My favorite neighbourhood in Paris has to be the 9th District, recently called the “SoPi” (for South Pigalle) district. And I’m not saying that because I live there, or because that’s where The School of Life is. Nor because that is the hippiest neighbourhood right now.
The nicest part of the 9th District revolves around the Rue des Martyrs: from the Métro Notre Dame de Lorette to Anvers, and from Saint Georges to Blanche and Place Clichy. Including of course Pigalle.
– SLEEP: in a charming hotel full of books: Hotel Arvor, 3 stars, and very good quality/price.
– EAT: my favorite restaurant, Caffe Jadis, – 40 rue Notre Dame de Lorette, métro St Georges, line 12. Closed on Sundays and Monday for lunch.
– DRINK: Hotel Amour, 8 rue de Navarin, Paris 9th, a very hip place with a nice garden, but do not stay nor eat there, it is overrated and the staff is not nice (composed of wannabee models).
– STROLL: rue des Martyrs: a very nice street with a lot of shops, food, cheese chocolate, best bakeries. Stop by La Compagnie des Colons, 46 rue des Martyrs, if you need to bring back some nice gifts for the home or small jewellery.
If you want a quick healthy bite, you should visit Rose Bakery, the place is quite rough, the staff is rude, but the food is delicious !
Attention, do not visit this street on a Monday, nor on a Sunday afternoon, as everything will be closed !
– MUSEUMS TO VISIT : you are in the neighbourhood of “La Vieille Athènes”, where the Impressionists used to live and show their first pieces.
The Musée Gustave Moreau, 14 rue de la Rochefoucauld. After his death, his house/atelier was turned into one of the most beautiful yet secret museum in Paris!
The Musée de la Vie Romantique (16 rue Chaptal) is tiny but so picturesque, and the tea salon outside is a perfect spot to relax !
- Saint Germain des Prés
This is a very picturesque and chic neighbourhood to walk around, sit at the terrace of a café and watch the street traffic.
– Luxembourg Garden, behind the Senate, is a wonderful and very big garden in the heart of Paris.
Then you can walk through rue Servandoni, which is very pretty to Saint Sulpice
– Eglise (church) Saint Sulpice is very nice (check out the Delacroix painting, the fight of Jacob with the Angel, first chapel to the right), and the place is lovely with its fountain.
Then i recommand you walk around: rue des Canettes, Marché Saint Germain, rue de Seine… then walk it up to the Seine almost. The adjacent streets are lovely: rue Jacob, rue Mazarine, place de Furstenberg, rue de l’Abbaye, rue du Sabot, rue du Dragon, rue des Saints Pères…
– Librairie (bookshop) L’Ecume des Pages, next to Café de Flore, is lovely, and they have a section in English at the back I think !
– Librairie La Hune, place St Germain des Prés/corner rue Bonaparte: legenday, and very well documented!
– Church Saint Germain is also nice, i love the painted ceilings !
– My Recommended restaurants (3 of my few favorites in Paris!):
La Boissonnerie, or in front from the same owners: Le Semilla. It is simply delicious, very good price/quality ! It is located 69 Rue de Seine.
– Italian restaurant: IL VICOLO, rue Mazarine: a good Italian restaurant, very nice setting and food, quite romantic !
– Trendy restaurant: you may have a nice dinner in Alcazar, rue Mazarine, very iconic of the neighbourhood! A bit overpriced for the quality, but it is still ok !
– Café de Flore: the legendary café at the corner of the boulevard St Germain and the rue du Sabot. Not so nice actually, but very iconic. I wouldn’t recommend the terrace, awful with many show-off people who like to see and to be seen. Instead, you may have a seat inside, and order a « café-pot ». Same price as their coffee, but it’s long and only insiders know about it, so the waiters will treat you like a local !
– Café: la Palette, rue de Seine
– Café: le Bar du Marché, corner rue de Seine/rue de Bussy. Very trendy, very good-looking people, the best place to meet some handsome single parisians. But loud music, and cheap quality (don’t eat there !)
– For tea or a drink: you may visit L’Hôtel, the hotel where Oscar Wilde died in 1901 (it has been refurbished before, thanks God!). The salons are lovely, and the atmosphere enchanting. Not sure about the food there, it might be good but a bit expensive, so i recommend to have tea or a glass of wine/champagne.
– ALERT : best LUNCH restaurant :
A new restaurant opened lately in this area, and it’s already one of my favorite ! Open from 10am to 6pm, closed on Sundays.
Lunches there are delicious, and it’s hidden in a wonderful courtyard ‘cours des Saints Pères) in Saint Germain des Prés.
« Thoughtfully crafted foods for the body and soul. Serving breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea; chopped salads, savory hand pies, amazing coffee and teas. »
16 rue des Saints Pères, Paris 7th
01 73 77 27 89
- Notre Dame neighbourhood
It is a beautiful neighbourhood, and I think you should visit the 2 islands, Ile de La Cité and Ile Saint Louis again and again. Do not miss the magical Place Dauphine, so picturesque !
Then i advise you go to Shakespeare and Co, the old English bookstore, and visit the whole boutique, including the 1st floor: beautiful view on Notre Dame, and great set-up !
You may have a bite at La Fourmi Ailée: very good prices and the food is good, specially the ‘apple-mushroom pie’ (yes, i know!)
That is where i live. It is beautiful if you escape beyond the Sacré Coeur et Place du Tertre !
I would be pleased to show you around when you are there !
You may walk around rue Lepic, rue des Abbesses, and then up to Avenue Junot, Chateau des Brouillards, very beautiful !
– for a drink: Hôtel Particulier
– for a meal: traditional, cheap and good, it feels like Edith Piaf will step in any second and sing ‘Milord’! La Cave à Jojo, rue des 3 frères
– for good italian food:
Il Picolo Rifugio: very small but cute restaurant, with a lovely couple running it. 13 rue Chappe, paris 18.
Il Pomodoro: rue la Vieuville- bigger and often full !