Packed with museums, monuments and myriad world-class restaurants, Paris certainly warrants a place on the bucket list. But with so much to see and do, it’s no wonder visitors tend to stick to the classics: the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, the Champs-Élysées.
Working at Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Mandarin Oriental, Paris since its 2011 opening, assistant chef concierge Adrian Moore has more than a few off-the-beaten-path suggestions to keep your next visit to France’s capital feeling fresh.
Paris is such a historic city. What’s new in the City of Light?
I’d say that one of the most interesting new things in the city is its influx of foreigners who have brought something special from their own culture — or French people who have gone abroad and come back with fresh ideas.
For example, it used to be very difficult, believe it or not, to get a good cup of coffee in town — unbelievable for the city that invented café culture!
Nowadays, you can get a world-class cup of coffee at places like Café Loustic in the Marais or with an amazing Anglo-style breakfast at Holybelly, near the Canal Saint-Martin Napoleonic shipping canal.
Everyone knows the Louvre. What are some of the city’s more underrated attractions?
I think the Musée des Arts et Métiers is very underrated. They have a wonderful collection located in the former Saint-Martin-des-Champs, highlighting industrial and technological advances since the Revolution. You can see Pascal’s adding machine, one of Foucault’s pendulums, a Telstar satellite and steam-driven cars from the 1800s.
After a day of sightseeing, where should we go to grab a drink?
Sometimes the best place to get a drink is the closest place when you finish a long shift. I’m most likely found at Bugsy’s, sandwiched between the Élysée Palace and the Minister of Justice. They’ve been there over two decades and draw a clientele of high-flying finance guys, lawyers, tourists and hotel staff. Le Bristol and Mandarin Oriental aren’t far away.
Owner Alan Dundon runs a tight ship, and Babs, the manager, is the friendliest guy in the business. The Poretti — an Italian beer — is always chilled, and they have my favorite burger in town. I once saw David Beckham drinking here with buddies.
Speaking of food, what are some of Paris’ hottest restaurants right now?
I’d say the hottest places are the most atypical, like Mokonuts, a coffee shop/bakery/eatery open for lunch only and run by a Lebanese/Parisian Japanese husband-and-wife team. They have delicious Middle Eastern/Japanese-influenced seasonal, organic dishes and the best chocolate cookies in Paris.
Déviant, located on a scruffy street in the 10th Arrondissement, is a stand-up-only natural wine bar with some of the best bar snacks in town. Aussie chef James Henry of the now-shuttered Bones cooks here on and off.
Also, Cravan. Shaking up a quiet part of Paris’ chic but sleepy 16th is an amazing bar/café/luxe snack place from Franck Audoux, who used to be Inaki Aizpitarte’s partner at legendary Le Chateaubriand. He serves the comfort food you dream of, like Japanese milk bread finger sandwiches, an insanely decadent croque madame, and crab taramasalata, best washed down with an amazing cocktail. The bar is named after Oscar Wilde’s nephew Arthur Cravan, a poet and boxer who was a precursor of the Dada movement.