135 Rue St. Dominique, 7th
The only thing that outshines Les Cocottes’s brilliant use of glass jars and Staub cast iron cocottes, is the menu itself. Chef Christian Constant has developed a robust offering of salads (a non-traditional Ceasar salad), soups (pumpkin, seafood bisque), and mains (ratatouille, langoustine ravioli) that satisfy without breaking the bank. And then of course there’s Constant’s famous chocolate tart. Those who fly by the seat of their pants will appreciate the no-reservations policy: Even though there’s always a wait. That’s ok, because it’s conveniently located near the Jardin du Luxembourg and Eiffel Tower.
Nail Factory (Closed)
208 Rue de Grenelle, 7th
While you won't find expertly-executed nail art or a deep menu of luxurious add-ons, you will find well-priced, quick, and totally decent mani/pedis. The three locations are essentially indistinguishable. There are also locations in the 16th and 17th.
79 Rue de Varenne, 7th
Auguste Rodin donated his complete collection—including the pieces for which he's most famous like The Thinker and The Gates of Hell—to France so long as they promised to transform the very stately Hôtel Biron, which was his workshop from 1908 on, into a museum. There are thousands of his sculptures on-site, in both the museum's halls and scattered throughout the surrounding gardens, along with highlights from his personal art collection (Monet, Van Gogh, Renoir, and Camille Claudel, who was his mistress). Schedule a visit for Wednesday night: You can walk the gardens under the light of the moon.
La Pagode (Closed)
57 Bis Rue de Babylone, 7th
Designed by architect Alexandre Marcel in 1896, La Pagode was a gift from François-Emile Morin, the then-director of Le Bon Marché to his wife (she left him for his business partner shortly thereafter). Originally commissioned as a ballroom, its opulent (and stunning) interior—and flanking bamboo gardens—were transformed into a cinema in the '30s. When it was slated for demolition in the '70s, director Louis Malle stepped in: Now, you can see art house films here in what has to be one of the more original cinemas in the world.
Musée du Quai Branly
37 Quai Branly, 7th
Opened in 2006 in a soaring space designed by Jean Nouvel, this is part museum and part research/education center. You'll see a compendious display of objects and art from African, Oceanic, Asian, and American cultures that truly appeals to all ages. We always make any trip here revolve around lunch in order to take a pitstop at Les Ombres on the 5th floor: It has great views of the Eiffel Tower.
5 Quai Anatole, 7th
Sited in the former Gare d'Orsay, a soaring, glass-ceilinged Beaux-Arts railway station built in the late 19th-century, the permanent collection here spans from neoclassicism to art nouveau. The big draw, though, is the museum's deep collection of impressionist and post-impressionist art, which includes works by Monet, Manet, Renoir, Degas, Van Gogh, Seurat, and more.
Ave. de Saxe, 7th
With the Eiffel Tower as a stunning backdrop, this market focuses on produce and fresh seafood. There are also stands for escargots, meat, eggs, and a smattering of home goods. Photo credit: Natalia Lopes
51 Rue de Grenelle, 7th
Literally packed to the rafters with cheese, this is one of those tiny little spots you'll smell before you see. Owner Nicole Barthélemy and her team of cheese mongers will always let you sample before you buy—though the recommendations tend to be so spot-on, you arguably won't have to test many. For whatever reason, they don't tolerate photos in the shop—should you whip out your camera, you'll get scolded.
47 Rue de Babylone, 7th
This lablike Left Bank coffee house (there are three other locations throughout the city) is owned by two pals (one Australian, one French)—and it offers so much more than standard espresso. For starters, they do to-go cups, which is kind of an anomaly in this part of the world, as well as pour-overs and cappuccinos. Like so many Parisian cafés, this one has an indoor/outdoor seating situation making it a people-watching paradise. But you can actually get some work done, too—the interior is soothing, the Wi-Fi is free, and tables are roomy enough to spread out. You can also grab a quick breakfast or soup-and-salad lunch.
38-40 Rue de Grenelle, 7th
Sure, you’ll find Christian Louboutin’s full range of red-soled stilettos and studded loafers here, but you’ll also find unparalleled customer service. They maintain a strict 1:1 ratio of salespeople to clients, and while this might seem like it would result in helicopter-like hovering, it doesn’t. Instead, they swoop in only when you have a question or need a size. There are also two other locations, one in the 1st, and one in the 8th.