On Bastille Day weekend, Maria, my Finnish friend, decided to join me in Paris for a little Jönköping roomies reunion. We spent a very fun & girly couple of days, consisting of healthy eating, intense shopping sessions and playing tourist in my own country.
Find below our guide to a fabulous summer weekend in the French capital!
1) Galeries Lafayette
Nothing screams female tourists taking over Paris like a trip to the Galeries Lafayettes. You can spend hours in there – we literally did – looking at the fine piece of clothing and accessories, like you would look at art. From the ground floor with all the cosmetics counters, up to the glass dome, everything is luxury and trends. It’s so interesting to discover new brands and keep an eye on what’s hot, I also had the chance to introduce Maria to fancy French brands which are not that famous worldwide, like Claudie Pierlot for instance. It was pretty fun!
2) Marks & Spencer (rue de la chaussée-d’antin)
I find it sometimes really to find healthy fast food on-the-go for lunch. Luckily in Paris you can just pop in one of their Marks & Spencer stores – they have a couple through the city, including one just nearby Galeries Lafayette. They have a specific ready-to-go lunch section with sandwiches, wraps, salads and all kind of healthy fresh dishes. I had an avocado & chicken sandwich along with some vegetable crisps and a natural-made lemonade. It was the perfect combination between light and tasty! Just the meal needed to carry on a shopping marathon.
3) Galeries Lafayette Home & GOURMET
If Galeries Lafayette is the temple of fancy shoes and lipstick, it is also home of the finest éclairs and macaroons in the city. You can wander through the pastries counters, the many display of spices and world food, or you can go downstairs: Galeries Lafayette Gourmet indeed hides a refined supermarket where your regular pasta brand meets typical high-end cuisine brands. Bonus if you go during the weekend, with a lot of tastings going on. We remained quite reasonable and went for a couple of Pierre Hermé macaroons before heading to the Home section, which is a delight for interior designs fans like us.
4) Starbucks (boulevard haussmann)
Admit it, this getaway wouldn’t be complete without a stop at Starbucks. On a warm summer day, it is convenient enough to know that you can just sit and sip on an iced lemon tea at Starbucks, only a few steps from Galeries Lafayette. It’s so refreshing and the place is perfect to chill and look at what’s going on on the boulevard behind the window.
What can I say? The service is helpful and friendly, the dishes are tasteful yet healthy. This is one of the most well-known gluten-free places in Paris, somewhere between modern coffee shop – they also serve brunch on weekends and breakfast all day long during the week – and hip bistrot. You are unlikely to meet any (other) tourist there. The food is definitely innovative and the summer menu is very original and fresh. I had a Season bowl (see pic below), which included gluten-free pasta, matcha sauce, miso & ginger, black-oil marinated chicken, shiitakes, new onions, beetroots sprouts, kale, carrots, spinach sprouts. Not to mention this was delicious. I also enjoyed a lovely cheesecake for desert.
6) Canal St Martin
If you want to feel part of the Parisian youth on a hot summer night, you’ll just hang around the banks of the Canal St Martin. The place is packed with folks having a drinks sitting on the bank, or just at any of the many bars going along the canal. We walk along to enjoy the atmosphere of this big outdoor party and then stopped in a couple of bar to get cocktails. From the most typical café to concept bar, there’s a place there you’ll enjoy to have a drink at.
7) Generator Hostel Rooftop & bar
We were lucky enough to stay at the Paris Generator Hostel. Generator Hostels are a new hostels franchise which concept is very premium modern hostels. I had experienced the one in Copenhagen before (I’ll keep that for another post!) so I knew we would be very comfortable there. What I like most in Generator Hostels is that you have the comfort of a hotel but the atmosphere of a traditional hostel with all the internationals (Erasmus vibes yay!).
What is especially amazing at Paris Generator Hostel is the rooftop with a view on the Sacré-Coeur – see for yourself below. The atmosphere is so chill and nice, you almost don’t want to leave the hostel. The cocktails menu is amazing (shoutout to the Macaroon cocktail, our official beverage for the weekend!) and the view obviously breathtaking. There is also a bar inside that turns into a club late a night with a great atmosphere as well.
This hostel might be a little more expensive than regular ones but it’s a good alternative between a hotel and a hostel, especially as the rooms are very comfortable and furnished with modern trendy furniture, although breakfast was richer in Copenhagen. To be honest, I can’t wait to try out all the new Generator Hostels that opened recently worldwide, & so should you!
8) Parc des Buttes-Chaumont
The morning after a girls night out, nothing nicer than hanging in the sun, especially when the point of view is marvelous. The park is located on a hill – but a nice active walk is the perfect start of Sunday morning, if you are brave enough you can also go for a little run there, as most of the park visitors do. From there you’ll have a cool view of Paris, and not the most touristy ones with landmarks and all, here again you get to experience the Parisian Paris.
9) the Swedish Institute gardenS
Whether you are Sweden nostalgic like us, or you just really like to relax in chill places, you will enjoy the Hej! coffee from the Swedish institute gardens. There, you instantly fall (back) into the Swedish cultures, with books you can borrow and read and of course a nice coffee corner to have fika and kanelbulle. Don’t hesitate to drop in and say hej! They will appreciate.
It’s very frustrating in France that you cannot do much shopping on a Sunday. However, the BHV has got you covered and is opened every Sunday. Between their cosmetics counters and clothes department, it’s hard to resist. A big shout out to their Home section and especially the Anthropologie corner (if you don’t know my love for Anthropologie yet, go read that post) with the funny cat plates, lovely pattern-bowls, and cute journal notebooks.