Paris Top 10
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.