Paris in five moves

Living la Ville Lumière through an unusual itinerary. A joy from breakfast till supper

Restaurant Derrière, at 69 Rue des Gravilliers, P

Restaurant Derrière, at 69 Rue des Gravilliers, Paris. An unusual restaurant, in which you feel at home, literally. It is one of the 5 locations we recommend today, in order to enjoy an unusual Paris, far away from 3-starred restaurants and bistronomie places

Leaving for Paris, for a few days. Diving into the beautiful: buildings, monuments, shops, streets, people. Enjoying every instant, step and view of the city and pairing all this with pleasant and tasty stops in some not-to-be-missed places to satisfy the appetite, the palate and lighten up the eyes.

Aperitif and dinner at Hotel Costes in 239-241 Rue Saint-Honoré, one of the central fashion streets in the French capital, with splendid buildings and window shops: here you can sip a glass of wine or a cocktail in an elegant living room and dine in the restaurant, in the veranda or in the other rooms, enjoying fine international cuisine dishes. Unfortunately the bill is surely affected by the context, but on a special occasion, the evening will certainly be unique.

L'Absinthe, in place du marché Saint-Honoré

L'Absinthe, in place du marché Saint-Honoré

A few steps away, beyond the marvellous Place Vendôme, there’s Place du marché Saint-Honoré, a lovely square-shaped square, with a building with large windows in the middle and, all around, places where you can lunch or dine or have an aperitif. Among these, L'Absinthe, is a bistro on two floors with small tables and a wood staircase, white tablecloths and coloured glasses, dimmed lighting in a warm and cosy setting. Outside there’s a veranda with tables to be enjoyed in the warmer months. Here you can find meat, fish, a menu ranging from tradition to innovative recipes and a good selection of wines served by the glass.

At 69 Rue des Gravilliers, there’s Derrière, an unusual restaurant in which you can feel at home (“the home away from home” is written in its website). The setting is that of an apartment – which you can enter via a typical inner courtyard at the back of a Moroccan restaurant – with tables set in the different rooms: dining room, sitting room and in the bedroom too. The decor is a mixture of styles and objects of different origins and periods: from the 1950s cupboard to the design lamp, to the paintings and bookshelves hanging on the walls, a table tennis in the middle of the central room – it is possible to play between one course and the other – and a 1961 Norton bike at the entrance, on the right.

It feels as though everything is wanted and the effect is that of being welcomed at a friend’s house: the idea behind Derrière, opened in 2008, was this one, exactly. The result was a pleasant and informal setting that invites you to relax and enjoy lunch or supper while forgetting you’re in a restaurant. The service is precise and timely, the menu includes creative French dishes but also some Italian inspirations in the first courses, though in a personal interpretation, a good wine selection and lots of creativity. The kitchen could not be open view.

The entrance of Angelina, in 226 rue de Rivoli

The entrance of Angelina, in 226 rue de Rivoli

For lunch, on Saturday, under the first spring sun, a table at Le Rival, 20 Avenue George V. A short walk from the Champs-Elysées and not far from the Tour Eiffel, of which one could get a glimpse of the peak, it invites to enjoy a calm and elegant corner of Paris, tasting eggs and salmon, salads and other dishes for a quick yet pleasing lunch.

Finally, it would be a pity not to stop for a sweet break at Angelina, at 226 Rue de Rivoli (here are the headquarters, but there are other branches around town), established in 1903: you can taste delicious cakes including the not-to-be-missed Mont Blanc made with chestnut purée and meringues, hot chocolate, ice-creams, cakes and irresistible breakfast delicacies such as croissants and other pastries. This is not only a joy for the palate, but for the eyes too, pleased by the decorated walls, the ceiling, the decor of this historic tearoom.


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