Bonjour Paris !

During my recent  trip to Paris, I spent from early morning to well past midnight pretending I was moving there and needed to get up to speed pronto to become "quelqu'un qui connait" (someone who knows) all the things there are to do,  see, eat and shop for right NOW.

That way, upon my return with all of my bags and boxes, I could relax and get down to the business of living like a local without losing a baguette beat.  (These are the imaginary games that keep me going when treasure hunting in a new or once familiar haunt.)

So, chop chop,  here are my speed demon finds I discovered again or for the first time in the ever-stylish and mesmerizing City of Light after far too many years away. Turns out Paris still possesses its' addictive charm, so I hope my long list of current "Parisian Favorites" will inspire you to add to the list by going and wandering about yourself.

Quick bit of advice

 Hint: if you are feeling particularly voracious to see and do a lot, I suggest clumping together experiences that hit all the bases (gastronomic, cultural, retail therapy, taking in the sights) one arrondissement at a time. For example, one day's full itinerary might include an exploration of the 6th and 7th arrondissements of the Rive Gauche (Left Bank).

Maybe start with soft-boiled eggs and dipping toast at Cafe de Flore (pictured above right) followed by a visit to fashion designer Dries van Noten's chic shop on the Seine (pictured below left) and a bit of antiquing along Rue de Lille and surrounding blocks.

Maybe return to another long time favorite-Brasserie Lipp- for a chicken and fries lunch before popping into Deyrolle just for the fun of seeing their exotic collection of taxidermy. Perhaps a lazy stroll over to the Rodin Museum for an afternoon delight of sculpture, beautiful architecture, and a pick-me-up cafe in the garden might be just the ticket to recoup a little energy for the evening ahead? 

If you aren't too exhausted, wave to the Eiffel Tower before scuttling over to the Luxembourg Gardens for some fascinating, end-of-day people watching. Finally, cap off your pre-dinner adventuring with window shopping the boutiques of St.Germain-des-Près and an evening browse through Le Bon Marché (pictured below left), the most fabulous department store imaginable (closes at 9PM.) And, now, dinner! Score a reservation at the buzzy Left Bank hang out Le Petit Lutetia (pictured below right) for local celebrity spotting and more good bistro classics.

   . 


Take a Stab
Shocking news on the Paris Fashion Front: Colette Roussaux, the creative force behind the cult fashion and accessories hot spot Colette (pictured left), is retiring and closing up shop. Make haste to check it out.
 
If the lines are too long at The Louvre, peek into Musée des Arts Decoratifs instead for a wander through their
"ré-créations" of iconic rooms by legendary French designers, such as Jeanne Lavin's private salon c.1925 (pictured below left). Don't miss the museum's expertly curated shop, 107 Rivoli, for all things special and portable from stationary to glassware. Afterwards, if you can't score a reservation at the stylish Lou Lou's (pictured right) , grab a burger at Cafe Marly (pictured below right) and watch tourists take selfies of themselves holding up the glass pyramids.

Sniff about


For concentrated retail therapy, hit  the Galerie du Passage du Grand-Cerf (pictured above left), a covered alleyway chock-full of  charming boutiques. Visit Khara Tuki for her bohemian earings (picutred above right), As'art for African baskets,  and Rickshaw for Indian lanterns. Also, find time to visit three of Paris's most intriguing "concept" stores, which push the boundaries of the retail experience. L'éclaireur (pictured below left) is the most fascinating and cutting edge for fashionistas with flair. Empreintes (pictured below middle) respectfully showcases the work of local ceramists, jewelry, and furniture designers in a lofty, industrial townhouse. And, finally, Merci, (pictured below right), housed-in a rambling warehouse located in the Marais, is a go-to hipster spot for anything you might want to eat, wear or buy for your friends or for your home, including a big collection of colored masking tapes! Super fun even if just for coffee.
 
Part of the thrill of walking Paris is discovering hidden gems by chance, like La Galcante (pictured above left)-a courtyard space piled high with old French and international print media- or La Maison Du Pastel (pictured above right), an extraordinary atelier run by the passionate Isabelle Roche and dedicated to re-producing pastels by hand in the most magnificent range of colors imaginable. Not far from both, you can order an afternoon falafel to-go from L'As du Fallafel (pictured above) , which everybody seems to have known about but me!

If the newly renovated Picasso Museum attracts your attention, slip into La Compagnie du Sénégal et de l'Afrique de L'Ouest - CSAO (pictured below middle) while in the neighborhood  and pick up a colorful satchel or a box of take-home matches for hostess gifts, all manufactured by artists from Senegal. While in the Marais, keep your eyes peeled for the shopkeepers and style-obsessed Parisians sporting draw-dropping variations of their eponymous black garb. I particularly loved the chunky crystal necklaces from Parts of Four Gallery.
 

Breathe 

Take in the changing light as it plays on the Seine. By boat or foot or through the lens of your camera. And keep doing it at every opportunity! Then indulge yourself with a scoop of roasted pineapple and basil gelato from Berthillion on the Ile S.t Louis -just across a footbridge from Notre Dame. 

Breathless 

 
So much to take in when on the Left bank! Besides just hanging out at historic cafes such as Les Deux Magots, La Brasserie Lipp, and Le Cafe de Flore or tooling around Luxembourg Gardens, mix it up. Walk by Café Procope, the oldest restaurant in Paris to catch a glimpse of their red cafe chairs. Delight in the vivid hues of candles from Cire Trudon (also in business since the 1600s!) Order a set of swirly, ceramic plates from Michele Aragon (pictured above right).
 
Download Carré Rive Gauche for an all-inclusive list and map of antique shops in the 7th arrondissement and treasure hunt to your heart's content. I fell in love with a lilac Vladimir Kagan sofa and Peter Lane lamps from The Chahan Galerie (pictured below right.) You are simply going to want to move here as there is never enough time!
 

 Je t'adore Paris !
 
 
Finally, though there is no shortage of watering holes, treat yourself to cocktails at Hotel Costes. The crowd is to-die-for eye candy-the chicest!  And-for wonderfully proper drinks in a thoroughly aristocratic setting, try to be a guest of a guest at Hotel Le Meurice's bar. Otherwise, be prepared to pay handsomely for the privilege (if you make the grade, that is.)


 
 
Relax. There is a lot to take in but you are in PARIS!  And, finally if nothing else, allow yourself to fall in love.
 
For convenience, download here the "Katie's Cheat Sheet Paris 2017" which catalogues my tried-and-true favorite, go-to spots by arrondissement, with top choices highlighted in green.
 
Now, sally forth and À la prochaine !
 
xoxo Katie