What to Wear in Paris in Winter

Seine River circa 2010. To see what to wear in Paris in spring, click here

Buying a grown-up coat is a big moment, up there with getting your ears pierced or wearing your first pair of heels, and Paris is a city of coats. If you're a commuter, staying warm without dressing like a Kamchatkan whale hunter- or boiling while smushed between eleventy people on the Metro- is a challenge. I'm from Cleveland, so I can wear flip-flops well into December. Still, I need to look professional while running 7 km+ around Paris daily, and I don't want to be sweaty and gross when I arrive at my destination. It snowed this weekend, so now seems as good as time as any to share what I've learned after spending four winters in Paris. Spoiler alert: You don't need a ton of new clothes! 

1. Don't wear black. Black says "fashion student" or "mid-level retail employee," and, according to my chic retiree neighbors in the 7ème, an elegant French woman still never wears black in the morning. All the born-and-bred Parisians I know have colored coats, albeit predominantly in muted shades of grey, navy, green, camel, and red. Pale colors are especially fashionable- though risky- for a city winter. Nothing is more luxurious than a white cashmere coat with silk lining, which may initially be more expensive than a flannel coat, but is actually more economical because of its longevity and appropriateness for every occasion. So long as nobody shoots you with a paintball gun, spills wine on you in the Metro, or flings feces at you on the street- all things I've witnessed during Paris winters.

2. Layer. If I'm going to be outside for long periods of time, I wear a silk slip and wool-silk undershirt, since HeatTech is chemical-intensive and contains pesticides. Thin, close-fitting layers won't show, and wool / silk / cashmere absorbs sweat and odors (slips should be 1.5-2 inches shorter than hems). The ladies at Dior advise against covering dresses with cardigans, but if you must- I always do- it should be a proper buttoned cardigan, no chunky knit, wraparound, or shawl styles. Wear lined skirts and pants, and tights instead of stockings, or two pairs sheer stockings in the same shade. Pact tights and Swedish Stockings are ethical options, along with secondhand silk pantyhose. Otherwise, try organic wool or cotton blend, and upcycle (tawashi!) or mail old pairs to No Nonsense's recycling program. I wear my grandpa's old wool socks over stockings, and on really cold days, leggings- my skirts are long enough so they don't show under knee-length boots. When overheated, remove a layer.

3. Try a doudoune. French women love waterproof, easy-to-pack doudounes, from classic Moncler to Canada Goose, Uniqlo, and K-Way. The most elegant Parisienne I know, Tiphaine- with her perfect Bonpoint catalog children and Christian Liaigre-filled house- wears a Moncler puffer over formal gowns. I hear bad things about the quality of Moncler though, like they rip easily and the fabric is delicate. Another friend layers a light, whisper-thin Uniqlo doudone under a wool coat or trench, and snaps a removable fur lining in and out of everything. Note: You can find vintage coats with fur linings in Paris- apparently very warm, but prone to shedding.

4. Fit is key. There's no denying Parisians love a good full-length coat, but hemlines hit just below the waist, for the most part. Same thing with sweaters. Some people wear capes here, which is okay if you're in a Taylor Swift video, but not very warm for my purposes. If you do end up with the doudoune recommended in #3, be sure it's super thin, close fitting, and zipped up all the way- a somewhat severe look, but "classically French," as my husband says.

5. Accessorize. It's always sunny in the 7ème, even when the rest of Paris is grey and rainy, so bring sunglasses. Silk scarves are somewhat popular, as in the case of my Scandinavian acquaintance Lina, who drapes leopard-print silk over her hair and ears to stay warm. The height of Parisian elegance is not a Maison Michel topper (priced to equal 1-2 months of groceries), but a beanie. I never see anyone wearing berets. Rain boots chafe when walking, while waterproof leather lets feet breathe- people live in ankle boots all year long. Lined gloves are a must, and don't forget to pack an umbrella.


Coat, Celine. Dresses: Dior, LK Bennett. Cashmere undershirt/sweater. Cardigan; Givenchy shark boots, Silk slip. Jeans, J Brand. Hat, Maison Michel. Gloves, Silk leggings, Longchamp bag, and cashmere socks (Tabio removes cashmere by hand with a comb, no shears). These affiliate links are intended to serve as examples. If you click on them, I make a small commission. It's better to shop your own wardrobe or local thrift stores.



Here's how my wardrobe looks every winter. It meshes nicely with the stylish non-style of the 7ème, and makes me stick out like a sore thumb in Oberkampf or Jourdain (arrondissement-specific garb is one reason many Parisians never really leave their neighborhoods). Granted, everyone's needs, body type, and occasions are different, and I don't want this to turn into a blog that encourages people to buy less but spend more. As a reference point, though, if you're a working woman, walk a lot, can't afford insane dry cleaning bills, and run up and down stairs every day, the items depicted above will serve you well on cold, slushy days. Before moving to Paris, my winter packing list looked something like this:

1-2 shirts (I didn't believe in t-shirts back then)
Pajamas
Coat
Two dresses
1-2 sweaters
Jeans
Leggings
Tights (one pair)
Socks (2-3 pairs)
Gloves
Boots 

I didn't carry a purse, and everything fit in a carry-on. Bien s'habiller pour combattre les saisons froides!

P.S. Going skiing? Click here for suggestions.  
Paris to Go

Made in France

Vintage dress, pumps, bag

Because I buy secondhand, I don't usually pay attention to where my clothes come from. I glance at the fabrication tag to make sure the fibers are compostable, but that's about it. It's become such a habit that, when I needed to replace a few things, I bought polypropylene items made in China and Bangladesh without any thought to their sweatshop origins (my neighbor asked, "Est-ce que votre famille à fait ça?" which means "Did one of your relatives make that?"). Shopping is frustrating here- I'm sized differently than willowy French women- so I buckled under the supposed urgency of my situation and settled for items I don't feel good about. I tried to trace the journey of my clothing from factory to closet in the hopes of becoming an educated consumer. Learning the high social and ecological cost of my thrifted wardrobe makes me want to wear and care for these items as long as I can.


Coats

Designed by Ivana Omazic for Céline, my winter coat was a runway item likely fabricated at LVMH production facilities in France. The silk lining originated in the Cévennes region and the shell in Pays-de-la-Loire, spun from white, 14-16 micron chin, chest, and throat hair. The density and hard finish indicates the material contains longer fibers rather than shorter, weaker fibers, which produce fluffier yarn and are prone to pilling. LVMH is somewhat transparent about their manufacturing practices (including tax havens and factories in India and Romania), and my trench coat boasts exclusively French provenance, pieced together in Normandy, Brittany, and the Loire valley.


Dresses

The fabric and lining in my wool dress are fully French, assures Sylvie Zawadski, of the Fédération française de la couture, du prêt-à-porter, des couturiers, et des créateurs de mode. Employees receive minimum 18,400 to 22,000 € per year, which doesn't sound like enough for Paris, but I'm told working for Dior is its own reward. According to an LK Bennett representative, ready-to-wear is produced in a "lovely environment" in the UK. As with the navy dress, the zipper is YKK. The cotton shirtdress hails from Tuscany, where towns like Prato came under fire for employing illegal Chinese immigrants paid less than 3€ an hour.

My linen dress, by Balinese brand Portobello, was handmade by artisans in Ubud. Everything from the flax to dye is cultivated in Bali, and workers are paid a fair wage, accounting for higher prices (like $12 instead of $2). Same goes for Ahimsa, a Bali brand committed to "total non-violence." Vera Wang failed to comment on my secondhand wedding dress, but the beading and stitching indicates hand-sewing.


Bottoms


J. Brand didn't respond to inquiries about where their cotton and elastane is sourced. Their LA factory employs workers primarily from Mexico or El Salvador. Los Angeles is notorious for breached pay and work time regulations, and California's minimum wage is $9 an hour, which will not even cover one meal at In-n-Out. The zipper is YKK. The skirt, silk lining, and zipper were made by artisans in France, possibly at Mont Saint Michel, Allier, or Cholet Sainte-Florence facilities.


Tops


Despite Muji's sustainability claims, most of its product manufacturing is done in China, Indonesia, and Vietnam. According to Emilie Luc-Duc, Rodier sweaters are manufactured in France or Italy, with raw materials sourced from France, Italy, or Hungary. The Petit Bateau website states their t-shirts are knitted in Troyes or Maghreb.


Shoes


I have a pair of Nikes, so I knew my shoe collection was an amoral mess. YSL leather is supplied by a manufacturer near Albi. The grey and pink shoes are from Louis Vuitton's workshop in Fiesso d'Artico. Ferragamo shoes are made in Italy by subcontractors such as those in San Maoro Pascoli, Riviera del Brenta, and Fermo/Macerata, some of which import illegal Chinese labor to reduce costs. Geox boots are the product of a largely delocalised and outsourced logistics cycle- manufactured in Romania and Slovakia with phases in China, Vietnam, and Indonesia. Geox participates in Better Factories Cambodia, but the company gets products from New Star, a Cambodian factory suspected of employing underage workers.


Accessories


Longchamp was the biggest disappointment, with leather and nylon from Tunisia assembled in China, Morocco, and Mauritius. Dior sunglasses are produced by Safilo, which has three Italian facilities and plants in Slovenia, the US and China. Unlike Dior or Gucci group, which sell gold and diamonds without a policy on responsible sourcing, Cartier claims to source their materials ethically. I can't take seriously any jewelry that isn't Cartier anyway.


Other


I flunked this category, with Uniqlo products manufactured in China, Vietnam, and Bangladesh and Victoria's Secret items from China. VS employs child labor and uses SLS (among other toxic additives) in the manufacturing process. My tights were made in Sumène by artisans who boil silkworms, though immunohistological evidence of dopamine cells in the cephalic nervous system suggests a reflexive reaction to stimuli not necessarily associated with pain. La Perla nightwear is from Portugal. The company sources products from China, Turkey, and Tunisia (near the city of Sfax, where many brands, including Etam and Lejaby, make lingerie and swimwear). Better choices include Fifi Chachnil, Lemahieu, Fleurs Pois & Cie, Broussaud, Crespin and Luxam. Click herehere, and here for ethical sources.

Ninety-five percent of clothing sold in France is foreign made, while the other 5% is primarily luxury brands. Everyone knows fast fashion comes at a price, but for a long time, I thought investing in designer items (which I thrifted for cheaper than Gap, Zara, and H&M) was a quick way to bypass social costs. Even Hermès, with a storied history employing French artisans, outsources production to Madagascar, Mauritius, and Nigeria. Curious about your own closet? Consult La Fabrique Hexagonale, an eye-opening resource on French manufacturing practices. This post contains Shopstyle affiliate links. If you click on them, I make a commission. Thanks for your continuing support!

Paris to Go

Guide to French Parties

 
 
  

Photos, Emmanuel Vivier. Bottom photo, Becoming a Parisian.

When Americans don't have a lot of clothes or furniture, their home, wardrobe, and life is deemed sub-functional. In Paris, stuff gets in the way. Our friends love to congregate in the kitchen or on the balcony, and they prefer standing to sitting, perhaps because it facilitates greater gesturing with a wine glass. We borrowed enough Eames chairs for everybody- our apartment seats 16 already- lugging them four Metro stops to our place. Much to Kar and Toffel's delight, nobody used them. With views like these, people happily sit on the floor.

Here are a few tips for hosting (or attending) a fun Parisian party:

  • Relax. Hostesses don't seem to care- nor do they apologize- if their apartment isn't perfect, the food doesn't turn out right, or they don't have oyster forks. Going-out tops don't exist in Paris; day to night style is the same. It's better to be casually dressed than overdressed.
  • Make food that reheats well. Parties here are informal, unhurried affairs spanning hours, and guests are typically late (see below). Tell your friends 8 o'clock, but forget serving dinner before 10 pm. Parisians prefer small bites for uninhibited conversation. 
  • Select fine cheese. This is one thing no French person skimps on. Wine can be cheap, food can be little more than a bag of Vico chips and Picard, but cheese must always be excellent quality and well-presented. Cathare is popular. Remember, cheese must be served as a separate course- it's dessert, not an appetizer- and everybody loves raclette.
  • Serve apéritifs. We keep olives, almonds, cherry tomatoes, bulk chips and tea on hand for unexpected guests. Don't rush- let guests snack before each course.
  • Don't arrive empty handed. Our guests are generous and bring everything from Veuve Clicquot, whiskey and tequila to chocolates, tea, flowers, and a box of Pierre Hermé macarons with a cat on it. If you put a lot of effort into hosting, people will respond in kind.
  • Buy enough bread. Don't think because you bought Poilâne or pain de campagne, you don't have to serve baguette. You do, and don't forget butter and rillettes. Other suitable accompaniments: foie gras, cheese, confits.
  • Stock a liquor cabinet. One mistake I made at my first party was not having different drinks for different parts of the meal. You'll need a light apéritif (Lillet and Pastis are traditional, but dry champagne is fine), rosé for people who don't drink red wine, eau pétillante (Badoit is common), red and white wines, and a digestif.
  • Don't be afraid to say no. Everyone I've met here enjoys a nice argument. Nobody minds if you tell them to take their shoes off or smoke outside. So far, only Americans made a big deal of that sort of thing in my home...
There are two rules I hear are changing in French society- 1) arrive late and 2) don't cater to dietary restrictions. Maybe it's just our friends, but most French people we know are considerate, punctual, and willing to eat gluten-free.


P.S. There's plastic on one of the cheeses pictured- I didn't buy it! My fromager disapproves of keeping cheese in plastic (or the refrigerator, for that matter).

Paris to Go

Paris City Guide


I'm prone to cry stereotyping at the slightest provocation- when Facebook's facial recognition software tags pictures of Hello Kitty as me, for instance- but many Paris arrondissement guides are written by people so white, their blood type is J Crew. They portray the city as all macarons and flower stands, just like in An American Tail when mice sing that the streets are filled with cheese and there are no cats. Don't shy away from Belleville and Chateau-Rouge for the leafy 16th. Here's a rundown of the prettiest under-the-radar streets, restaurants, bars, museums, and gardens by arrondissement, as well as where you're most likely to spot celebrities. You'll have to Google certain things. I'm not Wikipedia!

Paris By Arrondissement



1st Arrondissement


Average apartment: 1350-2200€ (Studio to 1 bedroom, 30-60m2, based on our apartment search and friends' rent prices).


2nd Arrondissement

The smallest arrondissement and former financial district of Paris. Home of the Love Burger, Rue Montorgueil, and Silencio.


Average apartment: 1500-1950€, see criteria above.


3rd Arrondissement

I met my husband at Candelaria and looked at apartments here, but all the places we saw were expensive and gross. My friends and I used to buy vintage magazines at Ofr Galerie, then sit for hours at Le Progrès, sipping hot chocolate with Caroline de Maigret. 

  • Passage de l'Ancre: Paris' oldest arcade 
  • La Maison du Pastel: Oldest pastel manufacturer in the world, open Thursdays
  • Galerie Mitterand
  • Musée Cognacq-Jay: The art collection of the Samaritaine founder and his wife in a beautifully restored mansion with a tranquil hidden terrace and lovely gardens
  • Boot Cafe: Tiny two table cafe with great coffee, citronnade, and fashion magazines in an old cobbler's storefront
  • Empreintes: Concept store des métiers d'art
  • Hank Vegan Burger: Even non vegans love the taste of this delicious gluten free burger (GF buns available), and they recently opened new zero waste friendly vegan pizza place 
  • Dessance Paris: Innovative and beautiful restaurant combining traditionally savory dishes with sweet flavors- like garlic ice cream
  • Umami Matcha Cafe which has gluten free brunches on Sundays, including matcha pancakes and a matcha bowl
  • Trois Fois Plus de Piment: Spiciest noodles, ravioli, and chaozhou dumplings in Paris, Sichuan style. Homemade by the owner of Deux Fois Plus de Piment (see below)
  • Maison Plisson: Epicerie and zero-waste friendly brunch spot
  • l'Institut Suedois 
  • Jardin Anne Frank
  • Csao: Boutique selling items made of recycled plastics by Senegalese prisoners
  • La Gaîté Lyrique: Digital art and modern music museum where you can eat Toma sans Gluten gluten-free donuts, cakes, and treats
  • Gang of Earlybirds: Concept store carrying some ethical brands
  • Galerie Perrotin
  • Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature
  • Musée Picasso
  • Musée des Archives Nationales
  • Les Bains: Hotel, bar, and club
  • Le Labo Marais: Zero waste, vegan, cruelty free fragrance- decant and refill your bottles in store.
  • Mmmozza: bulk olive oil, fresh buffala mozzarella, and 80s arcade games
  • Les Chouettes: Instagram-worthy place for cocktails, the food and service are not good
  • Lily of the Valley tearoom
  • Violette et Leonie secondhand clothing
  • Causses
  • Merci 
  • Nanashi gluten free bentos 
  • La Jeune Rue
  • Café des Chats: Where you wash your hands, eat, and play with cats... not sure about this place, although the cats seemed happy
  • l'Art du Basic: Clothing store with minimalist aesthetic 
  • 25 Janvier: vintage Ferragamo and Chanel alongside the owner's exclusive line

Average apartment: 1600-3200€. A small studio costs over 900€ a month.


4th Arrondissement

My husband proposed to me in Jardin Saint-Gilles-Grand-Veneur, as music played from the beautiful Hôtel d'Ecquevilly, a short walk from Baudelaire's Hôtel de Lauzun UPDATE: Ok this is embarrassing but he actually proposed in Square Georges Cain! Which is also gorgeous. I don't even want to think about why I was confused.

Average apartment: 1800-3500€.



5th Arrondissement

Aside from being the home of Ernest Hemingway and Jane Birkin, the 5th boasts L'Institut du Monde Arabe, which has one of the best views of Paris; and le Grande Mosquée, where you can enjoy North African tea and food. Ho Chi Minh worked here, and Victor Hugo fought to preserve the Latin Quarter's Arenes de Lutece, remains of a gladiatorial amphitheater constructed in the 1st century AD.


Average apartment: 1800-2500€.


6th Arrondissement

I read Boris Vian as a teenager, so imagine how happy I am to run errands here now- some of my chicest friends live a stone's throw from Serge Gainsbourg's house. I've run into Karlie Kloss twice at City Pharma, and met the Prince of Nassau on Rue Saint Andre-des Arts. He was standing on the street with a pastel cardigan around his neck- I thought he was from Connecticut.

  • Musée Zadkine 
  • Buly 
  • Gâté gluten-free patisserie
  • The courtyard garden of Ecole des Beaux Arts
  • L'été de Saint-Germain: Beautiful terrace strung with lights year round
  • Musée Eugene Delacroix: The artist's former home and private garden
  • Guenmai: Popular vegetarian restaurant with attached organic shop 
  • Le Labo: Zero waste, vegan, cruelty free fragrance- decant and refill your bottles in store.
  • Chocolaterie / Pâtisserie Cyril Lignac: Also in the 15ème, 11ème, and 16ème. Beautiful interior and delicious eclairs
  • Musee du Luxembourg
  • Colorova: Bright patisserie and salon de thé on a historic street with gluten free waffles
  • The porcelain wall and garden at Eglise de Saint Germain des Prés 
  • the Hermès tearoom in the old Lutetia pool
  • Musée de Minéralogie
  • Maison d'Auguste Comte
  • Compagnie des vins surnaturels: My husband likes this wine bar
  • Dilettantes champagne bar
  • Comptoir des Savonniers
  • the Rimbaud Wall next to Saint-Sulpice
  • Treize: Popular hidden bakery

Average apartment: 2300€ and up, triple that if you want balconies or a view overlooking the Seine/Luxembourg Gardens.


7th Arrondissement

The whole CAC 40 lives here, with famous residents including Bernard Arnault, Hubert de Givenchy, Kenzo, Yves Saint Laurent, Diane Pernet, Carine Roitfeld and Karl Lagerfeld. I'm biased, but apart from the abomination known as Rue Cler, this is the perfect arrondissement, safe, central, and filled with chic old ladies. There's nothing better than the look on people's faces when they hear you live in the 7th!


Average apartment: 1900€ and up, depending on the area.


8th Arrondissement

The 8th is the Disney version of Paris. Tourists' affection for this arrondissement enrages me. Everybody looks at its residents and thinks that's how Parisians dress, but the only people who can afford to live there are Oprah and Chinese nobility. The Champs-Elysees is the worst- I can hardly recommend any restaurants here. The best place to eat is the private, presidential Cercle de l'union Interalliée.

  • L'ArchipelConcept library-restaurant in an old church, you can sew there or trade services with neighbors and take classes
  • La Reserve: A gluten free breakfast, including pain perdu, in a beautiful hotel (great wine selection too)
  • Hotel de la Marine: Home to the French naval staff, the magnificent historic interior by Jacques Gondouin is open to the public for tours for a limited time
  • Hôtel de la Paiva: A must-visit, offers guided tours of a French courtesan's former mansion
  • Palais de la Decouverte
  • Café Artcurial: Italian restaurant in a restored mansion between Champs-Elysees and Avenue Montaigne
  • Musée Cernuschi: Asian art museum, second only to Musée Guimet
  • Musée Jacquemart-Andre: the private former home of husband and wife Edouard André and painter Nélie Jacquemart. When her husband died, Jacquemart traveled Asia to complete their  art collection.

Average apartment: 900€ for a studio to 1850€ for my friend Yulia's freshly remodeled 1BR with elevator, but that was a few years ago.


9th and 10th Arrondissements

My favorite Parisian streets and gluten-free restaurants cluster here, from Marche Saint-Martin to Les Bouffes du Nord. Don't let anyone tell you it's not safe- I walked these neighborhoods alone for years and always felt comfortable. Brazilians serenade you every evening, and Americans shout "Yolo" in the streets all night long.

  • Square Saint-Laurent
  • Le Comptoir Général
  • Babel Concept Store
  • Point Ephemere 
  • SAaM: fun, modern Korean served in bo bun (gluten-free options available) along the Canal
  • Peonies: Pretty coffee shop / florist with gluten free desserts
  • Le Consulat: Zero waste coworking space / club / bar / art gallery / garden with vegan menu, meditation area, massages, dance and yoga classes, and everchanging street art from the owner of Le Baron
  • Villa Ballu
  • 21 Martorell: Favorite creperie
  • Faggio: Our neighborhood pizza joint, Action Bronson's favorite in Paris
  • Warung Makan: Delicious Singaporean food
  • La Réclame: Stylish epicerie specializing in zero waste friendly picnic essentials
  • Au Palais du Grand Moghol: Landmark Indian restaurant (and a Pokestop), the best in the neighborhood
  • Le Grand Pigalle: I love this restaurant and terrace
  • Barbe à Papa: Cozy classic French food, not touristy according to my French husband
  • Avenue Frochot: Pretty gated street where Gustave Moreau and Toulouse Lautrec lived
  • Pigalle Duperre: The best, most colorful Mondrian-esque basketball court, created in part with Lebron. Open 10-8 all summer
  • Saint Cherie's Café on Rue Chateau d'Eau (walking away from Republique, past Allen's Market and Marché Saint Martin on the next block), for when you want to have a beer with friends but you're gluten free :)
  • Pigalle Basketball: Great selection of sneakers across the street on Rue Duperre (there is a nice creperie in an old Chinese restaurant down the street, it's also down the street from Depanneur, Balls, and a bunch of other nice restaurants on Rue de Douai)
  • 5 Lorette: Awesome gluten free, vegan, sometimes raw restaurant, very stylish with a nice sunny space to sit for lunch
  • Green Factory: Sustainable terrarium kits and clochés
  • Henriette Jansen: Cool interior atelier for ceramics, custom rugs, unique lamps, etc.
  • Las Vegans: Vegan snack and ice cream shop with vegan donuts!
  • Mini Pong Bar
  • Baranaan Indian Cocktail: Darjeeling Limited inspired cocktails
  • Bol Porridge Bar
  • Institut de Bonté: Raw gluten-free and vegan zero waste restaurant in a lush setting on Quai de Jemmapes
  • Le Petit Matieu: Great bistro on the Canal to see and be seen drinking mason jar cocktails
  • Cour des Petites Ecuries
  • Centre Commercial: One of my favorite stores for designers like Margaux Lonnberg and Base Range
  • L'Exception: The best of French designers, including up and coming / ethical brands
  • Radio Days: Organic cafe with delicious cakes and gluten-free options
  • La Veganovore: Fresh vegan restaurant
  • Cafe A: Beautiful former convent turned secret vegan friendly restaurant
  • La Baraque A.: Popular café and salon de thé with an impressive wall of ice cream graffiti
  • Glaces Glazed: Ice cream shop with flavor like wasabi, hemp, and vodka
  • La Tresorerie 
  • Nous 
  • My Free Kitchen 
  • Pancake Sisters 
  • Lula Lifestyle Shop
  • Marcel: Upscale Indian restaurant 
  • La Tete dans les Olives: One table restaurant and epicerie 
  • Musée Gustave Moreau 
  • Rue Saint Marthe 
  • Papy Bio 
  • Causses 
  • Sugar Daze cupcakes 
  • PNY's gluten-free burgers

Average apartment: 1600-2800€. Some of the most spacious and beautiful Paris apartments I've seen were around Gare de l'Est/Strasbourg Saint Denis.


11th and 12th arrondissements

It's been a long time since I played piano at Pop-In, but I'd love to live in Oberkampf. When we lived at Pere Lachaise, one of my favorite walks was down Rue de la Roquette, past Rue Keller all the way to Rue du Faubourg Saint Antoine and Marche d'Aligre. Paris' best shopping district.


Average apartment: A livable quartier- expect to pay 1100€ and up.


13th and 14th arrondissements

My husband and I bike to Square Baudincourt on weekends and watch people practice nunchuks. I learned Roquefort contained gluten after eating a cheese-covered pear in la Butte aux Cailles.

  • Rosenblum Collection and Friends private gallery
  • Rue Paul Bourget: Mademoiselle Maurice's art installation- origami butterflies covering an abandoned building
  • Les Grands Voisins in the old Hopital St. Vincent de Paul
  • Péniche Louise Catherine: Le Corbusier's houseboat, reopened to the public with a vegetable garden on the barge
  • Passage Boiton
  • Jardin James-Joyce
  • Bibliotheque Nationale de France
  • Cite de la mode et du design
  • Observatoire de Paris
  • Parc Montsouris 
  • Avenue de Choisy
  • Quai Francois Mauriac's riverfront bars and pinball machines 
  • Petit Alsace
  • Villa Daviel 
  • Chateau de la Reine Blanche
  • Rue des Thermopyles
  • Square des Peupliers
  • Cité Florale
  • Rue Daviel
  • Fondation Cartier

Average apartment: Apartments in the 13th can be modern- I visited one that looked so Fantastic Frank, with three bedrooms, a jacuzzi tub, and sleek fiberglass countertops. The 14th is more Haussmann style. 1500-2400€.

15th arrondissement

The 15th is for families- make of that what you will. This area is still very French and amidst Japanese epiceries and private ateliers you can see boucheries chevalines selling horse meat. The world's largest Chipotle recently opened here. 

  • Jardin Nicole-de-Hauteclocque 
  • Brasserie Lola, one of the best vegan restaurants in Paris
  • Day by Day: Zero waste grocery store / epicerie en vrac
  • Dupleix Coiffure: Great Korean salon, my favorite in Paris, for amazing (and inexpensive) blowouts. They do manicures and pedicures too
  • Beaugrenelle 
  • Ye Ban: Authentic and delicious Korean food
  • Eglise Saint-Seraphin de Sarov, hidden Russian church famed for its architecture, 91 Rue Lecourbe
  • Villa Gabriel, beautiful hidden street near Montparnasse
  • Lieu Dit Mina: one of the cutest flower shops in Paris
  • Parc Andre Citroen 
  • Musée Pasteur
  • Musée Bourdelle: garden museum in the painter's atelier
  • l'Allée des Cygnes and the Statue of Liberty
  • Parc George-Brassens
  • Ma grand-mère m'a dit gluten-free / vegetarian / organic restaurant

Average apartment: 1100€ and up.


16th and 17th arrondissements

The Count of Monte Cristo lived here, and my friends have a gorgeous, flower-filled apartment here, with floor-to-ceiling bookcases and snowy-white Eames chairs. I once stayed in a house on Rue Spontini- five stories, wine cellar, marble staircase, ancient Egyptian art lying around. The house itself was nice, but in a boring neighborhood. At least the 17th has Place de Clichy, Rue des Dames, and Batignolles. As you head down Rue Biot to Rue des Dames, stop at Biotiful, Strobi, Marcel, Au Bout du Champ, and any of the handful of popular beer and cocktail bars, admiring the graffiti and murals above the garden.

  • Mon Eclair gluten free eclair bar
  • Pistache, le petit apéro: Super nice restaurant with beautiful garden, zero waste infused water, and a selection of bulk aperitifs to take in your own containers plus fine foods in useful glass bottles
  • La Recolte: Fills your own containers with freshly made food or seasonal, high-quality fruits and vegetables (including bulk carob) from local producers
  • Epurama: Design shop with terrariums, handmade goods, and cacti
  • Les Epiciers Modernes: Epicerie fine with bulk options
  • Gare au Gorille: Gorgeous minimalist gastronomic restaurant
  • Récup'rit Manit Tout: Association where you can learn to repair, transform, fix, paint, or recover furniture and household goods
  • Bistrot des Dames: Hidden, verdant terrace in hotel El Dorado's popular restaurant
  • Musée d'Ennery: Gorgeous private Asian art museum, once a famous actress' mansion. Make a reservation to see her personal collection for free
  • Victoria 1836 / l'Arc: Restaurant and club where you might see Kendall Jenner and Leonardo DiCaprio
  • Robert Mallet Stevens' artist studio, open for free to the public for a limited time
  • Sazanka Japanese tearoom for purple sweet potato parfaits and matcha soft serve, open for lunch and dinner
  • Hotel-Kergorlay Langsdorff
  • Maison la Roche
  • Piscine Molitor
  • Appartement-Atelier Le Corbusier
  • Cité Chaillot 
  • Jardin des Serres de l'Auteuil 
  • the waterfall in Bois de Boulogne
  • Fondation Louis Vuitton 
  • Palais de Tokyo and the fashion exhibits across the street at Musée Galliera
  • Bagatelle, but I don't really like it
  • Cite des Fleurs
  • Rue de la Cure
  • Square des Epinettes
  • Ecole Normale de Musique de Paris
  • Paris' abandoned secret railway Petite Ceinture

Average apartment: 1900-3200€.


18th arrondissement

Goutte d'Or is a great place to walk, shop, and stay. Stock up on black soap at Barbes or wander around Villa Leandra. Visit the former homes of Renoir and Toulouse-Lautrec on Cité des Fusains.

  • Grand Train: Bar, restaurant, and thrift shop in an abandoned train depot (the former Ground Control headquarters)
  • Galerie W Eric Landau: Contemporary selection of French and Nordic artists
  • Studio 28: Theatre with nice tea room
  • Atelier Tholoze: Ceramic studio
  • Lekker Kkoncept Store: Boutique of French designers with salon de thé, nice men's and women's clothes and design objects
  • Gloria: Tropical wine bar with Brazilian brunch and artisanal beer
  • Estelle Lemaitre: Lots of great decor, linens, handmade ceramics
  • Bar à Bulles: Vegan food and zero waste drinks atop the Moulin Rouge
  • Restaurant Carajas: Brazilian cantine
  • Racket Paris: Founded by young Tomas after he got mugged on the street :( He is so original with designs sold in Colette; he grew up in the neighborhood and you can enter a secret trap door in his store to find a hidden jazz club and play chess! His films and photography are incredible too
  • Cité Veron
  • Cité Pilleux
  • Avenue Frochot: Private street where Moreau, Renoir, Victor Hugo, and other famous Parisians lived. I think Gad Elmaleh lives / lived here?
  • Cité Montmartre aux Artistes- historic community where many famous Parisian artists lived and still work
  • Le Ruisseau and Les Jardins du Ruisseau: the best burger in Paris, according to husband, and the best community garden, according to me
  • Le Refuge des Fondus: serves wine in baby bottles 
  • Jardin Partagé Marcadet-Montcalm
  • Echomusée
  • Tombées du Camion 
  • Kiez Biergarten- GF, vegan, and vegetarian options with a nice terrace and cute resident cat (who got STOLEN recently, but don't worry! The thieves took him to the vet, the vet got suspicious, checked his electronic chip, and returned him safely to the restaurant)
  • Bululu Arepera- GF Argentinian canteen
  • Peoples Drugstore: Friendly artisanal beer shop
  • Allée des Brouillards 
  • Place Dalida 
  • Rue Constance
  • Rue André del Sarte
  • Impasse Marie Blanche: Visit the hidden mansion of Charles de l'Escalopier
  • La Chapelle
  • Square Clignancourt
  • Espace Dali 
  • Scaramouche 
  • Jehan Rictus Square and the Love Wall
  • Marché Saint-Pierre 
  • Nomos

Average apartment: We paid 1300€ a month for our one-bedroom; a friend paid 2000€ for a giant place around the corner. We had dinner at James Bort's and Dorothee Gilbert's home and the apartment and views were spectacular.


19th and 20th arrondissements

I highly recommend visitors stay here, in my favorite part of Paris. You'll interact with real French people and never be bored. Rent a sparkling new flat near Crimee, or enjoy the views at Philippe Starck's Mama Shelter, in a diverse neighborhood with the best Turkish food. Visit Belleville or Menilmontant for beautiful parks, street art, and karaoke bars.


Average apartment: I know one person who lives in the 20ème and pays 1800€ a month for a gorgeous two bedroom- friends in Belleville pay less.

To eat for free in almost any arrondissement in Paris: Click here. There are a surprising number of restaurants serving free meals, and some offer free buffets.

Outside Paris: Recup Paris, Parc de Sceaux, Maison Louis Vuitton in Asnieres, Chateau de Vincennes for open air operas in summer, Chateau de Saint Germain en Laye (where Louis XIV was born), breweries and peach orchards in Montreuil, Pavillon des Indes (Ville de Courbevoie), Boris Vian's "pianocktail" in Bagnolet, Patrice Moullet's l'Atelier d'Experimentation Musicale in La Defense, Albert Kahn Museum and gardens. Photos mostly courtesy of my husband, whose Instagram is a veritable artesian well of stunning, expansive Capetian vistas (at some point I stopped matching photos to their arrondissements).

Paris to Go