Since our apartment was in Montmartre most of my suggestions are in that area. Montmartre was the perfect place for us to stay. It is exactly what you'd picture when thinking "Paris." Lots of little bakeries, fresh fish markets, cheese shops, and boutiques.
This bakery was on Rue Lepic (in Montmartre)on the left side of then street when headed down towards the Blanche metro. I was told "no photos" inside so i snapped this one of the window. I didn't write down the name of the bakery but it's hard to miss.
An amazing fish market on Rue Lepic (right up from the bakery) where Aly and I got some fresh tuna for our nicoise salad.
Delicious rotisserie chicken at this meat shop on Rue Abbesses. (about 8 Euro for a whole chicken).
I wish i'd written down the name of this fromagerie on Rue Abbesses (in Montmartre) because it's a MUST. We bought a bunch of different cheeses throughout our stay and they were all so so so so good.
You have to try the one with all the herbs on the rind. mmmmm
So i know gelato isn't very French. . . . but it IS really good. Amarina (sp?) Gelato on Rue Abbesses in Montmartre was amazing and you can have as many flavors as you want in one serving.
Gelato inside a toasted brioche thing. . . .
Le Grenier a Pain (38, rue des Abbesses in Montmartre) won the "Best Baguette in Paris" in 2010 (Thanks Mary Jane!). . . It's often got a long line out front and is totally worth the wait. It did happen to be closed for the second half of our stay so i'm not sure what the hours are.
Le Progres (7, Rue des Trois Freres in Montmartre) was a great little cafe where we had wine a few times. . . and had escargot which was absolutely delicious. . . buttery and herby. so yummy. There are gigantic windows which are great for people watching if you don't snag a spot outside. I can't remember which reader suggested this place but i'm so glad they did. . . and that I sought it out.
We also met Sebastian outside Le Progres. . . an adorable Argentinian photographer living in Paris.
Refuge des Fondus (17, Rue des Trois Freres, up from Le Progres in Montmartre) was way too fun (thanks for the suggestion Annabel!!) The reviews online are pretty mixed but Aly and I had a great time eating here. When we walked up there were tons of people milling about outside waiting for their table so we were almost discouraged to go in. Luckily there were only two of us and there happened to be a tiny open spot at the end of one of the long tables where they could squeeze us in. It's all cozy and funky inside with graffiti on every surface and bills from around the world pasted to the walls.
It's a very basic menu: Beef or cheese fondu, red or white wine. Good for those who suffer from indecision. Our waiter was hilarious and the French couple next to us was totally awesome. We left totally stuffed and tipsy from drinking wine from glass baby bottles. Two thumbs up from me.
Another fun place to stop in is Cafe des Deux Moulins (15, Rue Lepic in Montmartre) where Amelie worked in the movie Amelie. . . It's a great little 1950s style cafe that has wifi!! Just don't order a cup of tea because it'll set you back 3.90 Euro. . .
Montmartre reminded me a lot of Soho in that there are tons of amazing little clothing boutiques.
Roxan (25, Rue Lepic)
maje Boutique (92, Rue des Martyrs in Montmartre)
Sandro (37, Rue des Abbesses)
l'Objet qui Parle (86, Rue des Martyrs in Montmartre, Mon-Sat 1-7:30pm) : The most amazing curiosity shop i've ever been in. I didn't ask the price on anything so i'm not sure how expensive it was. . . but the owner (below) was super nice and has collected all the objects himself.
By Flowers (86, Rue des Martyrs in Montmartre) A funky little vintage shop where Aly and I both picked up fun hats (5 euro each) and I got a big flowy floral skirt.
The owner took a liking to Aly!
A great vintage shop in Montmartre (that i forgot to take photos of) was Chine Machine (100, Rue des Martyrs) I got a bunch of things, most of them from their 5 Euro rack, and wished i could leave with many more. Don't forget to check out their basement!!
De Bouche a Oreille (26, Roi de Sicile in Montmartre)A little shop we found on our walk to the Sacre Coeur. Tons of things you'd want in your house as well as a bunch of great vintage eyeglasses frames. The owner, picture below (with a self-portrait on the wall behind him) was totally awesome.
Colette (213 rue Saint-Honore). . . I wanted everything, and could afford nothing. Photos were NOT allowed so i was not able to capture more than this one beautiful dress. . . Even though it's a super high end store it's still a must see.
COS (4, Rue des Rosiers) I was drooling the whole time i was in this store.
The Kooples (stores All over Paris . . . at least one in every neighborhood) Once again, i wanted everything. Especially their leopard print bucket back.
merci (111, Boulevard Beaumarchais) We almost missed this gem because we didn't realize you had to go through courtyard to the back where main entrance to the "luxury concept store", flanked by the Merci cafe and flower shop. If the clothes weren't enough, an added incentive is that Merci donates 100% of their profits from goods sold to a foundation benefiting impoverished children in Madagascar.
This place is just literally mindblowing. for real, my mind was sort of blown. It's humongous and full of everything you could ever need/want. When my boyfriend Eric saw my photos of the inside he said "so it's basically what Urban Outfitters wishes it looked like." It's just so well curated and has a mix of new and vintage items. needless to say (though i'm saying it), I want to live here.
A furry Isabel Marant coat that i had to force myself not to try on.
Boulangerie Malineau (18, Rue Vielle du Temple) The yummiest little bakery in the 4th . . . The woman working there was so nice that she offered to come out from behind the counter and take a photo of Aly and me with the bread in the background. And when i asked what something was (colored marshmallow) she gave us two pieces for free.
L'as du Fallafel (34, Rue des Rosiers in Marais) . . . i'd been told by many people that this was THE place to get a falafel so i had to give it a shot. . . especially because it was "recommended by Lenny Kravitz." The ordering process was pretty intense, I felt like I was being hustled, but the food was quite yummy.
Madame Bijoux (71, Rue Lyon near the Bastille) Random vintage shop we stopped into. . . lots of great jewelry.
And lastly. . . McDonalds. Good for one thing, and one thing only: Wifi. I'd say they are good for bathrooms too but you often need a McDonalds receipt with a code to get in. Whenever we saw a McDonalds we stopped to check our email and make Skype calls.
I also want to recommend that if you are headed to Paris you pick up the Paris Moleskin. Super helpful when walking around. A full pull-out metro map as well as zoomed in maps of every neighborhood (with full street index).
Another thing that helped a ton was the Paris Metro iPhone app I downloaded before I left. . .
it works regardless of internet.
Again, thanks for all the recommendations and advice. Our trip was magical and i can't wait to go back.