Birthday Ideas in Paris: We're Sharing the Best of Them
Arguably the most stylish city in Europe, Paris is where you need to be for a birthday weekend
As compact as it is cosmopolitan, Paris is one of the most recognisable capital cities in the world. It’s always had an irresistible draw for artists and romantics, who love to while away the hours chatting in art nouveau cafes, exploring galleries and museums, or simply wandering the banks of the shimmering Seine. (How do they find the time?)
Yes, yes, it may be packed with iconic sights, but if you’re heading to the City of Light for a birthday, faithfully following the well-trodden tourist trail just isn’t going to cut it. (Who needs another snapshot of someone pretending to balance the Eiffel Tower in the palm of their hand, anyway?) Here, we answer the crucial questions: where are the finest places to eat, drink and explore if you’re celebrating? And what hidden experiences does Paris have to offer? These ideas are sure to give your trip a certain je ne sais quoi…
Restaurants fit for a celebration
You can’t have a birthday in Paris without marking your advancing age at one of its exceptional restaurants. The choice is vast, as you’d expect, but you can’t go wrong with one of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants (and that’s an official award, so pay attention). Michelin-starred Septime serves a relaxed, contemporary tasting menu from its unpretentious venue in vibrant Bastille. Expect seasonal, sustainable French plates: dishes might include egg yolk cured in salted pimento vinegar with raw cuttlefish, lardo and pimento oil; or lobster with boudin noir and wild strawberries. It’s
very, very difficult not easy to get a table, so make sure you book three weeks in advance. If you don’t strike lucky (or if you’re just not that organised), Septime has a sister restaurant, Clamato, right next door. It serves sharing plates of excellent seafood – no reservations required.
Elsewhere, in Chaillot, modern art venue Palais de Tokyo is home to Les Grands Verres, thoughtfully reinventing the usually best-avoided 'museum restaurant' category. This is a large, artfully industrial space delivering neo-Mediterranean cuisine with style and spectacle that befit a special occasion. There’s lots of fashionable smoking and pickling in its adventurous serving plates: look out for dishes such as baked artichoke and lamb shoulder with smoked aubergine, or braised octopus with roasted Jerusalem artichoke and Dashi broth with mushrooms and pak choi. It also has a cocktail bar, which brings us on to…
Where to drink
Les Grands Verres’ 13-metre bar should feature on your list for birthday drinks. From the team behind the ever-popular Candelaria and Le Mary Celeste, both also in Paris, this award-winning bar serves creative cocktails with an eye on sustainability. Kick off the celebrations with a refreshing C’est La Vie – gin with olive liquor and fresh basil. It’s best enjoyed on the terrace with views of the Eiffel Tower…naturally. Yes, it’s a cliché, but it’s a Plum approved one.
Over in the Marais district, Little Red Door is currently placed at number 36 in the World’s 50 Best Bar Awards. Spot the – you’ve guessed it – little red door and don’t be fooled by its unassuming exterior: inside you’ll find a relaxed and cosy speakeasy serving a menu of conceptual cocktails. They say it’s inspired by “art, flavour perception, anthropology and social science”, which translates into a collection of inventive cocktails that, most importantly, taste rather delicious.
What to do
For simple birthday pleasures, head to the Trocadéro Gardens to watch the sun rise from behind the Eiffel Tower. But, come on, you’re in a city famed for its style: it would be improper not to include a spot of shopping on your trip. The tree-lined Rue Bachaumont in the Sentier district is filled with chic vintage stores and shops selling the creations of local designers. (While you’re in the neighbourhood, pop into La Sultane de Saba, a hammam and day spa, for a Thai massage or Ayurvedic treatment. You deserve it.) But for Paris’ major fashion houses, best make tracks to the 8th Arrondissement for the glamorous Rue du Faubourg Saint Honoré, where you’ll find Givenchy, Dior, Gucci, Louboutin, Hermès and more. Once you’re all shopped out, take a leisurely walk in the tucked-away Rosiers-Joseph Migneret Garden in the 4th Arrondissement, or take in a classic film at the intimate Filmothèque in the Latin Quarter. If it’s good enough for Quentin Tarantino…
Our cherry-picked (or Plum-picked, if you will) collection of homes in Paris will set you up nicely throught the duration of your stay in the city. Whether you have a hankering for a luxuriously light-filled apartment with views of the Eiffel Tower, or fancy an outpost within a stone’s throw of Pigalle's art scene, we've got what you need.