Paris is one of my favorite cities, one that I’ve visited every year from my late teens, yet still remains just as magical as the first time. I was in Paris earlier this month for Fashion Week and was excited to revisit my favorite spots, and even added some new ones to the list. The inspiration of the city is still fresh in my mind, so I thought I’d put together a guide of where I like to stay, eat, drink, and play in Paris.
The 6th Arrondissement is the area I call home when I’m in Paris. Located in the heart of the Left Bank and filled with small boutiques, historic sites and famed cafés, this is the quintessential Paris neighborhood. It’s home to the Latin Quarter, the beautiful Luxembourg Gardens and the Saint-Germain-des-Prés, the oldest church in Paris. One of my favorite streets is Rue du Buci (shown in photo above), a lively street for walking, late night bars, restaurants and music.
Paris is home to countless museums, but a few made the top of my list during my recent visit. The Galerie Dior is a stunning three-story museum that covers the history of fashion designer, Christian Dior, France’s most legendary maisons de couture. It truly embodies the spirit of Parisian haute couture, while sharing the history, displaying looks and original sketches, and of course featuring hundreds of gowns, many of which are being shown for the first time. You could easily spend an afternoon here, and it's a must for fashion lovers like myself.
An iconic museum that I’ve returned to time and again is Musée Orangerie. It’s most famous for Monet’s eight Water Lilies murals, which are absolutely breathtaking. It also features a large collection of 20th century works by artists like Paul Cézanne, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso and others.
A close walk from where I like to stay and the perfect spot for a picnic lunch is at the Jardin du Luxembourg. These beautiful gardens cover nearly 60 acres and are split into French gardens and English gardens. There is also an orchard, an apiary where you can learn about bee-keeping and greenhouses with a collection of orchids and a rose garden. Paris is home to many parks, and this is one of the most beautiful.
I just missed the opening of the Mark Rothko exhibit at the Fondation Louis Vuitton, which opens on October 18th. This is the first retrospective in France dedicated to Mark Rothko since 1999. It brings together 115 works from the largest international institutional and private collections. The exhibition traces the artist’s entire career, from his earliest figurative paintings to the abstract work that he is known for today. If I could, I would go back just for this exhibit!
I also visited the reconstruction of Notre Dame, which was damaged by a fire in April 2019. The fire engulfed the spire and most of the roof, but thankfully firefighters were able to control the blaze, saving the main structure. No one was injured and the Catholic relics housed in the cathedral and the works of art were rescued and brought to safety. Stadium seating is currently set up at Notre Dame so people can enjoy the front view that was not burned by the fire. Photos of the aftermath of the fire are also on display, as well as a new cultural space underneath the cathedral that explains the restoration project and showcases sculptures that were preserved.
Dining out in Paris always offers the best of cuisine and wine and lively atmosphere. One of my favorite spots is Chez Fernand, located in the heart of Saint Germain des Prés. This dining institution was founded in 1970 with a passion for delicious, fresh French ingredients – I love the French onion soup and sea bass, but I go for the escargot and fresh bread for dipping.
Located in the 6th arrondissement, La Palette is a cafe and brasserie that offers simple fare for a quick bite to eat. It’s one of the iconic cafes in the Latin Quarter, and was once frequented by artists like Cézanne and Picasso, and later by Ernest Hemingway and Jim Morrison. It’s my favorite spot to enjoy a glass of wine and some cheese, while sitting on the large terrace overlooking rue Jacques-Callot.
La Boissonnerie is a popular restaurant and wine bar and a great spot if you’re in the mood for seafood. Loved by locals and visitors alike, and warmly appreciated for their English-speaking staff. The chef uses fresh, seasonal ingredients to create homemade cuisine that’s creative and authentic. You can’t go wrong with anything on the menu.