A weekend in the metropolis on the Seine focuses on culture, sights and, of course, culinary delights.

A weekend in the metropolis on the Seine focuses on culture, sights and, of course, culinary delights.
© Shutterstock

Paris je t'aime: long Weekend by the Seine

Paris is a cosmopolitan city with an eventful history. Not only lovers, fashion fans and gourmets get their money's worth here, with its rich bar culture it is the perfect destination for lovers of fine spirits and cocktails.


Thanks to historic establishments such as Harry's New York Bar, the Drouant restaurant and the Ritz Hotel, we experience the history of Paris up close.

The diverse capital of France is known as the city of love, fashion and glamour – but also as a city of fine dining and exuberant partying. It is therefore obvious that Paris has a rich bar culture. This includes many wine bars, but also a huge selection of venues for lovers of cocktails and spirits. The city has been attracting aristocrats, artists, bohemians and hedonists with its rich cultural and gastronomic offerings since the mid-19th century.

In the 1920s, the "Années folles", as they were known here, Paris became the centre of the European cultural scene. Free spirits immigrated from the USA in particular to escape Prohibition. They filled and founded jazz clubs, variety theatres and bars and contributed greatly to the establishment of Parisian cocktail culture.

If you want to immerse yourself in the atmosphere of Paris in the last century, the best place to start is with a cocktail in the legendary "Harry's New York Bar". It was founded in 1911 as the "New York Bar" by former American jockey Tod Sloan, who had an entire New York bar dismantled and its contents sent to Paris. However, it became really successful under the management of the legendary bartender Harry MacElhone, who bought the bar in 1924 and added his name to it. He is credited with inventing many classic cocktails, such as the Bloody Mary, the Sidecar and the French 75, which you can of course still order today at "Harry's New York Bar", along with around 400 other drinks and numerous spirits from all over the world.

After an extended aperitif, a short walk leads to the "Drouant" brasserie, which has been around since 1880. The prestigious Prix Goncourt literary prize has been awarded here since 1914. The menu features great classics of French cuisine, which are excellently prepared here. The wine list is also fantastic, with fine wines from all over France. For before or after dinner, there is a nice selection of spirits and a few classic cocktails. So you fall into bed full and happy – why not go to the legendary "Hotel Ritz" just round the corner?


A stroll along the Seine awakens the spirits, the reward follows in the form of star gastronomy, old cognacs and exquisite whiskies.

The next day is best spent on an extended sightseeing walk. The route leads past the Tuileries to the famous Louvre Museum. There you can either cross the Pont des Arts bridge, where couples symbolically immortalise their love with locks - or continue along the right bank of the Seine to the Pont Neuf. If you are interested in art and literature, you might discover something interesting in one of the numerous bouquinistes, the small antique shops that can be found here. The Pont Neuf bridge takes you to the Seine island Île de la Cité, which is home to the Sainte-Chapelle, the former prison and current museum La Conciergerie and the world-famous Notre-Dame Cathedral.

So much sightseeing makes you hungry, but luckily one of the best restaurants in Paris is very close by: the Michelin-starred "Tour d'Argent". Here you can dine on the sixth floor with a breathtaking view over the Seine and Notre-Dame. The restaurant has been around since 1582 and even King Louis XIV is said to have been a regular. Even today, there is no shortage of illustrious guests. This is no wonder, as the classic French cuisine is excellent and the service is extremely attentive. The duck dish Canard Tour d'Argent, whose sauce is prepared at the table using a duck press, is particularly famous. However, the wine list is also legendary, with a full 15,000 items. After the meal, the spirits fan should treat themselves to a Cognac – the selection is exquisite.

The Pont Neuf is considered the oldest stone bridge in Paris. It crosses the Seine near the Louvre.
© Shutterstock
The Pont Neuf is considered the oldest stone bridge in Paris. It crosses the Seine near the Louvre.

In the afternoon, the bohemian Marais neighbourhood on the other side of the Seine beckons. Its pretty little streets are home to art galleries, some of the best fashion boutiques in Paris and many pretty cafés. If you need a break from the hustle and bustle of the city, take a break in the courtyard of the "Café Mulot" in the Maisons Victor Hugo museum. There you can enjoy tea or coffee with patisserie from the famous "Maison Mulot" bakery.

For an aperitif, head to the "Sherry Butt" bar, which is very close by. The name is a reference to the sherry casks in which whisky is often stored. There are over 100 different types to choose from here, served by the glass or as a tasting flight. Those who prefer to save their whisky drinking until after dinner can choose one of the 12 or so cocktails on the slate. They change regularly and are mixed from home-made ingredients and first-class spirits.

Fortunately, the perfect dinner spot is also just a stone's throw away: in the restaurant "L'Ambroisie", which has been awarded three Michelin stars since 1988; Mathieu Pacaud cooks delicious dishes that look modern but have a classic French soul. Naturally, there is a selection of drinks to match. If you fancy a nightcap on the way back, you should visit "Bar 228" in the legendary hotel "Le Meurice". You could hardly drink in more style in Paris; lovers of cocktails and mature cognacs in particular will get their money's worth here.

The "Café Mulot" is the perfect place to relax after a walk along the Seine.
© JB Millot
The "Café Mulot" is the perfect place to relax after a walk along the Seine.


We explore the Père-Lachaise cemetery and the Marché des Enfants Rouges. Afterwards, we quench our thirst in one of the best cocktail bars in the world.

After a hearty breakfast or brunch - preferably at the "Café Mirabelle" in the hip eleventh arrondissement - we are energised and ready for our last day in Paris. It's not far to the famous Père-Lachaise cemetery. Celebrities such as Edith Piaf, Jim Morrison and Oscar Wilde are buried here. Many richly decorated tombs also catch the eye as you stroll around.

If you're not into the morbid, head to the Haut Marais neighbourhood instead and visit the city's oldest market hall, the Marché des Enfants Rouges. Here you will find an outstanding selection of French products: stalls selling cheese, charcuterie, oysters and pastries will make your mouth water. A number of small restaurants have been set up between the market stalls. Especially recommended: "Les Enfants du Marché". Head chef Shunta Suzuki uses only market-fresh produce and conjures up simple yet very tasty dishes. The market closes at 5 p.m. on Sundays; at the same time, one of the best cocktail bars in Paris opens its somewhat hidden portal, the "Little Red Door".

This bar has been on the list of the "World's 50 Best Bars" almost without interruption for ten years. And with good reason; the team led by bartenders Alex Francis and Barney O'Kane is one of the most innovative on the scene. The motto here is "Playfully Pushing Boundaries". The cocktails are made from fresh ingredients and change seasonally. Everything is bought directly from the producer, "farm-to-glass" so to speak. A unique drinking experience! If you can tear yourself away from it all, head to Sota Atsumi for dinner. In his restaurant "Maison", he serves dishes that combine French haute cuisine with Japanese simplicity and lightness. There is a single menu made up of the best the market has to offer.

Finally, we visit another classic of the Parisian bar scene: the "Bar Hemingway". This is located in the time-honoured Hotel Ritz and is dedicated to the writer and man of pleasure Ernest Hemingway, who drank his way through the cocktail selection here in the 1920s. If you manage to get hold of one of the 25 seats, you can sink into the soft leather and enjoy the silence - there is no background music. So you can concentrate fully on a perfectly mixed cocktail or a rare spirit. Que la vie est belle!

The "Maison Sota Atsumi" is one of the "World's 50 best restaurants".
© Atelier Tsuyoshi/Tane Architects/Takuji Shimmura
The "Maison Sota Atsumi" is one of the "World's 50 best restaurants".


Restaurants, Bars & Cafés

Harry’s New York Bar (1)
Harry MacElhone invented some of the world's most famous cocktails in this legendary bar.
5 Rue Daunou, 75002 Paris
T: +33 1 42617114, harrysbar.com

Sherry Butt (2)
An outstanding whisky selection and creative cocktails tempt you to stay.
20 Rue Beautreillis, 75004 Paris
T: +33 9 83384780, sherrybuttparis.com

Little Red Door (3)
This innovative cocktail bar has been recognised as one of the best in the world for ten years.
60 Rue Charlot, 75003 Paris

Bar Hemingway im Hotel Ritz (4)
Even Hemingway appreciated the relaxed atmosphere and excellent cocktails.
15 Pl. Vendôme, 75001 Paris
T: +33 1 43163374, ritzparis.com

Bar 228 im Hotel Le Meurice (5)
Known for its nightly jazz concerts and perfectly mixed drinks.
228 Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris
T: +33 1 44581066, dorchestercollection.com

Moonshiner (6)
Small speakeasy with good cocktails in the trendy 11th arrondissement.
5 Rue Sedaine, 75011 Paris
T: +33 9 50731299, moonshinerbar.fr

L’Ambroisie (7)
Exquisite haute cuisine, awarded three Michelin stars since 1988.
9 Pl. des Vosges, 75004 Paris
T: +33 1 42785145, ambroisie-paris.com

La Tour d’Argent (8)
Wonderful views, an outstanding wine list and excellent French cuisine.
19 Quai de la Tournelle, 75005 Paris
T: +33 1 43542331, tourdargent.com

Maison Sota Atsumi (9)
A daily fine-dining menu made from the best ingredients, prepared without much chichi.
3 Rue Saint-Hubert, 75011 Paris
T: +33 1 43386195, maison-sota.com

Drouant (10)
Classic brasserie with over a hundred years of tradition.
16–18 Rue Gaillon, 75002 Paris
T: +33 1 42651516, drouant.com

Les Enfants du Marche im Marché des Enfants Rouge (11)
Fresh cuisine in the lively market. No reservations possible.
39 Rue de Bretagne, 75003 Paris
T: +33 1 40240143

Café Mirabelle (12)
Alsatian specialities, patisserie and outstanding brunch.
16 Rue la Vacquerie, 75011 Paris
T: +33 1 43792746, cafemirabelleparis.wixsite.com

Café Mulot (13)
In the quiet inner courtyard of the "Maisons Victor Hugo" museum. Excellent patisserie.
6 Pl. des Vosges, 75004 Paris
+33 1 82830380, cafe-mulot.com


Ritz (1)
The classic luxury hotel in Paris since 1898.
15 Pl. Vendôme, 75001 Paris
T: +33 1 43163030, ritzparis.com

Le Meurice (2)
Luxury hotel near the Tuileries with opulent rooms in Louis XVI style.
228 Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris
T: +33 1 44581010, dorchestercollection.com

Hotel San Régis (3)
Small but exclusive luxury hotel with a view of the Eiffel Tower.
12 Rue Jean Goujon, 75008 Paris
T:  +33 1 44951616, hotel-sanregis.fr

Illustration: Stefanie Hilgarth / carolineseidler.com

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Larissa Graf
Larissa Graf
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