Favorite Things, 1st Arrondissement

Cultural:

Musée des Arts Décoratifs

This museum, in a wing of the Louvre, has an impressive permanent collection of decorative arts dating back to the Middle Ages. You’ll also find examples of the most iconic pieces of contemporary furniture and design objects. Closed Mondays.

The Louvre

Of course. It’s not the first museum on my list, but there’s no denying it’s worthy of a visit. Closed Tuesdays.

Le Jardin du Palais Royal

The building, home of the culture ministry and a former royal palace, wraps around the Daniel Buren black-and-white pillars one of my favorite formal gardens in Paris. Under the arcades are some great shops including Didier Ludot, one of the finest second-hand stores, and Epice, a spot for fabulous scarves. Peer into the window at Le Grand Véfour, one of the most beautiful restaurants in the city. If the weather is good, have lunch in the garden at one of the little tea houses there.

Le Jardin du Palais Royal in March.

Jeu de Paume

Changing exhibitions at this lovely museum. Closed Mondays.

The Tuileries

Lovely place for a stroll.

Shopping:

I love walking along rue Saint Honoré–from where it starts, near the Comédie Française/Palais Royal, to where it ends, at the rue Royale–and popping into its eclectic shops. As you get closer to the Place Vendome and the rue Royale, you’ll find more of the big designer and luxury shops. Buy some jewelry at the Place Vendome!

Restaurants:

Clover Grill

Fabulous, especially for beef.

Hotel Costes

Glamorous restaurant in this chic hotel.

LouLou

In the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, this is the perfect place to stop for a chic lunch. If the weather is nice, sit on the terrace in the Tuileries garden.

Poule au Pot

In Les Halles, this restaurant serves up perfect classics to a chic crowd.

On the rue des Pyramides, across from the Tuileries, you can stop in for a pastry at Sébastien Gaudard. Delectable!

L’Ami Louis

I think of this as more of a cold-weather sort of place, with its cozy ambiance and comforting food. Slabs of foie gras, roast chicken and fries, roasted meats. The first time I went was about 30 years ago. Nothing’s changed!

It’s a controversial place–it’s expensive, some say over-rated, some complain of snobby service–but I’ve only had the best experiences there. Go in with a good attitude and I think you’ll have a great time.

We celebrated New Year’s Day there once recently and had an absolute blast. The jovial waiters showed us around the kitchen and hammed it up for photos. We closed the place down with glasses of Poire William and cognac.

To me, this is the perfect Parisian bistro.

L’Ami Louis

32 Rue Vertbois

75003

011.33.1.48.87.77.48

Le Coq Rico

Up in Montmarte is this wonderful restaurant for all things poultry: scrambled eggs with truffles, frisée salad topped with chicken liver or a poached egg, duck magret, and of course, the famed roasted poulet de Bresse. Make sure to order a side of macaroni. It’s sublime!

After dinner take a short walk to Sacre Coeur and gaze over the most amazing view of Paris.

Le Coq Rico

98 Rue Lepic

75018

Chicken!

When speaking of the poulet de Bresse, the gastronome Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin is said to have pronounced it “the queen of poultry, the poultry of kings.”

Raised in a defined area in eastern France, the poulet de Bresse is a white-feathered chicken with blue feet that roams free-range for at least four months and is encouraged to forage for insects. Before their demise, they’re fattened up with a diet of maize and milk. The process reveals itself in the meat’s rich, delicate flavor.

You might note that the poulet de Bresse is almost twice as expensive as the other birds. It might be an everyday bird for kings and queens, but it’s a special treat for us commoners.

Champagne at Le Flore

I always kick off my stay with a stroll across the Seine to Boulevard Saint Germain where I sit down and order a nice, cold glass of Champagne at Café de Flore. The café was–and still is–the watering hole of literary types, but it attracts everyone: elegant locals, fashion folk, and tourists. People watching from the terrace is a local pastime.

Don’t let the prices scare you away (a Perrier costs about $7 and a club sandwich will set you back about $25). An afternoon on the terrace offers some of the best entertainment Paris has to offer.

Café de Flore

172 Boulevard Saint Germain

75006

Parisian “Bodegas”

The most beautiful fruit, changing according to season, dresses up the facades of these little shops that sell the basics–toothpaste, bottles of water, pasta, wine. Just don’t touch those peaches. Always ask the shopkeeper for help or you risk a dressing down.

This little shop in Saint Germain sells the basics but specializes in wine.

Nicolas, the Ubiquitous Wine Shop

Drop into the shop with the red awning with orange-yellow lettering when you want to pick up a fine bottle of wine, champagne, or spirits. Prices are good, there are outposts throughout the city, and while the selection is a bit obvious to locals, visitors are sure to discover a well-priced, new favorite here.

Benoit, a Classic Bistro, Just Around the Corner

One of the best restaurants in the city is just around the corner–and it’s been there for over 100 years! Run by Alain Ducasse, it’s a splurge but it’s perfection. We love the roast chicken and the cassoulet, though they aren’t always on the ever-changing menu. Oh, and I love the baba au rhum for dessert!

Benoit

20, Rue Stain Martin

75004