Returning to Paris has been a great way to pick up where I left off two years ago. For me, this means crossing off restaurants and sights that I didn’t get to visit in 2010.
The parents arrived to Paris bright and early last Monday morning. Both have been to Paris with me before and were only in town for three days. This gave us the perfect opportunity to ditch the ultra-touristy itinerary and go slightly off the beaten path. After a quick rendez-vous at the hotel, we set off to Cimetière du Père–Lachaise. Visiting a cemetery may seem a bit odd, but this 110-acre plot of graveyard is a Parisian landmark full of beautifully crafted grave stones, including that of Jim Morrison. It was a great place to stroll around on a cool, September morning.
If you’re visiting Père Lachaise, you should know that good food is just around the corner. The 20th arrondissement isn’t necessarily Paris’ finest quarter, but amid the un-touristy streets is Mama Shelter. This super trendy hotel features a restaurant that is equally delicious as it is designed. I’ve never walked into a more eclectic place.
Chalkboard ceiling. Inner-tube light fixture. Tree stump chairs. Couches. Bright colors. These are just a few of the stand-out elements of Mama Shelter’s design. My mom, an interior design enthusiast, couldn’t stop raving about the funky decor and atmosphere. Sarah and Megan joined us for lunch and we all agreed that Mama Shelter was the trendiest place we’d visited thus far. It’s also quite comfy if you’re able to snag one of the couches. Lucky for my parents, we did and my dad spent half of our lunch falling asleep in his cushy seat.
The lunch menu is more fixed on the restaurant’s acclaimed pizzas, while I’ve heard from other friends that dinner is a tad more upscale and diverse. Between the five of us, we ordered pizzas and salads. No complaints. The pizzas are huge (as you’ll find in most Parisian eateries) so come hungry or willing to split one. Lunch was great, but I’ll definitely be returning for drinks and dinner as I can only imagine how crazy Mama Shelter gets when the sun goes down.
Mama Shelter, 109 Rue de Bagnolet, Paris (20th)