Fashion month is finally over and it’s back to hair up, sweatpants on and as the song goes, chillin’ with no make-up on!
Whilst I’m relieved to be home and finally catching up on some sleep, part of me does wish I were back in Paris, enjoying the sights – and let’s face it, the food – of the City of Light. Taking a moment to reflect on the places I enjoyed most this past week, I decided to add to my Fabulous City Series, with A Guide to Paris’ Most Fashionable Hotspots.
Now, before I begin, I should mention that when entering some of these venues, you might need to master a certain je ne sais quoi. Whilst this may not seem helpful, the phrase itself is a useful one to remember, that and my personal favourite, je ne sais pas.
Side note: A little challenge my brother and I like to play is to count how many poorly accented French words the other can utter before the waiter presents us both with a English language menu. Voilà!
The best hotels in Paris can be notoriously expensive, so I advise booking well in advance, or better yet taking a look on AirBnB for a truly authentic pied à terre. However, this is the most fashionable hotspot guide after all, so my top three hotels for top level service (and A-List sightings) are:
Park Hyatt – This fashion week I stayed here! I loved the central location and the modern, understated elegance of the place! Plus, the beds are so comfortable, you’ll never want to leave! If you want a really special stay, ask for one of the rooms overlooking the Place Vendôme! This place is a hit with the fashion pack, including editors, designers and supermodels (5 Rue de la Paix)
Hôtel Amour – Close to Pigalle, this hotel has a cool, playful and slightly risqué feel. Described as the Chateau Marmot of Paris, expect a scene-y bar and outdoor terrace. The space was designed by the force behind Le Baron, so rest assured this place knows how to throw a party! (8 Rue de Navarin)
Mama Shelter – This place is a little far out, but wins extra points for its reasonable prices! I’ve never stayed in the rooms which apparently are super cool but slightly on the compact side! But hey, who wants to spend much time in their room anyways? The ground floor is where all the action is! With free wi-fi, free movies and a buzzing bar full of 20-somethings- what more could you want?! Take note of its quirky design features, such as the chalkboard ceiling and mini mouse night lights! (109 Rue de Bagnolet)
Season – You didn’t expect me to come to Paris and start eating croissants and milky cappuccinos, did you? When you’re faced with an afternoon of fittings with sample size dresses and worried glances, you’re going to
want need a breakfast that’s light, but nutritious. Season has matcha lattes, acai bowls and the best avocado-on-toast in town! (1 Rue Dupuis)
Brunch is not typically a French mealtime, but it’s been catching on in recent years – and heck, this is my guide to Paris, so Im’a make sure I’ve got you covered for elevensies.
Café Pinson – Find your local Parisian hipsters here, as well as organic, veggie dishes that are wheat-free, yet thankfully, not flavour-free! (6 Rue du Forez, 75003 Paris, France)
Carette is a great choice not only because the food is delicious, but it’s also close to one of the best viewing spots of the Eiffel Tower. I must confess that when I came here last, I had the extreme discomfort of finding out after having spent ten or so minutes snapping pictures of the table, that all the while I’d been watched by none other French screen royalty, Catherine Deneuve, who’d been sitting on my left! (4 Place du Trocadéro et du 11 Novembre, 75016 Paris, France)
Ladurée – I’m a big fan of the pretty pastel cups and saucers, not to mention the macaroons, which come in every hue. To make the most of the street views, I recommend finding a table by the window. A box of macaroons from Ladurée also make a perfect gift, so I often pick up a box for friends and family! (75, avenue des Champs Elysées, 75008 Paris, France)
L’Avenue: This is a really popular restaurant, made even more popular by the likes of Kim K and the rest of the celebrities that hang out here. Aside from the scene, the food is delicious and my personal favourite is the lobster salad – though it sounds a lot more elegant in French. Take a table outside and wear your sunglasses – they’re there to hide your surprise, when you see the prices (41 Avenue Montaigne)
Café de Flore: This classic Parisian cafe on Boulevard Saint-Germain is one of the oldest and most prestigious coffee houses in town. Known for its acclaimed clientele over the years, it was the favoured haunt of feminist philosopher and author Simone De Beauvoir, as well as Sartre and Picasso. (172 Boulevard Saint-Germain).
Caviar Kaspia– This iconic spot is known for two things – its maze-like interior and the humble jacket potato, albeit topped with spoonfuls of caviar – yes, you’ve probably seen it on Instagram. But if you’re like me and try to avoid starchy carbs in the evening, then they also have a number of tasty seafood options on the menu! Wash it down with the house vodka, which you’ll find is helpfully served as soon as you’re seated – 40% proof, but 100% fun! (What? I said I was health conscious, not a total snooze!) Everyone from Roksanda Ilincic to Mario Testino have hosted parties here, so you’re sure to have a good time, and plus its maze of rooms makes for intimate dining situations (17 Place de la Madeleine)
Les Bains Douches: in the ’80s and ’90s, this place was the Studio 54 of Paris, it’s since had a renaissance and is now a smart hotel with a bohemian feel. Last season Vivienne Westwood held a small dinner here and anOther magazine hosted a party in the nightclub downstairs! The scene is low key but cool – I’ve had a lot of fun here! (7 Rue du Bourg l’Abbé)
Vivant Cave: this hip little mural-tiled restaurant on a windy street in the 10th is one of my favourites! Reasonably-priced and…. (Unfasten your belts!) offers a 7-8 course carte blanche, who could say no? There is a truly authentic French feel with a focus on the food, the restaurant uses all natural ingredients and the result is delicious! (43 Rue des Petites Écuries)
Hôtel Costes is less a hotel, not quite a restaurant and certainly not just a bar. The truth be told, it’s all of those things, but even more so, it’s an institution. The now iconic interior, dripping in red velvet has become the backdrop of choice for nearly every industry mover and shaker dining in town. The lucky few will score a table in the outdoor terrace, overlooked by even more tables of men and women vying for attention. Yes, it sounds awful, I know, but somehow when you’re here it seems the only place to be! Unless you plan on turning up with Kendall, I recommend you book well in advance (239-241 Rue Saint Honoré)
NÜBA: Newly opened by the founders of Le Baron, this place has packed in the crowd since opening! This converted warehouse that sprawls across the top of the dock en Seine is the perfect place to spend a night dancing outside to some of the best tunes from sunset to sunrise! (36 Quai d’Austerlitz)
Silencio: If you’ve ever wondered what it might be like to feature in one of David Lynch’s surrealist films, then it might be time to check out his subterranean Paris nightclub, Silencio – complete with a labyrinthine interior, futuristic theatre and 60’s style bar. Until midnight the venue hosts indie film screenings, thereafter it becomes a dance club, playing host to some of Europe’s best DJ’s. Last season Stella McCartney threw a party at the venue with an awesome set by Clean Bandit (142 Rue Montmartre)
Raspoutine is one of the more traditional clubs, where you’ll find yourself dancing with the likes of Riri or Zendaya (58 Rue de Bassano)
Chez Castel is a private members club, but if you know someone, or at least someone who knows someone, then you should be OK. You might recognise it from the carpet, which is posted all over Instagram, patterned with male and female genitalia – chic! (15 Rue Princesse)
L’ARC is part night club, part lounge. With a view from the lounge that looks on to the Arc De Triomphe, it has to be one of my favourite spots in town! (12 Rue de Presbourg)
Now, what guide would be complete without sharing a few of my favourite travel essentials?!
Now it’s your turn! Tell me, where do you love to hang out when you’re in Paris? Or, if you haven’t been yet, where do you want to go? Share your tips in the comments below!