Maxime Belfand, head bartender at New York City’s Saxon & Parole, was born and raised just outside Paris. So it’s an understatement to say that he knows the area well, particularly where to eat and drink. During a recent visit, Belfand showed us how to enjoy the City of Lights like a true Parisian. —Kara Newman
I arrived in Paris and caught up with my brother. He lives in the 7th arrondissement, which, to me, is one of the most beautiful places to see in Paris. We went to a little café on rue Cler called Le Petit Cler (very original!) for a delicious breakfast that never disappoints. I had my favorite, Eggs & Soldiers, which is strips of toast dipped into soft-boiled eggs, plus a delicious baguette with blackberry jam.
After, we went to the Foundation Louis Vuitton, one of the newest museums in Paris, which has been showing some amazing exhibitions. Coincidentally, it was showcasing work from the New York City’s Museum of Modern Art with an exhibition called “Being Modern: MOMA in Paris.”
Breakfast is very important to me. Knowing this, my brother took me to a new place that opened in the 10th arrondissement called Season. The food is healthy and the space has a really great vibe. It’s a bit of a wait, but definitely worth it. I treated myself to the avocado toast, shakshuka and a delicious turmeric latte.
We did a little bit of shopping in the afternoon, because after all, it is Paris. Later, we finished the day with a visit to Les Invalides museum, where Napoleon is buried.
That night, we went to one of my favorite Parisian bars, Copper Bay. They make incredible drinks and have a fantastic staff. Highlights were the Bob Lee Punch (Martini Riserva Ambrato, Banks Rum, curried pineapple, verjus, dragon tea, pandan syrup) and the Melonade (Lemon-infused Lillet Blanc, watermelon lemonade, Pinkberry sherbet, Prosecco, soda).
I went back to my hometown, Chartres, about an hour and a half southwest of Paris. It’s a really cute little town with a beautiful cathedral and lots of medieval history.
While France may be best known for its grapes, the main crops throughout this area are cereals and grains. So if you’re having a delicious baguette in France, there’s a good chance that the flour was from this region. That said, my dad usually cooks his famous couscous. He is Algerian and makes, hands down, the best couscous in the world.
I love running, and the 7th arrondissement is a stunning place to do so. After my morning workout, I met up with a friend at a cute spot called Marlon which, oddly enough, specializes in delicious French takes on Californian food. We shared a chocolate fondant with whipped cream, and we both had delicious lattes.
The evening featured a pop-up event in Le Marais district, located in the heart of Paris. To get there, I took my favorite public transportation: a bike.
It was time for work. I made apéritif-style drinks at the pop-up event at Caffé Torino, which is actually a hair salon. It’s still worth a visit these days, even if you’ll just be getting a haircut, sans cocktail.
Last day in Paris. The weather was great, so I walked around town to buy presents for my friends back home.
An amazing fromager in the 7th arrondissement, La Fromagerie, turned me on to a couple of cheeses to sneak back to New York—some Epoisse and an ash-rind cheese. You just can’t beat the cheese in France.
For dinner on the last night, I met some old friends in the 9th arrondissement, and we went to Bouillon Chartier, simply known as Chartier. It’s a “bouillon” restaurant, which does refer to bouillon broth, but is also a general term that signifies classic French dishes.
The restaurant was founded in 1896, and has been classified as a historic monument since 1989. The servers write your order directly onto the white paper that covers the table. Chartier serves amazing classic French food that’s simple and delicious: escargot, French onion soup, steak frites and charcuterie. Reservations aren’t available, but it’s well worth the wait.