The one city I dreamed about unbridledly throughout 2020 and beyond was the city of light, otherwise known as, Paris. It should come as no surprise then that when it came to deciding on where to head for my first overseas trip in almost two years, my heart landed on Paris. This past September, a few days after my birthday, my sister and I began our voyage across the Atlantic Ocean to kickstart the most magical sibling trip together. Though I’ve spent many months in Paris throughout my life, this journey was a cut above the rest. Below is a compilation of everything we saw, did, and indulged in over the course of one week together. All I can say is: Paris, je t’aime!
What to Pack:
- The best advice I can give when it comes to packing for Paris is to think in layers, no matter the season, and always have an umbrella in hand. It could be perfectly sunny when you leave your accommodations and within minutes change to “merde, il pleut”. I would also be remiss not to mention a few pointers when it comes to style. French women, as we all know, have truly invented the art of not-caring-but-actually-caring style. It’s a calculated effortlessness. If you dress up too much or too little, you will surely stick out in the sea of Parisians. If you are wanting to journey about comfortably and casually, do so with great accessories; a pair of ballet flats, chic neck scarf, great handbag and sunglasses, and you’ll fit in just perfectly with that French “je ne sais quoi”.
Where to Stay:
- The Hoxton, Paris (2nd Arrondissement): For something a bit more upscale, the Hoxton is the perfect blend of Parisian flair meets warm hipster quirks the hotel chain is known for! The rooms are modern and spacious in this sprawling 18th century residence. It is surprisingly quiet too for the area it’s located in.
- French Theory (5th Arrondissement): For something boutique and affordable, French Theory is an excellent spot to drop your bags and go. They have a super cute cafe attached, a cleverly curated shop, a record listening room and recording studio. It’s a stone’s throw from the Jardin du Luxembourg and the Pantheon and a 6 min walk from Emily’s flat in the Place de l’Estrapade in “Emily in Paris”.
What to See:
- Jardin du Luxembourg – on the border of St. Germain and the Latin Quarter, one of the most stunning and beloved parks in all of Paris. Catch locals playing tennis, reading along the fountains, and strolling amongst the flowers.
- Le Marais – by far my favorite neighborhood in the city, it is brimming with hip boutiques, galleries, cafes, and locals.
- Place des Vosges – the oldest planned square in Paris, heart achingly beautiful, with great art galleries and shops.
- Centre Pompidou – I love the architectural design of this gallery and its contemporary art collection but the pièces de résistance is really the view from the top floor overlooking all of Paris. Not to be missed!
- Place Vendôme – north of the Tuileries Gardens and in the heart of the 1st arrondissement, boasts one of the city’s most grandiose, neoclassical squares. Typically you will see a bit of buzz throughout, especially outside the Ritz Paris.
- Louvre Museum – certain this needs no introduction as the most visited museum on earth and home to Mona Lisa.
- Tuileries Garden – yet another gorgeous public garden located between the Louvre and Place de la Concorde. Super fun to visit in the summer when LA FÊTE DES TUILERIES (an annual fun fair) is happening.
- Palais-Royal – a former royal palace, also located in the 1st arrondissement, houses a beautiful garden, contemporary art installation titled “The Columns of Buren”, and luxury boutiques like Pierre Hardy and Rick Owens.
- Arc de Triomphe – one of the most famous monuments in all of Paris, located at the western end of the Champs-Élysées. We were so lucky to see it during one of its final days wrapped as a work of art by Christo and Jeanne-Claude.
What to Eat:
- Cafe Laperouse Concorde – with interiors designed by the artistic director for Dior Maison, it’s a jaw-dropper!
- Carette Place des Vosges – situated under the beautiful arcades of the square, it is pure Parisian magic.
- Chinaski – located on a quiet little street in the 5th, a charming bistro with a seasonal menu, a chef’s table to watch all the food being prepared right before your eyes, and the loveliest team who make you feel like family!
- Les Papilles – every day the chef offers his “return from the market” set menu and you won’t be disappointed!
- Le Petit Marcel – the perfect quintessential Parisian sidewalk cafe located just outside the Centre Pompidou.
- L’Éclair de Génie – truly the most delectable, colorful, and playful spin on the classic eclair! Try 1 or 5.
- Ladurée – though it has had great success expanding internationally, I still love to visit the original store and taste their local flavours.
Where to Shop:
- Rue Saint-Honoré – high-end shopping street located in the 1st! Stop by Hotel Costes for a quick drink at their bar then head on over to Isabel Marant for a classic french girl uniform.
- Rue Montorgueil – lined with cafes, bakeries, cheese shops, flower and produce stands, this street embodies the absolute charm of French life. Stroll slowly and take it all in.
- La Samaritane – newly renovated, iconic Parisian Department Store, coined as the temple of Parisian lifestyle. When we were there, we got to witness a spectacle of live music from a marching band stacked on their grand staircase.
- Merci – cool concept store selling a range of home goods, stationery, fashion, and more!
- Nose – for all things fragrance, make sure to head to this store! They have a gorgeously curated collection of fragrances and their custom counter to design your own.
- Rouje by Jeanne Demas – if you want to dial in to the classic french girl wardrobe, look no further than Rouje! Their pieces are feminine and retro, just like the founder’s style.
Where to Play:
- Sinner Paris – head to the bar for a sexy and seductive after dinner drink! The red lit lounge and music transport.
- Boum Boum – a fun, young, and extravagant disco club in Paris. A touch over-the-top but good to try at least once.
- Silencio Club – David Lynch’s no photography allowed private club, for a night of soulful escapism.
What to See Outside the City:
- Palace of Versailles – About a 35 min drive from the heart of Paris, a must-see UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Nice, Antibes, Cannes, St. Tropez – a weekend escape to the Côte d’Azur is always a good idea!