Le Sense du Luxe

The Castel Guide to Paris

The Castel Guide to copy

In the wise words of our old pal, Audrey Hepburn, "Paris is always a good idea." We could not agree more, and want to share our guide to la Ville Lumière.

Paris, like most European cities, is best discovered on foot. Pack some chic, non blister inducing shoes, and hit the cobble stones.

WHERE TO SHOP

There are too many charming boutiques to count, so here is a small roundup of places we like.

l-appartement-sezane-accueille-le-meilleur-de-l-angleterre-1024x683

For French-girl style, head to L'Appartement Sézane. Shoes, dresses, bags, and cute souvenirs all dressed up and ready to go.

img_9230-1024x768

Also, the spirit animal of French style is Ines de la Fressange. Her shop is filled with curiosities, the quintessential striped tees, and of course lingerie.

img_9295-1021x1024

You've probably gotten the memo by now, but Merci really is all that. The space is incredible, and their buyers have such a great sense of humor and fun mixed with stylish fashion. You will drop a wad of euros on random things like washi tape, a digital watch, a tea set, and a new Isabel Marant skirt. Bonus, they have an adorable café for a quick bite and coffee. Extra credit: you get to Instagram their adorable vintage red Fiat.

img_9225-1024x556

There are Monoprix stores all over Paris, and my personal favorite is the one at 6 Boulevard Raspail in the 7th err. Monoprix is like the Target of France, but of course, it's French, so it's better. They have beautiful baby and children's clothes and gifts especially.

img_92181-768x1024

If you are near the Louvre, stop by Astier de Villatte. The shop itself feels vintage Parisian, and they have beautiful one of a kind ceramics.

When you want a fancy snack for the plane, I mean, a gift for a dear friend, pop over to Meert, 3 rue Jacques Callot in the 6th, for gorgeous chocolates.

img_0789-768x1024

WHERE TO EAT

Our favorite subject... eating in Paris. It is so hard to go wrong. On our last trip, we went out almost exclusively in the 10th err. Kind of what Brooklyn is to NYC, this neighborhood has it going on with the food scene.
cha

I love tell the story of the first trip Stephane and I took to Paris together... Stephane is French, and well, I am not. So he was "in charge" of our itinerary. I kept pestering him about wanting to try a restaurant I had read about called Le Chateaubriand. With a faux-traditional name like that, he kept dismissing me, but FINALLY he listened. Let's just say that I have been planning our trips ever since.

chez-georges

If you are looking for the classic French bistro experience, complete with a duck breast and tarte Tatin in a glorious red velvet backdrop, look no further than Chez Georges at 1 Rue du Mail in the 2nd err. If it was good enough for Julia Child, then there you go.

large-paris-le-bistrot-paul-bert-011-1024x576

If you want to have the classic French bistro experience, and wear jeans, then get thee over to Bistro Le Paul Bert, 18 Rue Paul Bert in the 11th err. Order the steak frites and a Paris-Brest for dessert and thank us later.

frenchie

Frenchie is a terrific, "new" restaurant serving a hip crowd of tourists. If you want to ditch the tourist part of that sentence, then go across the street to Frenchie bar à vins where the locals go for extraordinary small plates and wine in a boisterous grotto.

If I was to pat myself on the back, it would be for discovering some off the beaten path Parisian restaurant gems (so niche!) For more of a nouveau experience, get to the 11th stat.

img_9245-768x1024

Le Servan, 32 rue Saint Maur, was such a quaint and pleasant surprise. "New" French cooking by a pair of sisters who both hail from serious upscale Paris restos. They wanted a more democratic and seasonal experience, so voila. The perfect date spot.

img_9280-768x1024

Possibly our most fun and tasty evening of late was at Clown Bar. This is classic French turned on its head by a Japanese chef. Don't question it. Just go.

comptoir

Lastly, I would be remiss not to mention our all time favorite canteen, L'Avant Comptoir in the 6th. You stand, you have small plates of perfection meat, cheese, wine, etc. and you love it. AND just in case you need a crêpe, then get to their small window for crêpe service. OMG.

img_9276-1024x768

OK, I lied, one more... I really love crêpes. Breizh Café, in the Upper Marais, is a great little unassuming, no frills spot with real deal Breton crêpes and cider. Get a savory crêpe. Then a dessert crêpe. Oui.

WHERE TO STAY

Paris hotels can bring so much design inspiration. We usually opt to stay in the 6th or the 2nd, so therein lies our recommendations. Our prerequisite is a small, Parisian experience.  One of the pleasures of staying in Paris is understated service coupled with smashing design. And killer breakfast, um petit déjeuner.

p1000592-683x1024

Hotel Le Relais St. Germain is a favorite just on location alone. (above is the view from our room.) You are smack in the middle of Saint Germain des Près. Their house restaurant, Le Comptoir, is a tough ticket, but you get to roll out of bed and have croissants here in the morning, not to mention, score a reservation. This alone is reason to bed here.

img_0807-1024x768

Another favorite in the 6th, right on the Place St. Sulpice, is Hotel Recamier.

jld-recamier3

The rooms are perfectly appointed in a textile lover's dream. The salon for tea, cocktails, and then breakfast is so chic and lovely. But, best of all, Jardin Luxembourg is your backyard.

img_9292-1024x730

This spring, we decided to switch it up a bit and head to the Right Bank. Hotel Bachaumont is a newly renovated Art Deco gem situated in the 2nd near Tuileries. Their restaurant is a hipster hangout, but we preferred it at breakfast time with their amazing skylit dining room. The fabled Experimental Cocktail Club has jurisdiction over their cocktail lounge. And let me just say, I needed to sleep off their rhum cocktails every morning.

img_9242-768x1024

WHERE TO CULTURE

I have a confession, I have never been to the Louvre. There, I said it. Paris, to me, is all about absorbing the culture in the streets, and I just cannot give a day to standing in line (likely in the rain) to see Mona Lisa and her friends. BUT! There are lovely small focused museums in Paris that are worth a morning.

img_9277-1024x1024

The newly renovated Musée Picasso is definitely worth a gander. Just for the mansion that houses the museum alone. But the collection and history are so inspiring, I would argue, even for a non- Picasso fan.

Next up is the Tuileries Gardens and the surrounding Louvre area. Ok, so I could not stand the line, but the gardens are stupendous. img_9244-1024x1024

But, if we are talking park visits, Jardin Luxembourg is by far and away the most glorious place you will visit while in Paris. There are no words to describe the beauty and attention to detail, no matter the season, although spring is a true treat.

jardinduluxembourg11

VOILA! This should be enough to keep you busy for days... but call us if you need more suggestions, it is our favorite subject. Bon voyage!

img_9204-1024x516

Leave a Reply

Sorry, you must be logged in to post a comment.