History, fashion, glamour all rolled into one.
The 1st arrondissement of Paris is one of the busiest areas full of historical monuments, the largest museum in the world and premium shopping for the rich and fabulous. There are countless stops to satiate your every sense: taste, smell, hear, touch and see where the French regal past coincides with its posh present. Here’s the best of them all…
Le Louvre – the mama bear of museums
Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris, France
NO ONE ever comes to Paris without at least taking a photo in front of the Louvre’s highly celebrated pyramid. But who wouldn’t want to step inside and spend at least a few hours with the world’s greatest art collections. When it comes to iconic landmarks, Louvre is as synonymous as the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame, it features approximately 38,000 objects from prehistory to the 21st century. It covers almost 800,000 square feet, hence many art enthusiasts have said it takes 11 days to fully see the museum in its entirety. 10 million visitors every year makes Louvre the most visited art museum in the world. Therefore, we highly recommend carving out a few hours before it closes, so you won’t be stuck outside waiting in line during most of the day.
The museum first opened in 1793 amid the French Revolution, but prior its transition, the edifice was French Kings’ primary residence until Louis XIV chose Palace of Versailles as his main residence in 1682 and left Louvre as a place to store his art collections. Today, the large glass and metal pyramid serves as the museum’s main entrance. Completed in 1989, the pyramid was designed by Chinese-American architect I.M. Pei, who caused a massive controversy with the structure’s modern style and the pyramid’s unfitting symbol of death in ancient Egypt. Since then, it has become one of the quintessential landmarks of Paris.
Tuileries Garden – hiding a Monet museum
Place de la Concorde, 75001 Paris, France
Right next to the Louvre is Tuileries Garden, worthy of a long stroll or an afternoon picnic (but be careful, rats come out to party at night. Mon Dieu!) Created in 1564 by Catherine de Medici – the queen consort of France – the garden became public after the French Revolution. Inside, there’s also Musée de l’Orangerie, an impressionist and post-impressionist art gallery spotlighting eight massive Water Lilies murals by Claude Monet. The water lilies will be quick to look through, but l’Orangerie also features other beautiful works by Henri Matisse, Paul Cézanne, Pablo Picasso, Pierre-Auguste Renoir…and many more.
Palais Royal – Instagram-worthy
8 Rue de Montpensier, 75001 Paris, France
The royal palace itself has a vast history from former kings to the current cultural council. But for travelers, the most notable aspect resides in the palace’s inner courtyard featuring Daniel Buren’s installation: Les Deux Plateaux, aka: Les Colonnes de Buren. Also highly controversial at the time, Buren’s usage of conceptual grid in black and white striped columns set in the middle of a historical courtyard launched with raised eyebrows. Today, it is a favorite among photographers and artistic exhibitions.
Musée des Arts Décoratifs – fashion & design museum
107 Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris, France
Paris is undeniably the fashion capital of the world. To deeply understand its roots and history within the fast-moving industry, a few hours at Musée des Arts Décoratifs comes highly recommended. Situated next to the Louvre, MAD often hosts the hottest fashion exhibitions in town: Dior, Yves St. Laurent, even the Barbie expo was a monstrous hit.
Le Duc des Lombards – intimate jazz club
42 Rue des Lombards, 75001 Paris, France
If you want to attend a jazz club in Paris, Le Duc des Lombards has been delivering one of the best experiences since 1984. The shows are almost daily, featuring high-profile as well as low key artists. On the same street, you’ll find other jazz clubs including: Le Baiser Salé and Sunset/Sunside. Book your tickets early online, you’re guaranteed for a night filled with blues and musical inspiration.
Juveniles – best foie gras
47 Rue de Richelieu, 75001 Paris, France
In this area full of foreigners, it’s hard to find a bistro offering great food and wine that’s NOT a tourist trap. Time and time again, Juveniles has proven itself to be a genuinely delicious brasserie with a delightful collection of beautiful AND natural wines. Don’t leave here without trying the house foie gras, it’s buttery and light as air. Possibly the best in the city!
Balagan – Michelin Israeli restaurant with a hoppin’ late-night bar
9 Rue d’Alger, 75001 Paris, France
The 1st arrondissement isn’t known for its sizzling nightlife scene. But Balagan’s bar is a go-to for an intimate but fun atmosphere late into the night. Much of its stylish crowd swoop in from its upscale Israeli-inspired restaurant, full of dynamic mezes, including: deconstructed kebab, muschen chicken (smoked chicken, crepe, onion sumak and herbs) and Jerusalem Cheesecake. Balagan means “hullabaloo” in Hebrew, and it is certainly one of the most sought-after tables in the city, so reservation weeks in advance is needed.
Le Fumoir – all-Swedish menu on Sunday nights
6 Rue de l’Amiral de Coligny, 75001 Paris, France
Another outstanding staple in the Louvre area is Le Fumoir, where food is consistently excellent and drinks are as classic as an oaky library. Le Fumoir is more than a restaurant, it’s also a salon de thé and a cocktail bar. The menu changes weekly according to each season, in addition to hints of Scandinavian influence thanks to chef Henrik Andersson’s Swedish roots. Weekend brunches are must-do’s if you’re staying in the area, if not, its Sunday Swedish dinner menu is also a Parisian fave.
Hôtel Costes – best cheesecake
239-241 Rue Saint-Honoré, 75001 Paris, France
This is where fashion designers and celebrities are! Hôtel Costes has established itself as the IT place to be in Paris, although much of its menu may seem pretitiously overpriced for some, there’s no denying that its cheesecake might just be THE BEST in the city. Even Kim Kardashian said so herself. Before or after your meal, having a drink here is also a delight especially for people watching during Fashion Week.
Ferdi – best cheeseburger & churros
32 Rue du Mont Thabor, 75001 Paris, France
Another Fashion Week hotspot, Ferdi is beloved by the Hadids and the Kardashians-Jenners. If you don’t travel by pop culture, then come here for juicy cheeseburgers (which is actually a typical dish on traditional Parisian menus) and chocolatey churros. Named after their son, Ferdinand, owners Alicia and Jacques Fontanier have adorned the restaurant interior with many nostalgic items from Ferdi’s childhood. Lots of personal touches for a fashionable crowd.
Bar Hemingway – the ultimate
15 Place Vendôme, 75001 Paris, France
If there’s a place to drop almost 30 euros per cocktail, it’s at Bar Hemingway inside the legendary Ritz Paris. Unpretentious, cozy yet luscious, Bar Hemingway features memorabilia of the iconic writer, including: letters, typewriters, books…and much more. The cocktail menu comes in the form of unwrinkled newspaper, listing anything classic to everything delish. It’s a wonderful place to spend a few hours after walking around the neighborhood all day, indulge in the defined luxury that dreamers live for.
Le Café Marly – best view of the Louvre
93 Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris, France
Another iconic spot right by the Louvre is Le Café Marly, essentially the best place to indulge in the view of the Louvre pyramid. It’s highly recommended that grabbing a table on the terrace, with a cold glass of rosé at dusk is the absolute experience of a lifetime. This, for me, has always been the most romantic place to rest my feet after a day of strolling through the neighborhood, with friends or by myself.
Angelina Paris – best hot chocolate
226 Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris, France
“Everyday, Coco Chanel entered the glass doors of Angelina, properly dressed waiters would guide her to the same table, where she would submerse in a few hours of feminine charm that only a salon du thé on Rue Rivoli could replenish. Before Coco, French women of high society kept Angelina’s kitchen busy by hosting daily gatherings and frequent lavish events. After Coco, the likes of Audrey Hepburn and Serge Gainsbourg often made Angelina their kitchen away from home. Since the day its doors were unveiled, across the street from the Louvre, Angelina has never been just an ordinary tea room.” – read more from our exclusive interview with Angelina Paris.
Astier de Villatte – handmade terracotta ceramics
173 Rue Saint-Honoré, 75001 Paris, France
For the most rustic chic boutique in the city, come to Astier de Villatte. You’ll discover numerous items of white ceramics, each delicately handmade with terracotta clay. Their dishware, mugs, vases are much coveted items. I personally have quite a few in my apartment in Paris. Since Astier branded pieces appreciate year after year, if some household products are too expensive for your, then grab a candle named after your favorite city. Even Astier stationary can make a beautiful gift or souvenir.
Charvet – best silk shirt shop
28 Place Vendôme, 75001 Paris, France
The high-end shirt shop is probably one of the most prestigious bespoke boutiques in Paris. From neckties, blouses, pajamas, to handkerchiefs, Charvet has been referenced by writers and celebrities since the 19th century. Its posh brand comes from Charvet’s history of supplying kings, princes and international politicians.
Chanel flagship – Coco Chanel’s former apartment
31 Rue Cambon, 75001 Paris, France
The ginormous 1,500 square-meter boutique is the ultimate Chanel of all the Chanel boutiques. For fans of the luxury brand, Coco Chanel’s apartment was here while the former Chanel Paris headquarter is only 50 meters away on 31 rue Cambon where Karl Lagerfeld claimed as his studio during his time as Creative Director for the fashion house. This particular flagship is not only stunning in size but also a colorful campground of unique art works, sculpture, and gorgeous Chinese partitions that Coco loved.
Librairie Galignani – oldest English language bookstore in Europe
224 Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris, France
Founded by Giovanni Antonio Galignani in 1800, Librairie Galignani was meant to be a circulating bookshop in Paris. The son of an Italian family of printers, Giovanni left Italy and met his English wife who was also the child of a printer. When the store was launched as the first English language bookshop on the continent of Europe, it played a significant role in the relationship between French and foreign cultures as well as publishing laws. Today, it’s a tranquil hiding spot for book lovers and history buffs.
VIP Room – exclusive & hip-hop
188 bis Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris, France
Despite that Paris isn’t necessarily known for its nightlife scene, nor is VIP Room the newest club in town, it’s still THE place to go for after hours in the 1st arrondissement. Frequented by celebrities and international DJs, VIP Room continues to revamp itself with new designs, different sets, and modern lighting systems. From Thursdays – Saturdays, the club closes at 5 a.m., making it one of the few places that stay open past 2 a.m. in the city.