My goodness. Paris was just THE BEST. Incroyable. Magnifique. Okay, I’ll stop using up all of the French words I know. This was my fourth time visiting, but my first time going without a boyfriend/on a girls trip. Paris is an incredibly romantic city but it was really, really fun experiencing it with a female friend – we could be unabashedly girly and do all of the fancy things… shopping, sitting in cute cafes, sipping champagne, eating crepes… and so on and so forth. Originally I had planned to go by myself but at the last minute, Briony decided to join me, which was just so spontaneous and fun. Also, she had a better handle on the best shops and neighborhoods to wander around so I got to have my own personal tour guide.
We stayed in the most magical One Fine Stay apartment, right on Rue Saint Honoré. It was the perfect location: steps away from Palais Royal and the Louvre, above a cute little floral shop… so dreamy. The photos do a better job illustrating how lovely it was but let’s just say I did not want to leave. I could have a very nice life just living in this apartment forever and ever.
What I loved most about our charming apartment was how Parisian it felt. From the high ceilings to the upholstered chairs + headboard in the bedroom (to the giant silver bath tub), it was just… absolutely dreamy! I will let the photos do the talking, but if you are planning a trip (especially with a group), I can’t say enough good things about One Fine Stay – or our apartment, for that matter. It’s like getting to stay in a really nice apartment (so you can get a neighborhood vibe) but with the amenities of a hotel (someone meets you to let you in, they give you an iPhone that has everything you could ever want, their concierge will even fill the fridge with groceries if you’d like).
Palais Royale in all it’s glory. For more pics of this beautiful spot, see this post. The best.
So basically, we arrived, dropped off our bags, and dashed out for something very important: COFFEE. We strolled through Palais Royale (so dreamy as I said), and to Café Kitsuné – an instagram favorite but also, just really great coffee. From there it was a stroll through the garden and then an attempt to get lunch at a cute spot that had wine and cheese. I say attempt as we were not allowed in with our Café Kitsuné cups. The host literally refused us because we had coffee cups! Oh, Paris. We quickly found another great spot – a cute little cafe right on the edge of the park. We ordered (and shared) a big salad and a Croque Madame because… well, because, Paris! Also, champagne (0f course!)
After lunch, it was a bit of shopping. As I mentioned, Briony knew all of the really beautiful places to shop. Our first stop was Astier de Villatte (pictured below!) I was enamored by all of the beautiful porcelain – although I experienced a bit of sticker shock. The tiny mug I picked up was 90 euro! Still, I loved this little store. It was so rickety and charming… and packed from floor to ceiling with beautiful china treasures.
After Astier, we wandered into Colette – another Parisian MUST. Colette stocks all of the coolest in French fashion, but their beauty department is to die for. A little fact about me is that when I travel, I love buying perfume. As fragrance is so evocative, it brings back such strong memories. I ended up buying Byredo Pulp (a massive deal, given the exchange rate) and this gorgeous little hair clip (I’d been looking for something like it FOREVER now and was so excited to find it!) Pulp smells incredible… a little bit citrusy, but also there are crushed figs in there. It’s sweet and delicious and as I doused myself in it for the entire trip, I will forever think of Paris when I wear it.
After all that shopping, we scrambled over (taking the Metro – I was proud of us!) to Tannat to meet my friend Lindsey. Lindsey knows Paris and she knows food (see also: her blog, her book!), so I knew we would be in for a treat. It did not disappoint. The food was exquisite (I especially enjoyed the deconstructed French onion soup!) and the restaurant itself was just really lovely… casual but still very elegant.
The next day, I was up early to shoot with Hana! She was incredible to work with (I love how the photos turned out but she’s also very nice and so knowledgable about Paris – she was able to suggest some beautiful places to shoot!)
After shooting, I was starving so met back up with Briony for a delicious lunch at Le Café Marly. I loved this place! I mean, first of all… it’s adjacent to The Louvre which is the perfect spot. Second, it was a warm winter day. The porch has heat lamps, but it was really sunny out. So we sat on the sun drenched porch, sipping wine, people watching, etc. etc. Heaven on a sunny day. I had another Croque Madame and a glass of wine and it was pretty much perfect. (Note: as we were in Paris, and only for two days, all diet rules were out the window).
After food, there was only one thing to do… shop some more!!!
To be clear, our shopping was mostly of the window-shopping variety. Chanel, Goyard… all of the beautiful iconic spots that you kind of just have to do while in Paris! Fun fact: that Chanel is the only one that gives its shoppers white bags (instead of black). Briony got one – she bought a pretty pink nail polish. It was fun to wander… and dream a little! I needed a little introvert time so I left Briony at Chanel and ventured over to Museé de L’Orangerie. The museum is home to Monet’s famous waterlily murals. There are two rooms dedicated to them. I have loved the impressionist painters since I was a child and visit this museum EVERY time I visit Paris. It isn’t very big so you can see the whole thing in an hour or less and those murals are just so dreamy.
After the museum I wandered through the Tuileries, and was surprised by this incredible view. I mean… WOW. The Eiffel Tower at sunset – such a treat!
I met back up with Briony at Hotel Costes (one of Paris’s fanciest, most amazing hotels and a great spot to grab a drink!) We had a little rosé (and some of the hotel’s yummy peppery potato chips) and decided to do The Left Bank (La Rive Gauche) for dinner. Geographically, the Left Bank is the southern bank of The Seine. But what you really need to know is that The Left Bank = Midnight in Paris. It’s the old school Paris where all of the great artists, writers and philosophers hung out. Think Hemingway, Picasso, Gertrude Stein, Matisse, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and so on and so forth. I was really excited to pay it a visit. We decided on Brasserie Lipp for (heavenly!) steak frites.
After dinner, we wandered home on foot… after all the food from the day, a walk felt very nice! We walked across the bridge over the Seine, through the Louvre, and back to our beautiful little apartment.
The next day, we had to leave at 3 so we got up early and walked to Le Marais. Le Marais is presently the trendiest neighborhood in Paris. Everyone I knew said that we had to go. And of course, I loved every second.
There was more shopping (notably: Annick Goutal, Cire Trudon). There was also quite a bit of eating. We had the most incredible crepes at Suzette Creperie. It was warm enough to sit outside and there was a really wonderful street band playing nearby… it felt like something out of a dream! We did quite a bit of walking (through beautiful Place de Vosges) and ended up at The Picasso Museum. To be honest, the museum was a bit of a disappointment as two floors were closed, but we still saw some beautiful art and learned quite a bit of Picasso, so it was still worth the trip. I’d like to go back on my next visit and see more!
Depending upon how much time you’ve spent on the site, you may have seen my new travel guide pages. I’ve been blogging for so long now that I really wanted to find a way to “store” all of my travel content in one easy place… making it easy for you to find everything you need, based upon the location you are visiting. The France travel guide is totally up to date with recommendations from this trip (+ a few other trips). Enjoy! 😉
And a BIG thank you to One Fine Stay for letting us stay in our lovely apartment!!!!
photos of me by Briony Whitehouse.