What to See, Eat & Drink in Paris This Spring

Springtime in Paris, Day 1

At long last, guys — here is my first photo diary from a recent trip to Paris.

pink vespa in paris

It was my second trip to France (and Jess’s third), so we made sure to cram in a few of our favorite spots among many, many new places.

Let’s flash back to Day One:

We landed in Paris around 10 a.m. on Thursday, which was just enough time to miss rush hour traffic. We’d left the day prior (Wednesday) from Chicago and flown overnight, which is the best way to do it. (As an FYI to future travelers: Traffic coming into the city of Paris is bad during rush hour in the mornings — not so much on the way out.)

After a 40-minute cab ride to the city, we checked in and dropped our bags at the Hotel du Louvre. Wanting to waste no time, we quickly washed up, piled on a few layers, grabbed my fringe backpack and headed out the door.

The best thing about Parisian style is that it’s better to look undone, so let me tell you — I really fit the bill. (Anyone else have trouble sleeping on planes?)

hotel du louvre in paris

// WHERE WE STAYED

I can’t say enough good things about Hotel du Louvre, where we stayed. Simply put: It’s clean, has sizable bathrooms, free wifi (????) and concierge that’s fluent in English. It’s a Hyatt hotel, so I’d expect no less.

The location was everything, though — it’s super central and walkabout to just about anywhere in the city. I’ll definitely stay here again in the future — and I’d recommend you do, too. (A few people on Instagram weighed in about their experiences here as well.)

cute-streets-in-paris

// DAY

The first item on our non-existent Parisian agenda was, of course, coffee. So much coffee.

We stopped into a few local shops along our stroll and ordered cappuccinos to go (also known to the French as “takeaway” — write that down). Don’t order American-style coffee in France — always go latte or cappuccino. Or, you know, plain ‘ol espresso shots get the job done, too.

cute apartment buildings in paris cute cafes with outdoor seating in paris eiffel tower at sunset in the spring

At any rate, a bit more walking we settled into Le Paradis du Fruit, a cute food spot where there seemed to be a lot of locals taking their lunch break from work (seemed like a chain, but we were starving).

We had small plates of chicken skewers, salad (salat) and toasted pita with goat cheese truffle. The place has a cute juice bar, too, if that’s your thing. (Side-note — all of the men in Paris are attractive. Like, all of them.)

paris architecture buildings

After lunch, more walking. We happily stumbled upon Frenchie to Go — a cute coffee shop/lunch spot tucked away down a small side street, rue du Nil. We vowed to come back to the anglo-inspired eatery for lunch another day — the flavorful fish and chips looked uh-mazing. It’s a tiny, 15-person cafe, but from reviews I’ve read it seems as though it’s worth the wait.

(Also, sister restaurant Frenchie is a great spot for dinner — but can be difficult to get in to. If all else fails, head to Frenchie Bar à Vins — the wine bar located just next door. )

coffee to go in paris frenchie to go for lunch in paris

Most of our day was spent in the 2nd arrondissement, a chic, walk-anywhere type of area where Parisians live their daily lives rather oblivious to tourists, which is the vibe we like.

Ultimately, we ended up spending much of the day wandering along rue Montorgueil.

This is one of my favorite streets in Paris — it’s closed off to cars and everything is located within a three block radius, making it easy to check out some of the city’s best shops, bakeries, bars and bistros in one fell swoop.

rue-de-nil-paris marie-stuart-paris l'escargo-paris le-compas-bar-les-halles-paris

We settled into patio seats at Le Compas, a cozy cafe amidst the busy Les Halles district — and also, the cutest f’ing place on earth. There were a lot of locals here, which is always a good sign.

It was so great to rest and watch the city’s flow going all over the places. While we didn’t eat, the menu looked fantastic — and it’s open ’til 2 a.m. Mental note for next time!

le compas on rue montorgueil wine-bars-in-pariscute bar in paris with tulips

Afterward, we were determined to find a crepe stand — and as a general rule of thumb, if you’re near a park or garden or any type of tourist attraction, you will find one. (Kinda like Halal or pretzel vendors in New York City, you know?) I had a banana nutella crepe Jess went with caramel nutella.

… Calories don’t count on vacation, my friends.

eating a banana nutella crepe in paris

On our way back to the hotel, we got side-tracked when we passed by a restaurant called the Loup. We recognized it from the last trip we’d previously taken Paris the year prior, so naturally, we sat down for another glass of wine and some nostalgia.

The restaurant is beautifully designed with the cutest color scheme — Jess and I are total suckers for good design and branding. How can you not be?

cute bistro cafes in paris with outdoor seating good-backpacks-for-traveling-to-europe

Shop my Rebecca Minkoff backpack:

Most Parisian bistros/cafes will place small cups of chips or nuts on your table, so this is essentially what sustained us food-wise until dinner. (Well, and those crepes…) There’s also heat lamps aplenty, so you can drink and dink al-fresco even when it’s on the chillier side. The BEST!

After an afternoon spent wandering (and drinking), the jet-lag was starting to settle in, so we ran back to the hotel wherein I passed out immediately for about an hour.

les-halles-in-paris

// NIGHT

Night-time rolled around and we headed to dinner at Ferdi, a teeny-tiny (even by Paris standards) restaurant tucked away on rue du Mont Thabor.

We squished into a table by the bar and tucked into the menu, which has an eclectic mix of items — everything from shareable Spanish tapas to what some say is “best cheeseburger in Paris.” The whimsical decor is super entertaining, too.

ferdi-kim-kardashian-paris kim kardashian's favorite paris restaurant ferdi

They were sold out of the burger, sadly, (we went late and didn’t have a reservation — around 10:30 p.m.) but we split just about everything else on the menu: Guacamole, shredded beef wraps, mac-n-cheese, Spanish-style chicken soup and churros with hot chocolate. Plus a bottle of wine, natch.

(Calories. Don’t. Count. On. Vacation.)

We ventured down the street to end the night at Hôtel Costes, a super posh bar and lounge — a scene if I’ve ever seen one. We somehow snagged a table nestled in the bar, and the waitress mis-understood our order and brought us a bottle instead of a glass. Whatevs! When in Rome (err, Paris), right?

trendy outdoor seating at hotel costes in paris

The vibe at Hôtel Costes is French glamour at its finest — from the sprawling layout and open-roof patio to classic chandeliers and craft cocktails. We loved it so much that we actually came back the following day, but we’ll get to that story… It’s great for lunch or dinner, too.

We stumbled our way home sometime after 2 a.m. and both passed out immediately. I think we’d been up for close to 24 hours at that point, but with only a few days in Paris you’ve got to pack it all in — right? As such, that was Day One.

trendy restaurant hotel costes in paris

Much, much more to come!

In the interim, lots of sneak peeks are happening on Instagram — and here’s a list of the places we visited on Day One (and in parenthesis, what they’d be good for):

PLACES WE WENT

  • Hotel du Louvre, Place André Malraux (Hotel)
  • Le Paradis du Fruit, many locations (Lunch)
  • Frenchie to Go, 9 rue du Nil (Lunch, coffee)
  • Le Compas, 62 rue Montorgueil (Food, drinks, late-night)
  • Loup, 44 rue du Louvre (Food, drinks, late-night)
  • Ferdi, 32 rue du Mont Thabor (Dinner, drinks)
  • Hôtel Costes, 241 rue Saint Honoré (Food, drinks, late-night)

SPACES WE EXPLORED

  • Les Halles
  • Place Vendôme
  • rue Saint Honoré

Photography by Hallie Wilson

Hôtel Costes images via 1, 2

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