Lucy and Mary at the Louis Vuitton party
We arrived exhausted and it was raining, but nothing could dampen the effect of gay Paris. Unlike previous visits when we were slaves to the Michelin Guide, we simply walked the city. We focused mostly on the Marais and St. Germain des Pres discovering lesser known and more peaceful churches (St. Julien, St. Paul and St. Eustache) and fortifying ourselves with chocolate crepes, kir royales and café crèmes. Our trip ended on a high note at the launch party for the Louis Vuitton City Guides. We celebrated our contribution to the City Guide for Los Angeles at the cozy and original home of Louis Vuitton. The party was elegant and tasteful with champagne flowing and the opportunity to explore the small museum on the second floor with a collection of iconoclastic LV pieces including steamer trunks, car camping sets, and a custom yellow patent leather suitcase that straps onto the back of a motorcycle.
WHAT TO PACK
Yes, Paris can seem intimidating as it is the birthplace of fashion. Stick to jeans and boots or comfortable flats (lots and lots of walking) for day with layers on top—it can be very chilly, but you’ll warm up walking around. For evening, dresses or skirts with dressy boots or tailored pants with pretty tops work.
Le Grand Colbert
4, rue Vivienne
Tel: +33 (0)1 42 86 87 88
Set in a historic monument in the 2nd arrondissement, Le Grand Colbert is a better version of the traditional bustling French brasserie. With huge potted palms, brass railings, leather banquettes and mosaic floors, the crowd was 100% French (except for us!) and animated. The steak frites were excellent and the profiteroles mind blowing—soft croissant-like pastry with delicious vanilla ice cream and warm chocolate sauce.
Le Marche Restaurant
2, Place du Marche Ste Catherine
Tel: +33 (0)1 42 77 34 88
We stumbled upon this cozy restaurant nestled in a quaint courtyard on a rainy day. It was a welcome refuge from the wet and busy thoroughfares and white truffle raviolis in cream sauce were shockingly delicious.
Café de Flore
172, Boulevard Saint G-Germain
Tel: +33 (0)1 45 48 55 26
This famous café is the one to go to (Les Deux Magots next door is chock full of American tourists). Traditional favorites are served at picture perfect café tables and our waiter was surprise, surprise, sweet and encouraging of our school level French. Allegedly their hot chocolate is worthy of its world famous reputation. We can attest to the fact the cheese plate is scrumptious.
4, Place Saint-Germain
Tel: +33 01 53 63 60 60
Fax: +33 01 53 63 60 61
After several flutes of champagne at the Louis Vuitton party, we were in a high and this was just the place to match our mood. The word from several chic Parisians we met, including our Louis Vuitton editor Julien Guerrier, Societe is the of the moment place to see and be seen. We agree.
St. Germain des Pres (6th arrondissement)
Hotel le Placide de St. Germain
6, rue Saint-Placide
Tel: +33 (0)1 42 84 34 60
Fax: +33 (0)1 47 20 79 78
After searching for a chic boutique hotel that was in any way affordable in trendy St. Germain or the Marais, we stumbled upon glowing reviews and gorgeous photos of a newly opened 11 room hotel just catty corner to the upscale department store, Bon Marche. We appreciated that in these economic times, the hotel was willing to offer us a great rate (which many other hotels would not even days before our arrival) on a junior suite. The junior suites are half of a floor (two per floor), and are really one long room but are so stylish and thoughtful in design with desks, sitting areas and a huge (especially for Parisian standards) white marble bathroom. The Cole and Son wallpaper of trees is modern and warm all at once, the bed linens are high quality and luxurious, the white leather built in bench is chic, chic, chic, and the Murano vases filled with fresh flowers and Missoni pillows are refined touches. The staff is exceedingly charming and friendly as well. This truly is a little oasis in the bustling city.
Other Hotel options that caught our eye and we want to try…
When we were walking past the Luxembourg Gardens in St. Germain, we happened to pass this sweet looking hotel in a great location. It looks lovely based on internet research and the prices are pretty hard to beat…
Another charming looking small hotel we passed by in our walks. Looks like another affordable and appealing option in St. Germain.
Elegant with refined, traditional French Country décor with exposed wooden beams in some guest rooms, looks like a lovely choice that won’t break the bank. As it is a bit bigger, the hotel offers a small gym as well.
Hotel Caron is located just off a charming little square in the Marais where we had an amazing lunch (see Le Marche below). We had read about the hotel which opened several months ago and had a look at a few rooms after lunch. They are tiny, as most rooms in Paris are, and modern in design and décor. The location is pretty perfect and the prices far more reasonable than most in town. Let us know if you have stay there and what you think!
We wanted to stay at this four room, elegant looking hotel in the Marais but were not interested in splurging. If you are, it looks amazing.
Place des Vosges
We love Paris for the gorgeous gardens and parks that spring up around every corner. Palce de Vosges is an elegant and welcome refuge in the bustling Marais.
6, place du Parvis
Ile de la Cite
Is famous for good reason. While we had so much fun exploring lesser known churches and chapels, Notre Dame is awe inspiring and words can’t describe. If you do one touristy thing in Paris, go visit Notre Dame!
We were so disappointed with ourselves that we were too exhausted and pressed for time to shop in Paris! These are a few of the shops we browsed and wish had had more time to return to….
111, Blvd. Beaumarchais (3rd)
+33 01 42 77 78 92
Housed in a former factory, such stellar designers as Stella McCartney and YSL design lines for Merci at price points 30% lower than those desingners usually sell for. They also have an extensive selection of vintage, books, home furnishings and a small bar. And all the profits go to children’s charity in Madagascar. Cheers!
ba & sh
We loved the wearable staples with a fashionable twist! And a reasonable prices. We would be happy be outfitted head to toe in ba & sh. They have several boutiques around Paris, so check the website for your best location.
Jonak appears to be the much more fashion forward, upscale cousin of America’s Nine West. We worshipped boots we saw through the window while walking home at night and are on a mad hunt to find them online and have them sent to us!