The ELLE Editors’ Guide to Paris
Fashion week is of course, centred around the clothes. But once the runways clear, our editors head here to eat, drink, shop and unwind.
HÔTEL RITZ PARIS The Ritz Paris is intrinsically tied to fashion. Coco Chanel lived at the hotel for more than 30 years, and the fashion house held its 2017 Métiers d’Arts show there. Grab lunch at the brasserie Bar Vendôme. (Try the nut-free, gluten-free, vegan Farmacy salad if you’re feeling pious.) You won’t be able to turn around without bumping into the likes of Naomi Campbell, Anna Wintour and Emily Ratajkowski—book a table near the entrance so you can catch all the celebs coming in before they’re whisked away to the adjoining Le Grand Jardin.
L’AVENUE Classic French resto L’Avenue is a staple during every FW. Full of socialites dripping in designer clothing as well as those who work behind the scenes, it’s a common spot for lunch after the nearby Chanel shows. Take a seat at the upstairs bar, where the smooth-talking bartenders will often give you a shot or two of champagne while you wait for your table.
Photo by L’Avenue Restaurant Paris
CAVIAR KASPIA This hot spot is so packed with faces that look familiar— Actor? Model? Probably both—that it’s next to impossible to get a table. But you have to try, even if just for a bite of the delicious caviar with vodka or the famous baked potato. Pro tip: Don’t make the rookie mistake of arriving before 10 p.m.
LE 39V Sometimes the evening requires a more clandestine night of conversation with several generously poured glasses of wine. Set high over the rooftops of Paris, the impossibly chic Le 39V has an entrance hidden away from the street. Its trademark is decadent French food at equally decadent prices. The black-truffle oven-grilled macaroni is a must, as is taking the advice of the expert sommelier, whose recommended pairings take an already-lavish dinner to the next level.
Photo by LE 39V
L’AS DU FALLAFEL Carve out time to visit this tiny mom-and-pop spot in the trendy Marais district. The crispy chickpea balls are so good, all other falafel will be ruined for you forever.
KUNITORAYA It isn’t a trip to Paris without a stop at the Louvre, either for a runway show or just to get another look at the Mona Lisa. And it isn’t a trip to the Louvre without heading to Kunitoraya for some comforting udon. (The noodles are handmade, of course.) Get the steaming-hot bowl served with shrimp tempura. You’ll thank us later.
ROSE BAKERY Going to an English café while in Paris may seem counter- intuitive, but grabbing a bite at this minimalist-chic canteen is a must. The fashion-crowd hot spot has something for whatever mood you’re in: DIY salad plates that are healthy and satisfying, as well as plenty of indulgent treats to choose from (buttery scones, sticky toffee pudding).
Photo by Rose Bakery
LITTLE RED DOOR Its red door may make it stand out, but this Marais speak- easy still manages to be full of mystery. The inventive cocktail menu is beautifully illustrated (with hidden cards revealing the ingredients of each drink) and is updated twice a year, usually around a theme (most recently “the Menu of Universal Values”).
Photo by Little Red Door Paris
CLOWN BAR Entering Clown Bar almost feels like you’re travelling back in time to the belle époque. (The historic building in which it’s housed dates back to the early 1900s and is adorned with clown murals from the 1920s.) You can’t go wrong with any pour from its selec- tion of natural wines. If you’re feeling brave, try the veal brain—the signature dish. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.
SEPTIME LA CAVE You’ll need at least a month to secure a reso at the fine-dining Septime. Instead, head over to its spinoff wine bar, La Cave. It’s much cozier and more casual: It has only a handful of bar stools, empty crates often sub for tables and chairs and there’s no official wine list. Bottles (many natural) are displayed along the walls, and a chalkboard highlights the ever-changing by-the-glass options.
Photo by Septime La Cave Paris
This beloved upscale French beauty brand namesake spa, MAISON SISLEY, is a true oasis in the city and a haven for editors in need of rejuvenation. A delightful space with eclectic, colourful decor such as Marc Chagall sketches and zebra-print tabletops, it feels like an elegant home away from home. The spa offers everything from skin analysis to anti-fatigue body treatments and, one of our editor-in- chief’s favourites, the iconic Black Rose Essential facial.
Photo by Merci Paris
MERCI Concept boutique Merci is a Parisian institution at this point. The three-storey space (a redone 19th-century fabric factory) has a well-curated selection of clothing (including some designer items), home goods and accessories. There are three on-site cafés, including the quick-bite-appropriate Le Ciné Café, where classic films are projected onto one of its walls. Don’t feel bad about leaving with more than what was on your shopping list: A portion of Merci’s revenues goes to charities in Madagascar.
NOUS, located in the 1st Arrondissement, fills the Colette-size holes in our hearts. (Really, the brains behind the new boutique are former employees of the dearly missed con- cept store.) It’s focused on luxe lifestyle items, offering streetwear, watches, sneakers and high-tech accessories. If shopping makes you hungry, head over to The Broken Arm, located in the 3rd Arrondissement, and grab a homemade sweet to nibble on as you browse. The trendy boutique-café hybrid serves breakfast, lunch and coffee and stocks high-end labels (think Prada and Comme des Garçons) and the coolest in books, mags and music.
If you’ve already crossed the major tourist destinations off your bucket list or just want to avoid selfie-stick-wielding crowds, step into L’ATELIER DES LUMIÈRES, Paris’ first digital museum of fine art. Every surface is a canvas for the site’s new Vincent van Gogh exhibition, with paintings projected onto 10-metre-high walls for a 3-D experience.
Make like a local and hit up STUDIO KINÉTIQUE, a favourite of Opéra National de Paris ballet dancers, in the 2nd Arrondissement. You’ll feel stronger (and very tired) after just one session of mixed Pilates, core-building Gyrotonics and the yoga-like Garuda techniques.
Photo by Studio Kinetique
This article originally appeared in the May 2019 issue of ELLE Canada.