Two Days In Paris With Our Art Director, Annie Portelli

Annie Portelli takes her travel tips very seriously. When she was invited to Paris to attend the Maison&Objet design fair in Paris in January year, she spent a solid few days collecting advice and recommendations – before squeezing in everything humanly possible, in a whirlwind 48 hour trip!

Here, Annie shares her top spots in the City of Lights. And when Annie says you gotta go somewhere, trust us, it’s going to be GOOD!

Annie Portelli

Some very fashionable paste ups on the way to the bakery! Photo – Victoria Zschommler for The Design Files.

Annie enjoying her almond croissant and cuppa tea! Photo – Victoria Zschommler for The Design Files.

The inviting entrance to Du Pain et des Idees! Photo – Victoria Zschommler for The Design Files.

Annie Portelli
11th of March 2019

Du Pain et des Idees aka: ‘Bread & Ideas’

When in Paris, one is expected to break all diets and eat at least one croissant or baguette, right? Starting out my 2019 with the best intentions to attempt the ‘Paleo’ lifestyle  – I was hesitant to break my own pact (it WAS only January!). However, when you reach out for ‘Paris tips’, and five people come back to you with the same urgent plea to visit THIS BAKERY, then you really have to reconsider your priorities. SO I figured, if I’m going to break the paleo diet, I’ll break it well – and this must be the place where that happens.

This bakery has been around since 1889 and is as traditional as they get. The waft of cooked butter and burnt sugar will hit you from a block away, leading the way to the grand corner shop front. Well-dressed locals exit hugging large, baby blue paper bags filled with sweet treats to get them through the day.

As soon as you enter, you can get a strong sense of history this place holds – it really feels LEGIT! The mirrored ceiling reflects the warm lighting and the decorative floral hand-painted walls. Glass cabinets immediately greet you, lined with fresh golden pastries that roll out of the kitchen on racks every couple of minutes!

The Pistachio croissant came highly recommended BUT they had sold out! (by 10am!)

So I instead went for the almond croissant which I will now recommend to you!

Du Pain et des Idees aka ‘Bread & Ideas’
34 Rue Yves Toudic, 75010
Paris, France

The beautiful winter light washing over some old Parisian buildings. Photo – Victoria Zschommler for The Design Files.

A little nook within OFR bookshop. Photo – Victoria Zschommler for The Design Files.

Annie checking out some beautiful mags in the afternoon light! Photo – Victoria Zschommler for The Design Files.

Out the front of Ofr. Bookshop, where you can gaze through stacks of mags and books all afternoon! Photo – Victoria Zschommler for The Design Files.

OFR Bookshop

Here’s one for all the graphic designers out there! You’ve probably already heard of this place somewhere down the line,  but now you’re hearing it here again, and if you haven’t already – you should most definitely visit this humble little book store. It’s filled with old and new publications and magazines, art, records, posters…the list goes on!

Out the front are a large display of beautiful photography and fashion mags that you’re welcome to flick through. Once you enter, the space is packed with stacks of books and mags, random knick-knacks and vases of flower pickings scattered throughout the shop! You kind of feel like you’ve entered someone’s eclectic living room. It’s a very comforting, welcoming place to pass time!

OFR Bookshop
20 Rue Dupetit-Thouars, 75003
Paris, France

Some ‘1984’ inspired subway art captured by Annie Portelli

Beautiful garbage captured by Annie Portelli

Cute little bakery on route to the Marais district captured by Annie Portelli.

‘Just look up!’ 

Someone once told me to ‘just look up’ when exploring a new city. This advice may seem like a no brainer, but how easy it is to get absorbed into your phone screen whilst navigating Google maps when getting from A to B? So bury your phone deep into your bag and set off, one foot in front of the other and keep your eyes off the ground! Who cares if you get a little lost along the way?

Take in those little details and moments which make each city different from the next. With this approach, I realised that in Paris, even the garbage is beautiful, the cafe lights never turn off and there’s art literally everywhere!

The stationary table at À Rebours. Dream! Photo – Victoria Zschommler for The Design Files.

Another nook of À Rebours‎! Heaps of goodies in this one! Photo – Victoria Zschommler for The Design Files.

The moment before Annie bought two very breakable glasses to bring home with her… Photo – Victoria Zschommler for The Design Files.

À Rebours

I would compare this very curated little store to Melbourne’s own Third Drawer Down. À Rebours is described as the ‘Fondation d’entreprise Galeries Lafayette’s commercial alter ego’ – or put simply – a small (designer) novelty shop! Inspired by Huysmans’ novel of the same name, ‘À Rebours’ actually translates to ‘backwards’.

The shop is  FILLED with unique objects from around the world. Stationery, ceramics, glassware, knick-knacks, limited edition designer products (even custom designed speakers by David Lynch!) – it is a real treat for those of you who get excited by a well-curated opportunity to purchase unnecessary items (like me)!

I bought four VERY fragile drinking tumblers here without even considering how I’d bring them home safely. If you share the same tendencies, you will without a doubt be stuck in the same situation as me after leaving this store. Worth every silly purchase!

À Rebours
46 rue Saint Crois de la Bretonnerie
Paris, France

La Maison Plisson entrance and outdoor seating area. This deli is actually split in two – one side is more of a cafe and the other is more of a restaurant/evening drinks. You’re basically right on the sidewalk! Perfect for people watching whilst keeping warm from the snow. Photo – Victoria Zschommler for The Design Files.

The wine cellar! Enter via the terrazzo stair well in the centre of the deli. Sheesh! Photo – Victoria Zschommler for The Design Files.

Salami and terrazzo – terrazzo and salami, what more can I say! Photo – Victoria Zschommler for The Design Files.

Clearly Annie was overjoyed by the contents of this fridge. Photo – Victoria Zschommler for The Design Files.

La Maison Plisson

I hadn’t actually planned to go to this place. In fact, I didn’t even know it existed until I stumbled upon it while trying to find shelter from the show! This place is the absolute bee’s knees.

It has everything from delicious pastries, cured meats, organic fruit and veg, cheeses and a downstairs basement filled with condiments and wine. All of this housed inside a beautifully designed pink terrazzo haven (dream). I found this on my first day – and went back here every other day. It’s open early and closes late, and is the perfect place to keep warm and people watch, or walk by and grab essentials for the perfect day pack! Very excited about this find!

La Maison Plisson
93 Boulevard Beaumarchais, 75003
Paris, France


Catching some more afternoon winter light! This square turns into a market but in winter it closes. Look up ‘Bastille Market’ if you’re here in another season! Photo – Victoria Zschommler for The Design Files.

Front window of cute little cafe ‘Wild & The Moon’. Photo – Victoria Zschommler for The Design Files.

Photo – Victoria Zschommler for The Design Files.

Wild & The Moon

If you feel like you’ve overindulged on croissants and pastries, then Wild & The Moon will be a welcomed treat! I immediately got ‘Melbourne vibes’ when entering this vegan cafe, it’s fresh, healthy and holds a delicious range of fresh juices which I got right into! A really nice place to pop in for brekky (if it’s not to busy) or in my case, go for the takeaway option and walk it across to ‘City Park’ around the corner and enjoy in peace!

Wild & The Moon
55 Rue Charlot, 75503
Paris, France

Some winter citrus glowing on this grey winter day! Photo by Annie Portelli

Photo by Annie Portelli

Aligre Market

One of the many things I love about European cities is that they tend to have farmers markets scattered throughout the bustling streets all year round. Old cities have squares dedicated to these markets, AND they aren’t just there for the pleasure of tourists! You will mainly find locals with their dogs and baskets on wheels sorting out and packing up their fresh groceries.

Aligre Market is one of many markets you will find in the lower end of the city. It’s split between an indoor and an outdoor section. The outdoor section is only open from 9am – 12pm so this is more of a morning trip. Here you will find all the fresh fruit and veggies and flowers! The indoor market is called ‘Marche Beauvau’ where you’ll find the drool-worthy deli section, craft beer, and an unnecessary, but appreciated range of meats! Another really great market which you should visit is Bastille Market, it’s a little more central but the trading hours are a little more sporadic so be sure to check these before heading over – advice I wish I’d had myself.

Aligre Market
Rue d’Aligre et, Place d’Aligre, 75012
Paris, France

When you enter through the main entrance of Merci you will come to this cute little courtyard with their famous little red Fiat! You can see the library through the window behind it. So lovely! Photo by Annie Portelli

WOW! So much linen! I had to restrain myself! Photo – Victoria Zschommler for The Design Files.

The hallway leading from the cafe to the main store! Photo – Victoria Zschommler for The Design Files.


Oh boy, I get the feeling that if you’re an avid TDF reader, then you’ll probably be really into this store! Part-cafe, part-library, part-homewares store, Merci ticked all the boxes for me! It’s quite deceiving from the front – thick heavy curtains obscuring the doorway to keep the warmth in.

Once you enter, pass by the quiet chatters of locals enjoying their coffee in the softly lit cafe. You will then pass an epic floor-to-ceiling bookshelf lining the hallway leading to the SHOP! Literally, my jaw dropped!

The first floor showcases glassware, travel items, and clothing. Then your eyes are drawn up to the mezzanine, which is home to walls of beautiful french linen in every shade of ‘dusty hue’ you can imagine. Beyond that is a showroom of the incredibly considered homeware products, set up on little dreamy clusters. Needless to say – I had to purchase additional luggage for my return trip… oops

Located in the heart of the historic district of Haut-Marais, actually a block down from Maison Plisson! Fancy that!

111 Boulevard Beaumarchais, 75003
Paris, France

Incredible cheese selection at Fromagarie Laurent Dubois Bastille! Photo by Annie Portelli

The inviting entrance of the magical cheese shop! Photo by Annie Portelli

Photo by Annie Portelli

Fromagerie Laurent Dubois Bastille

I actually visited a number of cheese shops in Paris BUT this one got me really excited! It’s tiny, but the selection is generous and considered. This shop is one of three Parisian Cheese dairies with its name, and has a great reputation for their raw milk cheese, so much so that it’s gained the prestigious title of ‘Meilleur Ouvrier de France’.

It’s located on quite a busy road, but it was certainly a hot spot. I seemed to have arrived here during peak hour as locals were popping in after work and picking up an assortment of cheeses, before making their way into the busy street again.

I was greeted by a friendly lady who had extensive knowledge and allowed me to try basically every cheese they have available. Some were so intense that they were hard to swallow(!) – BUT in most cases, she had me left speechless.

*TIP if you find it hard to leave cheese like this behind – this shop will actually vacuum seal your selection of cheeses so you can safely bring it back to AUSTRALIA(!) I brought back about 8 different cheeses in my checked-luggage. As long as you declare it at Australian customs, you’re good to go! Just mention that it’s cheese from France. Thank me later.

Fromagerie Laurent Dubois Bastille
97-99 Rue Saint-Antoine, 75004
Paris, France

Annie’s favourite house on Rue Cremieux. Photo by Annie Portelli

Rue Cremieux

This residential street is another place that I accidentally stumbled upon whilst a little lost in Paris. If you find yourself in this area, it’s worth making a little detour and stopping by this 144m long cobblestone street. Although the buildings aren’t your usual Haussmann style apartments, the street gleams with joy and works as a great backdrop for every photo opportunity! Look at this beautiful hand-painted wisteria on the front of 21! Very cute.

Rue Cremieux
Located between Rue de Lyon and Rue de Bercy

A snap of the grande Gare de Lyon! Photo by Annie Portelli

Annie probably doing something on instagram. Photo – Victoria Zschommler for The Design Files.

A little more!

EXPLORE: Louis Vuitton Foundation

This exhibition building was designed by Frank Gehry and to put it simply – it’s wild! Inside you’ll find the impressive art museum, which showcases bigshot names all year round. I went to see Jean-Michel Basquiat along with thousands of other people, and despite the crowds, it was still breathtaking.

If you time it right, etch out a spare afternoon, pack yourself a picnic, get on the bus and head on over! Check your lunch in at the cloak rooms before gallery gazing, then enjoy the rest of the afternoon in the surrounding gallery gardens and eat cheese, drink some wine and talk about the art you just experienced.

How very French of you!

Louis Vuitton Foundation
8 Avenue du Mahatma Gandhi, 75116
Paris, France

EAT: Miznon

Okay, so I was a little reluctant to share this one as it is already so damn busy BUT I will be a friend and pass on the tip because food like this NEEDS to be shared. Like most of my trip, this moment happened too quickly and with zero expectations. Another recommendation from a good friend, this suggestion came with a warning that it WILL be busy – and they were spot on. Despite this, curiosity got the better of me and I had a minute more than usual to spare, so I went for it. Best. Decision. Ever!

I packed myself into this already crammed restaurant (literally standing room only). It was loud. It was hot. It was smokey. But it was amazing! I ordered their classic falafel pita and a cola before I knew it the handwritten order receipt was tacked onto the production line in the open kitchen. I peered over the ledge to watch them effortlessly prepare my little pocket of flavour. When they called my name, they showed me to the self serve sauce stand and added the finishing touches. It’s weird how often I think back to that moment of taking my first bite. You must go here!

22 Rue des Ecouffes, 75004
Paris, France

SHOP: The Broken Arm

Part concept store, part cafe,  this place is bustling with well-dressed locals. Grab yourself a window seat and a bite to eat, and gaze out to the beautiful street whilst you eavesdrop on the indistinguishable French chitter chatter around you.

Once you’ve digested and regained sustenance, build up the courage to brave the concept store just a door frame away. Comme Des Garcons, Jacquemus, Lemarie… Oh my… I pretty much moped around this store for a good half hour before ushering myself out. I loved this place, but I am not sure it’s a good idea for me to visit again – unless I win the lottery.  It was almost too good! BUT you should go! You’ve been warned of the possible consequences.

The Broken Arm 
12 Rue Perée, 75003
Paris, France

Recent Travel