Saturday, February 6, 2010

The Modern Side of Paris

Paris offers thousands of traditional cafes, restaurants and hotels, but 30-something Travel has searched and discovered the booming modern side of Paris.

Photo courtesy of Hotel de Sers
Updated March 2013

Don't get us wrong, we love the long-standing traditions in France - lingering at a cafe, waiters in black and white, quaint French-style hotels (read extraordinarily small rooms), traditional French menus (duck confit, steak and frites, chocolate mousse) - but after a couple of years living in Paris, we longed for something different. So, with fond memories of clubbing at Buddha Bar (the uber-hip bar and restaurant that spawned over a dozen copies worldwide and even more CDs), we went out found the modern side of Paris.

Where to Eat and Drink
From Philippe Starck interior designs to innovative cocktails, these modern bars and restaurants in Paris are unique for their style but also offer great food and drinks.

Kong,1 rue du Pont Neuf, 75001, +33 01 40 39 09 00 - Atop Kenzo's headquarters, overlooking the Seine, is one of Philippe Starck's most stunning projects. Japanese and European styles, a dress-to-impress bar and a surprisingly fair-priced menu is hard to beat.  From the top floor dining room, you'll be staring up at the beautiful glass dome you are sitting under while sipping champagne and thinking what a beautiful place this is.  (Photo credit: quidkarma on Flickr / license)

Restaurant La Gare, 19, chaussée de la Muette, 75016, +33 01 42 15 15 31, - This spacious restaurant, formerly the Passy-La Muette train station, was transformed into one of the largest restaurants in Paris. The upper level includes a stylish bar and the terrace is a great place for an apertif on a warm day. The prix-fixe menu is reasonably priced at 33€, although the food can be hit and miss.

Hotel du Nord, 102, quai de Jemmapes, 75010,  +33 01 40 40 78 78, - Made famous in a 1930s Marcel Carné film of the same name, Hotel du Nord, a restaurant, not a hotel, still has the "atmosphere, atmosphere, atmosphere" it is famous for. Modern, but très francais, this is a great restaurant for dinner with friends with a big selection of traditional and modern French fare. But, the best part may be the neighborhood. In the hip Canal St. Martin, the 10th arrondissement, you'll find a totally different side of Paris - young, hip, innovative and artsy.

Bar Ladurée, 75 avenue des Champs-Elysées, 75008, +33 01 40 75 08 75, - Yes, this is that Ladurée. And yes, you can buy the famous macarons before or after your cocktail. But the little known bar behind the famous Ladurée pastry counter is a great stop for a well-made cocktail after the drain of shopping the Champs Elysées. Many of the martini-style drinks are shaken tableside and the Art Deco atmosphere makes for a very modern, but still very French, feel.

Restaurant George, Centre George Pompidou, Place Georges Pompidou, 75004, +33 01 44 78 47 99, - Although this is a restaurant, we like it for drinks. Restaurant George sits atop the Centre George Pompidou, the modern art museum of Paris that looks like an inside out building with its escalators on the outside of the building. The terrace and views make this an ideal spot for a drink after museum hopping.

Where to Stay
Location, location, location, of course, but we noticed that some of our favorite trips coincidentally included our favorite hotels, so we think a little style goes a long way in a hotel.

Hotel de Sers, 41, av pierre 1er de serbie, 75008, +33 (0)1 53 23 75 75 - Just off the Champs Elysees, this luxury five-star design hotel is a hot spot for visitors who love to shop and locals for the popular Sunday brunch. You could walk right by the entrance, being a frosted, wall-like door, but once inside, the stylish interior and welcoming staff, make you feel like you are somewhere special.  Rooms have modern designs and the suites have balconies with beautiful views.

Hotel Bel Ami, 7/11 rue St-Benoît (Saint-Germain-des-Prés), 75006, +33 01 42 61 87 13, - There isn't a more central location than Saint-Germain-des-Prés for shopping, eating and sightseeing, and Hotel Bel Ami is right in the middle of it all. Contemporary, but laid-back, this hotel has over 100 rooms and a friendly, casual atmosphere.

Jays Paris, 6 rue Copernic, 75116 Paris, +33 01 47 04 16 16, - A renovated 19th century house, with only five suites, each one large and beautifully decorated in traditional and modern furnishings. The staff is genuinely friendly, taking the time to get to know guests and help them plan the perfect day in Paris. And, if that isn't enough, the Clarins bath amenities and nightly Fauchon chocolates are little things that make the stay unforgettable.

Hotel Sezz, 6 avenue Fremiet, 75016, +33 01 56 75 26 26,, - Out in the 16th arrondissement, on a small residential street, is the design hotel Sezz. Like many modern hotels in Paris, this is a blend of new and old - a 1913 building remodeled in 2005. Sezz offers modern, minimalist furnishings, your own personal assistant as well as the first Veuve Clicquot champagne bar in France, La Grande Dame. Check the map before you make a reservation because you'll be on one end of a large city, closer to the Bois de Bologne than the Louvre, but a wonderful change of pace if you want to be away from the tourist scene. 

Pershing Hall, 40, rue Pierre Charron, 75008, +33 01 58 36 58 00, - A Parisian told me that he has cocktails here with friends during fashion week because this is the place to people watch anyone and everyone from the industry. And I can certainly see why. It is quite simply, that stylish, with amazing bars and the "vertical garden", for eating, drinking and meeting people.  Only 26 rooms, simple and modern, but you pay for location and setting when you stay here.


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  2. The floors and decorations of these luxury hotels are so made that they are the very best.

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  3. For an inexpensive lunch and a local favorite, try L'As du Fallafel in the Marais -

  4. Spring Shopping in Paris! Our friends at Hotel Sezz just posted some great shopping tips for Passy, a street very near the hotel. So many of our favorites are there...Franck et Fils and Tartine et Chocolat to name just two. Check out the post for all the details -