Amy Thomas is one busy woman. I first met her at a little soirée in Montmartre, but of course I knew of Amy long before that. After all, she is the blogger behind God I Love Paris and Sweet Freak – both sentiments to which I can relate. But Amy is also an advertising copywriter who, after an assignment that kept her in Paris for two years, lives in New York City, as well as an editorial writer whose work has been featured in the New York Times, Time Out, Town & Country, Lucky and New York magazine. And, as if that isn’t enough to make even the most ambitious writer’s head spin, she’s also working on a book that will be published early next year, with a working title of “Paris, My Sweet: A Year in the City of Light (and Dark Chocolate).” That she even found the time to share her Paris favorites with us is astonishing, so read on to get Amy’s inside insights on life in the French capital.
The second arrondissement because it was my home for two years. But sentimental reasons aside, it’s food heaven. Between rue Montorgueil’s fromageries, boulangeries and produce markets; restaurants like Frenchie; cocktail clubs like Experimental; and kitchen emporiums like the famed E. Dehilleron; plus the twice-weekly outdoor market near Saint Eustache, well, is there any reason to leave? Plus the pedestrian streets are filled with young, hip locals—great entertainment and even better fashion cues.
Nothing will ever top my experience of lunching at Le Grand Vefour. It was sumptuous, historic, romantic and charming. But if I had to pick a more “realistic” restaurant for an everyday meal, it would be La Régelade Saint-Honore for its irresistible menu and impeccable presentation or Chez l’Ami Jean for its old-school charm and delicious decadence.
Guilo Guilo—another gem where you’re guaranteed to have an unforgettable meal. Each little dish of the eight-course Japanese menu is presented as beautifully as a gift. And so delicious, each course is, indeed, a gift.
Alain at Le Marché des Enfants Rouges (he’s the crepe-maker at the organic boulangerie stand). His five-euro cornet vegetarien is impossibly healthy, but also a real gut-buster.
Any of the outdoor markets. I love the local color, the fresh options, and finding regional treasures from soap to honey to homemade baked goods.
Le Bon Marché for its range of brands and calm, quiet atmosphere.
Jean Paul Hévin. And I don’t make this decision lightly. Between Michel Chaudon and Michel Cluizel, Jacques Genin and Jean Charles Rouchoux, Une Dimanche à Paris and A l’Etoile d’Or, it’s a bit of an unfair question! But, oui, Jean Paul Hévin is my all-around favorite.
Le Petit Atelier de Paris, which has darling pottery and art, and La Cocotte, a bright and cheery cookbook shop with classes and demos.
AB33 in the Marais. Every time i go to this small shop, I want to buy their whole inventory. Sadly, I can afford nary a thing.
Experimental. It was the city’s first cocktail lounge of its sort and has spawned so many imitators. I’d say it’s responsible for the city’s new passion for cocktails. And the 12-euro l’Experience is just as delicious as a 29-euro cocktail at Bar Hemingway.
Le Caveau de la Huchette. You descend into this subterranean jazz club and are plunged into a past era, with toe-tapping swing music and dancers in natty duds twirling in the dark.
Stohrer for its royal roots, exquisite interior and pain aux raisins. Boulangerie Julien for its over-the-top almond croissants. Du Pain et Des Idées for its pain des amis. But I could probably find something good to say and delicious to eat at any of patisserie or boulangerie in Paris.
Any café that has a good terrace.
The gardens inside the Palais Royal. I love the rows of perfectly pruned trees, the lush and vibrant flower gardens, and that you feel hidden away from the whole world.
The pastries and chocolates. And a good old Nutella street crepe.
London! Hop on the 8 a.m. train, which, with the time difference, gets you into London at 9:30. Then take the 8 p.m. return, and you have over 10 hours to romp around Hyde Park, Notting Hill, Westbourne Grove, Maryleborne, the Tate Modern… and then some.