A birthday weekend in Paris France

Chouchou Hotel Travel Escapes
“Chouchou Hotel”
Champagne Travel Escapes
Champagne on Arrival
Chouchou Hotel Birthday Celebrations Travel Escapes
Birthday Celebrations

Where we stayed

Chouchou Hotel: 4-star hotel located between the 1st and 9th Arrondisments near Opera and the Palais Garnier. I would highly recommend it both for the hotel itself and the location in general. It’s a small boutique hotel with good character and it felt a little bit more modern and fun than some of the other hotels for a similar price. The decor in all the rooms is lovely. Our room, which was a “Double Room – Superior”, was small enough but considering it’s Paris and most hotels have small rooms, it had good space with a big bathroom. We overlooked the street which was a nice addition. We requested this specifically and they were able to arrange for this when we arrived. 

Breakfast was great. It was buffet style and nothing fancy but everything was delicious and a good way to start the day. Breakfast was not included in the most basic price so something to consider if you think you might prefer to explore the local bakeries/pastry shops or some other nice cafes (top recommendations for brunch include Hardware Societe in Montmarte and HolyBely; we didn’t get to try but both look amazing). 

The service was excellent at the hotel and all of the staff were very helpful. They organised balloons in the bedroom for Marcus’s birthday along with 2 complimentary glasses of champagne and a card for when we arrived. 

There is a bar downstairs which is also where breakfast is served. It’s a really fun and relaxed setting, complete with fairy lights and disco ball, and it was busy every evening we were there. It’s a self-service style bar with what they call a “market” beside it where you can order fresh meats and cheeses to make up your own charcuterie board or cheese platter as well as fresh oysters and “plats du jour” (daily specials). We didn’t get to try the food in the evening but it looked delicious. Apparently, the bar can get quite noisy at night but we weren’t bothered by it at all!

If I was going again I would like to have a look at some hotels in Le Marais to see if there might be some good options as that seems to be the best area for restaurants and bars that are trendy and popular with locals, not just tourists, and it’s a gorgeous area to walk around. That said, I think around the Opera area was the perfect place to stay and I would definitely stay there again. It is a good walking distance or a short taxi from most places and you’re not in the very touristy or residential areas around the Eiffel Tower.

The breakfast room-come-cafe and bar at Chouchou Hotel .
The breakfast room-come-cafe and bar at Chouchou Hotel .
Boulevard Haussman near Chouchou Hotel
Boulevard Haussman near Chouchou Hotel
A street in the buzzy area of Le Marais.
A street in the buzzy area of Le Marais.

Where we ate

Day one (Friday)

Lunch: Loulou’s near the Louvre and Jardin Tuileries – €145 for 2 including tip, so it is a pricey option but in my opinion, it is worth it if you are celebrating something or looking for a little piece of luxury as the food was very good and the setting alone is such a treat! We were celebrating Marcus’s birthday and it was the perfect way to set the tone for a celebratory weekend! It’s set in the gardens behind Musée des Arts Décoratifs with a view of the Eiffel Tower so the setting really is gorgeous. The drinks were delicious and the pasta we ate was 10/10 (the pistachio pesto was next level). It was not typical French food, perhaps with more of a Mediterranean influence, but everything looked amazing! We also had excellent service which we were not expecting in Paris. Reservations are essential. Bookings open 14 days in advance but I rang a few days ahead of this and got a reservation. It books up quickly!

Afternoon drink: Café de Flore – one of the most famous cafes in Paris (along with Les Deux Magots which is right next door). It is located in Saint Germain Des Prés which is a gorgeous area to have a wander around – take some time to explore the small streets and all the shops, bakeries and delicatessens they have to offer. Try to get a table out the front of Café de Flore as it’s great people watching (even in the rain!). We didn’t eat there but the food looked nice and was typical Parisian cuisine. It was pricey enough but I think that’s because we ordered the more expensive Aperol spritz made with champagne by mistake (they were delicious and poured right in front of you but I think you need to specify the ordinary Aperol on the menu if you want to pay a normal price!). I would definitely recommend it for traditional French cafe vibes. I would go back for sure!

Pre-dinner drink: The Little Red Door – voted as one of the top 50 bars in the world, this is a very small but trendy cocktail bar located in Le Marais. Cool setting and a good experience. The cocktails were probably a little too sophisticated for my liking but still very enjoyable and I would recommend it. 

We had hoped to go to Le Perchoir in Le Marais which is a rooftop bar but because we were battling thunderstorms all day we gave this a miss. I have heard it’s really cool and good fun and I think it stays open until 2 am on weekends.

Dinner: Chez Janou – I would highly recommend this and would 100% go back. It’s a local spot in Le Marais but it seemed to have a mix of locals and tourists dining that night. It was what I would imagine as your typical French bistro: full of character, lots of tables tightly packed together and lots of people having a lovely time! It has tables both inside and outside; we sat inside near the open doors and it was lovely. We booked in advance which I’d say is advisable but there seemed to be people putting their names down and waiting at the bar having a drink. We ate at 10 pm which felt like a good time given it was the summer but a little earlier would have been perfect too. It was less than €90 for 2 of us which included a starter, mains and dessert and a few drinks. The food was typically French and completely delicious. The service wasn’t bad but what you might expect in Paris, I wouldn’t be in a rush!

(spot the Eiffel Tower in the background!) Travel Escapes
(spot the Eiffel Tower in the background!)
Loulou's menu Paris Travel Escapes
Loulou’s menu
Café de Flore Travel Escapes
Café de Flore

Day two (Saturday)

Lunch: With the weather being so hit and miss for us our plans changed around a little bit and we ended up having a lateish lunch near the Eiffel Tower in Carrette. This is a well-known café that has been around for a long time and I had seen recommendations for it so we decided to give it a try. It was nice and the food was good but it was very overpriced. Some people look like they came more for something sweet or just a coffee which might have been a better option but I probably wouldn’t be rushing back. It was perfect for what we needed at the time but I wouldn’t go out of your way for it! Our original plan for the Eiffel Tower was a picnic in the park in front of it called Champ de Mars, but this didn’t really work out with the weather!

Pre-dinner drink: we were supposed to go to Balagan near Place Vendome but it was randomly, and disappointingly, closed! It looks like great fun with delicious cocktails so I would love to try it the next time. We went to some random bar I don’t even know the name of and probably wouldn’t recommend!

Dinner: Hotel Costes – ok, so this is seriously a treat! It’s €€€€€ on the expensive scale but worth it if you have a special occasion. The setting is ultra cool with great music and even better people-watching. A celeb hotspot during Paris fashion week, it has been around since the 90s and is well-known in Paris and across the world. A must at least once in my opinion (although I hope I’ll be back!). It is in a 5-star hotel however, I wouldn’t be expecting 5-star service unless you are some “it” person or a billionaire, but the food and drinks were 10/10. Don’t be in a rush (service was very slow, we didn’t eat until midnight!) but there’s so much to take in that it’s a pretty cool place to be while you are waiting. The important thing to know is that unless you are a guest of the hotel you can’t make a reservation until 9am on the same day that you wish to attend. Reservations can be made by phone or in person only, not online. The phone lines are difficult to get through to when they first open at 9 am but keep trying or if you’re nearby run into the hotel and make the reservation in person as I did, a lot less stress! They do sittings at set times, we had the option of 9 pm or 10:30 pm (I think there are also earlier sittings at around 7 pm). We ended up going with the later one as 9 pm felt early in the summer but given we ended up waiting so long I would definitely recommend taking the 9 pm slot if available and no later. It was absolute chaos to get a table even though we had a booking as everyone is being seated at the same time and unless you are a guest of the hotel or a VIP, tables seem to be allocated on a first come first served basis and through a very disorderly queue system so I would be prepared for that! The bar is also amazing. I would definitely recommend a drink there before or after.

The Little Red Door Paris Travel Escapes
The Little Red Door
Chez Janou Paris Travel Escapes
Chez Janou
Chez Janou dessert for two Paris Travel Escapes
Chez Janou dessert for two

Day three (Sunday)

Lunch: Le Relais de l’entrecote – they have a few locations, we ate at their restaurant in Saint Germain Des Prés. They only serve one thing – steak frites with secret sauce! They serve you a fresh salad with walnuts to start, ask you how you want your meat cooked and that’s it! It was delicious and I would recommend it. They take walk-ins only and be prepared to queue for a bit as it’s a popular spot.

Paris Travel Escapes
Hotel Costes
Paris Travel Escapes
Paris Travel Escapes

Some other recommendations (where we didn’t get to go)


  • Hardware societe
  • Holybelly 


Cafe Kitsune: They have locations all over the city but there is one by Jairdin Tuillieries which is a lovely place to sit with your coffee or wander around the gardens.


  • Cafe Marly: Amazing location overlooking the Louvre. Definitely request an outdoor table. It does seem overpriced, maybe good for a coffee instead!
  • L’Avenue: A slightly fancier option for lunch. Owned by the same group as Hotel Costes and has a lovely outdoor seating area perfect for people watching.
  • Pink Mamma: This is part of the Big Mamma group that has restaurants in London also. A few different restaurants in Paris with fun and trendy settings. Italian food (pasta and pizza) with fun cocktails.

Cakes and Pastries

  • Angelina’s: Go for cake and the best hot chocolate. Has a gorgeous interior too.
  • Mamiche Boulangerie: Go for the best croissant in the city!


I would advise booking most restaurants in advance where possible.

  • Daroco: Great pizza and has a bar at the back called Danico which does funky cocktail
  • Vaudeville: Traditional Parisian bistrot that serves seafood and French fare.
  • Girafe: Best at night for a view of the Eiffel Tower lit up and in all its glory. This is one that seems to come up on all the lists of recommended restaurants online however I have heard mixed reviews about the food and service and it is expensive as you are paying for the setting.
  • Pink Mamma
  • Bambini: Italian food with gorgeous decor and setting.
  • Kong: Asian fusion cuisine. The dining room is set in a glass dome with chic decor. Great views of the city but it has mixed reviews on the food, service and the price.
  • Perruche: A rooftop restaurant serving Mediterranean food and fresh cocktails. Gorgeous setting in the warmer months with views of the city and Eiffel Tower.
  • Gigi’s: Italian cuisine in a warm but refined space with views out across the city and the Eiffel Tower.
  • Miss Ko: Good sushi in a funky and relaxed setting.


  • The Ritz 
  • Balagan
  • Le Perchoir
  • Le Comptoir General
  • La Mezcaleria (speakeasy)
  • Maison Sauvage
  • Rosa Bonheur
La Maison Rose in Montmarte, at the top of what is said to be one of the prettiest streets in Paris - Rue de l’Abreuvoir
La Maison Rose in Montmarte, at the top of what is said to be one of the prettiest streets in Paris – Rue de l’Abreuvoir
 L’Arc de Triomphe
L’Arc de Triomphe
good viewing point and spot for pictures of the Eiffel Tower
while not so secret anymore, still a good viewing point and spot for pictures of the Eiffel Tower


As two people who had already visited Paris and some of the great attractions it has to offer, we didn’t do some of the usual sightseeing that you might expect such as a visit to the Louvre or ascending the Eiffel Tower. However, we took in a lot of the city by travelling on foot most of the time. It’s a great way to take in the city and explore all the small side streets, local shops and restaurants. We also took advantage of the electric scooters (bikes also available) that are dotted around the city and are easily accessed by downloading the relevant smartphone app depending on the type you chose (Lime, Jump by Uber or Flash are a few options). This was a quick way of getting between two points and with a lot of cycle lanes, we felt quite safe. 

Some of the nice areas we explored or were nice to be in were:

  • Le Marais – take a walk down towards Place des Vosges which is a small but gorgeous park surrounded by beautiful buildings. I wish we had spent more time here.
  • Saint Germain Des Prés
  • Champs de Mars near the Eiffel Tower – the perfect place for a picnic in good weather with the best seat in the house to see the Eiffel Tower. Go in the evening to see the Eiffel Tower sparkle every hour on the hour for 5 minutes from sundown until the final show at 1am (or 2am in the summer) – it is magic!
  • Jardins du Trocadero – good viewing point for the Eiffel Tower.
  • Jardin Tuileries – beautiful gardens located between the Louvre and Place de la Concorde
  • Avenue des Champs-Élysées – walk up towards the Arc de Triomphe on one of the most famous and picturesque streets in the city. You can go up to the top of the Arc de Triomphe which tends to be less busy than the Eiffel Tower and the views are amazing!
  • Stroll along the Seine
  • Montmartre and Sacré-Coeur – up on a hill above the city you will have some stunning views of the entire city. Montmartre has gorgeous quaint streets to explore. Be wary of pickpockets most especially in this area, they are everywhere!

Jordan travelled to Paris with Travel Escapes which has a wide range and variety of Holidays and Cruises including their Paris Escapes 3 NIght River Cruise, A range of family holidays to Disney Land Paris including a Christmas family break among a host of other city breaks.

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