City Guides


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Photography by Jasmine Van Hevel

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“I have two loves, my country and Paris …”, sang Josephine Baker, praising this mythical city that has always been a source of fascination and is today the world’s leading tourist destination. Being the capital city of fashion and luxury, the City of Light radiates well beyond its borders.


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La Louisiane Hotel – Photography by Jasmine Van Hevel


Nestled in a quiet street in the ninth arrondissement, the Arvor Saint-Georges has retained all the charm of the 19th century mansions. Literature and books are kings. The owner of the premises is none other than Nadine Flammarion, heir to the prestigious name in publishing. In a more design and contemporary spirit, the Mama Shelter (20th arrondissement) bears the signature of the famous Philippe Starck. This atypical concept combines hotels, nightclubs and restaurants. A tribute to French America, La Louisiane Hotel, popular with African-American soldiers at the time of Liberation, opens its doors to you in the purest tradition of family-run hotels.


In the heart of the Marais, the Hotel du Petit Moulin is an institution. This boutique-hotel is entirely decorated by the couturier Christian Lacroix who has imbued it with its flamboyant style. The Hotel Daniel, near the Champs-Elysees, embarks on a “nineteenthcentury orientalist” atmosphere. Not far from the Eiffel Tower and the banks of the Seine, the hotel-brasserie Thoumieux (VIIe arrondissement) has everything to please with its interior sublimated by India Mahdavi. The restaurant’s menu is signed by Sylvestre Wahid, a prodigious Franco-Pakistani chef trained by illustrious chefs such as Jean-François Piège or Thierry Marx.


Paris is also the city of palaces. These hotels of excellence with the cozy atmosphere affirm each their style. The Four Seasons Hotel George V Paris is the epitome of Parisian elegance. The Meurice, opened in 1835, dear to the famous painter Dali, offers a tete-a-tete with the Tuileries. At the Shangri-La, in an Empire decor, you will enjoy a breathtaking view of the Eiffel Tower. The Bristol, finally, headquarters of the political personalities, will charm you by its atmosphere of the beginning of century, that create its authentic Gobelins, its furniture style Louis XV and Louis XVI, its sculptures and canvases of master.


Chef Rougui Dia

Chef Rougui Dia – Photography by Jasmine Van Hevel


For lunch, grocery and family-style restaurant Jeanne B in the Montmartre district, will make you try its roasts and pies. In the same bistronomy style (bistro + gastronomy), Café Constant (VIIth arrondissement) changes the codes of haute cuisine, and offers its menu at an affordable price. For a tasty chicken yassa served with bissap juice, head to Le Petit Dakar, a Senegalese canteen in the Marais district. Close to the François Mitterrand library, food truck New Soul Food will do just as much to excite your taste buds.


Speaking of taste buds, Bertrand Bluy’s restaurant/ cellar/grocery store Les Papilles (taste buds in French) is a must-stop close to the Luxembourg Gardens. Close to the Nation district, Bistrot Paul Bert offers a high quality local cuisine. In its winter garden decor, the Alcazar, a former cabaret on rue Mazarine, and now a contemporary brasserie, combines great classics from the French repertoire with world cuisine. The Comptoir du Relais Saint- Germain of prodigy chef Yves Camdeborde, is another place worth a visit. The African Lounge (XVIth arrondissement) proposes a large array of specialties from the continent. Lastly, Le Continent, a trendy place in the Golden Triangle (VIIIth arrondissement), offers the most refined fusion of French and African cuisine.


We could not complete this culinary escapade without citing the best. Our recommendations: First, Le Salon d’Hélène, a small culinary kingdom by chef Hélène Darroze, who combines tradition and modernity. Then, L’Atelier by Joël Robuchon, the most starred chef in the world, who ignores conventions and welcomes guests in an open kitchen and a counter of only forty seats.

Sweet Paris

Do not leave Paris without tasting its sweets. Feast on a few macaroons from Ladurée, unless you prefer those from Pierre Hermé, “the Picasso of pastry”, and his unexpected combination of flavors. For the best croissants, go to Des Gâteaux et du Pain, the hype bakery of Claire Damon, unless you prefer to stick to the classics, in which case you can’t go wrong at Fauchon. At L’Éclair de Génie, treat yourself to delicious eclairs created as works of art, unless you prefer the delicate and melting babas made by Rougui Dia and Sébastien Faré at Un Amour de Baba. Near the Place de la Bastille, the workshop of La Manufacture du Chocolat by Alain Ducasse is really a temple dedicated to cocoa.


Maison Château Rouge

Maison Château Rouge – Photography by Jasmine Van Hevel

Paris is undeniably a style mecca, with its exclusive fashion houses and its designer brands (Sonia Rykiel, Vanessa Bruno, Chloe, Paul and Joe …). Some essential stops in the fashion “pilgrimage” are: Sabbia Rosa, the lingerie shop in the Rue des Saints-Pères; Colette, the unmissable concept store with its industrial look and its water bar; Merci, in the district of Le Marais, is another chic concept shop that is based on responsible trade, and its profits are entirely donated to charitable organizations for children in Madagascar. Those who love French lifestyle will fall for antiquities at the Saint- Ouen Flea Market, or for pieces from Caravane that mixes textiles, craft items or unique pieces from all over the world. As’Art, a shop situated in the Passage Du Grand Cerf (IInd arrondissement) is dedicated to the fair trade of African decorative objects and accessories. The spearhead of this fairtrade way of thinking was Le Comptoir du Sénégal et de l’Afrique de l’Ouest (CSAO) in the Marais district, which adopted it twenty years ago. In her Curiosity Cabinet in the rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, Nelly Wandji offers a selection of pieces by high-end African designers and creatives from the world of art, fashion and design. The next stop in this journey is the brand new showroom of textile designer Aïssa Dione who displays her gorgeous hand woven fabrics from Senegal. The Dejean market, located in the Goutte-d’Or district, next to the Afro hairdressing salons and the wax fabric stalls of Château d’Eau, offers a wide range of fresh exotic products and spices (ginger beer, yam, fragrant peppers, grilled corn…). Healthy food lovers will shop at the Raspail organic market, between the streets of Cherche-Midi and Rennes. If you are more inclined toward feeding your soul, do not forget that Paris has an extraordinary palette of bookshops and art galleries: the Franco-English bookstore Galignani, which has been located under the arcades of the Rue de Rivoli for more than two centuries; the bookshop Présence Africaine and the bookshop-gallery Congo are treasure troves of literature from Africa and its diasporas. After literature comes art, and Noir d’Ivoire, a space devoted to Tribal Art (VIIth arrondissement) for nearly thirty years, is definitely worth a visit.


The Luxembourg Gardens

The Luxembourg Gardens – Photography by Jasmine Van Hevel

In addition to its most famous monuments, such as the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, or Notre-Dame Cathedral, Paris is full of attractions and symbolic places that have a character of their own and make it famous: Stroll along the Saint-Martin canal or through the Luxembourg Gardens, walk down the characteristic Batignolles Quarter, visit the Père-Lachaise Cemetery, where you can see the graves of celebrities like Jim Morrisson, Oscar Wilde, Frederic Chopin, Edith Piaf and others. Take a break at the Café of the Great Mosque, treat yourself to a movie in the legendary Louxor cinema, take a dip in the Molitor swimming pool… The list is endless. Paris also benefits from an exceptional cultural proliferation: we cannot not mention the Louvre, the Musée d’Orsay, the Pompidou Center, the musée du Quai Branly and the Opéra Garnier; but also the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, the Fondation Louis Vuitton and the Institut du monde arabe, with their permanent collection and their thematic exhibitions. At night, the SOPI (South Pigalle quarter) is adorned with lights and cabarets are full (Crazy Horse, Lido, Moulin Rouge …). To have a drink, head towards the lively districts of the Paris night: Le Marais, Bastille … before you let yourself be tempted by the surprising atmosphere of Le Comptoir Général (Xth arrondissement). Another highlight of the night is the Buddha Bar and its exotic menu, a rendezvous for all the Parisian trendsetters. In a more casual yet bustling atmosphere, enjoy the Afro music programming of the Keur SambaTitan and Alizé clubs until dawn.