TO ALL THE (BOYS) BAGUETTES I’VE LOVED BEFORE.
by Harmony Boyer
To borrow the words of Oprah, “I love bread”, like, REALLY love bread. As a child I was always the culprit who would devour the loaf of French bread, while on the car ride home from the grocery store, much to my mother’s frustration. (Don’t worry, she eventually just started to buy two loaves and that just was a little too bold of an endeavor for my 10 year old self).
I also really love the idea of romance. Shocker. While I can sometimes act like a very nonchalant, sometimes too busy to be bothered by a silly little thing called love gal on the outside, I’m probably one of the most sensitive romantics you’ll ever meet. I definitely take rejection personally but I’m always hopeful and looking for that next r eally BIG connection, love. While dating during the age of dating apps has somewhat blurred the edges of true enigmatic, romantic connection for me, I have had a very small handful of amazing days/nights that usually start over good cocktails/food and end with a slightly more soft-focus lens. The true realization is that electric connection can always be amplified by beautiful surroundings, great food and strong drinks.
So it should come as no surprise that, of course, I’ve always had a thing for Paris.
For me, Paris is a VIBE. You can’t NOT be romantic about the idea. I know, because the first time I visited Paris I spent the better part of what was supposed to be the ultimate romance, walking around rainy cobblestone streets, enthralled by my surroundings, yet devastated that my travel companion was decidedly horrible less than ideal. Still I couldn’t hate my experience because, although romance had alluded me, it was all around me and that was more than enough.
***However, I do vividly remember boarding my plane to London and mentally promising myself that I’d never come back to this beautiful place unless I was in LOVE, like John Cusack, hold a boombox baguette over my head, love.***
But then, I guess you could say, I got hungry. So, recently, I joined a girlfriend and we took a last-minute opportunity to travel back to one of my favorite destinations. Besides eating and drinking, the majority of our stay was filled with exercising my minimal French, counting people carrying baguettes (yes, I turned it into an actual game), continuing the goal of, “I know we just ate, but I really want a another pain au chocolat,” fighting the urge to pick up a 5-day smoking habit, lots of smiles at Parisian bartenders and staring at a menu and not being able to decide.
Does anyone else run into that problem? When you just looked at a menu and don’t even know where to start? Like, maybe you’re already famished or not hungry at all, or everything looks delightful and you may/may not be a Libra that can’t make decisions, like me??
So, in true “bistro” fashion, here’s my menu of all the “deliciousness” I have loved, for a “not your typical Paris” excursion. Because a girl’s gotta eat (and drink).
Sorry, the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe and the Louvre don’t make an appearance on this list…
(I did them on my first visit and you should too!)
CHECK into our Airbnb in the Marais/Republique (my favorite neighborhoods)
SWOOP coffee (HELLO Harmony, meet jetlag face)
WALK from Marais to Montmarte – Stop by the Notre Dame for mulled wine, Shakespeare & Co for the perfect bistro read.
DEATH BEFORE DECAF:
GO HERE: To admire the adorable tile-work and caffeinate yourself for the day. (This is my favorite coffee shop in all of Paris.)
ORDER THE: Avocado toast (with pomegranate seeds!) + a flat white. Easy.
THE VIBE IS: Espresso drenched, extremely narrow and aesthetically cozy - try to get a seat by the window.
GETTING BRUNCHED IN THE FACE:
GO HERE: For versatile Melbourne-inspired brunch faire - go early, to try and avoid the wait.
ORDER THE: Pancakes topped with eggs, bacon, homemade Bourbon butter, and maple syrup - or the Huevos Rancheros (it’s not always on the menu!)
THE VIBE IS: Fun, friendly and HOLY MOLY, delicious.
GO HERE: For espresso and eggs in the morning ----> to dinner/cocktails at the bar in the late evening.
ORDER THE: Killer Croque Madam
THE VIBE IS: YOU GUYS THEY HAVE A BACON WAFFLE.
MARCHE DES ENFANTS ROUGES; specifically: TRAITEUR MAROCAIN
GO HERE: For fluffy couscous and one of the best tajines of your life.
ORDER THE: Royal Couscous and the Lemon Tajine + Moroccan Green Tea w/mint. OOOH and the Grilled Sardine Salad. OMG.
THE VIBE IS: Parisian “food court” -- Unassuming. Delicious. Cheap. Great service. 100% would recommend. Honestly go and eat there. Their couscous is to die for.
DO YOU WANT TO REMEMBER A DINNER FOREVER?
GO HERE: For a through-the-looking-glass dinner with cocktail pairings that will leave you wondering why more restaurants don’t do it. Sure, you can order a cocktail made with bourbon, Madeira, and walnut syrup to go with an à la carte item from the Japanese-born chef, but it’s so much better when paired with mirin-soy-marrinated foie gras with blueberries and corn cream.
ORDER THE: Five-, six-, or seven-course tasting menu with cocktail pairings. You won’t regret it—even if you can’t remember it.
THE VIBE IS: Date-y and on-trend (as in plaster-and-stripped-wood decor).
Ps: Buy some Berocca at the pharmacy so you’ll have it handy for tomorrow morning’s hangover (gueule de bois in French.)
IT’S 5 O’CLOCK SOMEWHERE…
GIGGLE WATER: /GIG GAL WHA(T) HER/
GO HERE: Mainly so you can push through the kitchen door of a taco joint to find one of the best mezcal bars in the world.
ORDER THE: Guapo. It’s not on the menu and it involves hot sauce. Also, they have an insane selection of tequila/mezcal, so basically…anything.
THE VIBE IS: Candlelit tequila cave, hipster, omg goodness who wants to make out after two drinks?
GO HERE: If you’re a fan of Alice in Wonderland, but, like if she was a mixologist. Behind an inconspicuous façade, a tiny crimson door, is the illusionary portal to this low-lit, bare-brick drinking den filled with flickering candles. Consistently ranked among the World's 50 Best Bars, it's a must for serious mixology fans.
ORDER THE: *Note* they change their menu regularly, so prepare to be surprised. Favorite on my visit: The Baroque – made with rum, fortified wine, orange liqueur and pomegranate flowers.
THE VIBE IS: Intoxicating. No pun, intended.
*Also, hugs to Niko @Bisou and Laurent, the amazing doorman who enabled us to get in to an otherwise impossible bar.*
GO HERE: For bartenders “throwing” personalized cocktails, enamoring banter, hot pink lighting and flamingo wallpaper in the bathroom.
ORDER THE: No menu! If you have a cocktail in mind, they will re-create something with a little “Bisou” twist. One of my favorites was an ambiguous Negroni-esque cocktail with…CAPERS.
THE VIBE IS: Cozy, boozy, real life heart eye emojis, with a heavy side of 80’s/90’s rock hits.
GO HERE: For THE BEST deviled egg you have ever had, topped with deep-fried rice, alongside your cocktail.
ORDER THE: Rain Dog, a mound of ice doused in small-batch bourbon, mint, and amaro bitters or the equally inventive Koh Gaden, a frothy white mix of aquavit, lime, egg white, kaffir lime, and galangal syrup.
THE VIBE IS: The atmosphere is really, really lovely. Dimly lit, with large windows looking out to the streets of the Marais. Stunningly romantic.
GO HERE: For a celebration of all things French! Stocking only French spirits with inventive house creations including ingredients like Marc de Bourgogne, absinthes, and gentian-based bitters.
ORDER THE: Picon Biere, velvety and tangy - made with cognac, Picon, beer and quince compote. Or: The Raspberry Negroni, a “drink and dip” with an alcoholic lollipop made in-house.
THE VIBE IS: Think The Strokes, drinking inventive cocktails in someone’s garage, listening to 90’s hip hop music.
I know I promised myself I wouldn’t come back to Paris if I wasn’t in love, but I realized that I am. I’m in love with who I become during and after my travels. I’m the best version of myself when traveling, since this always (for me, at least) involves being really, truly present. I love that despite a slight language barrier, the waiter and I can both giggle when I order a Pina Colada. Traveling makes me feel gratitude towards the little things, I’m open-minded to the new and unfamiliar, and I can focus clearly on what’s most important in life, rather than the trivial thoughts that usually consume us on a day to day basis. No matter where I go now, traveling always makes me feel small, humble and on the flip side, maybe a bit more robust…since I refuse to count calories and always board my return flight roughly about 80% carbs/cheese.
Harmony is a long-time lover of all things beauty, music and cocktails. When she’s not enjoying a good laugh or a cheeky drink with some friends, she is a content-creator & buyer in the beauty industry. Follow her journey @somefamouschick