It may be best known for its status as the most romantic city in the world, but Paris is an equally formidable contender for the international fashion capital.
So where are the best places to hit if you’re on the hunt, not for love, but for lust-worthy design of all sorts in this wonderful city? Here’s a guide to Paris’ most heralded hangouts – places that will undoubtedly fulfil your desire for style inspiration of every genre.
If you’re after high-end, sumptuous surroundings then Avenue Montaigne it must be. This tree-lined boulevard has designer stores to die for and its breathtaking view of la Tour Eiffel as you approach the top is hard to beat. You’ll find everything from Chanel to Armani Privé – yes, all of the style stalwarts reside here. Don’t miss a stop-off at Dior, the same store that featured in the penultimate episode of Sex and the City ( “I fell in Dior”) Treat yourself to a new lipgloss and you’ll experience customer service the likes of which you’ve never seen. L’Avenue, also located here, is a restaurant with semi-iconic status due mostly to its celeb clientele; the couture crew during Paris Fashion Week and the Kardashian clan almost all year round, it seems. But perhaps most notably, Avenue Montaigne is home to the city’s hottest hotel ticket in town. The Plaza Athenée is a veritable lesson in luxe, boasting architectural splendour, decadent fabrics and finishes, rich metallics, marble and chandeliers galore. Another backdrop to the final episodes of SATC, take a walk through the hotel’s lobby and bar area and a peek into the Alain Ducasse restaurant to witness unrivalled grandeur – you’ll understand why ‘the Russian’ brought Carrie here instead of the Ritz.
A must-see shopping pitstop has got to be Louboutin on the Rue de Grenelle. This whole area of the city has the air of a bygone Parisian era, filled to the brim with tiny boutiques, where a wannabe Parisienne like moi could happily wander for hours. When it comes to the store itself, quaint and quirky charm abounds. As a self-confessed shoe addict who has shoe science down to a tee, I can only say that there are few shoes in the world more flattering on a foot than the iconic Pigalle stiletto (trust me – I’ve tried so many.) Go there, even just to experience your very own Cinderella moment, and try some on. If you walk out the door a proud owner of a brand new pair, well, beans on toast ain’t so bad…
If after all that hard graft you’re feeling peckish, there are some excellent eateries not far away. In the pursuit of interior design inspiration and delicious dining combined, The Cod House, set amidst the winding streets of the 6th arrondissement caters for both. Japanese light bites washed down with a hot saké, in an über instagrammable environment is the order of the day here. Try the highly touted crunchy chicken – amaze. And what makes this place so achingly extra is its ultra cool interior, a sleek mix of raw, exposed edginess and clean-lined functionality. Oh, and its feature neon sign is a photo-opp waiting to happen – don’t leave without a pic.
Once a city brimming with traditional French wine bars, a definite surge of trendy cocktail bars has been visible in Paris over the last few years. At Candelaria, a sultry cocktail lounge tucked away in the Haut Marais district, the art of libation creation is serious business. Pick your poison, then sit back and enjoy the view as some of Paris’ prime mixologists get to work on your chosen tipple. This place, with its eclectic decor, chilled vibes and speakeasy ambiance is particularly popular with Parisian hipsters. And with its adjoining, authentic Mexican taquería, there’s somewhere handy to grab a taco for the journey home.
Ready to hit the hay after all that style stimulation? Hotel Saint Marc is hard to top in the decor stakes. Think bold, geometric prints against sumptuous velvets with a rich, 70’s inspired colour palette, and surfaces and fabrics that beckon for you to lounge and laze in your opulent surroundings. And at just a hop, skip and a jump away from the heart of the city, it’s perfectly located too. With a progressive ‘honesty bar’ situated behind the reception, the hotel’s compact but comprehensive spa and wellness area is the icing on this already pretty perfect cake. All of this and comfy beds to boot, has Saint Marc scoring all over the board. A full eight hours sleep for one, s’il vous plaît? Coming right up, Mademoiselle.