an amazing baguette that is part of my Sunday ritual. I get the baguette or the torsadee if it’s available, and maybe another pastry here. If you are lucky and get a warm baguette, it’s beyond heaven. I really cannot explain it until you try it for yourself. Don’t forget the salted butter from the market because it takes it to another level!
Place de Vosges: Not too far from the boulangerie is the Place de Vosges. It’s a very quick 5 minute walk. I love to be here any day of the week, but Sunday is just perfect, especially after you collect all of your picnic snacks. It makes for great people-watching and if you get some sun on a warm day, it is just perfect. I brought my family here when they visited and we had the best time. Emma ate a combination of baguette and comté, and before I could blink it was all gone! She then ran around with my mom and sister laughing (which is by far the best sound to hear on a warm day in Paris). Take a book or just grab some friends for a perfect afternoon here.
Vieille de Temple: After a leisurely picnic in Place de Vosges, head towards Vieille de Temple. You can shop along the street on the way to Vieille de Temple; the shops are open and always fun to poke around. There is a free-standing Caudile store where I pick up a lot of my beauty crèmes (more on that here) When you see the Repetto shop, hop in for a look. The flats are just too pretty, and they do a beautiful job curating the store. Turn left on Vieille de Temple. Rue des Rosiers is not too far from a J. Crew and a L’Éclair de Génie, and also the famous falafel at L’as du Fallafel if you are still hungry after your picnic. I stop at my favorite café on the street and say hello to Didier for either a café crème, citron presse (lemonade), or glass of wine depending on my mood.
Île St. Louis: If you keep walking down Vielle de Temple you will hit the Seine; cross over the bridge to make it to Île St. Louis. It’s a small island and on Sundays it’s pretty packed. You can jump in line for a scoop of Berthillon ice cream or sit at Café St. Regis for a glass of wine.
St. Germain Stroll: From Île St. Louis you can head to St. Germain onto the left bank for Ladurée or one of my favorite cafes: Café de Flore. I have run into Karl Lagerfeld here on a few occasions. There is a great bookshop next door, or you can grab a paper or magazine at the international newspaper stand on the corner. Grab a seat outside if you can and watch the people go by. I could spend hours here catching up with friends. I have a favorite waiter named Laurent that works here; I always ask for him.
Odéon: If you are hungry from all the walking, I would head down St. Germain to Odéon. I love stopping into L’Avant Comptoir for dinner on Sundays. It’s a standing-only restaurant, so be prepared. I love the beef carpaccio and the blood sausage macaron; those are my two go-to’s. The menu hangs from the ceiling with pictures and prices. Don’t be afraid to ask the guys behind the counter for suggestions; they have never steered me wrong. They have wine by the glass and the prices are very reasonable. While you wait for your food, they will slice some fresh bread and there is butter on the counter. This is a not typical Parisian practice, as they don’t serve bread until your meal and butter is only served at breakfast. For the Americans that visit this is a real treat! If you have room after, you can order a crêpe outside in the window for your walk home. They close at 11pm on Sundays and I typically stay until closing. Just make sure to grab your crêpe before they start cleaning up.
Favorite Cafes: Café de Flore, Petit fer au Cheval, St. Régis
Boulangerie: 28 Beaumarchais
Park: Place de Vosges
Market: Bastille (open Thursdays/Sundays)
Streets: Vielle de Temple, St. Germain
Hotels: Grand Hôtel du Palais Royal, Apartment by Haven in Paris