New York may be our hometown, but there’s no place like Paris. And Sophie Theallet agrees: the French designer looked as much to Paris as she did to New York when it came to designing her collection for Nine West. Luckily, one of us just got back from a week long sojourn in the City of Lights, where we drank in every last drop of inspiration it had to offer and are now ready to share that with you. Guide books are great but a personal recommendation is even better. Check out our list of the must-see, must-do, and must-eat places in Paris.
1. La Palette There’s no better place in Paris to start or end or, well, spend your whole night. Show up and line up (with the rest of ’em) for a seat outside — the wait is worth it. The snacks are delicious (as is the wine) and you’ll leave with a whole new group of besties, we promise.
2. L’échelle de Jacob When you’ve had your fill at La Palette, take a two block wander through Saint Germain over to this piano bar meets late night lounge. The decor is beautiful — and so are the people.
3. Jardin de Tuileries Paris may be called the City of Lights, but it’s really the city of parks — or, en Francais, jardins. These ones are perfect for a pre- or post-Louvre stroll and are also where all those Paris Fashion Week street style shots are taken.
4. Ladurée Is there anything more quintessentially Parisian than the ever delicious, ever-so-sweet macarons? Now that the experts of the french confection are poised to open up shop on Madison Avenue, it’s even more important to make a pit stop at the home of everything meringue. They also make really good gifts.
5. Thanx God I’m a V.I.P. Vintage In the words of the person who recommended it to us, “Back in the ’90s, party girl Sylvie Chateigner slapped this crazy name on her series of all-the-rage parties (Karl Lagerfeld counted himself among her minions). Eventually, T.G.V. turned into a record label and this amazing showroom of vintage couture carrying enviable YSL blouses, Lanvin dresses, Balenciaga skirts, and much, much more.” Spot on.
6. Place des Vosges According to Wikipedia, this is the oldest planned square in Paris. According to us, it’s a great place to hang out in the midday sun, followed by a tour through the square’s bordering galleries and restaurants.
7. Robert et Louise While you’re in the Marais, you should make a point to go to this cozy, brick-walled restaurant which specializes in hearth cooked meats. That said, the duck confit is to die for.
8. Jardin du Luxembourg What’s that? You really enjoyed the Jardin de Tuileries and are looking for another gorgeously landscaped park to spend an afternoon moseying through? The Jardin du Luxembourg has your name written all over it. Pack a baguette, some wine, a good book, and when you’re done walking, sunbathe in one of the ever-present garden chairs. We’ll see you in a couple hours.
9. Poilane Bakery While we’ve got you on the left bank, head on over to Poilane for one of the city’s (and the world’s) most famous pain au chocolat. While you’re there, grab some bread, a raisin bun, and basically whatever else you can get your hands on. It’s guaranteed to be delicious.
10. Chez L’Ami Jean After you’ve done your dutiful Eiffel Tower tour (because, honestly, you just kind of have to), pop in to this ever popular Basque restaurant for dinner. (But not before making a reservation, because you’ll need one.) Don’t worry if your table isn’t ready, just crowd around the bar and sate your appetite with a charcuterie board — it’s on the house. The menu is pretty much a pre-fixe (but for 42 euros, it’s kind of a steal) and go nuts. Make sure to order the rice pudding for dessert.
11. Rodin Museum Because you can’t go to Paris without someone harping on you to go to a museum, may we kindly recommend this one? Not only is it mainly outdoors (those Parisians love their gardens), but it’s crazy cool. You don’t have to give a hoot about Rodin to enjoy strolling through the property’s (manicured) woods while perusing some insanely detailed statues. And at the very least, you’ll make your mom proud.
12. Le Marais Le Marias, friends, is where you will rent your apartment. Because if you’re gonna go to Paris, you should most definitely stay in an apartment. Le Marais is famous for its shopping, its galleries, and its delicious restaurants — and it’s also the place where Galliano got seriously busted. Adorable and oh-so-French apartments are available starting at about 100 Euros a night. Do your due diligence and you’ll make out like a bandit.
13. Berthillon Ice Crean Close out your trip with a visit to this famed ice cream shop. Just don’t get lured in by one of their fakeout franchises. The only one worth visiting is located on Ile Saint Louis. Your tastebuds will thank you.