I love Paris in the spring time
I love Paris in the fall
I love Paris in the summer when it sizzles
I love Paris in the winter when it drizzles
I love Paris every moment
Every moment of the year
I love Paris
— Lyrics from song “I Love Paris”, I love the version by Ella Fitzgerald
Yes this is exactly how i feel every time I am in Paris. I have been in this wonderful city in pretty much every season – spring, summer, autumn, winter, and I love it every time. Look at how happy I am in the picture above. Despite the speed of French service that many of us from Asia are not used to, it’s a beautiful city to go back to, and I have been here 7 times since 2008 till this year. Shopping, gourmet food, bakeries, sights – everything here is wonderful.
This year’s Paris trip was a really spontaneous trip which is rare because it usually involves lots of planning to get everyone available to go on the same trip. To tell you the truth, Y and I were thinking how nice it would be to go to Paris since it wasn’t that far from Milan, and well everything kinda just fell into place somehow with suddenly friends like KK, YW and hubby AL all happening to be there around same time, so that was good ‘excuse’ for us to so catch up with them!
Well we basically had about 3 full days in Paris, Sunday doesn’t count given we had to leave for Milan in the afternoon. Here’s a summary of what you could do if like us, you are looking for just quick shopping and good eats for a short getaway in Paris.
1. Le Chautebriand
129 Avenue Parmentier, 75011 Paris, France
Tel:+33 1 43 57 45 95
This restaurant was a great place for us to dine on our own on our first night in Paris before everyone else arrived the next day. We were glad KK managed to help us with the booking here as this is one of the hardest places to book given it’s in San Pellegrino’s top 100 restaurants in the world. It’s been classified as a “neo-bistro” with inventive flavours and that’s what they gave us in our meal here.
We had a table by the bar, and it’s simple – there’s only one tasting menu at 60 euros or 120 euros including wine. We opted for the simple tasting menu and with a glass of red wine. The decor is pretty minimalist and is really busy, the restaurant was filled in no time. The food is clean, refreshing, modern and inventive, has complexity of flavours, and very beautifully presented. I like the concept and taste of their food, it’s different from the typical french bistro food one associates Paris with, but the question if it’s deserving as no. 18 on San Pellegrino’s Top 50 list (2013)…hmmm?
2. Le Dauphin
131 Avenue Parmentier, 75011 Paris, France
Tel: +33 01 55 28 78 88
This is my 3rd visit to Le Dauphin since 2011. This wine bar next door to (and run by) Le Chateaubriand folks, boasts food by Inaki Aizpitarte. It has a cool minimalist design by Rem Koolhaas and Clement Blanchet, with white marble from floor to ceiling, even into the kitchen as the key design of the restaurant features a smooth marble design. The concept of this is small plates which we enjoy – it’s easy, can enjoy it by yourself or in groups of people. I think we probably ordered something like 14 dishes for 7 of us. I can’t even remember the names of all the dishes we tried, but the ones below are the more memorable ones. They have very interesting desserts too as you can see from the selection below together with the savoury items.
Ooh i must give a tip, do try the squid ink risotto here too, it was cleaned out too fast for me to even take a photo.
3. Les Tablettes de Jean-Louis Nomicos
16 Avenue Bugeaud, 75116 Paris, France
Tel:+33 1 56 28 16 16
This restaurant just earned a 1 star on Michelin Guide Paris 2012, plus Zagat’s rating is 28/30. The menu also looked interesting and that piqued my interest to try. Whole group of us had dinner here in our last night in Paris before we bade farewell to each other. The restaurant was pretty cool, they allowed diners to bring in their dogs to dine with them, which was really refreshing for a change, wasn’t a typically ‘formal and stiff’ type of Michelin establishment.
We decided to do the degustation menu – which was just so enjoyable – flavours, presentation, everything was so well balanced, without trying to be too overtly over the top or pretentious. And we shared a wonderful bottle of white wine from the vineyards of Domaine De Montille. It was a nice wine that AL chose.
4. Les Cocottes
135 Rue Saint-Dominique, 75007 Paris, France
A real chance visit, we originally planned to go to Cafe Constant also owned by Christian Constant, but Cafe Constant was so crowded and the wait time was at least an hour. So we tried Les Cocottes down the road, also owned by him, where the queue was much shorter. It’s great as these 2 bistros owned by him open on Sundays which is great. Les Cocottes is a casual modern bistro, where French comfort food is served in modern casseroles – hence many “Staub” ware is seen serving out the dishes. We didn’t have to wait long, and got a table at the communal table. It has a convival feel to it without being too busy or noisy which was great. We shared a few mains as we weren’t that hungry and they were all fabulous!!! It was a nice end to our last day in Paris.
EATS – PASTRIES, SWEETS
226 Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris, France
Pretty much an institution in Paris, this is the place to come for hot chocolate. Best part is its location is conveniently located near Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, Y’s favourite shopping street that makes it even more fabulous. Strangely, even though we’ve been to Paris so many times, this was our first time here. We ordered a hot chocolate – which hmm was really thick, a bad idea when Y was battling a sore throat, talk about being greedy! And we also had a croque monsier – this was our first meal for the day after arriving in Paris, only having each other for company. My verdict – hot chocolate is good, but better to share with another person, because it’s bit heavy going honestly, especially if you want to try their pastries too.
16 Rue Royale, 75008 Paris, France
This is really the Paris institution, having made its way recently into Hong Kong and Singapore recently selling its famous macarons. Well I have never really liked their macarons, always preferring to buy from Pierre Herme which is my all time favourite. But this is a great place in terms of location for having a typical French breakfast before hitting the shops. But just to warn you – breakfast at Lauduree is generally more expensive other places, and its so slow in terms of service, so don’t come here if you are hoping to have a quick dine in breakfast. Better to takeaway. This Rue Royale location is smaller and more boutique and is great as a breakfast stop before hitting the shops around Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré , it was also close to where we stayed at Rue Cambon.
If you want to visit their main location – go check out the one at 75 Avenue des Champs Elysées.
142 Rue Montmartre, 75002 PARIS
Designed by David Lynch (remember Twin Peaks that TV series in the 90s) – I kept humming the tune of Twin Peaks when I heard we were going to Silencio by David Lynch after our dinner at Le Dauphin. We were lucky to be able to get inside, as it’s a members only club till after midnight, then they let the public in. To be a member, we heard from AL’s friend, a member of Silencio who brought us, she told us that members have to go through some interview process before they are accepted.
This club is like a cultural club, hidden many floors down from the ground area, and yet it’s designed so well, you don’t even feel like you are in the basement. I was told music events, movie screenings, talks, all happens here. They have mixologists that can whip out something that suits your taste preference or from the menu. A pity we weren’t allowed to take pictures of the interiors – this one was secretly taken on my IPhone.
An interesting newsbite is I read recently online that NBC might be thinking of resurrecting Twin Peaks the series – YEAH! But big roles to fill for my 2 favourite characters played by Kyle MacLachlan and Lara Flynn Boyle.
With so little time, we had to be selective with which shops we wanted to go to. Y is an efficient shopper, but yes the efficiency is always reduced with let’s call it the “style of French service”. Here’s the run down of shops we went to this time that’s usually a must go!
I think I will need to start a separate blog post on shops in Paris soon.
Lovey’s Tip when shopping in Paris:
– All the designer boutiques can send the bags to your hotel, so don’t kill your back lugging around the shopping.
31 Rue Cambon; 51 Avenue Montaigne
Stating the obvious, so won’t say too much, think every person coming from out of France would visit Chanel. They just renovated the Avenue Montaigne store so it’s nice to visit that one too.
An advice is it’s better to head to the ready-to-wear if you are looking at buying something there before choosing other items from bags, shoes, or other accessories as the sales person from the ready-to-wear can help you with the shopping and cut down on your wait time. All I can say is be prepared to queue for any kind of service here, it’s pretty crazy!
Rue Francois 1er
This is like my all time favourite brand I would say since Phoebe Philo came on board. The shop like her style and branding of the Celine woman is just cool cool cool. It’s wierd how many times we have been here, and never even taken a picture of the shop.. too busy shopping ha ha. This is a great store to find her ready-to-wear, bags, shoes. They don’t display all the bags, so don’t feel shy to ask if you are looking for a particular model. The sales people here are generally very helpful.
3. Christian Dior
30 Avenue Montaigne, 75008 Paris, France
We group of girlies whisked in here pretty quickly as we were quite excited to check out the ready to wear collection now with Raf Simons on board as Creative Director. He’s done really some amazing stuff for Dior since he’s been on board. The store is beautiful, huge, the clothes now really has something special, I feel he’s revived it. It still has that girliness, but with a bit of that special Simons edge. I could only admire it because it’s still has the price tag of a Dior outfit, very ex ex ex. Worth checking out if you wanna splurge on something nice.
17 Avenue Montaigne, 75008 Paris, France
This historical location was recently given a major makeover by renowned British architect – David Chipperfield. Spanning over 2 floors, this is really an amazing store in terms of design. The way everything has been laid out and curated with the lighting and architecture is faultless, and I love especially the column chandelier that greets you as you make your way up the beautiful stairs, where all the red carpet gowns are placed on the 2nd floor.
5. Saint Laurent
32 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, Paris
Now with Hedi Slimane (ex Dior Homme) as the creative director, the bags and clothes have taken a new interesting edgy turn. I couldn’t really fit into any of the clothes, as the dresses were way too short. In fact, Y really liked the men’s clothes, anyway Slimane also uses female models in his menswear campaign. A pity she didn’t have much time to check out the men’s store. However, still managed to spot a bag she liked that’s called Lulu in Y’s favourite color green.
I can’t wait to check out the new flagship store with the new interior design concept at Avenue Montaigne. A pity it wasn’t opened when we were there in April, just missed it by a month. It’s located at 53 Avenue Montaigne.
348 Rue Saint-Honoré, 75001 Paris, France
You might not know anything about this brand yet, but it’s the brand to look out for. Bernard Arnault purchased the rights to this label in 2010, and asked Ramesh Nair, former designer of Hermes to relaunch a series of bags for Moynat, inspired by their classic tradition pieces. This luggage trunk maker shop’s history dates back to1849 when it opened its first atelier. The bags leather is excellent, very well made and worth every penny and best part it isn’t as common as this is their only shop in Paris in the world now.
What we love about Moynat is the SERVICE. It is IMPECCABLE! Unlike a certain house whose bags go for skyrocket prices and has pretty average service attitude, here it’s so wonderful. The shop was really quiet when we entered with us only as customers, and when Y mentioned she had previously bought a bag from Moynat before, and gave her name, the store manager said he remembered her. After which, Guillaume Davin, the president of Moynat came down to see us, and thanked us for visiting the store. We were so surprised that he would come down amidst his busy schedule to see us, so that was interesting.
They allowed us to take pictures which was so rare, as Y was requested by her friend, ML who’s mad about Moynat to take some pictures of the Rejane below for her to decide which color to get. Y and I walked out in the end happy with her purchase of the red Cabotin.
336 Rue Saint-Honoré, 75001 Paris, France
This is the only shop we missed out on our hit list over the weekend, just didn’t have time. Oh well, spend less money at least. We heard about this new flagship they opened here, and the interiors looked amazing and cutting edge. It’s a definite visit our next time in Paris.
18 Rue de la Verrerie, 75004 Paris, France
This is one shop that well you have to set time aside for it as it’s bit further from all the rest of the shops listed, but it’s worth it if you are an Alaia fan or just want to check out an interesting shop. It’s got a huge floor space where all his famously structured dresses are hanging, and it leads down to this marble enclosure which has all the shoes displayed almost looking like showpieces. I had to take a shot of this. And don’t be shy when you are in here, as the fitting room is one giant room which you share with the rest of the guests, so flab or no flab, be proud of them. Well Alaia is one dress that me as a bear could never wear, it’s so tight tight tight. I wonder how a certain celebrity who has her own reality show with her family can wear them though.
Lovey’s Tip: They have a discount sale shop just down the road from the main boutique, there wasn’t anything much when we checked it out with the other girlies, but we’ve heard sometimes you can get lucky and get a real bargain there.
22 Rue de la Paix, 75002 Paris, France
Created in 1947, this shop that used to sell products for the dance industry ventured later on into ballerina pumps fashionably made in all colors and materials and has been the cult favourite to get when one’s in Paris. This is THE classic ballerina pumps to get if you are looking for one.
God knows how many pairs Y already owns, but this time round we visited the Repetto flagship store to help buy for her good friend TY and her goddaughter/niece CL, some shoes. They also offer bespoke service if you want to do something a little bit more special for yourself. You can choose from the classic ballerina flats or one with a slight heel, and customise the color, trimming and ribbon.
Y swears by the loafers – shaped like oxford loafers, they do it in the softest patent, and leather – these so far are her trusted travelling shoes.