Guide to Classic Paris

Looking to combine Paris past with Paris present? It can be done!
In Paris, periods and styles blend together everywhere. Fashion, history, music, gastronomy... The suggestions below propose a journey back through time which is both fun and educational. Ready for departure!

A 50s brunch at Breakfast in America

For our first retro stop, let's go back to the 50s. Enjoy an original breakfast in the atmosphere of an American diner. Yes, American. The recent popular history of Paris has been greatly influenced by the United States. The Breakfast in America restaurant reflects this mutual fascination. It was actually founded by an American who fell in love with the French capital so much so that he decided to make Paris his home.


These days his retro diner is one of the few places in Paris where you can find genuine burgers and pancakes. And the Parisians love the place. Make the most of a sound brunch before starting your peregrinations!


Information & opening times:

Breakfast in America

4, rue Malher, Paris 4th

Tel: +33 (0)1 42 72 40 21

Opening times: everyday 8:30AM to 11:00PM


Getting there:

Metro 'Saint-Paul' line 1

Go back in time at the Musée Carnavalet

It's not far to our second stop: the Musée Carnavalet. Looking out over attractive formal gardens, the Museum is housed in hundreds of rooms in a building dating back to the Renaissance. It allows you to trace the history of Paris and Parisians from prehistoric times to the present through millions of objects, photos and works of art.


Discover how the Parisian bourgeoisie and the aristocracy lived under the reign of Louis XV, which styles marked the period of the French Revolution, how Paris was transformed in the 19th century with the constructions of Baron Haussmann... Perfect for understanding the city and its character.


Information & opening times:

Musée Carnavalet

23, rue de Sévigné, Paris 3rd

Tel.: +33 (0)1 44 59 58 58

Admission: free for the permanent collection

Opening times: 10:00AM to 18:00PM; closed Mondays and public holidays


Getting there:

Metro 'Saint Paul' line 1

An Art Nouveau lunch at the Bouillon Racine

We suggest going back to 1900s Paris for lunch. Destination n°3 is on the other side of the Seine, not far from the University of the Sorbonne. Its name: the Bouillon Racine. The facade says it all: Art Nouveau for everyone.


Created in 1906, it was fully decorated in the style of the new Paris of the time. Very ornate woodwork, coloured ceramics, interlacing vegetation... Apart from the attire of the diners and the cuisine, you could be forgiven for thinking you are in a previous century. Tip: the restaurant has many tables but it's well worth booking to be sure of having lunch in this wonderful example of decorative art.



Le Bouillon Racine

3, rue Racine, Paris 6th

Tel: +33 (0)1 44 32 15 60


Getting there:

Metro 'Odéon' line 4, Metro 'Cluny – La Sorbonne' line 10


Vintage shopping at Kiliwatch

A little shopping is in order after this gastronomic pause. Destination: the Etienne Marcel district and Kiliwatch, a vast boutique of vintage clothing and accessories where you almost need a GPS. This is a must-see for followers of fashion, even though the trend has led to a flurry of competitors throughout the capital.


Simply go down the Rue Tiquetonne to discover another haunt of retro fashion followers: Episode. Originally Dutch, the store also sells original items based on vintage clothing designs.




64, rue Tiquetonne, Paris 2nd


12–16 rue Tiquetonne, Paris 2nd


Getting there:

Metro 'Etienne Marcel' line 4


An evening of jazz at the Caveau de la Huchette

Interested in retro Paris without mentioning jazz? Impossible. Still considered the capital of swing, Paris has been a key venue since the very first jazz bands. A passion which reached its peak in the 40s and 50s. At the time, young Parisians would dance in smoke-filled cellars to the sound of the best American musicians, from Sidney Bechet to Count Basie and Charlie Parker.


Rediscover a little of this atmosphere and round off your evening with a drink in one of the city's many jazz clubs. For example, the Caveau de la Huchette, a famous address founded in the 40s and still dedicated to swing.


Information and opening times:

Caveau de la Huchette

5, rue de la Huchette, Paris 5th


Tel.: +33 (0)1 43 26 65 05

Admission: €12–14 (without booking)

Opening times: 9:30PM to 2:30AM Sunday to Wednesday; 9:30PM to dawn Thursday to Saturday


Getting there:

Metro 'Saint Michel' line 4, RER B