I was actually a student there just after college so fortunately (or unfortunately) my knowledge of places in which to hang out is probably more extensive than it probably should be. Here are a few idea from back then and then a few new places I thought might work:
- Luxembourg Garden: Even though it fills up with picnickers, kids, and business people basking in the sun at lunch, it’s still always very low key and a great place to pull up a couple of chairs and re-hash old times.
- Palais-Royal: It’s a little more austere than the Luxembourg, but if you’re craving an outdoor area that somehow still feels cozy, this is perfect. Even though it’s in the middle of the city it never attracts large crowds and is usually as quiet as a library. Like the Luxembourg, it’s full of the city’s ubiquitous green chairs so why not grab some bread, cheese, and wine and have a grown-up picnic?
- Hôtel Costes: Even though it’s a hotel it still doesn’t feel touristy. Global, yes, as it’s wildly popular with visiting Europeans but I can pretty much promise you you won’t see tourists in neon and fanny packs here. The crowd is sophisticated and the energy is very calm.
- Le Sergent Recruteur, Ile Saint-Louis Ile St. Louis: This place has gone through a couple of iterations in the last few years but the look and feel of the latest one is modern, sleek, and very sexy. Feels much more like a wine bar than a restaurant. Plus it’s on the Ile St. Louis which may have the chill-est vibe of any neighborhood in the city.