Why Oh Why Do I Love Paris…

Slight detour to Paris

Only slightly detoured en route to Paris

I just got back from a week on the road.  Not so bad when the road is a whirlwind trip to Paris!  It had a bit of a rocky start as the French Air Traffic Controllers decided to strike while I was en route.  Good news however, as I did finally make it with only a slight detour via Brussels (very charming – made a mental note to return!)

I love Paris.  Who doesn’t?  Its EXACTLY as you would expect.  Charming little streets and bustling boulevards.  Shopping, eating, culture, pain au chocolat – what’s not to aimer?

So here’s where I (very narcissistically) share my favorite places in Paris.  Hope you don’t mind?

I have been lucky enough to travel to Paris a handful of times, always on business.  So my experiences there are more related to eating, fast shopping and sleeping.

SLEEP

The Hôtel de Sers

Located in the 8th, around the corner from the legendary George V, The Hotel de Sers is a great little boutique property.  The rooms are petit (as are all in Paris) but I was lucky enough to have one facing the inner courtyard which offered a little peace in Central Paris.  The bed was comfy and the bath shower combo functioned well (save for the lack of a shower door which meant for some sopping up).  The decor was edgy but not annoying although we did take pity on the sole goldfish swimming in each flower vase in the lobby.

Just off Av George V, the hotel was a very quick walk to the shopping on the Champs Élysées to the left and the Seine/ Eiffel Tower to the right.

The restaurant was good and accommodating of my weird food issues and the hotel staff in general were fantastic.  Especially the Concierge staff who happily made reservations and tracked us down to help with deliveries.

EAT

L’As du Fallafel

A trip into the Marais is not complete without a falafel and this is arguably the best I’ve ever had.  A friend brought me here and shared the tip of dining in rather than waiting in the long line at the take-out window.  The falafel costs a few euros more when dining in – but its worth it.

Like burritos found in The Mission in San Francisco – there is nothing different about these falafels save for the freshest of ingredients.  Delicious roasted eggplant and crispy cabbage perfectly accent the delicately fried falafels.  Yum!  Plus at €8.00, its a pretty cheap meal.

Le Stella

On our last visit to Le Stella we discovered that its much better in the colder months when the raw seafood bar is set up in place of the sidewalk patio.  The selection of oysters and chilled prawns, langoustins and lobster was incredible.

Le Stella is located in the 16th on Av Victor-Hugo and seems to be a local for the neighborhood.  We were charmed by families enjoying Sunday dinner with the kids fast asleep at the table.

Our recent summer visit lead us to a delicious and fresh gazpacho and some beautifully grilled sole.  Oh yeah and the Sancerre was amazing!

Au Pied de Cochon & La Poule Au Pot  

In the music business, late night eating is the way it goes so its always good to have a couple of late/ all night places in your back pocket.  Both Au Pied Au Cochon and La Poule Au Pot are located in Les Halles and are reasonably good options in a city with surprisingly few late night dining options.  Both offer tuxedoed waiters serving delicious country bread, cheese and other typical French fare.  Au Pied Au Cochon was definitely the better of the two although they were out of the house specialty last time we were there… thank God!

Guy Savoy

Bread cart, cheese cart, dessert cart.  Foodie heaven.  Enough said.

SHOP

Shopping in Paris is amazing.  I have had such little free time while there to actually properly shop (ouch, my diamond shoes are pinching).  But I have dabbled.

Pharmacie

Located everywhere – just look for the green cross.  Any Pharmacie you come across is full of treasures.  French skincare lines are amazing.  Even the inexpensive drugstore brands rival what you’ll find in the department stores.  Embryolisse is the best!  Its a favorite of make-up artists on both sides of the pond and very inexpensive even when paying in euros.  I use their Crème Anti-Àge 1èr Rides (anti-aging cream) and it is amazing.  I also really like the Avene sunscreen line.  Its easy on the skin and smells great.

Galeries Lafayette

With its incredible domed Belle Epoque ceiling, this forerunner of the department store carries anything and everything including!  Its like a shopping cathedral!  The Longchamp boutique here has stanchions to manage the throngs of tourists picking up their trademark shoppers in every shade (I have two and I LOVE them).

Lanvin

The beautiful flagship at 22 Rue du Faubourg St Honoré is the original boutique opened by Jeanne Lanvin in 1889 (when Coco Chanel was a mere 6 years old!)  Mme Lanvin started her life in couture as a milliner and made dresses for her daughter.  As demand grew, Lanvin became one of the premiere fashion houses in Paris.  A luxury brand for sure, but definitely worth a visit to see Lanvin and the other fashion houses along the Rue du Faubourg St Honoré.

La Tour Eiffel

Paris is an incredible place.   The first time you see the Eiffel Tower all lit up at night, sparkling like diamonds will take your breath away.  I can’t wait to go back.  À la prochaine!

Come on Vogue…

The Cannes Red Carpet - that's my back.

The Cannes Red Carpet – that’s my back.

I’m really lucky.  In my line of work I get to attend some great events.  Fancy do’s with beautiful people and spare no expense excess.  It can be a lot of fun – but I always face the same problem (get ready – this is one of those problems that falls in the “My diamond shoes are too tight” category).  I never know what to wear.

The Red Carpet at the Cannes Film Festival.  The black-tie Kennedy Centre Honors.  Fancy cocktail party outside the Louvre in Paris.  Really, what do I care.  The paparazzi aren’t photographing me.  But nevertheless, I’m a woman and I care about fashion and how I look.  So how on earth do I handle caviar styles with a mac and cheese budget?   All these events are populated by well-heeled attendees who are particularly well-heeled in their Christian Laboutins and couture.  I on the other hand will be wearing something from the Spring 2000 line of The Gap (Black Magic strikes again?) and accessories courtesy of Joe Fresh.

For the record, I always buy my accessories at the local Superstore with the Joe Fresh capsule shop.  Here’s how it goes:

“I love that necklace.”

“Oh this old thing.  I picked it up while buying avocados and diapers.”

Classy, right?  Super fancy.  But its actually ok.  I would love a beautiful couture dress, don’t get me wrong.  But the reality is, I don’t live in the champagne and caviar world.  I just visit it occasionally.

However, on my last business trip to Paris I was given a treat – a beautiful dress from Lanvin.  I couldn’t believe the generosity and was truly touched by the gesture.  This dress is a beaut!  A pretty colour with the perfect drape.  Perhaps I could get used to a little high fashion in my wardrobe after all.

A selfie of the new dress...

A selfie of the new dress…

A little something from Lanvin

A little something from Lanvin