Pretend you're in Paris, without ever leaving Philly

Dara Imperatore (left) and Traci Marabella (right, back to camera) dine inside Parc restuarant. Make sure to include Stephen Starr's cafe as part of your French weekend in Philly.

Feeling a little post-holiday blue? C'est la vie. While perhaps inevitable, there’s nothing a European excursion can’t clear up. Get ready for a Parisian adventure — pricey plane fare not required.

Starting Thursday to Jan. 27, the Philadelphia Orchestra will host the Paris Festival, a special series of performances devoted to the City of Light's rich mix of artistic influences and sounds.

Book a ticket to one of the concerts at the Kimmel Center, then use our guide to help plan the remainder of the weekend, transforming Philly into Paris without leaving the city limits.


Dine out
Camera icon  Michael klein / Staff
Dine at Bibou.

Treat yourself to a luxurious dinner at Bibou (1009 S. Eighth St., 215-965-8290; From foie gras, medjool date, dark rum soufflé and the inventive entrees in between, Bibou dishes up one of the best (seven-course) French meals in the city. The cash-only Bella Vista BYOB offers a rotating prix-fixe menu for $100 per guest, served in a cozy, classic Parisian-bistro-style setting. The intimate restaurant fills up fast, so be sure to call ahead to secure a reservation (and if you can't get in, it's worth extending your faux Paris vacation and securing a spot for the future).

Catch a cabaret

After dinner, head to L’Etage (624 S. Sixth St., 215-592-0656;, just a 10-minute walk from Bibou. The French-inspired nightclub and performance space regularly hosts lively cabarets, but even if there isn’t a show on the day you drop in, you can be sure a fun night of dancing awaits. Concerned you might need a late-night snack after all of the boogying? Place an order in advance with the downstairs Beau Monde, crafting sweet and savory crepes in its kitchen until 10 p.m.


Catch up with croissants
Camera icon Jessie Fox /
Artisan Boulanger Patisserie

Enjoy a croissant from the Artisan Boulanger Patisserie (1218 Mifflin St.). The pastries churning out of the patisserie don’t come from the hands of Parisians, but from Amanda Eap and Andre Chin, two Cambodian masterminds. Still, the buttery croissants are as good, sometimes better, than the real French deal. Flaky, with featherlight, melt-in-your-mouth layer after layer, the croissants show that Chin’s baking studies in France have more than paid off. Our vote goes for the almond variety, but you really can’t go wrong with any style. Be sure to add an oven-blistered baguette to your order for later.

Get a mani

At Le Reve (255 S. 17th St. #400, 215-701-6272, — which means “the dream” in French — treat yourself to a French manicure at a soothing Rittenhouse spa. While word is still out as to whether French manicures truly originated in France (some claim that the method was created in Paris for the fashionistas of the 1930s, while others speculate the word "French" was added to “manicure” to make the service feel more chic), who cares? You’ll leave with freshly polished and softened hands, ready to be showcased in the night ahead. Bringing your boo? Go for the Le Reve “Couples Massage” instead.

Go forth for fromage
Camera icon Jessica griffin / Staff Photographer
Owner Emilio Mignucci offers a cheese sample at the 1730 Chestnut St. site, one of five Di Bruno Bros. stores in the region.

Have a cheesemonger at Di Bruno Bros. (930 S. Ninth St., and other locations, 215-922-2876, guide you to a fromage. Remember that crusty loaf of bread that you grabbed earlier at the patisserie? Look to a crew of some of the most educated cheesemongers in the city for determining how to top it. From a creamy Camembert to a smooth but harder comte, the French-style options at Di Bruno Bros. are vast. Just let the cheesemonger know your preferences, and he/she will guide you.

Be serenaded
Yannick Nézet-Séguin

The Philadelphia Orchestra's music director, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, strives to fill the biting month of January with the bright images and sounds of Paris. Drawing on works by Chabrier, Chopin, Stravinsky, and other esteemed composers, Nézet-Séguin offers up a musical narrative that celebrates aspects of artistic life found throughout present-day Paris and its history. (Go to for more info.)

Drink up
Camera icon SHUMITA BASU / Staff Photographer
Paris Wine Bar.

Thinking about grabbing a post-show drink? Head to Fairmount’s Paris Wine Bar (2303 Fairmount Ave., 215-978-4545,, where an intimate, 50-seat, French-inspired setting awaits, as does a menu full of whites, reds, and sparkling libations.


Brunch on the Square
Camera icon Tom Gralish / Staff Photographer

Stephen Starr’s Parc (227 S. 18th St., 215-545-2262; pays tribute to French café culture, allowing you to enjoy a menu full of classic Parisian eats with window-front views of Rittenhouse Square and the bustling sidewalks that surround it. From eggs en cocotte with trout caviar to croque madame to pumpkin spice beignets, an assortment of sweet and savory eats abounds beside breakfast cocktails and coffee prepared any way you’d like it.

Camera icon Michael S. wirtz / File
Ivan Hitch gets an up-close look at "Lion Crushing a Serpent" in Rittenhouse Square by French sculptor Antoine-Louis Barye dated 1832.

Take a post-meal walk around Rittenhouse Square. Walk off breakfast in the square, where you’ll find "Lion Crushing a Serpent," an 1832 bronze cast sculpture from Parisian-born artist Antoine-Louis Barye. The first sculpture to be installed in Rittenhouse Square, it depicts a lion, designed to represent the French monarchy, crushing a serpent, meant to serve as a universal symbol of evil.