2 Weeks in Paris -- the Essential Travel Guide

Claire Thomas hits the Parisian pavement and shares 12 must-visit spots.

When our Domaine's food contributor Claire Thomas of Kitchy Kitchen returned from Paris, we couldn't help but beg her to share her travel guide to the city. Below, she shares her hints and tips and her favorite museums, décor shops, restaurants, and bars.

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Be polite. If you need directions or help, a simple "Excuse moi, English?" goes a very long way. In shops and restaurants always announce yourself with a "bonjour" or "bonsoir" and leave with a "merci" or "au revoir." 2 Cabs are notoriously expensive, so walk everywhere you can. There's no better way to get to know a city than step by step! 3 Paris is a reservations city, so always call ahead to book a table. If you don't want to be locked down for dinner, most places are empty when the just open, usually around 7:30.

4 Order red meat at least one more level cooked. French medium rare is closer to rare, where it's all red and maybe a little warm.

5 No one is coming for your check -- ever. Parisian servers will let you hang out for as long as you like, so luxuriate in the long meals, and enjoy yourself.

 

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1 Musée de l'Orangerie Jardin Tuileries, 75001, Paris This was by far my favorite museum. Overlooking the Jardin des Tuilieries, and housing two series of Monet water lily paintings, it was built into an oval shape to accommodate the panoramic view that Monet intended.
2 Musee d'Orsay 1 rue de la Légion d'Honneur, 75007, Paris With 19th and early 20th century paintings, furniture, and decorative arts, the d'Orsay has some of my favorite exhibits, including a gorgeous art nouveau room made of carved wood, an insane scope of impressionist paintings, and a miniature of the Opera House.
3 Versailles Place d'Armes, 78000, Versailles, France Skip the palace and visit the garden and hamlet instead. The canal provides a beautiful view of Versailles up on the hilltop and is the perfect spot for a picnic. Marie Antoinette's hamlet is just such an historical oddity, it must be seen to be believed. The rolling hills and vineyards  surrounding the hamlet provide a pastoral backdrop for overripe gardens and the subtle din of the water-wheel. It feels slightly magical and set apart from time.
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4 Roses Costes Dani Roses 239-241 rue Saint-Honoré, 75001, Paris Roses Costes specializes in fat garden roses -- the wild, intoxicating, thickly perfumed varieties that are usually found climbing garden walls. The shop is a little room of heaven. If you're walking around St. Honore and want to make yourself or someone else feel special, buy a blossom or two from this store.
5 Astier de Villatte 173 rue Saint-Honoré, 75001, Paris Delicate yet durable, quotidian yet special, antique-inspired yet totally modern, ceramics by Astier de Villatte are must-collect pieces. Made of black terra cotta clay which peeks through the milky white glaze, the handmadetableware collection is inspired by 18th and 19th century designs, yet perfect for everyday use.
6 Merci 111 boulevard Beaumarchais, 75003, Paris Merci is one of those spots that's built for window shopping. Three stories high and filled with natural light, it has a fantastic array of local designers, special collections, vintages pieces, and practically anything from 3€ to 3000€. Another cool thing about it is that it's almost guilt-free shopping. The founders dedicate all proceeds to a fund for educational projects and development in southwest Madagascar.
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7 Pierre Hermé Multiple Locations These are the best macarons in Paris, hands down. They beat Lauderée every time. Make sure try the passion fruit chocolate macaron and an ice cream sandwich. If you don't want to eat them all at once, leave the box in the fridge, so that they retain their moisture and don't dry out.
8 L'Entredgeu 83 Rue Laugier, 75017, Paris Cozy and with a new menu every week, the food here is always classic yet interesting -- it's my favorite bistro experience. Their stand-out dish is roasted pigeon with bacon and foie gras, but my favorite thing on the menu are their brown butter roasted potatoes. At only 35€ for the full menu, it's a steal.
9 Septime 80 Rue de Charonne, 75011, Paris A "secret" pre fixe menu makes this an exciting place to dine. Just tell the server what you're allergic to or don't enjoy, and keep your fingers crossed. The plates are light and fresh and the space is gorgeous. If you want to have a romantic evening, but don't want a stuffy or old-fashioned bistro vibe, this restaurant is modern, warm, and just the place to while away a long dinner.
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10 Experimental Cocktail Club 37 rue Saint-Sauveur, 75002, Paris Killer cocktails in a speakeasy bar in the Marais. The drink list here is delicious, and if you come on the earlier side, you can avoid the crowd.
11 Silencio 142 rue Montmartre, 75002, Paris David Lynch's club in Paris is a gilded wonder. It's members only, but come by at 11:30 and tell the bouncers "you just want to go in for a drink" and they'll probably let you in. They play awesome music (Kanye, Azalea Banks, funk/soul) and the drinks are expensive but delicious. My favorite thing about this place is the dance-floor people-watching. So many characters, so many dance moves.
12 Candelaria 52 Rue de Saintonge, 75003, Paris You would never expect to get Mexican food in Paris, but there we were, eating rajas tacos and munching on pecan paletas. Candeleria's cocktails were my favorite in Paris. The La Guepe Verte was the group's favorite: a refreshing mix of jalapeño infused tequila with cucumber, cilantro, agave, and lime.
Visit The Kitchy Kitchen for more of Claire's favorite Parisian haunts and shopping destinations. claire-signature-layout Photographs: Claire ThomasGuidePalMusee D'OrsayJohn WeissGirl Meets Whirl  
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