What's New in Paris Right Now

by  Lane Nieset | Feb 12, 2015

If you're visiting Paris for the first time, you've got to check off a few things on the list: the Louvre, Eiffel Tower, and Champs-Élysées. But after hitting up the City of Light's landmarks, make your way to the new happenings in town that are less for the tourists, and more for the locals. Here, a guide to the new parts of Paris that shouldn't be missed, from haute hostels to designer-driven monuments.

Where to Stay

Generator Hostels has a knack for setting up shop in hip parts of town, and Generator Paris is no exception. The newest and largest of the group, the upscale 920-bed hostel opened this month in the up-and-coming Canal Saint-Martin neighborhood in the 10th arrondissement. The former office building is deceiving from outside with a stark gray façade that shields the colorful interior's design, which was overseen by a creative director who has also worked with the likes of Soho House and Momofuku. Accommodations range from four- to 10-bed shared rooms (starting at 25€ per bed), to private twin rooms and a skysuite terrace (a.k.a. penthouse), which should be open by April.

We had a first look at one of the two-bed private premium rooms, which start at 49€ per person, and are larger than most apartments in New York, let alone Paris. Long gone are the days of renting towels and bringing your own toiletries—these private rooms come with everything from sparkling water to a terrace complete with herbs and a hammock. They even have a tub -- a rarity in France.

While this neighborhood is great for grabbing a drink at one of the chic local lounges, the hostel also boasts a bustling bar and a rooftop terrace where guests can catch sunset views over Montmartre.

Over in the 20th arrondissement, Mama Shelter Paris is right near Père Lachaise Cemetery, the resting place of everyone from Oscar Wilde to Jim Morrison. Hotel prices are known to be steep in Paris, even in off-season, but this Philippe Starck-designed spot offers chic and less expensive rooms (starting at 79€ per night) than most of the run-of-the-mill Parisian enclaves. Here, you'll find dark walls, low lighting, and quirky props like superhero masks (which are also available for sale). While we love the design factor, in-room iMac with free films, and Mama Skin by absolution amenities (an organic, Parisian-made skincare line bearing the Mama brand) are a huge bonus. Plus, the U-shaped bar has become a favorite for locals, packed with a cool Parisian crowd most nights of the week.

After six years of restoration, the luxe new Peninsula Paris opened last August in a 19th century building that has housed UNESCO and the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Set near the Arc de Triomphe, the six-story hotel has suites showing off 360-degree views of the city and a French-themed rooftop restaurant, L'Oiseau Blanc, which gives diners a prime view of the Eiffel Tower. If you're planning on splurging on dinner, skip the Eiffel Tower's Le Jules Verne and dine here, instead, for modernized French fare and views over the city from the restaurant's terrace.

What to Eat

 The Canal Saint-Martin's arched iron bridges made an appearance in the French classic "Amélie," and over the past decade this neighborhood has started attracting more visitors to its quays thanks to the gentrification of the 10th arrondissement. The canal is now lined with funky bars, bohemian bistros, and a café culture focused more on where the beans are roasted than the famous clientele who frequent it. Start the morning with coffee at the narrow Ten Belles café, which declares "Drinking Good Coffee is Sexy," and gets its beans from the nearby Belleville Brûlerie. For lunch, swing by Sol Semilla for organic vegan fare crafted by an Amazonian chef and served at communal tables in a charming narrow café. A favorite for déjeuner is Chez Prune, set right on the canal, with daily changing dishes that put a stylish spin on French brasserie favorites. Nearby, HolyBelly has become a hotspot for Sunday brunch (one of the latest trends in Paris), but if you can't snag a seat at the small retro-style diner, stop by during the week (except for Tuesdays and Wednesdays) for breakfast that's part-French, part-Southern comfort with pancakes, bourbon butter, and chai-infused porridge.

In the trendy 11th arrondissement, Restaurant Bones has become a hipster hangout for foodies thanks to its no-fuss French fare served up by Aussie Chef James Henry. The 55€ dinner tasting menu spans spicy mussels, steaming oysters, sweetbread, and venison terrine, served in a restaurant just as bare as its name.

What to See

Paris' newest museum and monument is worth the trek out to the western part of the city in the Bois de Boulogne. The Frank Gehry-designed Fondation Louis Vuitton is inspired by Proust and the glass-meets-garden architecture of the 19th century. Composed of 12 glass sails set on a water garden, the structure has 11 galleries, an auditorium with a changing musical program, terraces with views of the Eiffel Tower, and "Le Frank," a restaurant led by Michelin-starred Chef Jean-Louis Nomicos.

Lane Nieset
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