Opéra Garnier / Grands Boulevards

Somebody told all the tourists to go here for nightlife. We’re not sure who it was, but it certainly wasn’t us. The effect is as expected—bars catering to tourists. If you flew all the way to Paris to visit a wax museum or a Hard Rock Café, that’s on you. Don’t blame us for wasting your time staring at wax figures of Mbappé and Johnny Halliday. This complex neighborhood straddles the second and the ninth districts, which keeps it humming and thrumming day and night, and packed with Paris’ biggest collection of basic, highly avoidable, mainstream pubs, and ‘just-keep-walking’ restaurants (the clubs and theatres are cool though, so don’t lump them in with the boring chain pubs that line the traffic-choked ‘boulevard’—depending on who is spinning, the Rex Club can be LIT…). With the good, the bad, and the ugly all smashed together, the Grands Boulevards quarter is anything but subtle.

Instead of getting engulfed in this mainstream mayhem, keep it real by wandering around the covered passages, where the best restaurants in the neighborhood can be found (Victoria Station, Racines…). Fauxhemians prefer the Marais, but, if you happen to be here and are a discerning person (ahem, you are reading PARIS » DEFINED, so…), you’ll want to drill down a little deeper on smaller side streets and spend time among locals by sipping on a straw of our loving curation below.

coffee + tea spots

ibrik cafe

Mai­son Pradier

Bon Bou­quet Café

Le Valentin Jouffroy

cer­ti­fied cafe

bakeries + sweets

Le Valentin Jouffroy

Pierre Mar­col­i­ni

Yann Cou­vreur Galeries Lafayette Gourmet

Jean Paul Hevin


Canard & Champagne 

Kamakiri Haka­ta Udon

Wild and the Moon


live music

museums + culture

Nou­veau Musée du
Par­fum Fragonard