Despite all that's been going on, this past year I've been blessed to take several trips to Paris, one of my favourite cities in the world. My Love has been working there quite a bit and so I've simply never been able to resist fluttering my wings and following my heart.
Paris, as one might put it, is a constant master of any romantic heart, tempting and enticing with every meeting. This incredible city and it's unforgettable nature, which both pulls you in and tears you apart from arrival to departure thankfully never refuses to let me go forever; bringing me back for more exploration and enrichment each time I'm blessed to go back. With every visit I love to call on my classic favourite spots to bring about great happiness while adding new favourites to my list of love.
Paris is so vast in it's beauty, merging ridiculous splendour with everyday life. I remember my first visit with my Mum when I was 20 and I was completely taken by the intense charm and voluptuous grandeur that no other city can get away with so causally. Whole avenues dedicated to historical glory and acres upon acres of ancient greatness in architecture, art and culture. From one neighbourhood to the next there is something overwhelming to take in at every corner and whether you're there for a weekend of love or a summer of study, it's akin to that person in your life you can't help but drop everything for, overtaken by sheer immediacy - forgetting anything but what is in that very moment.
Eat & Drink
Admittedly, my Love and I would eat sushi till it came out our ears and no matter the destination or how exotic the local delicacies may be, our first Google search is usually for a sushi restaurant. However, good sushi is a must and with sushi on pretty much every corner of the city centre finding good sushi is the next part. So let me introduce you to Blueberry Sushi, one of the coolest and most deliciously delightful dinners we've had in a while. Known for their creative take and amazing cocktails, this Maki Bar is must whether it's a cosy date-night or a fun night out with your girls.
~ 6 Rue du Sabot ~
I do love a chic, fancy-pants lunch sometimes and when in Paris I adore Fouquet's for exactly this. It's a historically traditional French hotspot and serves gourmet style brasserie Parisian dishes. Celebrations such as President Sarkozy's electoral dinner and all the winners of the Cannes Film Festival have been and continue to be held here and on any given day you'll be dining with Paris's most elite and chic - royalty who lunch! It's a fun spot to chill and people watch, absorbing all those Parisian vibes.
~ 99 Avenue Champs-Élysées ~
HOTEL COSTES ..
Chic sophistication at it's most fashionably fabulous, what happens at Hotel Costes stays at.. Ok so Hotel Costes simply never disappoints. It's as mysterious inside as it is from outside but upon entering you step into a world of darkness and secrets, topped with an air of sexy elusiveness and allure; all leaving you wanting to stay up all night drinking cocktails and being part of the serious after-parties that are sure to have seen Kate Moss dancing on tables and all the fashion crew letting down their hair after the perfectly-placed-everything of Paris Fashion Weeks; all long forgotten once you step inside. Arrive early for dinner and be sure to find a space after to chill out and let the resident DJ's take you away from the real world for just one night..
~29 Rue Saint Honoré ~
CAFE DE FLORE
An absolute must when visiting Paris, Cafe de Flore is one of my all time favourite spots to lunch, brunch, dine, drink, hang out and whatever there is to do in between. Just being there you feel like a local. I love to sit outside in the summer and people watch for hours on end, chill with my book or have a cheeky afternoon cocktail with a loved one. In the cooler winter months it's the perfect place to escape the chill and immerse your soul in the place where, historically speaking, some of the most fabulous ideas in arts and literature were first realised. Get ready to be catapulted back to the 1920's when the likes of Picasso hung out here and more recently it's the hotspot celebrities have taken to make their own.
~ 172 Boulevard Saint-Germain ~
This one is a new find for me this year and is honestly any coffee lovers dream come to life. I'm obsessed. Set in the pretty gardens of Palais Royal it's the perfect escape to recharge quickly with any of their classic coffee creations in a stand-up coffee bar situation. As a coffee addict I had one inside (ok I totally had two) and then got a take away to bring with me as I explored and embraced the beauty that awaits outside.. trust me, this hotspot is something not to be missed and worth going out of your way to experience.
~ 51 Galerie de Montpensier ~
LES DEUX MAGOTS
Similar to Cafe de Flore and literally on the next block, Les Deux Magots is another of my absolute favourites. Stumbling from one to the other is absolutely worth it despite the striking resemblance in atmosphere and style. I guess though you can just never soak up enough Paris to take home in your heart!
~ 6 Place Saint-Germain des Prés ~
Arriving at Ralph's is like arriving in a Ralph Lauren dream. Set in a beautiful Parisian mansion, Ralph Lauren has recreated his Madison Avenue Mansion store in Paris and it couldn't be more fabulous. After shopping, drop into Ralph's for a pick-me up lunch or simply sit with a champagne to recharge your shopping batteries. It's Divine with a capital D.
~ 173 Boulevard Saint-Germain ~
Our most recent trip to Paris saw us stay at Boutet, a 5-star hotel located in Bastille. Waking up in Boutet, opening your curtains and realising you've got your very own Parisian rooftop terrace is admittedly the perfect start to any day in Paris and with interiors that resemble the cool side of chic and staff that go above and beyond to make your stay as fabulous as you could dream it's more than just a base to return to each night and more like a new home you don't want to leave no matter the fact that pretty little Paris awaits outside. Walk to any famous spot from here if you're looking to explore the city on foot - I loved doing this - or simply hop in the nearest Metro. If you can pull yourself away from dreamy mornings in bed and pamper time by the pool in the hotel in-house spa.
~ 22, 24 Rue Faidherbe ~
Hotel rooms are always a delightful treat and something I look forward to greatly when I travel. However there is something ever so incredibly sweet and enchanting about the ability to truly LIVE in a city while there. Thanks to AirBnb we did in deed LIVE in Paris for a long weekend in May of this year and having spent time getting to know the city I recommend checking out apartments in two of my favourite areas, Saint-Germain-des-Prés and Le Marais. There is amazing value for full apartments if you're traveling with friends or your Love and the best part is truly feeling like a local doing any city this way with your very own key to your very own little Parisian home.
I've yet to use this incredibly chic apartment rental company but since learning of it's existence I dream my every trip will one day include stays in some of these most stunning apartments. It's a similar set-up to AirBnb but has such a chic vibe with top quality luxury apartments in Rome, London, New York, Paris, Miami, and LA.
Located in the heart of my most beloved district, Saint-Germain des Prés, Hotel Recamier is steeped in history being a former Bourgeois family home. Jardin du Luxembourg is just 200 metres away when you can pull yourself away from this beautifully refurbished residence style boutique hotel with it's high ceilings and elegant archways. Breakfast on the terrace is a must in summer and equally perfect for a relaxing evening under the lanterns. Perfectly placed in Saint-Germain too, it is within walking distance of some of my favourite spots including Cafe de Flore, Les Deux Magots and Ralph's, from my Eat and Drink from above.
~3B Place Saint-Sulpice ~
HERMES IN SAINT GERMAIN
One of my all time favourite luxury labels, the Hermes store in Saint Germain is heaven on earth. Strolling through several levels of sheer French chic you find yourself lost in a wish-list of one exquisitely-made leather good after another. Somewhat of a gallery-style store, each space is more beautiful than the last and yet, all brought together it's the perfect Hermes world come to life. With a full collection of leather goods, homeware, jewellery, riding attire and shoes to make any well serviced shoe wardrobe envious, this dream situation is topped off delightfully with a pitstop visit for lunch at the Hermes cafe upstairs.. It's absolutely fabulous, to say the least!
~ 17 Rue de Sèvres ~
My little favourite high street store when I'm in Paris, Oysho is everything when it comes to perfect lounge wear and intimates. Cosy chic with a touch of fabulosity I come here every single time and can't resist something classy to hang out at home in..
Contemporarily chic and fabulously fashionable, Colette is the ultimate boutique style department store you've dreamed of you're whole entire life. With a cult following as one of the world's leaders in on-trend brands it plays home to pretty much everything hot right now, from books and magazines, furniture and jewellery, toys and beauty products to of course the world's chicest luxury designer collections for both men and women, Colette is basically Dover Street Market in Paris.
~ 213 Rue Saint-Honoré ~
As a bona fide book nerd and collector of big old beautiful coffee table books, I'm forever dreaming of my next read and Assouline in Saint-Germain is utterly divine to loose an hour of your life to. Chic, tempting and devastatingly dangerous to ones bank account, it's fundamental to any book lovers visit to Paris.
~ 35 Rue Bonaparte ~
I adore adore adore visiting Lumas at every chance I get. Introduced to me by my dear friend, Lumas is the coolest concept involving art and photography. Two of my favourite things combined, Lumas is a different and unique way of seeing the world through other peoples eyes and something that once I reach the age of 'I invest in art', firs up will be Lumas. They have galleries all over the world and Paris is just one that I've visited thus far..
~ 40 Rue Seine ~
CHANEL, 31 RUE CAMBON
Steeping in elegant (and admittedly somewhat juicy) history and beautiful modern day couture dreams, the past meets the present at Gabrielle Chanel's original Chanel boutique on 31 Rue Cambon. Having studied Fashion and Business in college many years ago and as a young admirer of this most incredible woman, I have been obsessed with her interesting and intangible character, intriguing life and century old business for as long as I can remember. Visiting the store brings to life the timelessness of what she created all those years ago and stands as a testament to her vision as one of the world's most notorious and legendary brands today. I was lucky enough to get a photo on her infamous staircase which leads up to her once apartment and was where models would present her collections to press and clients. Those who appreciate more than just the CC logo will be sure to understand my love of this building being far more than simply another Chanel store.
~ 31 Rue Cambon ~
An experience that will live with you long after you leave, Versailles is something that must be experienced to be believed. I've been a couple of times but this past year's visit was my Love's first introduction to France's most stately and overstated Château. Putting words to Versailles is like trying to explain the inexplicable but if you've got a few days in Paris and wish to truly understand the state's history and perhaps the source of the city's opulence, then a day trip to Versailles is positively essential. There are many companies that offer day trips but frankly we took the Metro on a Sunday and it was perfect.
PALAIS DE TOKYO
One of my favourite Parisian museums by a long shot, Palais de Tokyo is everything you could dream of to explore Paris for a morning by yourself. Home to the most incredible modern and contemporary art in the heart of the 16th arrondissement, it is without a doubt one of the most stunning collections of such works. If you visit be sure to see the room with Raoul Dufy's work. It's incredible beyond imagination. And definitely do not miss the view from out back where you're right under the Eiffel Tower - it's the perfect picture spot that isn't so close or under the tower itself.
~ 13 Avenue du Président Wilson ~
Situated beautifully in the Tuileries Gardens right next to the Place de la Concorde, Musee l'Orangerie is one of my all time favourites. Home to a world renowned collection of impressionist and post-impressions paintings, it is most famous for displaying eight of Monet's Water Lillies (known as the Nyphmeas) on the walls of two oval rooms brought together. It's incredible and worth a visit simply to see this.
FOUNDATION LOUIS VUITTON
An absolute must came hail, rain or shine, The Louis Vuitton Foundation is one of the most incredible cultural centres I've ever been to. I went one day while my Love was working and it is just breathtaking. Founded in 2006, it opened it's doors to the public in 2014 it was a gift to the city of Paris from luxury conglomerate LVMH. Designed by famed architect Frank Gehry every aspect of the museum, from the building itself to the art and exhibitions housed inside it are incredible. If you take a trip there be sure to stroll through the nearby Jardin d'Acclimatation as it is again, another awe-inspiring experience.
~ 8 Avenue du Mahatma Gandhi ~
One of the most infamous of the worldwide collection of Ritz hotels and perhaps my favourite to date, an afternoon in The Ritz is transcendental of other worlds so grand they just don't translate to the everyday waiting outside. If like me, you're not booking into the Coco Chanel Suite just yet, but love the experience of elegance and such ladylike living, you will feel right at home having afternoon tea, an evening cocktail or lunch here. It's about the experience for sure and something that will stay with you long after you leave. Situated in Place Vendôme it has so much history and secrets to tell - one such secret is about Grabrielle Chanel, whose store is placed so close she used to live in one of the hotels suites and during WWII she would commute to work through a secret under passage that runs from the hotel to her store. What's not worth it about a €15 espresso macchiato to sit amid such history.
~ 15 Place Vendôme ~
STROLL THE SEINE AT NIGHT
It's amazing from so many points but one we adore is to pick it up at Pont Royal Bridge and stroll east toward Port de la Concorde. It's the perfect romantic stroll at night, hand-in-hand with your Love and taking in the nights skyline in an intimate moment where it's just you guys and the city. Winter or summer it's an utterly flawless moment in time.
DELIVEROO BED PICNIC
As much as we love to go out at night when we're away, my Love and I love a hotel night in bed watching movies and ordering room service. Especially on Winter breaks. It's cosy and cute. Taking things up a notch though is definitely getting Deliveroo from your favourite local restaurant and we recently did this for a night of sushi and movies in the comfort of our bed - the most darling at-home experience you can get while staying in a hotel. Also it's of course ideal if you're doing AirBnB or onefinestay style stays either.
I hope you've enjoyed my guide to Paris and seeing as I'm forever planning another trip in my heart, I'd love to hear your favourites and what parts of Paris stole your heart in the comments below..
Love R x