Happy Bastille Day!! (well, in honor of Bastille Day tomorrow)
My love for all things French struck me when I visited Paris for the first time in 2008. It was when Charlie and I had just started dating. And it was Charlie’s first trip to somewhere in Europe. I could feel the energy of Paris as our airport shuttle drove into the city. It was everything I had seen and imagined but so much more. I can say after that trip that I was a Francophile.
I’ve been back to Paris and over cities in France since then since I can’t get enough of the food, culture, and everything French. As much as I would love to live in Paris, I know it’s not going to happen any time soon. So I try to find places in Chicago that remind me of Paris.
As a follow up to my earlier post on why I love to visit Paris so often, I’ve been inspired to share a little guide on where find Paris in Chicago ! Please let me know what places I’m missing from this list. I would love try those places. As always, merci for checking reading my blog posts.
Van Buren Metra Station
The entrance to the Van Buren Street Metra station resembles that of the many metro stations in Paris and by far a great Paris in Chicago find for me. Based on my research, the entrance was given as a gift to Chicago by the city of Paris in 2001. I even had our wedding pictures taken here! It is located on Michigan Avenue at the southwest corner with Van Buren Street. According to the Chicago Tribune, the entrance was built from the moldings of Hector Guimard, the art nouveau French architect who designed the entrances of the Paris Metro in the early part of the 20th Century.
This is one of my favorite shops in Chicago to find rare French antiques. The owners of P.O.S.H. Chicago travel to France and bring back some of the prettiest and whimsical treasures. I like to stop by the shop to see their window decorations and the back of the store. Well, the whole store is just beautiful. I pretend I’m shopping at a little boutique in Paris whenever I’m there. The shop is a hidden gem with so many Parisian treasures old and new.
Waldorf Astoria Courtyard
The Waldorf Astoria Chicago‘s courtyard somehow reminds me of a smaller version of Place Vendome in Paris. According to the hotel’s website – the courtyard is designed by renowned French architect Lucien Lagrange and was designed to look like the “timeless glamour reminiscent of the grand hotels in Paris in the 1920’s.”
Our family tradition for the past three years has been the hotel’s tree-lighting ceremony during the start of the holidays. It’s always a fun event to attend with lots of yummy macarons.
Speaking of macarons, the Waldorf Astoria Chicago has a small little cafe/patisserie – Petit Margeaux on the first floor that, to me, resembles something you would find in Paris.
Bistro Zinc is a French restaurant in the Gold Coast serving up traditional French cuisine. Everything about the restaurant’s facade and interior reminds me of a bistro you would find in Paris. Unfortunately, the restaurant is set to close at the end of August 2018.
Le Labo Fragrances
The interior of the Le Labo Fragrances boutique in Chicago is something to behold and smell. Just like the boutiques in Paris, you can mix or make your own fragrance. I could spend all day there. In fact, we met up with some friends there one day just so another mom and I can do a little perfume test while our kiddos sat on the sofa and bar. It made for a beautiful French scene!
When I think of French candles, Diptyque instantly comes to my mind. Chicago is lucky to have a Diptyque boutique with a wide arrange of candles in Bucktown.
Located right next to P.O.S.H. Chicago is Alliance Patisserie. Once you enter the patisserie, you see all the colorful macarons lined up behind the marble counters. I love this place because the seating area looks out the ivy courtyard of the Tree Studios. It feels very Parisian to me to be surrounded by all that goodness.
Alliance Francaise Chicago Library
Although this library may not look like a typical Parisian library (well, I don’t know what a Parisian library looks like), it is filled with French books and videos to rent. I love walking into the Alliance Francaise Chicago because you always get a “Bonjour” at the front desk when you walk in. It’s a great place to find all media about France!
French Restaurants in Chicago
It seems the number of French restaurants in Chicago is dwindling down and it makes me so sad. But I’m so glad there are a few good ones still standing. So if you’re ever craving French food in Chicago, here is a list of French restaurants in Chicago for you to try!
Lincoln Square – Bistro Campagne
West Loop – Maude’s Liquor Bar
River North – Kiki’s Bistro
Old Town – La Fournette (French bakery)
Ravenswood – La Boulangerie (French bakery)