Beautiful Paris spots then and now, including a canopy of trees with the Sacré Coeur Basilica peeping out the top (left). A bunch of pink tulips on the counter of a Paris rental apartment (right).

Once upon a time, I worked in the Paris tourism industry. It was 2008, Haven in Paris (boutique apartment rental agency that is now Haven In) had begun to take off, and I had the good fortune to get hired as its first full-timer and startup maven-in-training. I was based in New York, but was able to spend some time in Paris getting to know, the city and their portfolio of beautiful properties — including the teeny-tiny studio I would call home (yes, it really does have Sacré Coeur views from the shower). It was a dream job, totally worth celebrating Obama’s election from afar.

A studio for rent in Paris in Montmartre with a comfy fold-out sofa bed (left). The open window of a kitchen in a rental apartment in Paris (right).
Top images: Sacre Coeur Studio – Erica Berman / Charissa Faye. Above image:  Julien HausherrCharissa Fay

Flash forward a decade (!!) to this August and my first work trip back to Paris since 2010. This time around, I’d just begun a global role for Context Travel, a connection initially made in my Haven in Paris days. Again, it made sense for me to come to Paris for a spot of training — though this time only for three days. Naturally, I called Erica, the owner of Haven in Paris at the time, to share the happy news. It even turned out that their Hôtel de Ville apartment I’d been admiring was free for a short last-minute stay, which added to the feeling of coming full circle.

A beautiful rental apartment in Paris' Hotel de Ville area with a blue armchair, bird pictures up on the walls and a cozy double bed in the bedroom.Hotel de Ville – Julien Hausherr

So off I headed to Paris, wondering just how many of my old haunts I could cover in three days. As it turned out, I had a true “then vs. now” experience, visiting none (zero!) of my tried-and-true favorites and instead trying a number of great new spots.

Here’s my new Paris shortlist, a combination of top “now” spots from this past trip and my “then” favorites I can’t wait to revisit:

Favorite spots to rent an apartment in Paris include Hotel de Ville in the city centre, like this 1-bedroom apartment with a cozy bedroom with flowery wallpaper (left). The stylish living room of a Paris rental apartment with a blue armchair and bird pictures on the walls (right). Hotel de Ville – Julien Hausherr

The Apartment: Centrally located and beautifully renovated Hotel de Ville 1-bedroom (now) vs. the teeny, romantic studio with shower views of Sacré Coeur (then). *See links below

Where to eat falafel in the Marais in Paris? At Miznon with a menu of delicious Israeli dishes (left) including warm pita falafel sandwiches (right).Miznon – Emily Jackson

Messy, Delicious Lunch Sandwich: Shawarma at global Israeli chain Miznon along the Canal St-Martin (now) vs. falafel at L’as du fallafel in the heart of the Marais (then)

Hungry locals waiting for their falafel at Miznon restaurant in Paris (left). Miznon restaurant in Paris exterior with two people waiting in line (right). Miznon – Emily Jackson

Simple French Meal: Dinner at Repaire du Cartouche ending with an incredible cheese course (now) vs. lunch at Provençal favorite Chez Janou topped of with their generous chocolate mousse (then)

Chez Janou Restaurant in Paris is a local favorite for its classic French food and bistro interiors. Chez Janou – Ali Postma

Coffee Break: Iced coffee at coworking space + café Craft (now) vs. at hipster coffee + bike-gear shop Steel (then)

A scoop of sorbet (left) and coffee French style (right) at Café Craft co-working space in Paris.Berthillon / Café Craft

Art Stop: All-out Context tour to see the Louvre greats (now) vs. a solo stop into Maison Européenne de La Photographie, which is closed for renovations until November (then)

A beautiful Paris apartment rental in the city centre with an open-plan kitchen (left). Crowds in front of the Mona Lisa at the Louvre Museum in Paris (right).Julien Hausherr / Juan di Nella

Sweet Tooth: Trendy chou pastries at Popelini on another sweet Context tour (now) vs. blood orange sorbet at the classic Berthillon (then… and always!)

There's no place like Berthillon for ice cream in Paris (left). Delicate Berthillon ice cream cones in a wire basket (right). Berthillon

Fortunately, I know I’ll be back soon — and next time, I’ll have even more favorite spots to hit up. Guess that means I’ll just need a full week or two (or more!) — and another great home base to explore from.

Outside chou patisserie Popelini (left). A chou with fruity filling against a white background (right).Popelini

Related links

  • Haven In Sacre Coeur Studio and Hôtel de Ville apartments. Mention the code: HiPParis18 for special deals and a bottle of champagne with every booking for all HiP Paris readers!
  • Read more about the delicious Miznon.
  • For a great tour of Paris check out Context Travel.

Written by Sarah Raymond for HiP Paris. Looking for a fabulous vacation rental in Paris, London, Provence, Tuscany, Umbria or Liguria? Check out Haven In. Mention the code: HiPParis18 for special deals and a bottle of champagne with every booking for all HiP Paris readers!


Sarah Raymond

Sarah is a native New Yorker and lifelong Francophile. After starting her career at Haven in Paris, Sarah went off to hone her business skills at Darden and BCG before racing back to startup land. These days she runs operations at Context Travel as their Global Program Director, where she’s based out of NYC and spends as much time as possible traveling back to Paris, on the hunt for the best French cheeses!

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