I have several more posts coming about what we did and what I wore in Paris, but I wanted to start with this post because I’ve been getting so many questions on Instagram asking if I could share more about where we stayed and where we ate throughout our trip. I did a bunch of research before our trip in addition to getting all your suggestions on this post and I’m so excited to share some new favorites with you!

design darling paris hotel des grands boulevards

hotel des grands boulevards paris design darling

First, where we stayed! We definitely found a new favorite hotel in Paris. We stayed in an Airbnb a few years ago which was a fun experience, but truthfully I love the convenience of a hotel and having a spot to leave our luggage before check-in and after check-out. I found Hotel des Grands Boulevards in a late night internet search and booked it on the spot. The building dates back to the French Revolution, but the interior has been completely redone with canopy beds, exquisite bathrooms, a rooftop terrace, and a hundred other design details I couldn’t stop swooning over. Our room was tiny (like most hotel rooms in Europe) but reminded me a little of the Marlton in New York, another spot where the decor more than makes up for the close quarters. Located on the right bank in the 2nd arrondissement, it’s about a mile walk from the Louvre and the Jardin des Tuileries or a two-minute walk to the closest metro station. Will and I both felt like we’d found “our” spot in Paris — we’ll 100% try to stay here on future visits!

Now on to where we ate… my mouth is watering as I edit these photos! I’ve been known to make a reservation based on ambience and Instagram photo opps, but know that these were all approved by my husband who requires three solid meals daily and posts to Instagram approximately twice a year. 🙂 I know firsthand there’s nothing worse than a cute restaurant with terrible food so while I’m no foodie, I promise I’m only including the places with great atmosphere and good food!

hotel grand amour breakfast in paris

hotel grand amour breakfast paris

Breakfast at Hotel Grand Amour. Walk through the bar for breakfast or lunch in the outdoor patio, a little pink and green oasis that I discovered down a rabbit hole on Instagram. It drizzled off and on in the center of the courtyard during our visit, but no one seemed to mind and just stuck to the tables under the striped awnings lining the walls. We enjoyed the eggs, pancakes, and people-watching, but be warned that the service is slow and this isn’t the place to go if you’re in a rush.

ralph's paris on design darling

ralph's paris sunday brunch

ralph's paris review

design darling ralph's paris

wearing a Petit Bateau sweater and these sunnies

ralph's paris

Sunday brunch at Ralph’sI’ve been dying to eat at Ralph’s ever since I failed to make a reservation in time for our last trip to Paris and it was well worth the wait. We stopped by in person on Saturday to make a reservation for Sunday brunch at noon the following day. The restaurant was only half-full but they repeatedly turned customers away at the door (presumably because this is a place tables could easily linger two or three hours over a meal), so make a reservation by calling in advance or stopping by early in your visit. 65 euros/person is more than we’d usually spend on brunch, but we honestly felt like we’d never been served more food in our lives — the individual “bread baskets” to start (separate from the actual bread basket and containing a cinnamon roll, a croissant, a muffin, and a pain au chocolat) were a meal unto themselves. And of course they’ve thought of everything when it comes to the decor and table settings, not that you’d expect anything less from Mr. Lauren. This is a spot I think we’ll both want to return to each time we’re in Paris, so note to self: pick up the phone and make the reservation!

le bonaparte paris

Lunch at Le Bonaparte. Your quintessential French café located in the heart of Saint-Germain-des-Prés. A no-frills spot for a glass of rosé and a croque monsieur or French onion soup, with a side of excellent people-watching.

drinks with view of eiffel tower at hotel raphael

hotel raphael paris on design darling

scalloped dress and rattan clutch

Drinks on the terrace at Hotel Raphael. Walk through the lobby to the elevator and head to the terrace on the seventh floor, where you’ll find a rooftop bar reserved for table service. We waited maybe twenty minutes for a table to open up around 6 p.m., but I’d have happily waited longer for the Eiffel Tower views and strawberry champagne cocktail. A single drink will run you 29 euros, but it’s a fun when-in-Paris splurge without any of the stuffiness of the restaurant on the opposite side of the terrace.

east mamma paris

Dinner at East Mamma. A reader recommended this Italian spot in the comments of this post and we were lucky to score a table on a Friday at 8 p.m. (the restaurant doesn’t seem to take reservations, but it’s part of a group of restaurants all over the city that look equally promising). I completely forgot to take a picture so this one is from their website, but the pizza was out of this world in real life too.

design darling where to eat in paris daroco

Dinner at Daroco. I’m saving the best for last here with another reader recommendation and another Italian spot in Paris (we like what we like I guess!). I made a reservation online about a week before our trip and found it was completely booked when we tried to return for a second dinner later in our trip (seriously, it was that good). We loved our waiter (and how often can you say that in France?), the wine, and both of our dishes — the pesto on mine was unlike anything I’ve ever had. We will for sure be back on our next visit… and might just make more than one reservation.

This post is already making me miss Paris so much and we’ve only been home for four days! Have you been to any of these? Where should we eat on our next trip?

P.S. If you’re planning a trip to Paris (or anywhere really!), I highly recommend this old post on how to make your own city map!

P.P.S. All of these are saved to my Instagram highlights if you want to access them on the go!


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  1. Cafe Bonaparte is around the corner from my Paris homestay! It was always packed but sadly I never made it in there. It’s been exactly 4 years since I left after study abroad and I am dying to go back.

  2. Thanks so much for posting these, Mackenzie! I’m heading to Paris in about a week and a half with my fiance, and we’re still looking for good food options. I know that you’re pescatarian – do you remember if all of these places had vegetarian-friendly options?

  3. Your map post is so helpful!! I’m taking a trip to Ireland/England next week and can’t believe I didn’t use this sooner. Thanks!