Find Paris’s hidden gems
Paris, the city of love. Love of food, love of wine and love of stunning architecture. From the chic Champs Elysees to the bohemian Monmartre, the beauty of this city shines through every street. We wanted to bring you the best places to relax in style, so have chosen our favourite bars and restaurants to visit in la belle Paris.
Hidden on Rue Charlotte in La Marais, the only thing that gave away The Little Red Door was the hubbub of noise coming from behind the miniature, decorative door. Once we found out way in through the side door, the dark and busy bar was alive with both locals and tourists. The well dressed, moustached barmen are experts and reinstate that mixology really is an art form. The quirky cocktail menu, designed by Remy Savage, brings a new concept to cocktails. Wanting to evoke thoughts and experiences as well as taste, each cocktail has been named after a piece of art. Our favourites were the Art Deco and the Art Nouveau. The Little Red Door’s speakeasy vibe fits in so well with its surroundings and its customers, it is Paris’s best kept secret.
Minimalist vegetarian fusion restaurant Soya isn’t what you would expect to find on the streets of Paris, but we’re certainly glad we did. The laidback feel of the canteen style eatery welcomes customers with open arms and creates the feeling of relaxed evening eating. The delicious menu also offers a plethora of flavours. The Caviar végétal au basilic with creamy basil tofu dip & homemade pesto is especially delicious, along with the Fresh seaweed salsa with capers, gherkins, cashew nuts, fresh ginger & roasted sesame seeds. Followed by homemade garam masala with a lemon zest fresh ginger, creamy cashew and coconut sauce, seasonal vegetables, Thaï rice & sautéed shiitake & Paris mushrooms. The staff were all incredibly friendly and helpful, giving recommendations on what to eat, drink and even where to go after we had finished!
Next up, we couldn’t go to Paris and not visit the Hoxton’s French cousin. Just like the Hoxton’s sites in London, the Parisian branch exudes a relaxed but formal vibe. The white washed walls in the courtyard of the outside bar area are a perfect setting for the fresh white umbrellas with wicker chairs and mosaic tables. Filled with locals on laptops and tourists having cocktails, the Hoxton has something for everyone. The menu is refreshing and delicate, marrying together the classic Hoxton atmosphere with intense Parisian flavours. Try the mouth watering Violet Hour or the Falling For You. The bar snacks on offer are a step above too. We could eat the Gougeres (French choux pastry mixed with cheese) served with beer mustard all day, along with the Hox Monsieur and the charcuterie board. The Hoxton has taken everything we love about the London branches and translated it so well.
Holy Belly, situated on Rue Lucien Sampaix, has adopted the mantra “Good food, good coffee and good service in a consistent fashion.” And it may be simple, but it certainly works. The warm, hipster restaurant is so welcoming, from the staff to the yellow exterior. Open from 9am – 4pm everyday, Holy Belly is a breakfast haven. We couldn’t choose between the three different types of pancakes- the savoury stack (with fried eggs, yummy bacon, housemade Bourbon butter & maple syrup), the sweet stack (with fruits de saison, crème fouettée, noisettes et sirop d’érable) and the plain stack (A stack of 3 pancakes with butter & maple syrup.) They also have beautiful artisan bread on offer from the amazing Du Pain et des Idées bakery just down the road. If you are there a bit later in the day, try the special of tharmalingam chicken and rice, which consists of Spiced free range chicken, sauteed organic wholegrain rice, veggies and mild spices. We couldn’t go to Monmartre without having some absinthe, and the St Germain cocktail definitely hit the spot. This is one of our favourite spots in Paris and can’t wait to come back.
Former hostess bar Dirty Dick brings tiki madness to the streets of South Pigalle. With it’s faux bamboo, retro lanterns and painted ladies on the walls, you really are transported to tiki heaven. While delightfully garish, Dirty Dick is big on quality as well as presentation. With over 50 rums on the menu and an extensive cocktail list, we are absolutely spoiled for choice. The only thing more impressive than the alcohol on offer is the knowledge and enthusiasm of the bartenders. With little skulls on the menu indicating how boozy each cocktail is, you can even choose how wild your evening can get. And the porthole windows make it very easy to lose track of time in this effortlessly cool bar. With cocktails such as “Mystic fist of Ku” and “She sells sea shells” (a sharing bowl), the names alone are enough to draw you in. Each cocktail is served in its own kitsch vial, including conch shells and totem poles. The only thing missing from Dirty Dick’s is a beach view and a walk on the beach in between cocktails.
The already popular Macaron boutique Ladurée is the very essence of Parisian chic. The elegant restaurant and bar on the Champs Elysees oozes class as soon as you walk through the door. The all famous macaron and patisserie counter is always busy, with tourists buying delicious treats. But past the counter is the magical bar and restaurant. The bar, decorated fully with purple silver and butterflies is as pleasing on the eye as it is on the tongue. The restaurant is more traditional, with dark wood from floor to ceiling and a more formal atmosphere.
Breakfast at Ladurée is an absolute must. The seemingly simple menu has mastered every dish. There are eggs, seven different ways, each one even better than the last. For the health conscious there are fruit plates, granola and yoghurt, and for the downright gluttonous (us) there is the Pain Perdu (brioche French toast). Accompanied with raspberry coulis and rose cream, we couldn’t get enough of this. If you are still hungry after all of the breakfast treats, Ladurée also offers a brunch platter which includes eggs, pastries, granola, fresh fruit juice and cheeses. At 49 euros per person it’s definitely a treat, but we can guarantee it’s worth it.
After falling in love with Paris and all it has to offer, we could have stayed forever in the wide airy streets and beautiful buildings. Create your own adventure in the lofty l’Opera area or the winding streets of Monmarte. With the amazing food and drink matching the architecture in quality and beauty, there is no doubt that this city will steal your heart.