Is there anything more special than a vacation with your daughter, especially one in Paris? Made all the sweeter by a shared love of shopping, gallery hopping and good food, it’s the trip we wish for all of our readers.
Some things you should know:
- You are unlikely to find bad food in Paris. It’s okay to eat at places without Michelin ratings. But if you can afford them, the 3-star meals can be a mind-blowing experience.
- Hotels, especially of the 4- and 5-star variety, can be outrageously expensive, so book online for savings. If you’re willing to pay in advance, you could save 10 or 15%. Plus, expensive does not equal roomy! Paris hotel rooms are notoriously petite. Most sites list room area (in meters).
- Store sales only happen twice a year (in 2013: January 9-February 12 and June 29-July 30), so you may want to plan your trip accordingly.
- The Metro system is one of the best in the world; taxis are rarely necessary. Buy a carnet de billets at your first station to make life easier.
- The last two numbers of the code postale are the Arrondissement (i.e. 75003 is the 3rd arrondissement, aka Le Marais).
- If you are an avid museum fan, make sure to buy one of the museum passes that allows you to jump the line.
Oú sont les hôtels? (Where to Sleep)
Hotel La Belle Juliette
This charming, 4-star boutique hotel is a little bohemian, and we like it that way. Located on the chic Left Bank, it’s on a quiet section of the street, but a short walk from the shops and restaurants of Saint-Germain. 92, rue du Cherche-Midi, 75006, hotel-belle-juliette-paris.com
Hotel Plaza Athenée
This classic Parisian 5-star luxury hotel has a Dior Institut Spa on premise. Rooms are light and bright; ask for a quieter room overlooking the ivy-and flower-strewn courtyard. 25, Avenue Montaigne, 75008, plaza-athenee-paris.com
Park Hyatt Paris Vendome
This grand 5-star beauty is located near great shopping and the Paris Opera. Gorgeous domed courtyard atrium is where you’ll enjoy a fabulous breakfast, or a bottle of wine. 5, rue de la Paix, 75002, paris.vendome.hyatt.com
J’ai Faim (Where to Eat)
A fourth generation chef, Darroze is justifiably proud of her Michelin star. She is “trying to create a cuisine full of instincts and emotions.” This beautiful restaurant is near the Luxembourg Gardens. Lunch Menu 52 euros; Dinner Tasting Menu 125 euros (6-course); 175 euros (8-course). 4, rue d’Assas, 75006, helenedarroze.com
Le Pre Catelan
Frederic Anton is chef de cuisine at this 3-star Michelin stunner, nestled in the Central Park equivalent of Paris. 4-course Lunch, 95 euros; Le Menu de Saison, 190 euros; Le Menu de Pre, 240 euros. Bois de Boulogne, route des Suresnes, 75016, precatelan.paris.com
Chicago’s own Daniel Rose presides over a kitchen that has taken Paris foodies by storm. Market-fresh, no-choice menu, but you will love every last bite. 3-course Lunch, 44 euros; 7-course Dinner, 76 euros. Believe me, it’s a bargain. 6, rue Bailleul, 75001, springparis.fr
Le Dernier Cri (Where to Shop)
If you’re lucky enough to make it during sale season, you might actually buy something at one of the designer stores that line the rue Faubourg Saint-Honore. Find classic designers like Versace, Hermes, YSL, Burberry, et mais oui, Chanel.
This uber-cool and funky neighborhood is filled with great boutiques, antiques and galleries, not to mention falafel. Check out the great vinyl purses at Anne-Charlotte Goutal, hip clothes at Kookai, up-and-coming designers at Simonne & Lisa B., or the special knitwear at Spanish designer Sita Murt’s eponymous store.
No Parisian shopping excursion would be complete without paying homage at the incroyable Belle Epoque department stores on the Boulevard Haussmann, Printemps and Galeries Lafayette. The food halls and the fashion are amazing.
Pas Ennui (Where to Go)
Julie wonders, if you aren’t in Paris for the food, why exactly are you here? Stop at the Sunday Organic Market held on the Boulevard Raspail between Cherche-Midi and rue de Rennes to ogle and fondle the impeccably fresh fruits, vegetables, cheeses, meats and breads. Then waddle over to the best macarons in Paris: Pierre Herme, 72 rue Bonaparte, 75006. As long as you’re there, pick up some of their dark chocolate-enrobed sweets and pates de fruits.
Two Spectacular Museums
We recommend the full Monet experience. Hop a train and visit his Giverny gardens, an hour east of Paris, followed by a pilgrimage to his magnificent water lily panels at the Musee de l’Orangerie. Also? The Musee d’Orsay, housed in the incredible Beaux-Arts former train station, is filled with all of your favorite Impressionists and Post-Impressionists (Renoir, Degas, Cezanne, Gaugin, Van Gogh).
Les Puces: Paris Flea
Out on the northern outskirts of Paris is the Paris Flea Market, plenty of schlock, sure, but some incredible antique and art finds as well. Wade through the forest of tee shirts, scarves, and shoes and come out the other side into a rabbit’s warren of incredible little shops stuffed with special finds. Either way, it’s an experience. And that’s why you’re in Paris, n’est-ce pas?