It’s true, I love Paris. A city of beautiful architecture, gorgeous food and super chic people. I will even put up with the obligatory Parisian pomp for a weekend in this fabulous city. I have visited Paris more times than I can remember for both business and pleasure, and each stay I have had a wonderful time. After every visit I return home to Blighty with a distinct desire to become more ‘French like’ both in my outlook on life, with my fashion choices (throw me a Hermes scarf and Chanel 2:55 pronto!), and also with my desire to only eat teeny tiny food potions and to stay away from carbs completely! How Parisian women stay looking so svelte and fabulous whilst there is a Laduree on most corners is beyond me. It must come down to self-discipline, which I am definitely lacking when it comes to cakes, macaroons and anything in between. However this desire to become more ‘French like’ usually disappears as soon as I return on to our fair shores and dive in for a Chinese take away and Kitkat Chunky on my route back home. However it is lovely to dream…
Paris is definitely a city in which I can wander around for hours, resting frequently for a Café au Lait whilst watching the stylish folks glide by. Bliss. Here are Butterfly Lane top picks for a fabulous break in the city of lights…
Where to stay?
I most recently stayed at the uber cool and modern Philip Starck hotel, Mama Shelter. As you would expect from a Starck design, it is extremely quirky. Batman masks as lamps, stylish artwork hanging on the wall and installation art hanging from the ceilings. Along with the funky interior design it is high tech too. With Apple Macs everywhere, even on the ceiling in the bathrooms showing silent black and white movies! It was so refreshing to stay in such cool boutique hotel without any pretentiousness; the staff are so friendly and welcoming.
The bar and restaurant inside the hotel is one of the best in Paris, so be aware you must book in advance to secure a table. People travel from all around the city to eat there. The cocktails are divine (great bar snacks too!) and I would suggest ordering the well presented fish and chip….just amazing! Although the whole menu is completely tempting. There is a great outdoor terrace too to enjoy on summer nights...
Villa D’Estrees, St Germain
Now if it’s location that you’re after then this stunning boutique hotel is for you. This chic hotel lies on a cute Parisian cobbled street, walk outside the front door; turn to your right to see the Seine, and turn to your left to walk in to the hussle of stylish St Germain. With decadent Parisian interiors, dark furniture and gold gilted walls, this small hotel is a feast for the eyes.
I normally hate to stick to the usual tour guides and dislike heading to the obvious attractions (a trait that I have picked up from the boyfriend, he is a stickler for ‘going off the beaten track’ to say the least), but in Paris it is silly to miss out on anything. Every corner you turn has a stunning building or piece of history, and I would have been devastated to miss out on my favourite two Parisian tourist hubs.
The Eiffle Tower. No matter how many times I see the Eiffel Tower it still send tingles down my spine, as it is such an iconic landmark. It looks especially beautiful when twinkling with thousands of fairy lights in the evening. So why not grab a bottle of Prosecco, find a spot on the gardens and watch the light show! Just magical.
Le Louvre, the home of Paris Fashion Week past and present, the Louvre is a spectacular sight, just stunning. The glass pyramid that protrudes the courtyard may have Parisians divided, but I think it’s a wonderful contrast to the historic surroundings. Remember to pop in to Le Café Marly, that overlooks the courtyard for brunch, it is particularly special.
The two afore mentioned tourists spots are unmissable but Butterfly Lane has to suggest the following touristy visits as well:
A walk down the Seine looking at the street art whilst eating baguettes
Ice cream at Isle de Cite
Shopping in Le Murat
All a must!
Butterfly Lane’s favourite part of town:
This might well be a obvious choice but I just love St Germain. The cobbled streets, chic shops, Cafe Flore, need I go on? In my 'fashion buyer' days this was the area where all the fashion houses head offices were, Herve Ledger, BCBG, Paul Smith, so this area has fashion running through it. Head there for a stylish day out.
Pop in to Flamant for some beautiful home accessories, their products are simple, chic, and without any fuss. We love!
We love this shop! Full of amazing kitchen ware, dining sets, and decorative accessories, it screams French chic. A real must when you are in the city.
For top-notch fashion you must pop in to Colette. The price tags are high but it’s just lovely to walk around this stunning boutique and admire the creations. From clothing to books, make-up and so much more, Colette is the premier shop for fashion design in Paris. They are always looking to push the next best thing, it’s super hip and you can find some really unusual pieces.
Finish your busy day of shopping and sight seeing with some amazing food and cocktails…
Le Chateaubriand, 129 Avenue Parmentier
This restaurant was voted in the top ten in the world in 2011, so firstly, you must book in advance. The boyfriend booked a table weeks in advance and we arrived excited to eat the famous 'deconstructed' cuisine. Unfortunately, when we arrived there was a mix-up, something to do with a Mr Davies in New York and my very own Mr Davies, our table had gone! I must say that the staff were amazing (they must have seen the disappointment slapped across our faces), so we sat in the buzzing bar next door and devoured a bottle of vin, until they could squeeze us in.
It was so worth our wait, we opted for the tasting menu, nine courses of amazing food, along with a drink to match every course. We were there a long time, and all-in-all it was fabulously decadent! The self-taught Basque chef, Inaki Aizpitarte, runs the stylish restaurant with the adventurous menu. The restaurant is all about the food, no fancy soft furnishings, wooden tables are all you're getting. Along with amazing food and great service, that's what Le Chateaubriand is all about. No pomp or ceremony on the menu! I seriously recommend this restaurant and you might just be able to do a bit of celeb spotting too!
Pershing Hall is one of Paris’s hippest hotels, with a fashionable restaurant, full of fashionable diners. Stood swankily in the centre of the Golden Triangle, it makes powerful first impression. You enter through a dramatic colour-changing tunnel leading to a luxurious lobby dominated by an amazing floor-to-ceiling garden, which really makes this restaurant stand out. Eat simple gourmet dishes or in the afternoon the patio becomes a place for afternoon tea, coffee and decadent desserts. Come nightfall, the cosy bar buzzes with ubercoolness. I suggest that after dinner; stretch your legs and wander down the street for cocktails at the Plaza, with the Eiffle Tower twinkling in the background. What a night!
If you have any Paris travel, food or shopping tips, let us know! We always want to discover new things!