My favorite city apart from New York is Paris — a city I have visited countless times. I love the atmosphere in the city, the culture, the bistro-style food and the myriad quaint sidewalk cafés.
Buvette Gastrothèque in West Village combines the elegance of an old world café with casual nature of a neighborhood eatery — from the early morning espresso and a croissant to the long family-style lunch with shared plates and a late night drink in the bar. It’s a perfect place to get the French vibe and enjoy the pleasure of good food like steak tartare, cassoulet, coq au vin, croque monsieur and madeleines, etc. They also have a sister restaurant in Paris.
No reservation is needed — it’s first-come-first-served — so there might be a wait, but it’s worth it. Enjoy a stroll on Bleeker Street or around the small streets in the neighborhood while waiting. Or maybe go visit Bigalow Apothecary, one of the oldest shops in New York.
Bigalow opened in 1838 and was called the Village Apothecary Shop back then. It was founded by Dr. Galen Hunter, providing prescriptions, healing remedies, unique and unusual beauty products and hard-to-find apothecary. In 1880, the shop was bought by Clarence Otis Bigelow — hence the name — and since then it has been in the family for generations. Bigalow also has their own line of products. You probably recognize one of their bestselling products: The Rose Salve.
Not many stores are left in New York where you will experience this old atmosphere. Elenor Rooselvelt frequently shopped there and Thomas Edison soothed a sore finger at the apothecary.