Hometown Debrief: Paris

by Anne Ditmeyer

Anne Ditmeyer, graphic designer and design*sponge contributing editor, lives and works in Paris. (It's the dream.) She records tales of travel adventure as well as the charms of everyday life in her excellent blog Prêt à Voyager.

Local breakfast spot: Any local boulangerie. If I'm venturing out, I head to rue des Martyrs. Chouquettes, croissant aux amandes and vennoise chocolat are my personal favorites.

Where you go when you need inspiration: I love the internet and am addicted to Twitter, but my best ideas come when I unplug and wander the streets or go to the pool for a swim.

Best spot for people-watching: Pick up pastries from Ladurée and Angelina and take them to the Tuileries Garden. It's best during Fashion Week. Sit in the famous Fermob chairs and watch the fashionistas head to their shows. (I wrote about it here.)

Your office is located in my apartment. Which is 129 square feet. Talk about glamourous! The good news is I can work from anywhere, as long as I had my computer and wifi. And I do have an awesome view and great light.

You wish your office was located in a really awesome, bigger apartment. It need not be huge, but two rooms, my own bathroom, and laundry would be dreamy.

Your preferred mode of travel around the city: By foot. Traffic drives me nuts, and when you walk one-way streets magically are two-way. The metro is also amazing. 

Where do you go when you want to be in the middle of it all? I typically run the other way. Paris is a small when it comes to "big cities," so it can get crowded fast. Instead, I strive to be in places at off times, or during late openings. I hate being stuck in crowds. 

Where do you go when you need an escape? To one of the 400 parks around the city, or one of the ethnic neighborhoods, like Belleville. It always feels like a little adventure.

Most underrated thing in your city: The walkability. There's no need to go to the gym when you're in Paris. My sixth floor walk-up is a work-out in itself. When traveling by metro I always take the stairs (half the time the escalator is broken). The city is small enough that you can stroll almost all of it. Which means you can eat lavishly without worrying too much.

Most overrated thing in your city: Everything that visitors "must see" on their first trip to Paris. Just wander the streets, get lost, it'll be okay.

Best place for an afternoon coffee? Le Rocketship is a darling cafe and design boutique. I love chatting with Benoît, the owner, as I sip my chai. I'm not a coffee drinker, and finding a good chai in this city is tough.

Favorite local shops? Rue des Martyrs is a great place to start. A few more of my favorites around the 9th arrondissement include Vanina Escoubet, La Chambre aux Confitures, and Vanessa Deutsch.

You dream about your meal at Chez Gladines. It's the best deal in town, and so satisfying. 

Favorite local icon/monument/institution: Père Lachaise. I love that even cemeteries are romantic in Paris.

The best thing about your neighborhood, Paris 9ème, is the lack of tourists.

Current local buzzword: For me it's profiter. It doesn't translate well, but essentially means something to enjoy or take advantage of.

Best book or movie based in your fair city? Amèlie! I first saw as a young student in Paris. I love if for showing the city's quirks, charms, and whimsy.

Best way to pass an evening: Drinking champagne on the steps of Sacre Coeur with friends and happening upon a live concert on the street.

No trip to Paris is complete without a banana nutella crêpe.

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