24 Hours in Paris with Anne Ditmeyer of Pret a Voyager

My head starts to spin when thinking about how I would spend a single day in one of the dreamiest cities in the world, but when we posed the task to DS contributor and five year Parisian resident, Anne S. Ditmeyer, she managed to outline  a lovely day indeed. Anne founded her blog, Prêt à Voyager, in 2007 to explore the intersection of travel and design. She also offers Paris tours through Vayable, and teaches Map Making, Basic InDesign, and Designing Professional Documents on Skillshare. Today this busy lady gave us a full 24 hours of her time to share her ideal day wandering about the City of Lights. –Stephanie

illustration by Libby VanderPloeg

Read the full guide after the jump…

This summer marks my 5 year anniversary in Paris. While my original Design*Sponge Paris guide still remains a trusted resource, this mini-guide focuses the 3rd (North Marais) and 10th (Canal Saint Martin) arrondissements (neighborhoods), where many of my favorite design shops in the city happen to be. Much has stayed the same over the years, but it’s been fun to see these off-mainstream neighborhoods really come into their own. If you want to learn more Paris tips check out my blog, Prêt à Voyageror follow me @pretavoyager on Instagram. 

10 am: Merci The fact that not many shops open until 10am is the perfect excuse to sleep in on vacation. Merci – look for their signature red Fiat – is not only a fantastic concept shop that’s always getting a fresh look, but my favorite breakfast is in their used book cafe: oeufs croques bio (soft boiled eggs, with baguette and the most delicious butter). (111 Blvd Beaumarchais, 75003). But iif you’re awake early and need a pick me up,Loustic Café (40 rue Capon, 75003) opens at 8am on weekdays, but is great at any hour.

11:00 am: BonTon feels like the children’s version of Merci, but no matter what your age, everyone should bring a 2€ coin for the black and white photo booth – there are props too! (5 Boulevard des Filles du Calvaire, 75003)

11:30 am: Papier Tigre will fill your stationery and paper needs (all printed in France) with unique geometric patterns, and every few months they have a pop-up installation in the back corner of the shop to help you discover other great French brands. (5 rue des Filles du Calvaire, 75003)

12:00 pm: To tide you over until lunch, pop into Popelini for a chou, or two. It’s all they sell and they’re a delicious change from a macaron. (29 rue Debelleyme, 75003). Marché des Enfants Rouges is also nearby (39 rue de Bretagne, 75003).

12:15 pm: La Trésorerie is one of the newest design shops in Paris focusing on eco-friendly, European made home goods. Diagonally across the street, Jamini has beautiful textiles which are designed in France and hand printed in India, and they’ve been working on some cool collaborations.

1:00 pm: I am a fan of Le Sésame (think urban, French diner: 51 Quai Valmy, 75010), La Marine (French bistro that serves all day: 55 bis Quai Valmy, 75010), or Chez Prune (great for a beer or planche of cheese or charcuterie, with a terrace: 36 rue Beaurepaire, 75010). All three have been around for years, and trusty standbys where you don’t have to fight crowds (unless maybe happy hour). Otherwise, skip ahead to “goûter” (snack) time options at 4pm for more ideas.

Du Pain et Des Idées. Photo by Ashley Ludaescher.

2:30 pm: Save room for dessert at Du Pain et Des Idées. This boulangerie is only open Monday–Friday and typically has a line, but it’s worth the wait. I recommend the escargot pistache. (34 Rue Yves Toudic, 75010)

3:00 pm: ARTAZART bookstore is where I bought my first ever design book 10+ years ago, long before I was a designer. The front section is devoted to graphic design books (many in English), and there is a large collection of photography books as well. Typically there’s a gallery show or installation in the front window. (83 Quai Valmy, 75010). Pop next door to pick up Bensimon shoes or a bag.

La Chambre Aux Oiseaux (left), 10 Belles (right)

4:00 pm: Because I can rarely go anywhere without fitting in a bit of work, it’s great to know that the coworking scene in Paris is growing with Coworkshop or Cafe Craft (29 and 24 Rue des Vinaigriers, 75010). Otherwise keep moving for an afternoon snack at Holybelly (known for the coffee, breakfasts, and lunches: 19 rue Lucien Sampaix, 75010) Bob’s Juice Bar (15 rue Lucien Sampaix, 75010, go for juice, but closes at 3pm), Tuck Shop (great chai and my favorite weekend brunch: 13 rue Lucien Sampaix, 75010), Liberté boulangerie (modern take on a boulangerie by Benoît Castel with cool marble counters: 39 rue des Vinaigriers, 75010)  Chambre aux Oiseaux (another good chai or healthy lunch, in a vintage setting, with mismatched tables and chairs: 48 rue Biachat, 75010) or 10 Belles (for the true coffee connoisseur: 10 Rue de la Grange aux Belles, 75010). There is never a lack of options in Paris, unless it’s a Monday 😉 (It’s always good to double check opening days/hours before going anywhere in Paris).

5:30 pm: For a dose of color, Antoine et Lili is always fun (I love their homewares: 95 Quai de Valmy, 75010), or PopMarket is also great if you’re looking for accessories or need a funny gift for someone (Europeans, take note that they have a great collection of Tattly for sale!) (50 rue Bichat, 75010).

6 pm: COLONEL isn’t huge, but it’s beautifully curated with a lighter feel that’s a mix of Scandinavian designs, as well as their own custom pieces (14 Ave Richerand, 75010). I also am a big fan of COP: Centre des Objets Perdus which are all objects that have been rescued from the trash and been brought back to life (only open Fri–Sun: 84 Quai de Jemmapes, 75010).

7 pm: Le Comptoir Générale is a self-described “ghetto museum” (they also happen to be behind Centre des Objets Perdus) with an open, spacious feel, that is like taking a trip to Africa in the middle of Paris. It’s fun for a drink, and the small menu changes daily with different local fare from around the world. They also host a range of events. Double check opening hours before going and expect to give a donation at the reception desk when you enter. (80 quai de Jemmapes, 75010). Otherwise you can pick up a bottle of something and join the throngs of people enjoying their own happy hour along the canal. Vive la France! Just please pick up after yourself when you’re done.

8 pm: Most places don’t really start serving dinner until 8pm, but go on the early end if you want a seat. I like Hotel du Nord [restaurant] because it’s more “spacious” than most Parisian restaurants, but still has the Parisian ambience. Le Cambodge (10 Ave Richerand, 75010) and Le Petit Cambodge (20 rue Alibert, 75010) are great for Cambodian food (same food, two locations). For picnic style meals, try Korean BBQ to go from Jules & Shim (22 rue des Vinaigriers, 75010), or order a pizza from Pink Flamingo (67 rue Bichat, 75010) who will give you a pink balloon and deliver it to you on the canal.

10:30 pm: Post dinner drinks: circle back to Chez Prune or La Marine if you haven’t found another spot during your stroll.

Where to stay:

Le Citizen Hotel is an eco-friendly hotel with a clean, minimalist aesthetic and a fantastic location along Canal St. Martin. (96 Quai de Jemmapes, 75010)

Hotel Paradis is a cozy boutique hotel whose lobby was designed by Dorothée Meilchzon (41 Rue des Petites Écuries, 75010)

Hanging out at the canal. Photo by Ashley Ludaescher.

WARNING: Many Parisians leave town in August and shops and restaurants close their doors to go on holiday as well, so please double check hours & openings on websites and Facebook pages to make sure these locations are open if you are traveling to Paris in summer. The same applies to any holiday in France.