I’m excited to bring you guys another edition of #FrontRoeTravelGuides today – this time, dedicated to the city of lights: Paree! After the recent fire at Notre Dame which was absolutely heartbreaking, I wanted to honor this magical city by publishing this story a little earlier than planned. Paris is an incredibly resilient, huge-hearted and passionate city – and it will always be one of my favorite places in Europe. Read on about some of my favorite spots in the city that make it so special to me, though there really are too many to list. Not only is it stunningly beautiful but it has so much history – so many famous artists and writers have lived and worked there. And when you’re strolling about the city, you can see why – there’s certainly something about it that makes you feel inspired.
I’ve been going to Paris for work trips for many years, and finally went for fun last Summer. It’s the most enchanting city in the world in my opinion, full of winding cobbled streets full of endless history, art, culture, and most importantly – amazing food to discover! Well, that deserves a whole article in itself. So here are my top chic hangouts… Walk as much as you can. It’s one of those cities where you’ll stumble upon cute cafes and little galleries at every turn.
Where To Eat
-In my opinion, the best area to wander through is St Germain. Start with breakfast at Cafe de Flore or Les Deux Magots almost next door. This is where super famous writers and painters used to hang out, including Hemingway, Picasso and Albert Camus. If you’ve never had a croque monsieur before, try one here.
–Balagan a new hotspot serving Mediterranean fare – try the truffle mushroom polenta and beef tataki appetizer.
–Coupe Chou is the one you must have dinner at. Make sure to book it beforehand and get a table by a fireplace.
-Stop in at Angelina on Rue de Rivoli, for the richest, most delicious hot choc in paris.
–Loulou: book a table on the terrace for a stunning view of the Eiffel tower.
–La Perouse, on the river, is about as romantic as a restaurant can get. Red velvet curtains, dark wood panels and oil paintings line your own private dining room. Yes, your OWN dining room! Legend has it that kings and princes once took their ‘escorts’ there, and there are scratches on the mirrors where they checked to see if their diamonds were in fact real. But lunch is a LOT easier on the wallet than dinner – it’s a different menu, but just as delicious.
–Georges at the Pompidou Center: Modern and chic, Carrie Bradshaw had a meal up here in THAT episode! Located at the top of the Pompidou center, you can see just about all of Paris from up there.
-My absolute hotspot is the bar inside the Plaza Athénée Hotel. Walk through the shiny marble and gold lobby, turn down the long elegant corridor (and if it’s Christmas time, you’ll see the ice rink in the courtyard to the left) and then check out the dark, moody, modern bar. The cocktail menu is presented to you on an iPad, but go for the house signature blend – the Black Mojito – and just people-watch for a while. The length of this room’s cosy couches and high stools is full of interesting, fashionable people having laughs or secret trysts – I love it here.
-Cocktails or tea at the trendy Hotel Costes is so elegant. It’s a fashion week staple and one of Kate Moss’ favourite bars to hang out at.
–Hotel Edgar: a bit more off the beaten path, it’s a gorgeous hidden gem that is great for grabbing drinks on the terrace. Jeanne Damas named it as one of her secret favorites!
Where To Explore
-For that Insta-perfect Eiffel Tower shot, head to Avenue de la Bourdonnais, rather than to the Tower itself. You can get a much better view of it perfectly framed for the ‘gram.
–Jardin du Palais Royale is a beautiful spot for a picnic at sunset, and next door to Les Deux Plateau (also known as Colonnes de Buren), where you can snap another killer pic on the famous black and white blocks on the square (search the hashtag on Instagram and you’ll recognize what I’m talking about).
-Stroll through the Jardin des Tuileries, right by Place de la Concorde where the first lady to make high heels fashionable, Marie Antoinette, was executed. Take your hot chocolate from Angelina and grab one of the green chairs by the lake here – but go early to beat the crowds.
-Musée Picasso: an entire museum dedicated to the Spanish painter Pablo Picasso, this stunning gallery also has a gorgeous rose garden that is worth a stroll.
–Musée d’Orsay: another stunning museum famous for it’s big clock window, another photo opp! Check it out before hopping on a boat tour. This is my favorite way to see the city and learn about the stunning architecture everywhere.
-Paris’ Tow path along the Seine has just been extended so you can now wander uninterrupted along the river. It’s overwhelmingly stunning, and if you veer off-path and check out the backstreets, you’ll find some beautiful, ancient homes and restaurants.
-Wind up the backstreets to Rue Cambon, go inside Chanel and peek up the mirrored staircase to Coco’s old apartment. This is where she sat watching her fashion shows, perched on the top step but looking downstairs in the mirror, too shy to go down and greet the press.
- Get up super early and visit Sacre-Coeur (going early means you avoid the crowds) and wander around Montmartre Square after. It feels like being on a film set, but is cute nonetheless.
–Promenade Plantée: walk from Place de la Bastille to Bois de Vincennes for a totally different point of view of Paris, lined with trees and flowers.
-Versailles: take the train out here and spend a day wandering the palace and its gardens. If you’re a history geek like me, you’ll love seeing where French royalty lived up until the Revolution.
Where To Shop
–Buly 1803: Paris’ oldest parfumerie where you may have seen on my Stories on our recent trip, Mackenzie and I bought matching engraved old fashioned combs for himself and baby Honor. This place transports you back in time with classical music playing in the background, the scent of pot-pourri, beautiful apothecary bottles lining the wood-paneled walls, and ladies in navy chemist coats who write personalized calligraphy onto perfume labels.
–Astier de Villatte: it’s not cheap, but it’s worth the trip to see the stunning crockery from one of the last remaining pottery factories in Paris. I bought two little dishes for salt and pepper, but a floral teapot will set you back around 300 Euros.
-Pharmacy: any pharmacy! French pharmacies are filled with the greatest beauty products, and amazing prices. When I would visit filming Plain Jane, Rachel our makeup artist would fill her suitcase! My favorites? embryolisse lait creme concentre face cream, A-Derma cleansing oil (both Honor and I use it religiously), Caudalie’s Beauty Elixir, and Vichy night cream.
–Sézane for chic dresses and accessories
–Heimstone: for an elegant, curated collection of unique clothing pieces that you won’t find anywhere else.
–Des Petits Hauts: for gorgeous trinkets, drawings, antiques and vintage clothing.
–Balibaris: for the chic men in your life! Full of elegant, modern men’s fashions.
–Smallable: an adorable shop for little ones!
–Maison Labiche: cool clothing and gifts for men, women and kids.
–Ysé: for gorgeous lingerie and affordable prices.
–Oh My Cream: skincare aficionados will lose their minds in here! An epic collection of products for every price range.
Where To Stay
–L’Hotel: Where we stayed on our recent trip, it’s a decadent, low-lit hotel (one of the oldest in Paris) where Oscar Wilde lived before he died. His unpaid bills are framed in his room. Stay at the hotel or visit for a gin and tonic – the barman knows his stuff and served me the best one I’ve ever sipped.
–La Réserve: Owned by the same people behind Hotel Costes, this hotel is dark, romantic, and chic. I once saw Anna Wintour and former Lanvin creative director Albert Elbaz having dinner here last time I stayed, so it really is full of fashion insiders.
–AirBnb: For charming apartments with high ceilings and beautiful original period features. This is definitely the more affordable option, and you can pretend you’re a real Parisian with morning trips to the local boulangerie!
Where are your favorite hotspots in Paris? Tell me below!