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Like a first–name–only celebrity, Paris needs no introduction. Its beauty, from the Haussmann–style architecture to the photogenic patisseries and effortlessly chic fashion, is legendary. If the Louvre is on your been–there–done–that list, add Fondation Louis Vuitton and the upcoming Bourse de Commerce (set to show off François Pinault’s personal trove of art) to the itinerary.
WHERE TO STAY
- The exterior of the Cheval Blanc hotel in Paris.Cheval Blanc ParisFor the Parisian luxury
- A room at the Shangri-la, Paris hotel.Shangri-La Hotel, ParisFor the best Eiffel Tower views
- A room at the Hotel Particulier Montmartre in Paris.Hôtel Particulier MontmartreFor the art-house opulence
- A bed at the Hôtel Grand Amour in Paris.Hôtel Grand AmourFor the flirty furnishings
- A room at the Maison Albar Hotels Le Pont-Neuf in Paris.Maison Albar Hotels Le Pont-NeufFor the chic suites
- A room at the Hotel Gabriel in Paris.Hotel GabrielFor the 1920s-inspired décor
- The exterior of le Pavillion des Lettres hotel in Paris.Le Pavillon des LettresFor the literary clout
- The lobby of the Renaissance Paris République hotel.Renaissance Paris RepubliqueFor the pop-out window nooks
EAT & DRINK
Jambon and baguette at La Fontaine de Belleville Belleville Brûlerie’s first café–bar has become an instant classic in the trendy 10e arrondissement. Sip an espresso made with beans from their nearby roastery and nibble a jambon et beurre baguette while lounging on a signature Gatti rattan chair. Swing by at night for craft beer on tap and the occasional jazz soiree.
Crème brûlée at Allard A Saint–Germain–des–Prés institution since 1932, this familial French bistro – now under the direction of Alain Ducasse – is where locals go for traditional French fare. Order from Allard’s seven classic dishes of the day and save room for the crème brûlée.
Madagascar vanilla millefeuille at Pâtisserie Yann Couvreur What Yann Couvreur’s much coveted mille feuille lacks in layers (he opts for cinq feuilles), it makes up for in creamy decadence with its signature Madagascar vanilla filling. Plan to visit early – only 50 are made each day and they disappear quickly.
Shakshuka–style eggs at Café Oberkampf Come for the coffee, stay for the all–day brunch. Cozy and always crowded, this canteen has put its name on the map with picture–perfect menu items, such as halloumi tartine with homemade hummus, cherry tomatoes and chervil.
Croissants at Pain Pain As one of only a couple dozen bakers in the exclusive Grand Prix de la Baguette de la Ville de Paris winner’s circle, Sébastien Mauvieux knows a thing or two about bread. His Montmarte bakery is the quintessential stop for your morning croissant fix. For a sweet treat, indulge yourself with a pistachio–chocolate roll or a chouquette (or two, or three) to go.
Oysters at Clamato This seafood joint takes its name from Mott’s clam–infused tomato juice, the ingredient that separates a Caesar (hard to come by in Paris) from a Bloody Mary. Of course, there’s also an au courant list of champagnes to pair with oysters on ice. The menu changes weekly, but the wild mussels that come served with a slice of Ten Belles bread at the bottom, is a past favourite.
Wine and small plates at Buvette Gastrothèque The French outpost of Jody Williams’ Manhattan restaurant, which, ironically, models itself on a Parisian wine bar, this Pigalle bistro draws from its land of inspiration to marvelous effect. A wide selection of wines pairs nicely with a menu of small plates, like crushed walnut and Parmesan pesto tartine or coq au vin.
Classic French dishes at Mamie par Jean Imbert When Beyoncé and Jay–Z, Pharrell Williams and Justin Timberlake alight in Paris, they seek out chef Jean Imbert. At Mamie, Imbert returns to his roots and revisits traditional, family–style dishes inspired by his grandmother’s cuisine (mamie is French for “grandma”) with dishes like sea bream gratin with mushrooms and chocolate mousse for two.
Splurge–worthy pastries at La Pâtisserie du Meurice par Cédric Grolet From a high–gloss Royal Gala apple to dimpled lemons and limes, Cédric Grolet’s sculpted fruit desserts helped earn him the title of World’s Best Pastry from World’s 50 Best in 2018. Grab a pastry at the take–away boutique inside the Le Meurice hotel, but be prepared to wait.
WHAT TO DO
Digitally explored art at L’Atelier des Lumières Works from masters like Monet, Renoir and Chagall get a 21st–century makeover thanks to 140 projectors and a spatialized sound system at this digital art museum located in a former iron foundry. Paintings of water lilies and ballerinas are projected onto the floors and walls in the centre’s immersive exhibitions, all set to original soundtracks.
French techniques at La Cuisine Paris Cooking Class Celebrate the art of French cuisine with food tours and classes led by experts. Options range from French Baguettes workshops to Intensive Technical Macaroon classes with sessions usually lasting around three hours. The French Market Tour and Cooking Class includes a tour of Marché Maubert followed by a lesson in the kitchen. Space is limited, so book in advance.
Fresh–find labels at the Broken Arm Nordic minimalism informs both the airy setup and light lunch menu of this two–level concept shop in Le Marais. Browse an assortment of labels, like Comme des Garçons and Lemaire, and discover up–and–coming designers while relishing a cup of specialty coffee.
Frank Gehry architecture at Fondation Louis Vuitton A glistening diamond in the woods of Bois de Boulogne, Frank Gehry’s silver–sailed glass structure houses LVMH’s collections of contemporary art and rotating exhibitions. Highlights include contemplative works like Olafur Eliasson’s Inside the Horizon, a kaleidoscopic walkway in the Grotto that encircles the pool, as well as the recent multi–medium pop art by John Cage and French artist Philippe Parreno.
Artisanal expertise at La Grande Épicerie de Paris Foodies of all flavours flock to Le Bon Marché Rive Gauche’s abundant pantry, which stocks more than 30,000 gourmet products. A bakery, patisserie and cheese shop and a wine cellar offer spoils for sampling. Consult with one of the many wandering experts on what to take home, from the best regional olive oil or provincially harvested jams.
Signature scents at Nose It’s okay to be nosy at this Montorgueil–area concept shop, where fragrance sniffing and mingling are encouraged. Find your signature scent by completing a one–minute diagnostic that determines your olfactory profile and recommends five perfumes for blind testing.
Street food at Marché des Enfants Rouges Still beloved by locals, Paris’ oldest covered market lies behind an inconspicuous iron gate in Le Marais. Sashay among the 20–some food stalls that cater to a wide range of international tastes, from couscous to burgers.
Shopping with a view at Galeries Lafayette Paris Haussmann With its soaring neo–Byzantine dome and ornate balconies, Galeries Lafayette Paris Haussmann is part shopping destination, part architectural landmark. More than 3,500 ready–to–wear and haute couture brands (think Armani, Chanel and Burberry) span more than 750,000 square feet of retail space in an art nouveau setting. Head to the rooftop for views of the Palais Garnier, the Eiffel Tower and the Sacré–Coeur Basilica.