After falling in love with a Frenchmen and moving to Paris on a whim, Lindsey Tramuta — author of the wonderfully captivating blog Lost in Cheeseland — has spent the last 8 years uncovering the city’s hidden gems, which she shares in her One Perfect Day Paris.
What isn’t great about Paris? Pick any street to stroll and it whiffs of history. The city has endless stories and despite its museum-like veneer in most places, it’s a city in motion. There’s a reason artists, creatives, and dreamers have flocked here for centuries. It offers an awakening and edifying self-awareness that few other places deliver, and for me, it’s home.
It’s the backdrop to some of the most exceptional opportunities, personally and professionally, and ultimately where I discovered who I was as a person. Now that I’ve become a French citizen, the city takes on even greater importance in my sense of self.
8:00 AM: Sunrise over Trocadéro
It’s across the city from me, but when I have out-of-town guests visiting, I make a point of prying them out of bed early to get to the Trocadéro to watch dawn’s golden light wash over the Chaillot Hill, the Jardins du Trocadéro and envelop the Eiffel Tower, which sits opposite.
The trick is to arrive just before sunrise on the weekend to experience the warmth of the morning light on a largely vacant esplanade – devoid of speeding cars, honking buses, and chattering tourists, the Place du Trocadéro reveals a rare and invigorating calm that is more than worth the early wake-up call.
9:50 AM: Line-up at Pierre Hermé on rue Bonaparte
Droves of tourists line up daily for sachets brimming with fruit-filled macarons, but I go for Pierre Hermé’s superior twist on the croissant. The Ispahan croissant is lightly filled with rose almond paste and raspberry litchi compote and drizzled with a rosewater glaze and crushed raspberry pieces, taking a classic morning pastry to truly artistic heights.
However, the pastry isn’t available at all Pierre Hermé shops, so make a beeline for the rue Bonaparte shop ahead of its 10 AM opening.
72 Rue Bonaparte
11:00 AM: Morning at the Musée d’Orsay
Well-fueled and energized from a walk along the waterfront, spend a morning at The Musée d’Orsay, the city’s impressionist hub. Before the structure was a museum, it was the former Orsay railway station, constructed for the World’s Fair of 1900. In 1978 it was classified as a Historical Monument and protected from destruction.
After years of renovations, its bandages came off in 1986 and opened to the public as a museum specializing in art from 1848 and 1914. Before you come, check out the schedule for temporary exhibits and purchase tickets in advance to skip lines.
1 Rue de la Légion d’Honneur
12:45 PM: Vélib to lunch at Tasca
Pick up a Vélib bicycle (the city’s bike-share service) and bike to lunch on the right bank. Ride along the riverfront and cross over to rive droite via Pont Marie.
Park your bike at Saint-Paul and walk into the Marais to Tasca for lunch, a Portuguese tavern-épicerie from the same owner of the adjacent Comme à Lisbonne specialized in Pastéis de Nata. Here, order the soup of the day, a mind-blowing cheese plate, and the tostas, an open-faced toasted sandwich with fresh ingredients.
37 rue du Roi de Sicile 4e
2:15 PM: Dessert at L’éclair de Génie
After lunch, walk a few blocks over to rue Pavée for a taste of the city’s most illustrious éclairs. Flavors rotate seasonally but opt for the lemon yuzu or maple pecan if they’re available.
L’éclair de Génie
14 Rue Pavée
2:30 PM: Walk it off
Walk off dessert with a stroll from L’éclair de Génie to the Place des Vosges, the oldest planned square in Paris and home to the Victor Hugo museum (free entry). Browse the art galleries underneath the arcades and stop for tea at Carette if you need a rest.
Place des Vosges
4:00 PM: Market shopping on Rue de Bretagne
Loop out of the Place des Vosges toward the rue de Bretagne via the rue de Turenne and pick up what’s fresh at the Marché des Enfants Rouges, the oldest covered market in Paris (its name is a nod to space’s former incarnation as an orphanage). From an Italian deli stand to Lebanese food and an organic produce vendor, you’ll find everything you need for a home-cooked meal.
Marché des Enfants Rouges
39 Rue de Bretagne
5:00 PM: Late day coffee at Fondation Café
Cross the Square du Temple and grab a quick coffee at Fondation Café before closing. The terrace is heated and faces the street for prime people-watching. The owner uses beans from roaster Belleville Brûlerie (in the 19th arrondissement) so pick up a bag of the café’s signature blend to make top-quality coffee from home.
16 Rue Dupetit-Thouars
8:00 PM: Dinner at Pierre Sang
If you decided not to cook at home, head to the 11th for dinner at Korean-born chef Pierre Sang’s eponymous restaurant. On the corner of rue Oberkampf, his first focuses on market-fresh cooking and features a surprise tasting. If this spot of full, head a few doors down on rue Gambey to Sang’s newest restaurant with a decidedly more Korean spirit. The five-course menu is equally as spontaneous as at his other establishment but with more potent Asian flavors.
55 Rue Oberkampf
Get A Taste Of Paris
Until you can make it to Paris yourself, get a taste of the city by making this super classic Jambon-Beurre sandwich.
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