Paris mini-guide

top image from the Helmut Newton exhibit at the Grand Palais

I could not possibly tackle a full Paris city guide, so I am going to give a little taste of some of my favorite things I saw while I was in the City of Lights for work last month!  I was there for a quick week of unusually sunny weather– it’s true, Paris in the springtime is something special– all the cool kids were out on their bikes, looking tres chic in a wonderfully understated way.  Skinny jeans, a leather jacket, and sexy ankle boots– a lot of the girls were make-up free with perfectly disheveled locks.  It’s true that French women have a certain, how do you say it? Je ne c’est quoi…

I say bring a little and return with a lot! Shopping wise, there are so many good spots to check out, get lost in the city, be inspired! There is great vintage too! I was tempted by so many delicious vintage furs– short ones, long ones, caramel cuties, and rainbow ones (if you are into that sort of thing), leather shorts, boots, great summer dresses– big time temptation.  My bank account is happy I only had one free afternoon to do some shopping cuz the Euro is strong y’all!  I stayed in Le Marais so most of the spots I visited were in that neighborhood.

And oh yeah! I went to see the Helmut Newton exhibit at the Grand Palais. I started my post with that pic because I think this show really suited Paris– sexy, iconic, a bit tough, and a lot glamorous!!

From top left clockwise: Dries Van Noten store, La Duree shop window, Goyard luggage, Goyard shop window

from top left clockwise: street art, poster detail, Alaia shop window, courtyard

my shopping highlights

My fav store that I really wish had a sister in New York was Merci. It was like a tiny, airy department store with home goods, books, a coffee shop, and a very well edited collection of new designers (clothing and accessories).  It had a super wearable and feminine vibe– great shoes and jewelry too!

I was also super smitten with Colette.  I love the ground floor– Cool tennis shoes, music, glamour gadgets (think fur headphones, mega expensive shades, crazy cool iPhone covers).  I feel like they are at the center of Parisian pop culture- there is something for all of your senses.  I got some sneaks for my guy, a couple sweet cds, a radical t-shirt with Kurt Cobain’s name hand-stitched over the heart (should have gotten the Chet Baker one too- damn!), and some funny phone accessories for our house.  More time would have yielded more booty, but alas, it was a rushed trip.  There is a street art meets fashion vibe and it’s quite fun- they definitely have their fingers on the pulse of the latest and greatest and they do a lot of collaborations with up and comers.  If you can’t make it there in person, check out their website– there is a lot of tangible inspiration there.

Another good one for home goods was SImrane. It is all hand wood-blocked cotton and silk from India.  I got some gorgeous linens for our home and a couple little gifts.

Other highlights were the Isabel Marant, Dries Van Noten, and Christophe Lemaire shops.  You can find these designers in the U.S. as well, but the stores there have a different sense of architecture and merchandise their products in a more intimate, artful way…


L-R: Chez Janou and the lovely Michelle Buswell at La Perle in her beguiling black hat

Where to begin? My first night we went to a magic place called Derriere. It was a hidden spot, through a courtyard, and they had a ping pong table but the patrons all looked like they had just left a show during New York Fashion week– good lighting, good music, good people watching.  They even have an upstairs fumoir (smoking room) that you enter secretly through a wardrobe (so fun!!!). Make a reservation as they only seat at 8pm or 11pm.  Then as I was leaving, I saw Kristen Wiig and she looked really cool in a short leather jacket, and we made eye contact, so it was for sure an enchanted evening- haha!

The next night we did Robert et Louise- an un-fussy, cozy, stone joint with an open grill.  This place is definitely all about the carne, so don’t go if you are exclusively a veggie person.  BUT if you like an occasional T-Bone served on a rustic wooden cutting board dusted with sea salt, this is a good spot.  Simple hearty fare, good ambiance.

I also loved Chez Janou.  It is a typical Bistrot Provencal– warm decor and good food. Cute young clientele and fun people watching. I had a very tasty duck (recommended by our terribly stylish waitress), and at the end of our meal, they brought out the most giant bowl of chilled chocolate pudding I have ever seen– to be held with both arms!  You serve yourself from this obscenely large bowl and you feel about five years old.  It’s so fun and a satisfying end to a great meal.

I also had fun drinks a couple nights at La Perle and had a full on, all night, disco dance-athon at Le Baron. It was a Sunday and it wasn’t too crowded– all I know is there was a dance circle (you know, like in Soul Train) where everybody has a turn and everyone cheers you on– there was some breakdancing to disco and it was seriously one of the most fun, laugh-y, dance-y nights I’ve had in forever.

One last note: Look at these girls!!

Swedish girls on holiday

Aren’t they dreamy?  I saw them two different days in two different neighborhoods.  Such cutie style!  They were from Sweden on holiday with their moms and they were killing me with their looks.  They were kinda punk in a way, kinda 80s schoolgirl, kinda quirky nurses. I like.





3 Responses to “Paris mini-guide”

  1. LaWood says:

    We have to go to Paris together! Quelle dommage I wasn’t there to join, sigh..

  2. Cheryl Smith says:

    Love Paris! One of Doug’s and my favorite places. Love your site and style, Lauren. The Smith’s agree with your opinion of travel. The world is everyone’s oyster. Keep their eyes on what shines!

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