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Travel
July 05, 2014

Paris Top 10

Text by Nisha Jhangiani

Verve’s fashion director and intrepid shopper scouts the coolest places to find stuff you can never imagine. Get in on her secret travel and shopping diary

Paris makes for a regular stop at least a couple of times a year and I haven’t tired of this city yet. Visiting during Fashion Weeks invariably means lunches at L’Avenue, drinks at Hotel Costes and dinner/dancing at Matignon with hurried shopping on Rue Saint Honore. But when I have the time, there are many other favourites that I make sure I include in my itinerary. Here are some of my must-dos:

1. Anna Rivka on Rue Vieille du Temple is where I have found some very unique, finely-crafted pieces of almost 1920s-styled jewellery. This entire street is dotted with specialty boutiques and quaint bars – I would recommend spending a few hours here. Maje is my go-to French store for their dresses and chic knits. Montaigne Market offers a diverse range of high-fashion; well curated and worth giving up some time to browse around properly. Chanel on Rue Cambon fulfills my bag and shoe fix. My most precious make-up find and one that many have asked me about is the gold eyeshadow I found at Dior – The Fusion Mono 661 Meteore. I also credit the staff here with teaching me how to do quick but effective smokey eyes.

2. Colette on Rue Saint Honore is truly Style Mecca and a place where one can immediately absorb the current fashion scenario playing out in Paris. But other than fashion, I make it a point to stock up on their quirky stationary and fantastic music mix CDs.

3. No trip to this city is complete without a museum visit or two. It’s an ingrained habit to check out the exhibit listings at The Musée des Arts Décoratifs, The Musée d’Orsay and The Centre Georges Pompidou before I head to Paris.

4. Everyone knows and raves about the Costes selection of restaurants and I’m a keen regular as well. But I like to mix it up with some other consistent front runners – spicy Thai lunch at Le Petit Thiou and delicious French cuisine at the grand Mini Palais.

5. Indian hair, especially thick, long hair like mine can be a nightmare for French stylists but Jean Claude Biguine on Rue Marbeuf is where I get a perfect blow-dry with effortless ease, and I make it a point to go here no matter what arrondisement I choose to stay in.

6. Paris is the city of aromas, fragrances and sensory delights so that makes Serge Lutens at Palais Royal a definite on the to-do list. Their beautifully packaged flacons filled with signature perfumes are really special buys. And how can one not visit and covet a selection of vintage finds at Didier Ludot close by. I’m still hoping to snag a collectible from here soon.

7. Pierre Hermé and La Maison du Chocolat is where I satisfy my sweet tooth cravings – the former is where I gorge on hazelnut praline macaroons and the latter is the place for daintily ribboned up bags of delicious dark chocolate/orange finger bites.

8. Plebeian as it may seem, a last minute dash to the local food store of Monoprix is as crucial as it is eventually fruitful. I’ve returned many a time laden with herbal salts, olive tapenades, the salty, fishy, unable-to-put-down-once-you-start Taramas spread and of course a tasting selection of the best cheeses.

9. A day in the Marais area. Operas in the Bastille, wandering through meandering lanes and chancing upon a gem of a Parisian store or just sticking to the Boulevard Beaumarchais street nearby. The latter is where I find snuggle-worthy T-shirts from Leon & Harper’s Hello, I Love You, Can You Tell Me Your Name and also where I while away time leafing through an eclectic range of books, fashion and lifestyle at Merci. Around the corner is the cheekily named Beaucoup, a marvel of a restaurant, serving modern French cuisine. Added bonus – the very friendly, very good looking, English speaking staff.

10. Almost any street cafe in any sunny corner of Paris. Summer calls for long, languid afternoons spent relishing a fresh salad, fat-cut chips and a chilled white wine. It’s entirely possible that the afternoon turns to evening, and I find myself still at the same spot, having switched from white to a more dusk-friendly red wine.

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