Alison Beckner's Guide to Paris
The city on the Seine is very close to our hearts. Not only have we spent a lot of time there together, but we both lived there separately years ago. No matter how long we've been gone, it always feels like home when we return.
That being said, Paris always offers plenty of new stuff to keep us on our toes. So, in the spirit of discovery — and in honor of the ongoing Paris Fashion Week — we asked our favorite expat/expert Alison Beckner of Inside Out Paris to share her current favorite Paris haunts. If you know Alison, you definitely know this: She doesn't mess around when it comes to recommendations. She's the kind of person who will send a list of fresh new places in the middle of the night, then call early the next morning to make you a reservation at whatever restaurant she just listed — all because she wants your time in her adopted hometown to be the most amazing experience possible.
where to stay (and play)
Formerly known as Les Bains Guerbois then Les Bains Douches and now simply Les Bains, this 19th century cultural institution started as humble public baths and was really the first spa in Paris. Later, it was a Bohemian hotspot during the Belle Epoque and continueing on to become what was arguably the most famous dinner and nightclub to ever exist in the city, hosting everyone from Joy Division to Prince to Don Johnson to David Bowie. The latest incarnation is a hybrid affair with a hotel, bar, restaurant, and nightclub. It’s extremely central, providing a welcome haven (and flattering lighting!) just a few blocks from hectic Châtelet and les Halles. Great for a drink for two, dinner for ten, and dancing till 4 am.
7 rue du Bourg l’Abbé 75002 Paris; www.lesbains-paris.com
Not far from Les Bains is another multi-tasking establishment. An illustrious address in the twenties, it has now been renovated to a state of modern splendor thanks to the increasingly recognizable touch of Paris-based industrial designer Dorothée Meilichzon. Tucked away in a predominantly pedestrian area of the Montorgueil neighborhood, the environment is retro-contemporary and sophisticated while remaining extremely inviting. Add to that a bar and restaurant overseen by the Experimental Group (Experimental Cocktail Club, Beef Bar, Prescription Cocktail) and a prime meeting point is born.
18 rue Bachaumont 75002 Paris, www.bachaumont.com
Grand Pigalle Hôtel
This Wes Anderson-inspired hotel has killer cocktails and provides a great landing pad in the SoPi (south of Pigalle) area.
29 rue Victor Massé 75009 Paris, www.grandpigalle.com
The brand-new spot (seriously — it just opened at the end of September) provides a 4-star destination with gorgeous design in the eastern part of the quickly emerging Château d’Eau area. Plus, there are a ton of great bars and restaurants within walking distance, as well as a historical covered market.
90 rue René Boulanger 75010 Paris, www.hotelprovidenceparis.com
This hotel in the sixth is perhaps best known for its bar, restaurant, and louche basement club.
28 rue Saint Benoit 75006 Paris, www.hotel-montana.com
where to eat
Work, eat, lounge, drink, and dance at this brand new brasserie in up-and-coming Barbès in the 18th. Though a bit off the beaten path for most visitors, it's a destination definitely worth checking out. And, it's right across from the stunning Cinéma Louxor.
2 boulevard Barbès 75018 Paris, www.brasseriebarbes.com
A luminous restaurant with high ceilings and a variety of seating configurations. Open early to late with great wifi and sympathetic service.
32 rue de Picardie 75003 Paris, Les Chouettes Facebook
This vegan and predominantly gluten-free café serves around the clock in ever one of its locations. The cozy, shabby chic interior was designed by rising star Dorothée Meilichzon (Fish Club, Hotel Bachaumont).
6 rue du Forez, Paris 70003; 58 rue du Faubourg Poissonnière, Paris 70010; 35 Boulevard Haussmann, Paris 70009; www.cafepinson.fr
Café Kitsuné Filles du Calvaire
A funky new David Hockney-inspired outpost boasting Kitsuné's largest café ever and serving fantastic, well, everything. Think: fox-shaped cookies, creamy matcha lattes, and cold-press from Juice It.
109 rue Amelot 75011 Paris, shop.kitsune.fr
This café-cantine serves avocado toast, homemade muesli, baked eggs, and coffee from Coûtume. There's brunch on the weekend, too. (Closed Monday and Tuesday.)
3 rue Neuve Popincourt 75011 Paris, Cafe Oberkampf Facebook
This little Italian in a small passageway off of busy Faubourg Saint Antoine in the hip ‘hood of Ledru Rollin serves coffee all day, tasty lunch specials and aperitivo in the early evening. It’s so cute and special — do I really want to share?
159 rue du Faubourg Saint Antoine 75011 Paris, no website
Artiste of the moment Mathias Kiss did the décor for this new organic restaurant serving food and drinks all day in a pleasant setting at the Carreau du Temple. The menu features culinary collaborations with local restaurants and superfood trendsetters like Youm dim-sum, Dear Meusli cereals and Le Tricycle veggie dogs.
1 rue Charles François Dupuis 75003 Paris, www.season-paris.com
where to shop
Stephanie Roger’s White Bird – a sort of Paris version of Catbird in Williamsburg – has a fabulous jewelry selection in two lovely settings. The first, a magical shop with Moroccan rugs and exposed beams, is in the Golden Triangle between rue Saint Honoré and the Tuileries gardens. The latest – designed by the talented women of En Bande Organisé agency and Johanna Etrounel – is in the Haut Marais showcases a slightly more accessible selection from designers like Ileana Makri and Lito for women as well as Stormie and M. Cohen for men.
7 boulevard des Filles du Calvaire 75003 Paris; 38 rue du Mont Thabor 75001 Paris; www.whitebirdjewellery.com
The epitome of Paris cool — the store, the café, and the three owners. The Broken Arm has the books you want, the limited-edition Nike kicks you need, the Isaac
Reina wallet you’ve been looking for and the Vetements raincoat that so perfectly embodies your vagabonding lifestyle.
12 rue Perrée 75003 Paris, www.the-broken-arm.com
This Korean-based concept shop features a unique interior and an extremely well-curated selection of established and emerging brands like MM6, Philip Lim, Journ/ée and Aalto. Plus, sleek lifestyle products and jewelry.
19 rue de Saintonge 75003 Paris, www.tomgreyhound.fr
where to workout
Le Tigre Yoga Club
There are now two of these suave new studios: one near Trocadéro and the latest in Saint Germain. The teachers, classes, workshops, and services are top-notch and well worth the extra travel time (and Uber!) to get there. Don’t let the name fool you – in addition to all kinds of yoga classes, Le Tigre also offers Swiss ball, pilates, barre and a variety of other techniques.
17-19 rue de Chaillot 75016 Paris; 101 rue du Cherche Midi 75007 Paris; www.tigre-yoga.com
Studio Colibri Yoga
Central, spacious and with showers. Oh my! This brand new studio near Bonne Nouvelle and République has a solid roster of teachers, offers styles like Jivamukti, yin and Iyengar and is open 7 days a week year round.
7 rue Notre Dame de Bonne Nouvelle, 75009 Paris; www.yoga-colibri.com
Temple Noble Art
A sexy boxing club with offerings for all levels in a cool space with good lighting, nice facilities, excellent teachers and frequent celebrity sightings.
11 rue Molière 75001 Paris; www.temple-nobleart.fr