Jessie Kanelos Weiner’s humble Paris beginnings started 10 years ago when she moved to the French capital as an au pair. She had a fine arts background, but arrived clueless about how to launch a creative career in a bureaucratically impossible country like France. But little by little, she used her outsider eye to develop a distinct perspective on an eternally mythologized city—and eventually, successfully made a career out of writing, illustrating, and food styling.
Recently, Weiner teamed up with Franco-American culture writer Sarah Moroz to release Paris In Stride: An Insider’s Walking Guide to Paris. Together, the pair takes readers through seven walking tours from the culture hubs (Eiffel Tower, Musée de l’Orangerie, etc.) to parks on the city’s edges, and plenty of wine and cheese shops in between. Here, Weiner shares some of her wisdom cultivated after a decade spent in the City of Light.
Author of Paris in Stride, Jessie Kanelos Weiner. Photo by Christian Andre Strand.
- Illustrator, writer, food stylist
- Vincennes, France
What do you do for work? How do you find the creative scene in Paris inspiring?
I am an illustrator (for Vogue, WSJ., and T Magazine, among others), author and food stylist. Parisians really are cultural connoisseurs. You can talk to just about anyone about the latest exhibition, movie, or book.
What's your favorite arrondissement in Paris?
I love the 1st arrondissement, around Palais Royale. There’s a regal, timeless charm about the area with some calm pockets that feel completely untouched by tourists and hipster aesthetics.
Let’s say I only have one weekend to spend in Paris—what are the highlights I shouldn't miss for a quintessential Parisian experience?
Give yourself time for pleasure and meandering—Paris is surprisingly tiny and remarkably walkable. Shameless plug, but my book is broken down into seven curated walking tours with an interesting mix of cultural highlights, cool cafés, architectural marvels, and plenty of surprises along the way. It’s the perfect way to jump start a weekend of exploration.
Best place for French pastries?
Du Pain et des Idées.
Best place for fresh baguettes?
Proximity is key for everyday pleasure. I’ve spent a lot of hard-earned centimes to get on a first name at my neighborhood boulangerie-pâtisserie, Grégory Desfoux, in Vincennes.
Best place for an apero?
Grab a bottle at Le Verre Volé and find a prime people-watching spot on the Canal Saint-Martin.
Where to go for a glass of natural wine?
Le Garde Robe, the perfect place to remedy post-Louvre fatigue.
When you want to escape the city, where do you go?
The Loire Valley.
Best date night spot?
Restaurant Kunitoraya for fancier occasions or Miznon for a post-art opening quick bite.
Describe your ideal night out in Paris.
A sunset aperitif on the Seine, a stroll through Bastille, a late dinner at Au Passage, and a beer at my favorite dive bar, Le Pop In.
Where in Paris do you go when you want to be inspired?
Le Bois de Vincennes, my neighborhood park on the eastern edge of Paris.
In a city full of museums, which is your favorite and why?
Palais Galliera for its keen eye on fashion, peaceful gardens, and breathtaking view of the Eiffel Tower.
How do you get away, everyday?
I walk everywhere.