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As many of you know, I had the pleasure of spending a few months in Paris to continue my study of the French language and work with Afrique Avenir, an amazing HIV/AIDS service organization that targets individuals from Western Africa and the Caribbean who are now living in the Paris metropolitan area.  For any of you who may be planning to spend some time in Paris in the near future, I have put together my top picks for what to do, where to eat and how to truly see la Ville Lumière.  The City of Light, the City of Enlightenment…

Franglish

Franglish
No matter your current conversational level in French, I *highly* recommend attending at least one of these events!  They are held in unique bars in a variety of neighborhoods throughout Paris, and it is a wonderful opportunity to meet and practice speaking one-on-one with really interesting locals:  7 minutes in French, 7 minutes in English, then switch tables!  I am still very close friends with many of the people that I met there during my time in Paris.

Brulerie Saint Roch

Brulerie Saint Roch
53 Rue Saint-Roch
This place is way under the radar, and it is some of the best coffee and light breakfast fare that you will find in this neighborhood – and it is wildly inexpensive!  The owner and the woman who work there do not speak English, but their friendliness and hospitality easily transcend that.  The clientele is almost exclusively local and there is no seating; only standing at high bar tables.  Their selection of teas is also insanely aromatic and delicious… I lived around the corner from this place and was there nearly every morning.

Patisserie Stohrer

Patisserie Stohrer
51 Rue Montorgeuil
My dear friend Adèle CEO and Founder of Le Livre Art Publishing used to live on this street, and this little patisserie wins the award Best Eclair au Chocolate in France every year.  The brioche à la praline and the poire bourdaloue tarte are also wonderfully delicious…

La Perle

La Perle
78 Rue Vieille du Temple
Where Galliano lost everything!  Also frequented by hip and trendy locals.  It is a touch more expensive than your standard café, but the food is innovative and it is ideal for people watching over a cocktail…

Le Rubis

Le Rubis
10 Rue Marché Saint Honoré
This is one of my absolute favorite wine bars in Paris.  The clientele is almost exclusively local, and the owner always serves you himself.  If you stand at the tin counter, you can taste a variety of small and inexpensive glasses of beautiful wine that are not available to patrons who choose to sit at the tables.  I think that this is the best way to explore the wines offered here… The owner and his staff do not speak English, but they are very patient with friendly foreigners.

Le Progrès

Le Progrès
1 Rue de Bretagne
Also known as The Bohemian’s Canteen, this super hip cafe is in a neighborhood frequented primarily by trendy locals.  Sit outside!  Rain or shine, this is one of the best places for people watching.

Chacha Club

Chacha Club
47 Rue Berger
Another gem recommended to me by my good friend Adèle!  A great place to get dolled up and socialize with the Parisian glitterati 😉  The food and drinks are incredible, and there are all sorts of secret rooms and little hideaways only accessible to those with passwords…  Check out their website, and you’ll see what I mean!  I just looked at their menu and I don’t see my favorite item, which is foie gras rolled in the most incredibly tender chicken.  If you go, you can always ask if they are still serving it.  It is really incredible.

Discover Walks

Discover Walks
It is unusual that I recommend a tour, but this particular company is very special.  These are tip-based walking tours with guides who are all native Parisians; because they were all born and raised in Paris, they have incredible stories and insights to share and their love of the city is infectious.  I recommend starting with the Left Bank tour; and, as you still have plenty of time left in Paris, you may actually want to do all six.  By the time you depart, you will truly feel like you have explored every corner of the city!

Mirror selfie, à Paris

Mirror selfie, à Paris

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