Posted on: April 25, 2024 Posted by: Comments: 0

(Part 1 here) We haven’t been back to Paris since pre-kids, and perhaps it’s my shift in style and tastes as I get older, but I felt more inspired than ever being in the city. The architecture, the interiors, the fashion at every turn… Parisians have nailed the polished smart casual style that I can only aspire towards!

Since we’ve visited a few times in the past, we took it easy on this trip and relished the peace & quiet sans children. We did a ton of walking across the river and back, explored smaller attractions, and tried to live the leisurely cafe life (though stick with indoor dining if you’re sensitive to cigarette smoke!). While I’m wearing flats in many photos, I had on my sneakers for the longer walks!

Hôtel de la Marine audio tour. In Aritzia sweater xxs c/o, crop effortless pants 00 regular

What we did

We planned our daily outings near an attraction or museum, then ate, shopped, and walked around the area afterward and back to our hotel.

Hôtel de la Marine. A favorite museum this visit! A beautifully restored, grand mansion from the 1700s overlooking the Place de la Concorde. It once kept the king’s furniture and jewels before housing the royal navy. The audio headset guides you from room to room (with stunning interiors), sharing history and tidbits of what life was once like.

Petite Palais (free admission). A smaller but nice art museum by Ave de Champs Élysées with plenty to look at. Beautiful ceilings and a peaceful courtyard to sit down and admire the scene.

Musée des Archives Nationale (free admission). Pictured at the top of this post. A mansion in le Marais with pretty grounds and grand living chambers that once belonged to the Prince & Princess of Soubise. This also houses some national artifacts, but those descriptions were in French, so we just browsed then headed out to explore the neighborhood. Lots of eateries and shops around the corner like Sezane and Polene.

Picnic / takeout at Jardin des Tuileries and Jardin du Luxembourg

Things on our list we didn’t get to: Palais Garnier (tickets were sold out so plan ahead), Dior museum which was highly recommended.

Shopping: will cover in a next post as well! Some designers that are priced notably less in France: Louis Vuitton, Polene, Celine, Prada, Goyard, Maje, Sandro just to name a few! Be sure to bring a passport when shopping to do paperwork for a VAT refund.

Where we stayed

We spent half our trip at the Hôtel Grand Powers near the Champs Elysées, and the other half at Hôtel Alfred Sommier near the Jardin des Tuileries and Opéra Garnier. Both are in the 8th arrondissement and near tons of shopping, but I personally preferred the location of the latter hotel. I love doing hotel recaps and took a number of photos, so will save those details for a separate post!

Seafood at Hugette // Sezane blouse 0/32, Madewell jeans in Altoona 24P, Dolce Vita flats 5.5 (more sizes)

Where we ate

You guys shared so many recommendations in the comments of this post, definitely take a scroll through if you’re visiting! We aren’t big on reservations so ended up at more casual spots. I recognize that many of these are touristy, but we enjoyed them nonetheless!

L’Avant Comptoir – recommended by quite a few of you! Casual little wine bar serving small plates with multiple locations near the Luxembourg Palace. We went to their location “de la mer” (of the sea) which served primarily seafood, and was directly adjacent to their other location serving non-seafood. We went at noon and there were barstools with plenty of seating. In hindsight, I would’ve liked to go to one of their locations with non-seafood plates as well.

Hugette – a seafood bistro that we sat down at after walking by because everyone’s plates looked good. Good people watching if you can tolerate smoke from fellow outdoor diners. A short walk from L’Avant Comptoir and there was a popular gelato shop next door.

Breakfast at Angelina’s // Zara pearl blouse xs (loose fit on me), Anne Klein watch

Angelina Paris – Always a good bet for indulgently creamy hot chocolate, breakfast, tea sets and pastries. The Rue de Rivoli location opens at 7:30 AM for jet lagged travelers who are up bright & early. We were able to walk from Hotel Alfred Sommier.

Chez Andre – Our hotel (Grand Powers) was right by this restaurant and Le Relais D’entrecôte, which is famous for having just 1 meal on their menu: steak frites with gravy and a greens and walnut salad. The line was long at Le Relais so we popped across the street to Chez Andre for a classic French bistro meal. There’s outdoor seating, daily specials, and a spread of seafood on ice greeting you at the door. I enjoyed the garlicky razor clams appetizer special!

Pink Mama – Some find this spot to be overhyped, but if you’re just dining here without being influenced by any social media, we found it to be nice experience with good, reasonably-priced food in a beautiful setting. Make reservations in advance and request to sit at the top floor, or walk-in toward the end of their lunch service hour for a short wait. I had read that the pasta is very al dente compared to what we’re used to here, so asked for it to be a little more cooked.

Decor & dishes at Pink Mama were a feast for the eyes. We split the grilled octopus, eggplant ravioli, truffle pasta, zucchini salad with burrata and drinks for around $100

As you can see below, I crave Asian food wherever we go! There were many recs for Vietnamese food (lots of yummy looking bun bowl spots) but we didn’t make it to any since many were closed between lunch & dinner times.

Enni Udon – We stumbled upon this restaurant because the Grand Powers hotel was around the corner, and I’m so glad we did. It’s on the pricier side but typical of the area. I’m still thinking about the flavorful miso cream udon (happens to be dairy-free) which was unlike any udon I’ve tried before!

Tasty miso tofu cream udon at Enni Udon (bottom left dish)

Kuma – Tiny Japanese curry spot in le Marais, down the street from the popular L’as do Falafel. After visiting the Musée des Archives mentioned above, we split an overstuffed falafel sandwich and then meandered here to share a curry chicken plate – super flavorful! Most people were getting takeout since the restaurant is so small, and there was a good looking vegetarian option.

Les Nouilles Dansantes – casual Chinese spot where you can choose either hand-pulled noodles (spaghetti-like shape) or knife cut noodles (flat, wider style). Nick enjoyed his spicy beef noodle soup and we were both impressed by the roast duck. We’ve eaten our share of Chinese & HK roast duck in our lives, and liked that it was boneless with extra crispy skin here. Saw several regulars coming in just for the duck on rice. If you’re having it with noodle soup, ask for the duck on the side so it’ll stay crispy!

Japanese curry bowl + egg at Kuma for $14
The princess room at the Musée de Archives Nationale

Hotel de la Marine

Classic Parisian style with loafers & trouser socks

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