It goes without saying that Paris is one of the dreamiest destinations anywhere. It even remains a place of magic and romance in the minds of those who haven’t been. That’s because there is literally inspiration everywhere you turn—from the cobblestone streets to sidewalk cafes and floating restaurants plucked from a movie scene, to the beautiful language and the river Seine flowing through the heart of the city. I grew up on these streets amid the magic and romance—going to prep school next door to Musée Rodin, studying art and history at the Sorbonne, and being constantly in awe of the masterful works around me by the likes of Da Vinci and Le Corbusier and Haussmann. These experiences have informed my design today, and I go back to the city and the south of France as often as I can to shop for my clients, glean more inspiration, and immerse myself in the Parisian fairy dust. While I plan to use this blog to share all the things that influence my interiors with you, I thought it most fitting to begin with my deep adoration for The City of Lights and Love. So this is my love letter to Paris—my go-to shops for fashion and design, the best attractions and hotels, and where to get your fill of international cuisine.
WHERE TO SHOP
I couldn’t give you my favorite spots for discovering home furnishings and accessories without first pointing out Maison & Objet. Not only are the newest collections on display at the fairgrounds, but the entire city turns into a hub for design, with exhibits at galleries throughout all of Paris and the latest fabrics at the coinciding show Paris Deco Off. Merci on Boulevard Beaumarchais has such good fashion and home decor for men and women. And there is this beautiful perfume store Serge Lutens nestled in the Palais Royal that I love. Not to mention I’m a sucker for good candles and Paris is the capital with brands like Dyptique and Cire Trudon. There is a super cool shop, L’Atelier de la Bougie on Rue des Trois Frères, that houses the most captivating fragrances. The Bon Marché is a department store that always has an amazing assortment, but the designer Sézane gets me in the Parisian spirit and so does Claudie Pierlot.
WHERE TO PLAY
Jardin du Luxembourg has a lot of cool old-fashioned activities for kids: the puppet show Guignol, pony rides through the park, beautiful carousels, and the Grand Bassin duck pond where they can push around vintage toy boats. Musée Jacquemart-André always has the prettiest exhibits, and I love Musée de l'Homme because, if I can be honest, it has a cafe with the best view to enjoy a glass of champagne. And the best way to see the Eiffel Tower is to have a picnic on the Champ de Mars at the base of the tower.
WHERE TO STAY
For the ultimate in Parisian luxury, you must stay at the Shangri-La. It’s a five-star luxury resort with the old-world elegance and character of a true Parisian residence, and views of the Seine and the Eiffel Tower to boot. Plus it has an amazing spa designed by Pierre-Yves Rochon called CHI with a stunning indoor pool. The hotel itself is famously known for once having been home to Napoleon Bonaparte’s grandnephew, Prince Roland Bonaparte, and the spa is housed in what used to be the stables. That’s music to my ears as you’ll find out in later blog entries. Even if you’re not a guest of the hotel, you can still book a spa treatment and take advantage of the gorgeous amenities.
WHERE TO EAT
But before I can do any of these things, I need sustenance! Who can shop on an empty stomach? When I first arrive in Paris, I can never decide where I want to eat. So I usually head to the Marche des Enfants Rouges—a 400-year-old market in the 3rd arrondissement with an eclectic mix of street food from all around the world: Moroccan, French, Chinese, etc. Chef Alain Roussel at Chez Alain Miam Miam makes the most delicious sandwiches and galettes (sort of a buckwheat crepe), and you can watch them being made right there on large griddles. And even if you’re feeling like having a burger, Le Burger Fermier makes one with farm fresh meats from Audincthun in northern France, so it’s still an authentic meal. Check it out the next time you’re in the City of Lights! Bon appétit!