Gabe Stulman runs six restaurants around New York's West Village, including Joseph Leonard, Fedora and Perla—so it's no surprise that his Paris picks remind him of home.

Gabe Stulman
April 02, 2015

Gabe Stulman runs six restaurants around New York's West Village, including Joseph Leonard, Fedora and Perla—so it's no surprise that his Paris picks remind him of home.

Recently, I was lucky enough to spend three weeks in Paris. This was not my first time in the city, but I’d never had the chance to experience the city more like a local than a fleeting tourist. We set up camp in an apartment in the 6th Arrondissement (or Saint-Germain-des-Prés),which feels to me like the Parisian equivalent of the West Village. Not only is it a gorgeous neighborhood, the blocks are packed with antique bookstores, indie clothing stores and, of course, a smattering of restaurants and bars. Here are some of my favorite stops in the neighborhood and beyond.

EAT

Bakeries
Imagine Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory curated through the lens of Louis Vuitton or Yves Saint Laurent, and you’ll get a sense of the experience at patisserie Pierre Hermé. When you walk in, it’s like you’re liaising with a diamond dealer, with glossy black counters flanked by sales associates wearing suits and black gloves. They handle napoleons like rare gems: These confections are flaky, crunchy and creamy all at once, a wild experience that’s worth the high-endprice.

A few blocks away, on Rue du Cherche-Midi, Poilâne maintains its worldwide reputation for baking some of the best bread in Paris: beautiful, dense French country loaves with a stenciled “P” burnt into the crust. With a crunchy crust and airy, moist crumb, this bread manages to be simultaneously firm and soft in all the right places. This place is a palace for bread.

Lunch
Poilâne runs an adjacent café called Cuisine de Bar with a focus on tartines, open-face sandwiches made with slices taken from those signature loaves. Get one topped with anchovies or smoked salmon, cucumber and dill. There’s an open kitchen, which is really just a cook behind a beautiful marble counter with three toaster ovens. This is the perfect spot to take a break fromheavier French gastronomy and a great stop for a light lunch.

At the other end of the spectrum, head to the fun, perpetually packed L’Avant-Comptoir. At this French version of a tapas or pintxos bar, everyone eats standing up, and they offer a large selection of wines by the glass along with small plates that you order off of plastic cards that hang from the ceiling. My favorites are the duck confit hot dog, the boudin noir and the waffle with artichoke puree and sliced ham. Every time I visited, I thought I would go for just a glass of wine and a snack but would find myself there three hours later, chatting with a newgroup of friends and sharing plates of food with strangers.

Dinner
Around since the '60s, Joséphine Chez Dumonet is one of the most magical places I have ever dined in. Many of their dishes pay homage to sauces like they are a religion. Their stuffed morels are genius—as big as your fist, loaded with ground veal and drowned in a thick mushroom stock. They also serve a mille-feuille de pigeon avec ses cuisses (“pigeon with its own juices”) that is one of my top 10 favorite dishes ever. While this place reveres meat, their dessert mille-feuille also makes you want to live in Paris.

SHOP
E. Dehillerin
is an incredible store for unique and covetable kitchen gear, like some fairytale cross between Williams-Sonoma and the restaurant supply stores on the Bowery. They sell Staub cocotte dishes, L'Econome and Perceval steak knives and brass and copper cookware.

Maison Michel is an offshoot of Chanel, where they sell only fedoras. The store is tiny, but the hats are beautiful.

L’Eclaireur Hérold is a concept shop that’s been around almost 20 years, and they have one location not too far from the 6th Arrondissement. Their focus is on undiscovered boutique brands, and they carry a well-curated selection of designers. It’s super high-end but provides a great opportunity to check out certain brands before they’ve gone mainstream.

The shoe store Anatomica approaches footwear like a science. They make shoes designed to fit your unique foot shape, balancing design with comfort and utility.

STAY
For a shorter stay in a hotel, Le Burgundy is incredibly captivating across the Seine in the 1st Arrondissement. It makes a great first impression because of the scent (a winning move is to pick up one of their candles for home) as well as a beautiful marble entrance featuring a grand piano. While the hotel has a boutique-y vibe and the building is quite old, the rooms are spacious and contemporary. The staff also treat guests with genuine kindness—exactly the type of hospitality you could want.

Related: The World's Best Food Cities: Paris
Best Paris Hotels
Big Talents, Tiny Places: Small Paris Restaurants

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