Imagine this: you’ve just decided that you feel like spending a weekend in Paris. You pick a date and browse for tickets. You’re super excited and can’t wait for it to arrive. A week before departure it all of a sudden hits you that you haven’t had the time to look into the things you would like to see, do, or eat. What’s the best way to spend your weekend?
For everyone who can relate to this, don’t panic: I’ve made an overview of my favourite places. In case you’d like to follow a route, I’ve outlined some scenarios below. If you would like to determine your own route, then check out my complete list of recommendations.
Enjoy your visit!
Scenario 1: You’re going with friends // are into museums and exploring the city // although you don’t need to see the obvious touristic places
Go for traditional French cuisine at (1) Chez Janou or Café de l’Industrie, and for desert grab an icecream at (2) Amorino 1 Rue des Francs Bourgeois. Walk towards the river to enjoy Paris by night. Alternatively have a cocktail at Candelaria, Le Marie Celeste, Sherry Butt, or The Little Red Door. All located in Le Marais.
If you would like to explore Saint Germain, then grab an Uber or take the bike to (3) Prescription Cocktail Club.
Click on the pointers on the map below to check your route.
Start your day at (1) La Maison Plisson. Head to Le Marais via (2) Place des Vosges and (3) Rue des Francs Bourgeois. Take a right at (4) Rue Vieille du Temple and have a small bite at (5) Café Peloton. Then cross the (6) Pont Louis Philippe and (7) Pont de l’Archevêché towards Saint Germain. Via (8) Boulevard Saint Germain, take a right at (9) Boulevard Saint-Michel and walk into (10) Jardin du Luxembourg. Exit at the other end and head to (10) Rue de Babylone, where you can relax for an afternoon tea at (11) Coûtume. At the end of the street, head right at Boulevard des Invalides to arrive at (12) Invalides, or go to Musée Rodin which is right around the corner, to enjoy the art and nice garden.
Go to (13) Le Tribeca for dinner and walk to (14) Palais de Tokyo for a nightly museum visit (open until 11:30PM). On the way, check out the flickering Eiffel Tower which flickers every whole hour from sunset until 1AM.
Have breakfast at (1) La Maison Plisson and walk north towards (2) Canal Saint Martin where you can go for lunch at (3) Chez Prune, or head up to the Sacre Coeur to enjoy a view over Paris and the Pigalle neighborhood.
Scenario 2: You’re off for a romantic weekend
Have dinner in Le Marais. Go for Southern French vibes to (1) Chez Janou or head to all time favourite Café de l’Industrie. From either of these restaurants, grab an icecream at (2) Amorino 1 Rue des Francs Bourgeois, and walk towards the (3) river to enjoy Paris by night. From here, you can see a flickering (4) Eiffel Tower (which lasts for 5 minutes) every whole hour from sunset until 1AM.
Click on the pointers on the map below to check your route.
Start your day at (1) La Maison Plisson. From here, walk to Saint Germain, crossing the (2) ‘love lock’ Pont de l’Archevêché. Have a stroll through (3) Jardin du Luxembourg. Take the bike to go to (4) Le Tribeca for lunch and explore the many shops at Rue Cler. In the afternoon, go to a museum, stroll through Le Marais, or head to the (5) Sacre Coeur for a nice view of Paris. Explore the Pigalle neighbourhood, and check out (6) Le mur des je t’aime (although this might be getting a bit too cliché).
As you’ve had a large lunch, go to (7) Prescription Cocktail Club for cocktails and small snacks.
Go for a late breakfast at any bakery in Le Marais, or head back to (1) La Maison Plisson. Then walk towards (2) Jardin des Plantes via Boulevard Bourdon, or head into the other direction to walk towards (3) Canal Saint-Martin where you can enjoy a lunch at (4) Chez Prune.
Scenario 3: It’s ladies weekend // you have a keen interest in (vintage) shopping
As you’ll be spending a lot of time in Le Marais this weekend, head somewhere else on Friday. For example, go for dinner and drinks at (1) Maria Magdalena in Pigalle, or head to Saint Germain where you first have dinner at (2) Le Canton and then head to (3) Prescription Cocktail Club for drinks.
Click on the pointers on the map below to check your route.
Start off with breakfast at (1) La Maison Plisson. Then walk into le Marais via (2) Place des Vosges. Via Place des Vosges you’ll arrive at (3) Rue des Francs Bourgeois where you’ll find all the French brands, beauty shops and pharmacies. On this street, take a right to (4) Rue de Sévigné to find Sandro’s, Maje’s and Claudie Pierlot’s outlets. Walk back to Rue des Francs Bourgeois and continue until you hit (5) Rue Vieille du Temple where you’ll find most vintage stores. Take a right on this street and walk into (6) Rue des Rosiers on your third right. Walk down the street until you hit (7) Le Loir dans La Théière, where you have lunch.
In the afternoon, walk towards (8) Rue Bonaparte where you can enjoy a macaron at (9) La Durée. Cross the main street and walk into (10) City Pharma to shop for beauty products at the cross section with Rue du Four. If beauty products weren’t on your list, then take a right to Rue de Sèvres to end up at Le Bon Marché, Paris’ poshest department store.
Alternatively, take the metro to Marché aux Puces in Saint-Ouen after you’ve had breakfast, to shop for second hand clothing, furniture, books and much more. Move the Saturday morning and afternoon program to Sunday.
Believe me or not, but for breakfast there is really only one place you need to visit: La Maison Plisson.
La Maison Plisson
93 Boulevard Beaumarchais, 75003
Talking in superlatives is the only way to describe this place, because this is your ultimate breakfast stop. La Maison offers only the highest quality products which it sources from all over Europe. For breakfast, there´s a wide variety of options, from pastries (croissants, pains au chocolat, brioches) to granola yoghurt to sweet and salty baguettes, with accompanying drinks (fresh orange juice, a juice of the day in the weekend, or a nice coffee or tea). Besides, it has some of the most customer friendly staff I´ve ever met and you´ll never get bored staring out of the window from one of the window seats. In terms of food, I highly recommend the brioche and the croissant aux amandes. The pain au chocolat is also delicious but this one I recommend sharing, because it contains so much butter you won´t be able to eat for the rest of the day (take my word for it). Besides breakfast, it also offers delicious lunch and dinner, has very long opening hours (open from 08:30AM until 21:00PM) and has an épicerie where you´ll find the loveliest cheese, ham, and other high quality food. Don´t leave Paris before bringing a visit to these guys!
Price | 2,50 euro for coffee, 5 euro for most other drinks | 2,50 euro for pastries like croissants and brioches, +/- 6 euro for granola yoghurt, 3,50 euro for half a baguette with butter and jam
There are way too many nice places for lunch, but below an overview of my top 5.
Marché des enfants rouges
38 rue de Bretagne 75003
This indoor market right in the center of Le Marais is a great place to try out stuff from all sorts of different kitchens. You can sit down at a restaurant or go for take away. It´s also very affordable, so a very good option if you’re planning to have a large dinner.
Price | +/- 5 euro per dish to take away, a bit more expensive if you sit down.
4 Rue Dupetit-Thouars 75003 Paris
Go to Café Crème for some of the best burgers and clubsandwiches of Paris. It is nicely situated in the north of Le Marais and it has a nice vibe. You might have to wait a little as it’s always packed, but the wait is definitely worth it.
Price | 5 euro for drinks, +/- 13 euro for a burger or club sandwich
Le Loir dans la Théière
3 rue des Rosiers, 75004
This place offers amazing lunch and has the largest variety of pies you can imagine. It has a relaxed vibe, and laid back interior. For lunch you won’t regret ordering the club sandwich and in case you’re in for a pie, any pie is delicious but the lemon pie outstanding. In the weekend it opens for tea/coffee + cake at 3:30PM, before that it´s lunch only. On Saturdays there´s always a line so make sure you get there on time.
Price | 5 euro for drinks, +/- 12 euro for a club sandwich, +/- 6 euro for a piece of pie
56 rue des Rosiers, 75004
If you like crêpes and enjoy going for a stroll through Le Marais at the same time, then head to this place. They offer some of the most delicious sweet and salty crêpes to-go, are friendly, fast and its crêpes are normally priced. If you like sweet stuff then have a crêpe au sucre et au citron (sugar with lemon).
Price | +/- 3 euro for a sweet crêpe, a little more expensive for a salty one
36 rue Cler, 75007
While Le Tribeca in the popular rue Cler is relatively far away from the hip and happening Le Marais district, you won´t regret paying a visit to the 7th arrondissement where you can visit Napoleon´s grave at Invalides or go for a stroll at Champ de Mars. Besides, there’s more than enough to see in rue Cler itself. The clubsandwich (clearly a pattern with the club sandwich) and goat cheese salad are delicious, and you can sit outside all year round to watch the people passing by. Also lovely for dinner!
Price | 5 euro per drink, +/- 15 euro per dish
Paris is probably the best pastry city I know, so enjoy a piece of pie, a macaron, or a nice icecream while you’re strolling the streets. Again, my top 5:
Le Loir dans la Théière
3 rue des Rosiers, 75004
Le Peloton Café
17 Rue du Pont Louis-Philippe 75004
Very chill place to work or enjoy a nice coffee, chocolate waffle or rhubarb soda. Furthermore, the owner from New Zealand is super friendly, and this place has one of the best playlists. In case of nice weather, sit outside on the little bench. Le Peloton also offers bike tours to the Champagne.
Price | 2,50 euro for coffee, 5 euro for most other drinks, +/- 6 euro for pastries
31 Rue Vieille du Temple, 75004
This Italian ice cream chain can be found anywhere in Paris, but the ones at 31 Rue Vieille du Temple and 1 Rue des Francs Bourgeois are best located for a stroll through le Marais or a walk over Ile Saint Louis. If you really want to try good French icecream then head to Berthillon. You’ll find an Amorino (47 Rue Saint-Louis en l’Île, 75004 ) and a Berthillon (29-31 Rue Saint-Louis en l’Île) on Ile Saint Louis within 2 minutes walking distance, in case you want to try both.
Price | 3,90 euro for the smallest icecream cup
21 rue Bonaparte, 75006
Go here for the best macarons in Paris. Order some for take-away or sit down for a high tea. La Durée is competing with Pierre Hermé , the other famous macaroon shop. While Hermé offers more seasonal and experimental flavors, La Durée goes for classic ones. If you can´t decide or if you want to try out both (always an option ;)) go to Saint Germain where you´ll find a store from each chain at rue Bonaparte: Pierre Hermé is at number 72, while la Durée is at 21.
Price | 2 euro per macaron
47 rue de Babylone, 75007
This place has a great interior, nice staff, and great coffee and pastries. The banana bread is to die for. It’s situated close to Le Bon Marché, Paris’ fanciest department store, so if you like shopping then go to Le Bon Marché first and relax afterwards at Coutûme.
Price 2,50 euro for coffee, 5 euro for most other drinks, +/- 5 euro for pastries
I’ve had some of the best dinners in Paris. The atmosphere is simply unique and the food absolutely lovely. If you’ve got only one night to spend in Paris, then go to Café de l´Industrie. Tip: don’t arrive at any restaurant before 8PM.
Café de l´Industrie
16 rue Saint Sabin, 75004
You can´t leave Paris before having visited these guys. There is no other place in Paris (or probably anywhere else) where I´ve had dinner as often as in this restaurant. It´s a typically Parisian restaurant with a great French décor. What I love most about this place is its ambiance which is created by the chit-chat of the guests. Its staff is always friendly and service is very quick. The lovely food finishes it off: its menu offers a wide variety of options (pasta, salad, classic French plates, meat and fish) and is very decently priced. I recommend the carpaccio with gratin, the confit de canard, and a tiramisu or mi-cuit au chocolat for desert.
Any day of the week is a good day to visit this place, but you´ll have the nicest atmosphere on a Friday or Saturday night. An absolute must do.
Price | +/- 12 euro per dish, 6 euro per dessert, +/- 4 euro for non-alcoholic drinks
2 Rue Roger Verlomme, 75003
This idyllic Southern French restaurant has a great vibe, delicious food and a really funny staff. The gambas and tuna have been approved, as well as the mousse au chocolat for dessert (which is a must-try!).
Price | 16-22 euro per main dish, 5 euro for drinks, 8 euro for dessert
50 Rue François Miron, 75004
For anyone into Italian food, Fuxia is a really nice option. The melanzane alla parmegiana is to die for. Although this chain has various restaurants all over Paris, the one in Le Marais has the nicest vibe, and allows you to walk to Ile Saint Louis for an Amorino icecream if you fancy a dessert.
Price | 13-18 euro per main dish, 5 euro for drinks
Sushi is relatively cheap in Paris. So if you’re into sushi then here are two great places:
9 Rue de la Verrerie, 75004
This place has delicious sushi for a very decent price. Also, they are fast and friendly. My favourite: the chirashi saumon (salmon bowl). The bento box is a good alternative, as it allows you to try out various dishes. This might be my second most visited place for dinner.
Price | 4-8 euro for sushi pieces, 12-16 euro for dishes like the chirashi saumon, 4 euro for drinks
6 Place du Marché Sainte-Catherine, 75004
The advantage of this place over the previous one is that it is situated on a square with a couple of other nice restaurants. In addition, quality seems to be a bit better although the difference is minor. Its location and apparent higher quality come at a price: you’ll pay slightly more here. Especially great with nice weather.
Price 4-8 euro for loose sushi pieces, +/- 17 euro for main dishes, 5 euro for drinks
5 rue Gozlin, 75006
This tiny family restaurant in Saint Germain des Prés serves some of the best Chinese food in town. Father and son are both super friendly and will make you feel right at home. Take the specialty poulet au citron as main course and the perles de coco for desert. After you´re done, you can head straight to Saint Germain for a cocktail. For anyone into Asian food this is a must go-to.
Price | +/- 15 euro per main dish, 5 euro for drinks, 6-8 euro for desserts
30 rue des cinq Diamants, 75013
This chain from the South West of France offers Basques specialties. It has a great atmosphere and fantastic food. What I like about it is that it’s located at Butte aux Cailles in the south of Paris where you wouldn’t normally go. A little treasure!
Price | 12-16 euro per main dish, 5 euro for desserts, 3-5 euro for drinks
There are an endless number of nice cocktail bars in Paris. Go to Prescription Cocktail Club in Saint Germain if you can see only one.
Le Marie Celeste
1 rue Commines, 75003
Great bar at a great location, it has an especially nice décor. One of my favourites!
Price | 12- 14 euro for cocktails, +/- 8 euro for non-alcoholic cocktails
52 rue de Saintonge, 75003
Probably the best hidden cocktail bar in Paris. You´ll need to pass through the kitchen of another restaurant to arrive here. Nicely situated in le Marais.
Price | 12 – 16 euro for cocktails, +/- 8 euro for non-alcoholic cocktails
Prescription Cocktail Club
rue Mazarine, 75006
Probably my favorite cocktail bar because of the great drinks, lovely staff and great décor. It also offers small bites like mini hamburgers or cheese / ham platters that are delicious. A great night out guaranteed, also during weekdays.
Price | 12-16 euro for cocktails, 8 – 11 euro for non-alcoholic cocktails
Other nice cocktail bars are:
Maria Magdalena, 41 Rue de la Rochefoucauld, 75009
Experimental Cocktail Club, 37 Rue Saint-Sauveur, 75002
Le Cœur Fou, 55 Rue Montmartre, 75002
Le Cafe Noir, 65 Rue Montmartre, 75002
Le zero zero, 89 Rue Amelot, 75011
Le Grand Palais
3 Avenue du Général Eisenhower, 75008
Magnificent building at great location. One of the greatest exhibitions I’ve ever seen – the one by Anish Kapoor – was held here. Chanel’s fashion shows are also held here.
Price ticket | 15 euro
La Fondation Louis Vuitton
8 Avenue du Mahatma Gandhi, 75116
This building is a piece of amazing architecture, founded by Louis Vuitton. While the luxury brand has held its fashion shows here, you won’t find Louis Vuitton items in the museum itself. Instead, you’ll find great exhibitions by all sorts of artists from around the globe. Furthermore, it’s right next to Bois de Boulogne, so you can make it a day trip and go for a stroll in the park after having visited La Fondation.
Price ticket | 14 euro
Palais de Tokyo
13 Avenue du Président Wilson, 75116
Palais de Tokyo has some of the nicest exhibitions in town, is worth a visit just for the building itself, has very long opening hours (until midnight), and an attached restaurant where they serve nice food.
Price ticket | 12 euro
Musée Marmottan Monet
2 Rue Louis Boilly, 75016
If you’re into impressionism, then Le Marmottan is your museum. It has permanent collections from Monet and Morisot, and usually shows work from Pissarro and Renoir. Absolutely amazing!
Price ticket | 11 euro
Paris has beautiful parks all over the city. Have a look at some of these:
This square in Le Marais has a great atmosphere. In the park, locals are reading a book, play jeu de boules, or enjoy a pic-nic. You’ll also find lots of tourists, young and old. If you can’t handle the sun, find some shadow under the trees at the sides of the park. If you prefer a terrass, sit down at one of the restaurants situated around the park. Great place all year round.
Square Saint-Gilles du Grand Veneur
9 Rue du Grand Veneur, 75003
This tiny square is very quiet, great for reading a book, and mostly visited by locals. It’s hidden from the main streets so very quiet and peaceful.
Lovely botanical garden with hundreds of flowers, a rose garden, a mini zoo, and various glass houses with exotic plants. Around June/July all the flowers will be blossoming. Also great for running.
Pretty touristic, but you´ll find enough Parisians reading a book, playing tennis or playing jeu de boules. The garden is exotic, and especially in summer it feels like a tropical holiday escape.
Cinéma en plein air
Parc de la Villette, 75019
In July and August the open air cinema screens movies in Parc de la Villette from Tuesdays until Saturdays. A must-do if you´re in Paris during these months. Reserving tickets is recommended.
Parc des Buttes-Chaumont
1 Rue Botzaris, 75019
A great place for lying in the grass reading a book. Especially nice in Spring/Summer. If you prefer a terrass over grass, then head to Rosa Bonheur situated 100m from the main entrance of the park (Parc des Buttes Chaumont, 2 Allée de la Cascade)
A canal just north-east of le Marais. Great place to have a pic-nic or have a drink & enjoy a cheese platter in one of the many cafés, for example at Chez Prune, 36 Rue Beaurepaire, 75010. Especially nice in Spring/Summer.
The Sacre Cœur not only gives you a great view over Paris (access is free), but also has a nice neighborhood when you walk down from the Sacre Cœur to Pigalle metro station. Pass by Place du Tertre (Place du Tertre, 75018) where you’ll find lots of painters, and Le mur des je t’aime (Square Jehan Rictus, Place des Abesses, 75018).
Paris is vintage heaven for people who like old stuff. Most second hand clothing shops are located in le Marais, but you can find vintage markets throughout the city pretty much any day of the year.
Weekly antique markets in Paris
If you love antique markets and vintage clothing, make sure to check out Brocabrac.fr a website that lists upcoming vide greniers (second hand clothing markets) and brocantes (antiques markets) all over Paris during the week and on weekends. For the real vintage die hards!
Second hand clothing stores
You can find most vintage shops in these streets:
Rue de la Verrerrie
Rue des Rosiers
Rue Ste Croix de la Bretonnerie
For Kiliwatch and Episode go to rue de Tiquetonne, 75002
Second hand furniture
You’ll be in second hand furniture heaven at Marché aux Puces.
Marché aux Puces
30 Avenue Gabriel Péri
This is second hand furniture heaven. You’ll also find lots of other cool stuff here, like clothing, shoes and books. The easiest metro stop is Garibaldi. Walk to Rue des Rosiers or Rue Jules Vallès. Opened on Saturdays and Sundays from 09:00 to 18:00. For more info, check out the market’s official website.
Sale period in France is regulated. Summer sale starts the last Wednesday in June, while Winter sale starts the second Tuesday from January. It lasts for six weeks. Check this website if you want to make sure you´re booking your tickets for the right period. If you go to Paris outside the sale period but still want to shop at a discount, head to one of the outlets of the French brands. They will offer the collection from the year before at 20 – 50% discounts.
The main shopping streets in Le Marais are:
Rue des Francs Bourgeois
Rue Vieille du Temple
Rue des Rosiers
Rue des Archives
For the women reading this: Paris has the greatest offer of beauty products. In it’s pharmacies you’ll find more products than you could have imagined. Go to City Pharma if you’re out to shop all that’s on your wish list in once, for the best price.
26 rue du Four, 75006
Paris has lots of pharmacies, but there is only one that’s famous: City Pharma in Saint Germain. Don’t leave Paris before visiting this place because it’s beauty heaven. It offers products from more beauty brands than you can imagine (Vichy, La Roche-Posay, Avène, Nuxe, Bioderma, Caudalie and many more) , has the best discounts, and there is plenty of staff to answer all your questions. It’s good to strategize what to buy before entering this store because especially on weekends it’s packed. Closed on Sundays.
If you’ve been too busy doing other things on Saturday and still want to pass by a French pharmacy on Sunday, then head to Pharmacie de la Mairie in Le Marais.
Paris is best discovered by foot or by bike.
I highly recommended discovering the city by public bike, the Vélib. Pay €1,70 per day, or €8 per week. A lot cheaper than going by metro and you’ll see a lot more! Payment by creditcard, at most public bike stations.
If you’ve used this guide for your trip, I’d love to know where you went!