The Paris City Guide

With Paris so easy to reach via train and car, it is no surprise that the French metropole is one of the most visited cities in Europe. 

We created a brand new guide that you can use for your next trip to Paris, France.

WHERE TO EAT

First thing to remember is that you may come back from Paris with a few pounds extra. But who cares! When you are in the city of love, you will have many amazing places to choose from. These are by far our favourites!

  • Terrasse de l’Alcazar

    This is by far one of the best locations in Paris. Tucked away in a side street of the 6th arrondissement, is this trendy restaurant has an indoor garden and international cuisine. They do Sunday brunch and cocktails.

Terrasse de l'Alcazar Paris
The amazing Terrasse de l’Alcazar

  • CoCo Paris

    Undoubtedly, CoCo is one of the most impressive spots located in Paris. Relatively new, they opened in the summer of 2019, next to the Opera. Inside you’ll find palmtrees and a luxurious setting. 

  • Daroco

    Located in Jean Paul Gaultier’s former flagship store, right next to Galerie Vivienne, a beautiful arcade built in 1923. The decor is aaa-mazing, and they serve traditional Italian food.

Restaurant Daroco Paris
Daroco

restaurant CoCo Paris
CoCo

  • Dalmata

    On the other hand, if you like to keep it low key and casual, check out this pink pizza heaven. These Italians are doing it right.Their concept? 202 pizzas maximum are served daily (101 at lunchtime and 101 at dinnertime) to enjoy on the spot or to take away. To get an idea of how many pizzas are left, a counter has been put at the entrance of the restaurant. Brilljant and we are loving the no waste policy!

Dalmata Paris
Dalmata

  • Maison Sauvage

    Regardless if you like hotspots or not, this place looks damn cute. With two floors and an outside terrace, this restaurant makes it work in busy Saint-Germain-des-Prés. They serve healthy comfort food, juices and coffee.

  • Peonies

    Unquestionably, Peonies is our happy place and belongs in this Paris City Guide. They are a café and florist combined and serve a killer Matcha Pink latte including beautifully made pastry, whilst surrounded by fresh flowers. 

Maison Sauvage Paris
Maison Sauvage

  • Café Berry

    Besides being a café, this self-entitled wellness café, has an in-store beauty and nail bar. Needless to say that they are located in the trendy neighbourhood of Le Marais.

Colourful lattes Cafe Berry
Source: Café Berry

  • LouLou

    This Australian lunch spot is always buzzing and serves delish bowls, salads and sandwiches. Furthermore, the service was good and friendly while I was there.

  • Le Pavillon au Canaux

    When you enter the spacious terrace, it is hard not to fall in love with this place. Calmly situated next to the canal, the restaurant has a unique design. If you like, you can dine in a bathtub not to mention the bedroom next door where you can drink your coffee. 

Cafe Paris
Le Pavillon au Canaux

  • Kozy Paris

    If you like pretty food to pimp up your Instagram account, the 3 locations of Kozy Berry will do it for you. 

  • Le Potager de Charlotte

    Vegan or not vegan, you will appreciate this amazing dishes at Le Pontager de Charlotte. Our guest editor Chantelle reviewed them and other vegan restaurants in Paris when they recently opened their second location. Therefore we highly recommend this place to anyone that loves belly friendly foods.

Vegan food in Paris


WHERE TO DRINK

Paris is full of amazing cocktail bars and places where you can drink wine alongside a delicious French cheese platter. These are the best places to do it!

  • Candelaria, 52 rue de Saintonge
    On first sight, you think this is just a tiny taco bar with nothing more than a few tables and a bar. But behind the white door is a secret cocktail bar that takes you down into a Mexican allure with candle lights and an amazing vibe.
  • Comptoir Général, 80, quai de Jemmapes
    This bar has been features in almost all best-bars lists, that being said, it totally deserves to be in those lists. It can be busy during the weekends!

Secret cocktail bar
Just a taco bar?


WHERE TO STAY

Because Paris isn’t the most affordable city, we decided to stay just outside the centre to see what it was like. Surprisingly, the centre of Paris was only a 20 minute metro ride, plus I got to see a more local side of Paris.

  • ibis Styles
    Located at Mairie de Montreuil, the place where the art of cinema started in the early twenties. At first, you may feel that  you are miles away from the heart of Paris, but as shown above, the metro that is located almost next to the hotel, takes you to the city pretty fast. Hotel ibis Styles is the more playful & creative sister of the Ibis you may know. In particular, this hotel has recently been renovated and like all other ibis styles hotels, it took on the theme of the neighbourhood, in this case cinema.

ibis Styles Marie de Montreuil

Given that ibis styles is for every budget, don’t expect anything too fancy. However, the beds are really comfortable and the shutters in the rooms make you sleep like a baby. All rooms are equipped with a flatscreen and designed to match the film theme of the hotel. The breakfast buffet is filled with French pastries, fresh orange juice, cheeses and baguettes. If you want, there is also a fresh authentic bakery across from the metro station that is wonderful. 

Bedroom ibis styles Montreuil

Around the area

The area has a few shops, florists, bakeries and an amazing organic supermarket with options to go plastic-free. You can refill almost anything from oils, coffee, tea, nuts, seeds and even washing detergents! There is also a nice sushi restaurant on the corner from the hotel. Rooms at ibis Styles Paris Marie de Montreuil are available from 120 euro per night.


WHERE TO HANG OUT

As you may know, Paris is huge! That being said, there are a few places we have lined up where you can relax and chill after walking around the city of love all day.

  • The parks in Paris
    There are many parks in Paris but check this overview that we made for you last spring to find the most pretty ones!
  • Anywhere along the Seine! 
    There are many benches around the seine for you to enjoy passing boats, or seeing oil painters creating art in front of you. Crab a baguette and enjoy Paris.
  • Le Marais
    In our opinion, one of the best area’s in Paris. In either case, you will find many café’s, shops and restaurants where you can hang.

Parks in Paris

Paris in a nutshell

In summary, Paris can never be summed up into one city guide as it constantly evolves. However, these places in the French Metropole makes us happy, and we hope they do the same for you.

Bisou,

Elke

5 x Alternative City Trips in France

When you think of a city trip in France, people often think of Paris. Yes, Paris is a wonderful city to explore, but there is so much more! Think of art and culture for example. We’ve lined up 5 French cities that are worth adding onto your city trip list.

1. Marseille

This French and sunny city belongs to the five largest cities in France. Subsequently, it’s also the oldest city in France and this is the charm of Marseille. Situated next to the Mediterranean Sea, the harbour plays an important part to the daily life of Marseille. Eating fresh fish is a must and the same goes for walking around at old Le Vieux-Port harbour and the historic Fort Saint-Jean. A footbridge high above the sea links the Fort Saint-Jean to the emblematic MuCEM, the first museum entirely dedicated to Mediterranean civilizations, directly located by the sea. Don’t miss out the panoramic rooftop terrace which offers an amazing view on Marseille and the sea! From here you can also walk to the MuCEM, which is also an  architectural highlight from the outside. Marseille is also known for its many artist and in the neighbourhood Le Panier you’ll find many ateliers where you can buy art. Talking about crafts, the relatively new Soap Museum shows visitors how it’s made with the traditional tools. Small streets and squares make Le Panier a great place for a coffee on one of the outside terraces. No visit to Marseille is complete without a visit to the beach though. You have a few options but the most popular is Plage des Catalans, a sandy beach close to the city.

Mucem Marseille
Saint Jean Castle and Cathedral de la Major and the Vieux port in Marseille, France Mucem©OTCM

2. Metz

We passed Metz on our way back to the Netherlands last year and it was a great stop if you have a day or two. Metz is a city full of culture, many restaurants and worth a visit to the epic Gothic Cathedral. Did you know that Pompidou-Metz, has become the most visited cultural venues in France outside Paris? This contemporary and modern art institution is a must see on a rainy day (or any day for that matter). Metz has a lot of options when it comes to food. Market stalls, food events and restaurants are reasons why people in transit stop over. Are you planning to go to Metz this summer? With the digital arts festival Constellations de Metz the whole town becomes an exhibition. With the three different routes through the city you get to discover the city, as well as various impressive artworks, like the 5 km ‘Street Art’ route, which takes you past impressive sculptures, murals, installations and expositions.

Metz, France
Metz

3. Montpellier

The medieval streets of Montpellier are perfect for those who love to shop, but the city also offers the sea at just 10km away. For those that have an active lifestyle, Montpellier offers lovely cycling routes that pass vineyards and lakes that will bring you to the Mediterranean Sea. Montpellier is also proven to be hip & happening with the Marché Du Lez, a creative hotspot area where artist, shops, food trucks, restaurants and startups come together. Each month you will find a new exhibition or art show here. Check their agenda for more info. Are you into art? Pay a visit to MoCo Montpellier Contemporain, a multi-site institution dedicated to contemporary art that has opened on the 29th of June! Check out iLa Panacée, one of the three sites where you can have a drink or brunch and see an exhibition.

Montpellier, France
Creative hub March du Lez. ®-du-Lez

4. Tours

Like most French cities, delicious food and wine is in overload in Tours. Modern French cuisines will make you eat until there is no tomorrow and if we need to believe critics, you must try restaurant QG that uses local and seasonal products, making the flavours out of this world. In the same vein, but less high end, you could have lunch and drinks at La Guinguette, located at the foot of Pont Wilson. They also offer workshops, DJ’s and are open every day from May to September! A must visit is the central Place Plumereau in the historic centre of Tours, a pretty square surrounded by 15th-century half-timbered houses which are all listed as historic monuments. Secondly, Tours is located in the Loire Valley, so you can easily reach the castles. Don’t forget to check out the CCCOD, a contemporary art center and exhibition space with various exhibitions every year!

Tours, France
Tours, France

5. Nîmes

Let’s go back to ancient Rome shall we? Nîmes used to be an important outpost for the Roman Empire and is well known for it’s well preserved Roman monuments such as the Arena of Nîmes. The impressive arena was built about 2000 years ago arena but is still used for festivals and events. It comes as no surprise that Nîmes has a museum full of Roman history, the Musée de la Romanité which faces the Arena. But there is more. The Temple de Diane and La Maison Carrée are also great examples that ancient and modern style go well together. Don’t be fooled by the modern/abstract building, inside you can admire Roman pieces that date back thousands of years. From the rooftop you have a wonderful view over the city. Tickets are only €8,-.

Alternative city trips France
Musée de la Romanité and Arena of Nîmes, ®-Stéphane-Ramillon

So next time you are thinking of France, skip the usual city trips and go for something a little different!

Au revoir!

Elke

 

Maison Suisen in Paris | The Spa that brings you to Japan

Whether you’re based in Paris or just visiting, you’ll eventually find yourself caught up in the fast-paced lifestyle on the chic Parisian streets. After living in Paris for almost a year, I have just discovered the perfect way to escape all of this and it does not even require you to board a plane! Spa Maison Suisen will bring you to Japan.

Maison Suisen

Located in the buzzing quarter of La Marais, spa Suisen is the perfect escape from the hectic Parisian lifestyle. Sounds ironic doesn’t it, that the calmest and most relaxing spot in town is situated in the middle of the busiest part of Paris. But trust me, once you step through the door of Spa Suisen, you’re immediately transported to the faraway land of Japan. As the door closes behind you, blocking your daily stress and worries out.

Maison Suisen

Maison Suisen

All-around wellness from the moment you enter

Yes, Suisen is a place where you enjoy the most luxurious Japanese massages, but that’s not all of it. Here at Maison Suisen, both your physical and mental wellness will be taken care of by perfectly trained experts from the moment you step into the centre. To start your me-time right, the house offers you a perfectly brewed cup of Houjicha, a gentle and light toasted green tea imported directly from Japan to unwind you. As I took my first sip of the tea, my body immediately felt relaxed. Take your time and enjoy the tea as you prepare your mind and body for the treatment that follows.

Massage room Maison Suisen, Paris

Total passion for the Japanese art of shiatsu

Before being led to the second floor where the three massage rooms are, Sandra, the owner of Suisen, explained to me in detail, the concept of the centre, the different functions of each tea they offer in house, which are also available for purchase, and the differences between the four treatments they perform and have mastered the art of. As she spoke, I sense a total passion and adoration she holds for the Japanese culture which she has effectively introduced and brought over to Paris.

Each treatment places an equal focus on both the mental and physical aspects of the client.

Maison Suisen, Paris

Complete relaxation for the mind and the body

Time to change into my Japanese outfit and lay down on the tatami, a traditional Japanese mat that is placed on the floor for sleeping or massages. These, too, are flown in directly from Japan, as well as being bio and organically made. Sandra recommended the traditional Shiatsu, which does wonders for my circulation and immune system. There are other options, such as body toning, facial treatment and full body shiatsu with aromatic old to target muscle tension.The masseuse applied pressure to all the right spots, loosening all the tensions in my body. As enjoyable as the physical massage was, I particularly loved the smell of the scented serviette that covered the top half of my face, leaving everything below my nose exposed.

Each inhale smelt better than the last. It was their secret recipe of aromatic fragrances, as I was told.

Massage Maison Suisen

Further indulgence for a perfect end

The hour flew by too quickly. I woke up completely relaxed and despite all the pressured applied to my body, I felt lighter. After the masseuse said her goodbye and left the room, I lazily changed back into my outfit and headed downstairs for another cup of freshly brewed tea. This time, I had Sencha, an energy-boosting green tea with vitamin C. This has a completely different taste to the Houjicha, yet both were equally delicious. My tea came with a citron macaron. You have the option of a Matcha one too! I left Suisen feeling the most relaxed I have ever been and I cannot wait to revisit it.

My Verdict

Aside from the massage, my daily routine had remained the same. Yet, last night, I slept so much better and woke up more rejuvenated than I have been throughout the past week. If it wasn’t the massage, I do not know what it could possibly be!

Spa Suisen
7 rue de Thorigny 75003 Paris
France

Website / Instagram

Love,

Chantelle

*Chantelle is one of our guest editors from Hong Kong. Graduated with a Law degree, she is now taking a break in Paris for the year as she figures out her next step in life. Always passport ready, she is an expert at traveling light and on a budget, although she still enjoys the occasional indulgence in a luxurious holiday. Follow her on Instagram.

 

5 Music Festivals in Paris You Should Attend This Summer

I know Spring has only just arrived, but I’m sure we’re all looking forward to Summer already. Whether you’re a fan of pop music or rock and roll, if you’re planning on visiting the City of Light in the next few months, make sure you read on and check out some of the most phenomenon music festivals that will be held here in Paris, to make your next trip even more memorable!

Solidays

21 – 23 June 2019

The three-day festival is back for its 21st edition this year with close to 80 new concerts from artists such as Macklemore, Josman and Therapie Taxi, an exciting mixture of French and international performers. The coolest thing about the festival has got to be the generous donation they make to organisations combating AIDS each year from the proceeds. As with the previous years, Solidays will be held in l’Hippodrome de Longchamp and you can bag a ticket for as little as 46,50€.

Solidays festival in Paris
©Anais Fayola

The Peacock Society Festival

5 – 7 July 2019

Despite being smaller in size than the other festivals mentioned herein, this annual electronic music festival is not to be missed whether you’re a fan of this music genre or not. Unlike the others, again, The Peacock Society Festival is a night-time festival and the party doesn’t start till 8 pm at Parc Floral de Paris. But, don’t worry, you’ll get your electronic fix by the end of the night (or more accurately, the start of the next day, at 7 am). Make sure you’ve got enough energy to power through the night on the dancefloor to BICEP DJset, The Black Madonna 3H set and Toma Kami. There are still some tickets left for 39€.

The Peacock Society Festival in Paris

Afropunk

13 – 14 July 2019

For the booty shakers and rhythm lovers, for two days each year, Paris puts on a phenomenal line up of iconic and emerging musical talents, celebrating African heritage in the purest way we know how – collectively in a safe environment. The acts this year include Solange, Janelle Monae, Maleek Berry and Masego, just to name a few without giving it all away! This year, Afropunk will take place in La Seine Musicale and tickets go from 65€.

Afropunk Paris

Lollapalooza Paris

20 – 21 July 2019

This originally American music festival Lollapalooza is coming back to Paris this summer, with an impressive line-up that you wouldn’t want to miss, including Twenty Øne Piløts, Martin Garrix and Clean Bandit. The festival will take place at Hippodrome Paris Longchamp, a large racecourse inside Bois de Boulogne, over the weekend. Tickets are on sale from 79€.

Rock en Seine

23 – 25 August 2019

This is undoubtedly one of the biggest music events in Paris. This year, the festival will guarantee insane performances by Major Lazer, Jorja Smith and Aphex Twins. Rock en Seine will be spaced out over three days at Parc de Saint-Cloud, which can easily be reached by metro, tram and buses. Don’t you think this is an adult only festival! Children can also join in the fun at their own Mini Rock en Seine. Tickets are priced from 69€.

Rock en Seine festival in Paris

All five music festivals are different in their own ways, yet the one thing they all have in common is that you will be guaranteed a good time! Book your tickets and pack your festival gears! We can’t wait to hear which music festival you’re ready to rock this Summer!

Love,

Chantelle

*Chantelle is one of our guest editors from Hong Kong. She has lived in three different countries and have travelled across many continents. Graduated with a Law degree, she is now taking a break in Paris for the year as she figures out her next step in life. Always passport ready, she is an expert at traveling light and on a budget, although she still enjoys the occasional indulgence in a luxurious holiday. Follow her on Instagram.

Check our full Festival Guide for 2019!

5 parks in Paris that will look amazing during springtime

Walking around Paris now, you’ll find lots of beautiful cherry blossoms, filling the once empty branches and giving them a lovely pink makeover. Despite the currently cold and rainy weather still, there had been a few weeks of sun and warmth, fully convincing us that Winter has come and gone. Nonetheless, this week, it will officially be Spring and here is a list of the most beautiful parks and gardens in Paris for you to welcome it with open arms!

Jardin du Luxembourg
Located in the 6th arrondissement, Jardin du Luxembourg no doubt is the most beautiful garden in Paris. Surrounded by trees and beautiful plants, you will find the famous Fontaine Médicis, a 17th century fountain, as well as a miniature Statute of Liberty in the park. You cannot miss the beautiful Luxembourg Palace, at the northern end of the jardin. Pay a visit and learn about the interesting history surrounding this wonderful open space.


Jardin du Luxembourg

Bois de Boulogne
This is probably the largest leisure spot in Paris, stretching itself across the 16th arrondissement. Within Bois de Boulogne, you’ll find different sections, including Parc de Bagatelle, Jardin des Serres d’Auteuil (which has the most beautiful greenhouses) and Jardin d’Acclimatation. It will literally take you more than a day to enjoy the entire space, which was also formally a hunting ground for the French Kings. Nowadays, you can find a Michelin star restaurant on a tiny island in the middle of the lake, a museum, children’s playgrounds, as well as a theatre and boat and bicycle hires, just to name a few!

Jardin des Plantes
This beautiful place has 11 gardens, a zoo and several galleries. Jardin des Plantes is not your ordinary botanical garden. Having just hosted its first ever light festival last Christmas period, you can expect more amazing events to come. Whilst some of its exhibitions charge a small amount of entrance fee, the garden and its libraries are free all year round. Under 26 EU citizens can also enjoy the rest of the paying areas for free!

Parc de Buttes-Chaumont
This picturesque park is again, one of the biggest green space in Paris, sat nicely in the 19th arrondissement. Grab yourself a picnic blanket and some good walking shoes. You can find a beautiful waterfall inside the cave. Walk over a long suspended bridge to reach the top of the mountain, where you will come to a nice viewpoint overlooking the city. Although artificial, the lake is a nice area to chill and rest after those hikes.

Parc de Buttes-Chaumont
Parc de Buttes-Chaumont

Parc Monceau
This park is elegantly situated in the 8th arrondissement, with beautiful gardens, a clear pond, many sculptures and a gorgeous Renaissance archway. The park is in the heart of the more upscale neighbourhood, where you will find the Asian Art Museum, Musée Cernuschi. Top tip: walk along Allée de la Comtesse de Ségur towards the direction of Place du Général Brocard, you will see the Arc de Triomphe from there, framed nicely by the black and golden gate.

If you visit one or more of these parks, let us know! We always love seeing you visiting places on our recommendation.

Love,

Chantelle

*Chantelle is one of our guest editor from Hong Kong. She has lived in three different countries and have travelled across many continents. Having been in England for the past nine years and graduated with a Law degree, she is now taking a break in Paris for the year as she figures out her next step in life. Always passport ready, she is an expert at traveling light and on a budget, although she still enjoys the occasional indulgence in a luxurious holiday. You can follow her on Instagram.

Le Potager de Charlotte opens their second Vegan restaurant!

You’ve probably heard me rave about Le Potager de Charlotte in my previous article on Top 10 Vegan Restaurants in Paris, but I am about to tell you everything you need to know about their new restaurant in the fancy 17th arrondissement.

I was so happy to be back at Le Potager de Charlotte but at a completely new location, opened only two days ago. The first restaurant in the 9th district is modest and bright, but this one is definitely the more elegant and stylish of the two.

interior Le Potager de Charlotte

Their goal is to restore the image of plant-based cuisine

Brand new Vegan menu
While preserving their most popular dishes from the first restaurant, diners can enjoy several exclusive new dishes, including a new dish for each course. I have never seen or tasted a more appealing Romane lettuce before this. The paring of the wild rice and red kuri squash cream is unparalleled, the tougher texture of the wild rice is balanced out by the smoothness of the sauce. For this season, they have created the most refreshing mango dessert, paired with cashew vanilla cream and speculos, which I’d highly recommend.

Le Potager de Charlotte food

The right produce at the right time with the right taste and price

Food and drink at Le Potager de Charlotte

Humans of the restaurant
Did you know that the owner of Le Potager de Charlotte, David Valentin, is also a chef at the restaurant? You are sure to be amazed by his magic of turning even the most common Romane lettuce into a deliciously beautiful starter. The two brothers, David and Adrien, are also super attentive, making sure that their customers are having the best dining experience. To take the pressure of having to choose from all the amazing food on the menu, feel free to ask them or any of the waiters for recommendations. In my experience, they’ve been pretty spot on.

vegan dessert

Décor and sustainability
This brand-new restaurant is the definition of interior design goals. Since it is a vegan gourmet restaurant, it is only appropriate to have the entire place covered in green – wall, seats and cushions; and the rest, with minimalistic wooden details. The entire place is transformed into an oasis, completing the whole dining experience. Finally, I want to applause the restaurant for serving their delicious cocktails with glass straws, committing to their ethos of promoting sustainable lifestyle.

interior

At Le Potager de Charlotte, the menu is changed and updated every three months, depending on what is in season. We have always received the warmest welcome visiting the restaurant, so be sure to drop by regularly for their newest and most exciting creations!

Le Potager de Charlotte
12 rue de la Tour d’Auvergne
21 rue Rennequin 75017
Website /Instagram

Love,

Chantelle

 

Top 10 Vegan Restaurants and Cafes in Paris

Happy new year! The post-holiday season is a perfect time to detox and perhaps take part in the annual Veganuary – encouraging people to go vegan for the first month of the year for the benefits of our health, the environment and animal rights. For some, this may not be easy, especially in a city like Paris, where meat and dairy play such significant roles in the diet! Fear not, we’ve sourced out the best vegan restaurants and cafes in Paris for you, without compromising the variety and flavours!

Breakfast
When the buttery croissants and creamy yoghurt bowls basically rule the Parisian breakfast menu, you’d think you wouldn’t even get through your first meal of the day. Don’t worry, BOL offers a selection of healthy porridges, including several vegan options, to start you off warmed up and energized. Still craving that classic Parisian pastry? VG Patisserie has you covered, from just €3,20 you can indulge in a traditional pastry and coffee combo.

BOL Porridge Bar

Whether you want to snack or go all out on a big meal, these vegan restaurants and cafes in Paris have it!

Lunch & Dinner
Who says a vegan diet is restrictive and dull? Grab a veggie-dog to go from HOTVOG. You would not have guessed it’s meatless! Burger Theory Vegan Fast-Food and Hank Burger and Hank Pizza also make vegan-friendly fast food.

Vegan burger at Hank Burger
Vegan burgers at Burger Theory (source)

If you want a sit-down meal with a nice ambience, definitely visit my favourite restaurant in Paris, Le Potager de Charlotte. This vegan gourmet restaurant is opened and run by two attentive and passionate brothers, with a mission to showcase how wonderful vegan cuisine actually is. They source out the freshest local ingredients for all their dishes, combining only the best flavours around the world to create a unique experience for the palette. 

Vegan Salad
Salad at Le Potager de Charlotte

Be sure to order the sweet potato purée – hands down the most delicious dish of all time

Even the juices are made with home-grown apples! The atmosphere of the restaurant is by far the nicest I’ve ever been to and the food itself is unreal! Be sure to order the sweet potato purée – hands down the most delicious dish of all time – and the “hard-boiled egg style” avocado, which tastes exactly like eggs! Also, leave enough stomach space for their refreshing and indulgent desserts! I cannot praise this restaurant enough, and lucky for us, they’re about to open their second restaurant in Paris (30/1), which will have an almost entirely new menu, so make sure you go check it out!

vegan dessert
Vegan dessert at Le Potager de Charlotte

Cafes & Desserts
You can find an entire menu of veggie goodness in Café Pinson. If you visit them for lunch during the week, ask for their Dish of the Day! Got a sweet tooth? Les Petites Patisseries has a huge selection of cakes and tarts, all raw and vegan; all rich in colour and flavour! Vegan Folie’s specialises in vegan cupcakes and gluten-free cheesecakes. La REcyclerie is more than just a café. It aims to raise public awareness of eco-responsible values by hosting a range of events, from workshops to disco almost every day of the year. Not only do they serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, they also have an extensive drink menu and late-night snacks to go with it. The atmosphere there is electric and certainly belongs to the list of top vegan restaurants and cafes in Paris!

les petites patisseries
Vegan sweetness at Les Petites Patisseries. Photo by Violaine Bergoin

Hope this list inspires you to eat more healthily and more consciously, even just for a month! Let us know if you have visited any of these vegan restaurants and cafes before and what you think about them.

Love,

Chantelle

*Chantelle is one of our guest editor from Hong Kong. She has lived in three different countries and have travelled across many continents. Having been in England for the past nine years and graduated with a Law degree, she is now taking a break in Paris for the year as she figures out her next step in life. Always passport ready, she is an expert at traveling light and on a budget, although she still enjoys the occasional indulgence in a luxurious holiday. You can follow her on Instagram.

New Hotel in Paris! Courtyard Paris Gare de Lyon

It’s time for a baby shower because the Marriot Hotel family is welcoming a new member. Her name is Courtyard Paris Gare de Lyon; a hotel created by business travelers, for business travelers. Consisting of 19 floors, 249 guestrooms and a 360° hypnotizing view. With her passionate personality, modern style and bubbly attitude she’s not only a valued addition to the Marriott chain but also to the city of l’amour & la moda; Paris

Courtyard meets Gare de Lyon
No more green, grey and white: courtyard is completely restyled. The design of the hotel is spacious and professional. No frills or overly decorated rooms. What I personally appreciate is that they manage to give the hotel a creative twist, but still very functional, by using a lots of yellow. By using Mondrian like lines as a symbol for train tracks throughout the building, the hotel integrates the surrounding, where the famous station Gare de Lyon is based. Not only the interior of the hotel is brand new. This old office building is completely renewed to match the restyling. Also on the outside you can find train track inspired details, like the lighted lines which form a rail design over the length of the building.

It’s not only the beautiful Courtyard Paris Gare de Lyon which will rejoice you looking out of the window. The hotel offers 46 rooms with Eiffel Tower view and 51 rooms where you can see the Sacré Coeur.

Courtyard Paris Gare de Lyon

Everything that you need and nothing more
By leaving out unnecessary luxury but only providing the standard necessities for a comfortable night sleep, Courtyard manage to offer quality for a lower price point. Simple and smart perfectly describes the room. The rooms have a modern design; clean and cozy at the same time which, for me, is the perfect combination. Because the strong focus on business travelers the rooms are also very suitable for catching up a few hours of work in between meetings (what I also should have done but the bed was too cozy so I took a power nap instead).

Lobby
The lobby of Courtyard Paris Gare de Lyon

In my opinion the room only had 2 downsides.
● They don’t offer room service, which is not possible for the current price point but still something you should take into account.
● The bathroom is really small. Very nicely designed, but small. This could also just be my room. And, alright, I’m 1,80m so it’s pretty easy to find something small but it took away some of the comfort 😉

Hotel view

International Food with a twist Francaise.
The menu is a combination of authentic, seasonal local specialties mixed with international dishes. The whole hotel staff is very passionate about the qualities of the kitchen which was a great thing to see. They don’t just focus on providing the guests with a meal, they aim to provide an experience. The chefs work with a lot of local produce, offer vegetarian options and even grow their own herbs on the roof. This is not only beneficial for the seasoning but also a far more sustainable way to cook which I strongly promote. Craving some good-old comfort food? No worries, you can still find the hamburg & fries on the menu.


Tip: had un croissant or plateau de fromages too many? The gym in the hotel is open 24-hours.

Re-discovering Paris
Courtyard Paris Gare de Lyon is not directly in the touristic centre of Paris but just wait with ordering your Uber right away. This area, the geographic centre of Paris, is an upcoming neighbourhood and currently attracting many millennials. Big-hitting must-see sights such a Bastille and Notre Dame de Paris are within walking distance. In addition, the area is also a transport hub so if you do want to visit the other side of the city there are many travel possibilities.

Paris
Colourful Rue Cremieux

Tip: Enjoy Paris from the water during a cruise or increase your instagram likes by taking a photo of the colorful photography hotspot Rue Cremieux.
Tip: Still got some energy left at the end of the day and want to jump into the nightlife? Wandering up towards Bastille you’ll find many bars but if you’re up for a new experiences, try LeCallbar. You’ll get your favorite drink served by a staff member only in underwear. Don’t ask me why.

Courtyard Paris Gare de Lyon

The most important question after visiting an hotel is: would I visit the Courtyard again? For me, it is a definite yes. The main reasons are the comfort of the rooms and functional but creative design of the hotel. It’s the perfect place for a business trip or even sightseeing weekend.
And let’s be honest, who doesn’t want to wake up standing eye to eye with the Eiffel Tower?

Courtyard Paris Gare de Lyon
209-211 Rue de Bercy, Paris
Website

Love,

Eva

*Eva is one of our guest bloggers from Amsterdam. She’s a city girl who only leaves her heels at home when wearing a backpack. Living by the urge to be where she’s not, to explore, experience, fall and get up. You can follow her on Instagram.

Marxito is Paris’s latest Hotspot (and it’s pink!)

Do you ever want to have street food but fear the quality of the vendors? Also, does the term ‘fast food’ makes you immediately think of oily, fat and bad quality food? Worry not, chef Thierry Marx is about to alter your perception and make fast food great again! Say hello to Marxito by Thierry Marx.

Refreshing concept
With a growing emphasis on healthy eating, many restaurants have come up with organic and vegan menus to attract the increasingly health conscious consumers. Author of seven cookbooks and chef at many luxury hotels, Thierry Marx is one of the most prolific and innovative figures in the culinary world. Along with the renowned interior designer Ora Ito, the pair created a charming little place in the heart of Champs-Elysées (perfect for refuelling after a shopping spree). Marxito is not only an experience for your mouth but also for your eyes.

Marxito

Do not underestimate its size! They fill you up quicker than you’d think

Simplistic all-day menu
The menu is simple and with only four different savoury ‘Marxitos’ – including meat, fish and veggie options, a favour to those who have a hard time deciding what to eat (me!) The ‘Marxitos’ are the chef’s attempt in putting a Japanese twist to the classic French crêpe, turning it into a healthier and tastier ‘fast food burger’. Do not underestimate its size! They fill you up quicker than you’d think.

Marxito Paris

Marxito ice-cream

The restaurant also does breakfast ‘Marxitos’ with egg and cheese or with jam, for the those with a sweet tooth. All ingredients are sourced organically and naturally! You can witness the whole process at the see-through counter. Even the ice creams are made to order, ensuring everything is fresh and of the highest quality. Each savoury Marxitos cost only €10 to €13. I recommend trying the Pastrami one! It has the most flavour and is the most filling. For lunch, you can make it a menu with a drink and a dessert for only a few extra euros! Probably the healthiest and most affordable lunch you could find in this area.

Petit Dej Marxito

Instagrammable design
Here in Marxito, pink is not restricted to Wednesdays. As you go in, you will be overwhelmed with an explosion of pink, from the counter to the tables. The design is minimalist yet beautiful, slightly resembling the famous restaurant Sketch from London, but less over the top and more welcoming. The fast food restaurant is usually quiet, perfect for those who wish to enjoy their meal and work simultaneously but do expect a long queue of people during lunch hours, as they hurry in for a quick sit down meal or a takeaway.

Chantelle at Marxito
Trying the ice-cream at Marxito

Delightful staff
A culinary experience would not be complete without good service. The staff were friendly and helpful, plus their recommendations are spot on!

Located just at the roundabout of Champs-Elysées, Marxito is the new spot in town for you to grab breakfast, lunch or just a quick snack during the week. They also have an extensive (non-alcoholic) drinks menu.

Marxito
1bis Rue Jean Mermoz, 75008 Paris, France
Website / Instagram

Love,

Chantelle

*Chantelle is one of our guest editor from Hong Kong. She has lived in three different countries and have travelled across many continents. Having been in England for the past nine years and graduated with a Law degree, she is now taking a break in Paris for the year as she figures out her next step in life. Always passport ready, she is an expert at traveling light and on a budget, although she still enjoys the occasional indulgence in a luxurious holiday. You can follow her on Instagram.

 

 

Cruising the rivers of France with Nicols (without a license!)

Sailing alongside the Great Barrier reef? Yes, I’ve done it, but with help of an experienced captain of course. Cruising across a river in France WITHOUT any navigation experience or having a boat license? Yep, done that too! How? Read on..

Last week I sailed across the Saône river in France with a huge boat by Nicols, a boating company that offers a variation of boats that you can rent at different locations across Europe. The cool thing is, that you don’t need a boat or sailing license to cruise along the rivers. Boating holidays like these are well known by the French, the English and the Germans, but Funny enough, many Dutch still haven’t heard of it.

Nicols invite me to try it for one week. Cruising from Dole, all the way up to Port Sur Saône by boat. Or may I say yacht. It was huge! The boat they provided for us, was the Estivale Sixto. It had 3 bedrooms, 2 toilets, 2 bathrooms, a kitchen and a living area. Oh, and I forgot to mention the large sundeck big enough for 8 people. Instead of 8 people, me, my hubby and our child Caiden opted for the challenge.


The Estivale Sixto

Which Route is right for you?

We cruised along the Saône river, which is located in North East France, but Nicols has 19 other route options in France, 2 in Germany and 1 in Portugal. All river cruises have one thing in common; it’s quiet, relaxing and peaceful. Don’t expect to visit big cities, with many bars or restaurants. Some villages are so tiny, they only count 82 inhabitants! (as long as they have a bakery right?)

Your confidence will grow after a few locks

154 km with a total of 23 locks. Locks?! I hear you think. Yes, that was a first for me too. When you cruise the rivers, you have locks to account for, and for this, you need your full attention. I must admit, the locks gave me some nerves a view times. You need to toss a rope, hope someone on shore will catch it, or otherwise you need to climb up a very steep stairs, while the boat manoeuvres it’s way into the lock. It was my job to do it right. The boyfriend would steer, while our little boy sat in in high chair, watching the spectacle with his lifejacket on.

Nicols boot cruising

nicols boat
AiAi Captain!

Tunnel
Tunnel vision!

ROUTE 3 : DOLE – PORT-SUR-SAÔNE
(Some of the towns & villages we passed)

  • Dole: starting point and such a cute town! I advise you to stay the night here and enjoy the small streets, and smell of fresh baguettes.
  • Auxonne: Church, castle, museum, a few small restaurants near the water
  • Pontallier-sur-Saône: Square de la Vierge (plantsoen), kasteel van Talmay, wasplaatsen
  • Heuilley-sur-Saône: La maison de l’eau, de la pêche et de la nature (museum over water, visserij en natuur)
  • Essertenne-et-Cecey: Very small village
  • Mantoche: Caste & Chruch
  • Gray: A bigger town with a tourist office, a nice outside terrace, some restaurants and shops. TIP: I advise you to dock the boat one lock further where you have a camping with a nice restaurant, swimming pool and BBQ’s.
  • Ray-sur-Saône: A big castle, other than that, not much to see
  • Scey-sur-Saône: Navigate your boat through a 640 meters long tunnel, very cool!
  • Port-sur-Saône: The final destination, park your boat in the harbour, visit the deer park, swimming pool

If you want a little more buzz, you should check out the south route from Port Lauragais or Le Somail where you pass Carcasonne.

Nicols Boat
Dole, France

In The Middle of Nowhere

You can stop whenever you want and dock almost everywhere you want. At first we docked at small harbors, located at villages, but as our confidence grew, we docked in the middle of nature a few times. Tip: buy enough water and food, because there might not be a supermarket nearby for a few miles. We took our bicycles and explored a few villages where we could only find cows, cornfields and farms. I really felt like I was in the middle of nowhere, and where wifi didn’t matter. Sometimes we stayed at campings, other times next to a cornfield, drinking vino underneath the stars. In order to get to your final docking place on time, you need to cruise about 20km a day. We did around 25 – 30 km a day, so you’ll easily make it.


Docking in the middle of nature (spiders also loved it!)

Cows in France
Landscapes and cows is what you are going to see a lot of

Nicols boat
Some of the cute houses we passed

Add Some Extra’s

At Nicols you have a few add on’s you can go for. You can hire bicycles for example, which are super handy if you decide to dock in the middle of nowhere and you need to get some fresh croissants for breakfast. You can also hire an inflatable pool, which is nice for those hot days. Some boats even have a small pool on board! (see photo)

Nicols
Pool on board, why not! (source: Nicols)

Breakfast on board
Le Petit Dejeunér on board

My Verdict:

Such a unique experience! Mind you, cruising a river, isn’t like cruising the open sea, with the opportunity to visit (busy) jetset islands, with many restaurants, shops or bars. If you decide to rent a boat with Nicols, you will relax, appreciate nature, and add some navigation skills to your resumé. (I learned something new everyday!) It’s perfect for couples, a group of friends or families. Dogs are allowed on deck! Cost: The boat that I had with all the add on’s and Diesel, cost around €3570,-. It was big enough to share with 3 couples.

Nicols Boats
Wesbite

Love,

Elke

More travel tips?