Food, shopping and spas are on nearly every woman’s To-Do List when heading to Paris. Since I have adopted this wonderful city as my home-away-from home, many people ask me for recommendations for some of my favorite Paris places. The jewels in the City of Lights are too numerous to count, but these are my unbiased, no holds barred favorites.
Rue du Faubourg St. Honore, right off the uber touristy Champs Elysees has some of the world’s best shopping and none of the annoying tourist traps of its better known neighbor. Feel free to skip all the shopping on the Champs Elysees, except one, as no self respecting label lover can pass up an opportunity to visit the Louis Vuitton Flagship store (more on that later). After the heady shopping at the LV store, start your stroll at the corner of rue du Faubourg St. Honore and avenue Matignon with high tea (or a cocktail) at the lovely Le Bristol Hotel, which was most recently prominently featured in Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris”. From Le Bristol continue shopping on rue du Faubourg St. Honore, strolling south past the Presidential Palace, crossing the Place Vendome, to rue St. Honore, where more food and fabulous shopping awaits.
Louis Vuitton Flagship Store- Perhaps Paris’ most famous export next to champagne, this 31,000 square foot, 3 level shopper’s paradise carries the ready to wear collection, a full range of shoes for men women and children, every handbag, luggage and accessory any woman could ever want. Insider’s tip: call ahead for a reservation or you may be standing outside in a line for an interminable wait.
Location: 101, avenue Champs Elysee 75008
Zadig & Voltaire- Haute Boho Street Chic clothing, eyewear, fabulous accessories make the store a must when traveling to the City of Lights.
Location: 42, rue du Faubourg St. Honore, 75008
Christian Louboutin- Line often forms outside of this chic storefront Parisian boutique across from the Presidential Palace. The Paris boutiques often carry a different line than their U.S. counterparts.
Location: 68, rue du Faubourg St. Honore, 75008
Maje- Contemporary flowy dresses and tops, fancy trousers, killer coats and wonderful sales associates make this one of my favorite shopping destinations in Paris.
Location: 267, rue St Honore 75001
Collette- If there were ever a Paris iteration of a “Barney’s New York” boutique, Collette would be that place. Overpriced t-shirts, meets haute couture, but be prepared to spend a small fortune. You may also people watch and sip a cocktail or choose from a 100 different bottled waters at Collette’s water bar for an infinitely lower price.
Location: 213, rue St. Honore 75001
Maria Luisa- Fashion meets affordability (well, sort of) as no piece in her famous collection exceeds 500 Euro ($650 at press time). Her pieces pack well, and she carries other like minded designers at her boutique inside the world famous Printemps.
Location: 64, boulevard Haussmann / 2nd floor 75009
Best In Beauty
Spa Le Bristol by La Prairie- This spa is across the street from the flat I routinely rent, so I frequent this spa quite often. One of the newest spas to open in Paris, the signature La Prairie treatments are heaven on earth. Try the Rituel Rose de Mai for an invigorating all over body treat or one of their caviar facial treatments.
Location: 112, rue du Faubourg St. Honore 75008
L’institut Darphin- First opened in 1958 by Pierre Darphin, a kinesiologist and cosmetologist, this facial lovers dream spa focuses on diagnostic and therapeutic skincare. Even though their plant and natural skincare based products can be found worldwide, a facial here is truly a treat. Pick up the organic Aromatic Purifying Balm, a real treat for your senses.
Location: 350, rue St. Honore 75001
Carita Paris- Whether you’re seeking a great blowout, fabulous facial, massage, mani-pedi or any other treatment, just stepping into the beauty sanctuary is a treat for the senses. Natural lighting filters through the inner courtyard giving the client a sense of calm as you wait for your fabulous beauty treatment or private makeup instruction.
Location: 11, rue du Faubourg St. Honore 75008
Dine Like Parisian
L’Avenue- from the team that bought you Hotel Costes, comes a ladies who lunch crowd and wonderful people watching. After you’ve indulged in the fantastic Seabass in Tom Kha broth, slip across to the less crowded than the flagship Louis Vuitton store and ask for Sue.
Location: 41, avenue Montaigne 75008
Derrière- Truly a masterpiece to behold if you can get past the doorman or find the restaurant behind an unmarked door. Let the maitre d’ know you’d like to dine in the living room with the ping pong table or have your dinner on the edge of the mattress in the bedroom, while gazing into the mirrored mosaic ceiling.
Location: 69, rue des gravilliers, 75003
Blue Elephant- I know what you’re saying, “Who goes to Paris for Thai food?” Apparently everyone, judging from the perpetually packed tables and the need to make a reservation well in advance. I’m hard pressed to find better Thai food and ambiance anywhere outside of Thailand.
Location 43, rue Roquette 75011
Joe Allen- If you’re craving some true American food, head over to Joe Allen. Here, at the oldest American bistro in Paris, you can choose from down home favorites such as Buffalo chicken wings, traditional American burger or a delicious grilled salmon platter.
Locatoin: rue Pierre Lescot 75001
If you happen to be fortunate to be in Paris in the summer, here are a few gems that are unique to Paris.
Paris Plages- Every summer since 2002, Paris, which lies inland and has no beaches, has had sandy beaches and pools over the River Siene. Sunbathers abound and you can take in one of the many free concerts. Check online as locations and dates change each summer.
Le Rosa Bonheur- Inside Parcs des Buttes Charmont, lies this little slice of bonheur (“happiness” in French) at this outdoor unmarked French café. Just follow the people for a full bar, tapas and a good time in the park. The crowd is eclectic, so everyone feels right at home.
Paris is a treat anytime of year, but spring and summer are truly magical. Pack only the necessities and head across the pond for some magical shopping. Don’t forget to ask for a duty free receipt to get 13% of your VAT reimbursed to your credit card, making those Paris purchases that much better. Bonne Chance!