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L'Épi Dupin, France

11 Rue Dupin
Paris 75006, France
Tel: 33 1 42 22 64 56

Chef François Pasteau's market-based, creative cuisine served in a neighborhood-style setting was revolutionary for the mid-1990s. Now it has become the norm, yet few chefs do it better, and the popularity of this far-from-new neo-bistro continues unabated. Pasteau favors sweet, mildly spicy combinations for his ever-changing menu. For a starter, there might be a beef mille-feuille paired with chutney, ginger-perfumed zucchini, and a shellfish coulis for balance. The five main-course options may include skate with slow-cooked orange- and coriander-spiked fennel, sautéed scallops with meltingly tender leeks in citrus vinaigrette, or a spiced skirt steak in a rich red-wine sauce. Desserts range from house-made gingerbread with orange marmalade and basil sorbet, to roasted peaches, to plum crumble. The location is convenient (Le Bon Marché is half a block away); the food is affordable (a dinner prix-fixe is about $45); and the markups on the short, well-chosen wine list are reasonable (try a glass of the peachy house organic white from the Armagnac region). There are, however, drawbacks to the compact dining room: The faux wooden tables and plastic chairs could be in a 24/7 diner, and the decibel level reflects the elbow-to-elbow crowding (as well as contentment). Reserve at least a week ahead, and request the second seating for lunch or dinner and a corner table.

Open Mondays 7 to 11 pm, Tuesdays through Fridays noon to 3 pm and 7 to 11 pm.

See + Do

Centre Georges Pompidou, France

Rue St-Martin
 75004, France
Tel: 33 1 44 78 12 33

When it opened in 1977, the intention of this inside-out modern art museum—the staircases and pipes are famously exposed on its exterior—was to snatch back Paris's role as the art capital of the world, a title it lost to New York after World War II. The Pompidou fell short of that goal (the contemporary art scene in Paris remains puckish), but it has become one of the top tourist attractions in France. Beaubourg, as Parisians call it, has a permanent collection that runs from 1905 to the present and includes such "isms" as primitivism, Cubism, Fauvism, surrealism, and Abstract Expressionism. Making the most of those riches, it mounts outstanding exhibits that cover everything from Andy Warhol to the films of Alfred Hitchcock. The complex also includes an open-to-the-public library, cinemas, children's programs, and Georges, a trendy if expensive and slightly snooty restaurant with fabulous vistas from its top floor—it's great for lunch (33-1-44-78-47-99).

Open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Closed Tuesdays.


Pierre Hermé, France

72 Rue Bonaparte
Paris 75006, France
Tel: 33 1 43 54 47 77

Dubbed the "Picasso of Pastries," Pierre Hermé has a virtual kingdom of dessert-related entreprises, including three boutiques in Paris, a sideline in cookbooks, and a school of "haute pâtisserie." His radical approach to dessert and chocolate-making arrives in "collections" of new sweets every so often. Concoctions feature wondrous pairings like rose and lychee, but he also creates "classiques," rigorous reworkings of traditional French products. He has two Left Bank shops: The original, on Rue Bonaparte, is like a minimalist jewel box; the other is bright and Pop-minimalist (185 Rue de Vaugirard, 75015; 33-1-47-83-89-96). At Macarons & Chocolats, opened in 2009, a couple of dozen variations on the theme range from the best-selling passion fruit and chocolate macarons—a bite of heaven at about $2.70 each—to tribal mask–shaped chocolates originally created for the Quai Branly museum.

Rue Bonaparte shop open Mondays through Fridays 10 am to 7 pm, Saturdays 10 am to 7:30 pm, and Sundays 10 am to 7 pm.

Macarons & Chocolats open daily 10 am to 7 pm.


Ladurée, France

75 Avenue des Champs-Élysées
Paris 75008, France
Tel: 33 1 40 75 08 75

They did not invent the macaron, but they may have perfected it—which is why Sofia Coppola had all the sweet treats for her film Marie Antoinette special-ordered from Ladurée. It's not hard to see why: In a city full of imitators, Ladurée's caramel has just the right amount of salt, and the rose manages to be flowery and not sickly sweet. It may just be worth buying a dozen for the box, which comes in delicate eggy pastels with a black-stencilled monogram. The fashionable Art Nouveau–inspired Ladurée Le Bar, which is adjacent to the Champs-Élysées address, caters to a late-night crowd with cocktail versions of its celebrated pâtisseries. Other shops in Paris include Ladurée Royale (16 Rue Royale, 75008; 33-1-42-60-21-79) and Ladurée Bonaparte (21 Rue Bonaparte, 75006; 33-1-44-07-64-87).

Ladurée Champs-Élysées open daily 7:30 am to 11 pm.

Ladurée Le Bar open Mondays through Thursdays 9 am to 11:30 pm, Fridays 9 am to 12:30 am, Saturdays 10 am to 12:30 am, and Sundays 10 am to 11:30 pm.


Les Ombres, France

Musée du Quai Branly, 27 Quai Branly
Paris 75007, France
Tel: 33 1 47 53 68 00

This rooftop eatery with wraparound views might just be the best thing about Jean Nouvel's $350 million Musée du Quai Branly. The restaurant's name (which translates to "the shadows") and the crisscrossing beams supporting the tinted glass roof recall the fretwork silhouette of the Eiffel Tower, which stands a few hundred yards away. (That transparent roof turns Les Ombres into a greenhouse by high noon, so reserve a table on the terrace in fair weather—or go for dinner to take in the twinkling nighttime views). As with the whole building, Nouvel's design here is a sensory overload: Woven-leather armchairs and wooden tables as solid as pre-Columbian totems contrast with the oversize glasses and bone china resting beside futuristic (though not entirely practical) knives and forks. Chef Arno Busquet, a veteran of Laurent (41 Ave. Gabriel; 33-1-42-25-00-39; and the Ritz's L'Espadon, uses fair-trade ingredients to create colorful fusion dishes that reflect the museum's multicultural theme: French foie gras with spicy mango chutney, giant shrimp stacked in crisp phyllo dough with spicy vegetable fettuccine, braised quail and sautéed leeks drizzled with aniseed honey, crispy mille-feuille dotted with Tahitian vanilla or chocolate and coffee cream. The lunch prix fixe (a steal at $40) changes twice monthly; the dinner menu follows the seasons. And the eclectic wine list has something for both fatigued museumgoers (a $10 glass of Bordeaux) and deal-making business types (the rare 1995 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti for $3,420). Book ahead.

Open Sundays through Thursdays noon to 12:30 pm and 7 to 10:30 pm, Fridays and Saturdays noon to 12:30 and 7 to 11 pm.

See + Do

Canal St-Martin, France

Paris, France

Long a working-class neighborhood with an edge, the Canal St-Martin is the latest quartier to be reinvented by artists and young bohemians. Built in the early 1800s for industrial transport, the canal is spanned by hump-back bridges and lined with cobbled banks, giant sycamores, and warehouses that are being converted into lofts. There are still some seedy surroundings and homeless encampments, but by day, blue- and white-collar locals plus a sprinkling of tourists add normality to the scene. By night, the hipsters take over. Galleries and boutiques are quirky and marginal. The bars, cafés, and restaurants feel like they've followed you from the similarly hip but older Bastille and Oberkampf areas. Near the canal's southern end, off Quai de Jemmapes and Quai de Valmy, you'll find Café l'Atmosphère (49 Rue Lucien Sampaix; 33-1-40-38-09-21), Le Poisson Rouge (112 Quai de Jemmapes; 33-1-40-40-07-11;, and l'Hôtel du Nord (102 Quai de Jemmapes; 33-1-40-40-78-78;—interchangeable hangouts with outdoor tables and an arty feel. Farther north are casual Le Chaland café (163 Quai de Valmy; 33-1-40-05-18-68), Quai Ouest, a cutting-edge new-music venue (167 Quai de Valmy and 1 Rue Alexandre Parodi; 33-1-40-36-54-30), and the laid back Opus Jazz and Soul Club (167 Quai de Valmy; 33-1-40-34-70-00). Further up, near the dicey Stalingrad Métro station, hopping local hangouts surround the mainstream MK2 cinema-theater-café-restaurant-bookstore complex which sits on both canal banks (14 Quai de la Seine and 7 Quai de Loire; 33-8-92-69-84-84;

See + Do

Musée Marmottan Monet, France

2 Rue Louis-Boilly
Paris 75016, France
Tel: 33 1 44 96 50 33

Only in Paris could the world's single largest collection of Monet paintings (along with works by Pissarro, Sisley, and Renoir) be overshadowed by other museums. But don't ignore this little-known gem, tucked away in the leafy, residential 16th Arrondissement. Housed in an atmospheric old hunting lodge—the area was once wooded—the ballast of the collection came from two bequests. The first was a trove of canvases donated by the daughter of Georges de Bellio, Monet's doctor; the second came from Monet's son Michel. The real prize here is Impression Soleil Levant, a magnificent work from 1873 recording Monet's impression of a sunrise at Le Havre.

Open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Closed Mondays.


See + Do

Tuileries and Orangerie, France

Paris 75001, France

There is magic in the sycamore-lined Tuileries garden between the Champs-Élysées and the Louvre. Named for the roofing-tile factory that once stood here, this is Paris's oldest public garden, but recent replantings and the addition of a dozen works of modern and contemporary art have given it new life. There are four cafés, hundreds of comfortable garden chairs and shady benches, and two monumental pools with water jets. On the northwest terrace, the Jeu de Paume, originally a handball court, is now a photo gallery with great temporary exhibits (1 Place de la Concorde; 33-1-47-03-12-50;; closed Mon). On the Seine-side terrace is the Musée de l'Orangerie—an absolute must-see. Reopened in spring 2006 after a six-year, $36-million renovation, it displays a tour de force by Monet: eight huge water lily paintings, shown in two oval-shaped rooms under skylights that re-create the natural light conditions Monet knew in the 1920s. The remake has succeeded to excess: The other rooms, with their amazing canvases by Cézanne, Renoir, Matisse, Modigliani, Picasso, André Derain, and Chaim Soutine, fade in comparison. So visit twice—once for Monet, a second time for everyone else (33-1-44-77-80-07;; closed Tues).


Café Constant, France

139 Rue St. Dominique
Paris 75007, France
Tel: 33 1 47 53 73 34

Formerly the executive chef of Les Ambassadeurs, Christian Constant has spun his well-earned celebrity into a mini empire of four restaurants, located practically side by side on Rue St. Dominique, near the Eiffel Tower. His establishments range from the pricey, high-design Le Violon d'Ingres (33-1-45-55-15-05; to this unassuming corner café. And they all turn out some of the best food you'll eat in Paris. Café Constant's market-based menu is ever-changing, but the neighborhood regulars seated cheek by jowl on bentwood bistro chairs or burgundy-colored banquettes might be tucking into, for example, house-made foie gras terrines, roasted Bresse chicken, crispy phyllo purses stuffed with shrimp and basil, or plump chocolate dumplings. The wines are affordable—try the flinty Quincy from Philippe Portier or inky Côtes du Rhône from Perrin—and the weekday prix-fixe lunch is an excellent value at about $30. Reservations are not accepted, but if you arrive at noon for lunch, or 7:30 pm for dinner, you probably won't have to wait. Once installed, you can relax: Service is swift yet startlingly courteous, and the staff doesn't rush to turn tables.

Open Tuesdays through Saturdays noon to 2:30 pm and 7:30 to 10:30 pm.


Le Comptoir du Relais, France

9 Carrefour de l'Odéon
Paris 75006, France
Tel: 33 1 44 27 07 97

With his 1990s hit restaurant, the far-flung La Régalade, Yves Camdeborde was credited with reinventing the Parisian bistro. Now the cult chef presides over this irresistible neo-bistro—40 wooden chairs atop multicolored mosaic-tile floors, with wood paneling and yellow-and-red-trimmed walls—next to the Hôtel Relais Saint-Germain. A master chef and marketeer, the affable Camdeborde offers two distinct menus: bistro (or brasserie), from noon to 6 pm daily and until 11 pm on weekends; and on weekdays, the phenomenal bargain five-course "gastronomique" menu. Lunch service is sans reservations, meaning a daily free-for-all (come just before noon or after 2:30 pm for the best chance of scoring a seat), and dinner reservations book up months in advance. But it's worth the hassle for Camdeborde's wild cèpes molded with foie gras and flanked by whipped artichoke mousseline, and a neo-tarte Tatin dessert that merges apples and mango, with vanilla ice cream. The secret to getting a dinner reservation? Stay at the Hôtel Relais Saint-Germain, which occupies the same building (33-1-43-29-12-05; or phone at about 7:30 pm on the evening you hope to go, and ask if, by some miracle, anyone has canceled. The magic word in French is désistement.

Open Sundays through Fridays noon to 6 pm and 8:30 to midnight, Saturdays noon to 11 pm.


Colette, France

213 Rue Saint-Honoré
Paris 75001, France
Tel: 33 1 55 35 33 90

L'art de vivre was practically invented in France, so it's not surprising the country has some of the best, and best-known, lifestyle stores. Colette is an ad hoc destination for gimmicky cool, for everything from the newest portable electronics (ever sleeker and smaller) to obscure trance music and impossible heels; the selection of known and emerging fashion matches the store's hipper-than-thou staff.

Open Mondays through Saturdays 11 am to 7 pm.


Nouveau Casino, France

109 Rue Oberkampf
Paris 75011, France
Tel: 33 1 43 57 57 40

One of Paris's most appealing nightspots, this live music venue hosts crowded dance parties and books international rock and pop groups and up-and-coming local acts. Affiliated with (and located behind) venerable Café Charbon—the grande dame of scruffy Bastille cafés—Nouveau Casino has a Tron-like decor that highlights its acoustics, which are surprisingly sophisticated for a small club. Check to see if you recognize any of the names on the roster: Some of the groups, like the Brooklyn-based Fiery Furnaces, are better known outside of France.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.