This article was first published in print in both Malibu Coast Lifestyle Magazine and Conejo Valley Lifestyle Magazine and can be found online at City Lifestyle LA.
Paris may be the center of the universe for fashion, but style is a way of life.
Style can be found in the art and architecture, the way a boulangerie or patisserie displays its baked goods, pastries and sweets, or the distinctive touches in boutique hotels with elements of history. Style can be found wherever you look in the City of Light as a woman gracefully bikes with a baguette under her arm, the lights sparkle across the Seine like an Impressionist painting, or the romantic language welcomes you politely into each establishment with a friendly “Bonjour.”
Parisian women have a certain je ne sais quoi where the finer details matter and as a result, the whole ensemble of Parisian women is sensible but seamless and effortlessly sophisticated. This shows itself in expertly tailored clothing, stylish flat shoes, natural hairstyles accented with a clip, or emerald green jewel color appearing in dresses and skirts this season. Often Americans we saw in summer played the part in colorful berets, red lipstick, scarves, hats and polka-dotted clothing.
There’s no better time to flock to the City of Love then now, as nonstop roundtrip service can be found from Los Angeles to Paris on French bee airlines for less than $500.
5, 4, 3, 2, 1, PARIS!
5 Diverse Dining Options
Many restaurants offer Prix-fixed lunch and dinner options for around 25 euros. The best way to feel Parisian is to sit in a café facing street life and practice L’art de ne rien faire—the art of doing nothing. There are countless cafes to choose from but waste away some hours at Les Deux Magots in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, a favorite spot for artists and thinkers since 1914. We suggest the cheese plate, foie gras, and a bottle of rosé. In Place des Voges, sit outside in the 17th-century vaulted arches at Café Hugo for espresso, onion soup, escargot, and croque sandwiches. In Paris, one must try Relais de l’Entrecôte for their one menu item—tender sirloin steak Frites presented tableside with their famous secret sauce. In a non-touristy neighborhood, find Le Saint Sebastien serving modern French cuisine with fresh ingredients and an extensive wine list. Sardines in oil, patécovered in green beans and mushrooms, and veggies with chicken that tastes like nothing you will find in the States.
Les Deux Magots in Saint-Germain-des-Prés
For those who want a bougie experience, saunter into Le Joy located in the romantic flower-filled courtyard ofHôtel Fouquet’s Barrière where fine dining consists of artful plates of melon and chorizo, veal and veggies, cod and pineapple with fried mussels, and millefeuille and soufflé paired with strawberries and mint sorbet. The setting is Oh La La tres Magnifique and for seven shared courses for 140 euros, you’ll be wondering how you can move here.
4 Memorable Museums
In Paris, the historical “Beaux-Arts” buildings with their highly decorative details, columns, symmetry, and statues and figures embedded within the facades are just as dreamy as the art itself. Now one can visit the new free Carnavalet Museum dedicated to the history of Paris occupying two neighboring mansions built in the 16th and 17th centuries. Besides the old street signs and collections showcasing the city’s evolution from prehistory to now in over 100 rooms, the magnificent setting alone is worth a visit. Don’t miss Paris’ amazing inner courtyard gardens here with seating to dine or to sip away an afternoon with rosé.
Carnavalet Museum courtyard in summer
Also located in the Marais is The Picasso Museum where visitors can admire some of his best works and his own memorabilia, including letters, sketches, prints, sculptures, and even poetry.
Soak in the 17th century Hotel Salé (“salty mansion”) setting with a garden, courtyard, elegant Baroque staircase and stunning two-story entrance hall. This impressive site was built in the 1650s for the uber-wealthy Pierre Aubert de Fontenay, a man who made his money from the collection of the salt tax.
A trip to Paris is not complete without several hours at Musee d’Orsay loaded with famous Impressionist and Post-Impressionist collections all in a former train station from 1900 with stellar views of the Eiffel Tower and Montmartre from the top floor windows. After more than two centuries as a royal palace, The Louvre with its adjacent glass and metal pyramids is the most visited public museum in the world with the richest collection boasting the Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo. Book tickets in advance on the Get Your Guide app and enter through the Louvre’s back entrance to avoid a wait.
3 Beautiful & Enchanting Rooftops
When the weather is good there are few better ways to savor Paris than a cocktail in hand admiring the Parisian skyline in a stylish space—gazing at the lights, landmarks and Eiffel Tower that define the city. Take a break from sightseeing to rest your legs and spend some time atop these dreamy rooftops.
While Galeries Lafayette Haussman in the 9th arrondissement offers luxurious shopping and a gourmet food hall with fine delicacies, enter to peer high up at the Belle Epoque stained-glass dome before finding your way up to the expansive rooftop deck for dazzling views of Parisian rooftops, Opera Garnier and the Eiffel Tower. Feast on vegetarian Mediterranean bites from Créatures, the rooftop terrace restaurant from Chef Julien Sebbag, while your eyes feast on the stellar views of Sacré Coeur Basilica and Montmartre over your shoulder. Share the “Summertime Sadness” foccacia with zucchini, black olives and red onions, served with stracciatella and pistachios or the “Snow,” labneh with roasted tomatoes and onion confit with peanuts. Midweek, midday, we waltzed right in without a reservation.
In the fashionable Marais district, find Le Perchoir (“the bird’s perch”) hidden atop the famous department store BHV. Get in line before 6 p.m. to take the elevator all the way up to score a seat at one of the limited tables. The panoramic views of the Eiffel Tower, the Seine, Notre-Dame and the Hôtel de Ville on this stylish terrace are worth the wait. Ogle the dreamy building-scape as the DJ enhances the ambiance and clink to your good fortune with one of their creative signature cocktails.
While the most lavish stores and hotels can be found on or near the Avenue des Champs-Élysées, beautiful people abound on the flower- and plant-drenched bucolic Le Rooftop Marta set on the roof of Hôtel Fouquet’s Paris where the DJ pumps tunes to get everyone ready to party.
2 Chic Boutique Hotels
Designed by Philippe Starck, 9Confidentiel is like stepping into a glamorous Parisian boudoir. This 29-room hotel in the heart of the bumping Marais is a 1925 Art Deco gem with pink and yellow beaux-arts designed rooms that come with nostalgic cinema star names. Compact spaces, secret design features bedside, rose-tinted bathroom floor-to-ceiling mirrors, romantic rooftop views, and an intimate cocktail bar are some of the highlights, but the best part of this hidden oasis is the location.
Just on the outskirts of the Marais, find a less touristy, quieter option at Maison Bréguet near Place de la Bastille with a vaulted ceiling restaurant and opulent circular bar plus a complimentary spa and pool. Rooms in various sizes have a mid-century feel with sloped roofs and windows to peruse those Parisian rooftops. On Sundays, walk a few feet to indulge in a grand culinary shopping market.
1 Eiffel Tower
There’s no other beloved landmark in the world—a beckoning symbol and structure worthy of admiration day or night from various positions around the city. There’s nothing more enchanting than cruising along the Seine in a Bateau Mouche at night witnessing the mighty Eiffel in all its glory, especially when it puts on a dazzling diamond twinkle show after dark each hour. Scour its beauty from various angles—rooftops, the side street Rue De L’Universite, or the Museum of Modern Art.