Paris has always been a dream of mine. For all my blabbering about getting off the beaten path, there are still places in this world that I want to see that are firmly on the path. When I saw A Midnight In Paris (and realized that I almost 100 percent identify with Owen Wilson’s character), I knew I had to plan a trip. But I always knew it was just a movie and that the old Paris is gone. That said, there’s plenty of reason to get excited about the Eternal City and inspiration to plan a trip to Paris came with the release of Lindsey Tramuta’s The New Paris, a new book full of all things new, fun, and cool in Paris.
The New Paris as a Guide
Seeing as getting off the beaten path in cities overwhelmed with tourism is a challenge I love to accept, I dove right into planning a trip. Lindsey’s book largely covers changes in the restaurant industry with no shortage of recommendations that can take you all around the city. I saved names into my phone and planned our lunches and dinners around her recommendations. It should come as no surprise (I’m writing the article, after all), that the new Paris does not disappoint.
First I meandered northward from my AirBnB in the Fifth Arrondissement to La Fine Mousse, a craft beer bar. Few countries have an association with fine wines like France, but The New Paris made clear that the craft beer boom had nevertheless found its way to the capital.
La Fine Mousse is in the Eleventh Arrondissement with a residential location that truly feels off the beaten path. Despite hearing a scattering of English conversations (perhaps fellow Anglophiles who read the same book), La Fine Mousse had the atmosphere of a Parisian local favorite. I opted for a Citrash Imperial IPA from French micro brewery Crazy Hops, following a tip from the bartender. Though I only spent about a half hour here, I see myself coming back each time I’m back in Paris.
While I was excited to dabble in the Parisian craft beer scene, I was equally excited to dive into some of the restaurants featured in The New Paris. Without spoiling too much, Lindsey writes in the book about the decline of French culinary culture. The French were held in such high regard for so long, they became lackadaisical, relying entirely on their reputation as the quality and innovation of the scene went downhill.
A no-brainer benefit of a globalized world is the proliferation of global cuisines. So as an American in Europe, I greatly appreciate the fact that I can find a tasty taco in just about any major European city from Warsaw to Amsterdam. Paris is certainly no exception these days if you know where to look and Lindsey points to Luz Verde in the Ninth Arrondissement.
By this point, anecdotally, mass tourism seemed either non-existent or at least unnoticeable. Again, this felt like a local favorite with the ambiance of a modern Mexican establishment. I also happened to arrive on an insufferably hot weekend, so the cold Margarita proved to be especially sensational – even if only because it was a damn necessity at that point. Perhaps even more necessary for my increasingly ravenous stomach – tacos de chorizo.
I’ve said before that chorizo is the key to my heart. Suffice it to say, Luz Verde now sticks out prominently (and fondly) in my food memory throughout all my travels.
That covered lunch, but there was still the issue of dinner. So, I asked Lindsey herself over Twitter where she would go if she could have just one dinner in Paris. Her answer? Tannat in the northern edge of the Eleventh Arrondissement.
The inside featured a modest yet elegant atmosphere perfect for a group looking for a dining experience between overly casual and fine dining. The menus were in French only, something that told me they don’t see many see tourists. I don’t know about you, but I’m more than happy to whip out my pigeon French and a translating app if it means I’m eating where the locals eat.
Reviews online hint that the menu changes often, but I can still offer that I got the duck. Now I don’t often order duck due to my continued affinity for all things Daffy Duck and my sympathizing for his being unfairly overshadowed by a rather boring character in Bugs Bunny, but when you’re at a French bistro and the waiter recommends the duck, you listen. Indeed, I was wise (it happens sometimes) to listen and I still chalk it up to one of my favorite meals in Europe.
Just as France manages to give me a taste for duck, so too has living in Europe inexplicably heightened my thirst for cocktails. The New Paris has recommendations here, too, and I followed one to Little Red Door. You can find a number of writers talking about this cocktail bar. Some even call it one of the best in Europe. I’m afraid I can’t count myself an expert in cocktail bars of the world or even the continent (yet), but I can offer that Little Red Bar nailed the ambiance I look for in a cocktail bar, namely cozy with couches and plush chair for groups.
The twist for Little Red Door is how you order. Rather than giving you names of their different offerings, they give you a menu with artwork depicting the drink and you order based on the mood you get out of the artwork. I’m realizing as I type this how difficult it is to articulate this properly, but it led me to one of the best cocktails I’ve ever had. Suffice it to say, I shall return.
When the morning came to hop on the train and leave Paris, I still had only scratched the surface of the new Paris. Thankfully I sense numerous visits are in my future and I’ve already got the rest of Lindsey’s recommendations saved in my phone.