Since the beginning of the 20th century, Paris has been an escape for globe-trotting American dreamers. From Ernest Hemingway to F. Scott Fitzgerald and Gertrude Stein, these disillusioned expats clamored to Paris in hopes of shedding inhibitions and ended up leaving an abundance of romantic and profound literature in their wake. Inspired by these pioneers, creative folk from around the world now flock year after year to this breeding ground of the arts for creative stimulation. Whether sipping an espresso at an open-air cafe, shopping at tucked away boutiques in the quarter of Le Marais, or coalescing over French cuisine and a bottle of Merlot, Paris has an intoxicating allure that has kept GrandLife coming back each season to host our ‘This is New York’ party in celebration of Paris Fashion Week. With only three days beneath the glimmering lights, it was a race to experience Paris’ best-kept secrets, and here is what we uncovered.
5 PM, COFFEE
1 Rue Bretagne, 75003 Paris, France
After the tiring journey down from our stay in London, GrandLife decided to stop in for a shot of espresso in the corner coffee locale, Le Progrès. A meeting place for a range of artists, writers, and designers (a personal favorite of our friends at Surface to Air), the eclectic crowd seeks refuge here from breakfast to cocktails amidst the Parisian-style floor to ceiling windows perfect for people watching.
7 PM, DINNER
La Poule au Pot
9 Rue Vauvilliers, 75001
Once we had our bearings, La Poule Au Pot was our first choice for classic French brasserie fare before a night out. An intimate setting outfitted in Art Deco décor, La Poule Au Pot has been serving up an excellent selection of dishes since it opened in 1935. Our favorites included the escargots and the restaurant’s famous chicken in a pot accented with pâté and vegetables.
9 PM, DRINKS
With multiple mingling destinations on the night’s itinerary, we stopped in first to Le Baratin for a low-key atmosphere that remains inherently chic. A distinguished wine list is the catalyst for full-bodied burgundy beverages that sit atop worn wooden tabletops in an antique-laden location just above Paris’ Belleville Park.
172 Boulevard Saint-Germain, 75006
Situated as Le Montana’s next-door neighbor, Café Flore has been the St. Germain hangout of the past century’s leading tastemakers and intellectuals since WWII. Make room for Lagerfeld at your crimson banquette, Café Flore’s corner spot with sprawling outdoor setting entices the Parisian elite every night for cocktails and aged wines in one of the most famous cafes in the world.
12 AM, PARTY
28, Rue Saint-Benoît 75006
After pre-drinks in the historic Café Flore, GrandLife sauntered just one door down for after-hours at the very dimly lit nightlife haunt Le Montana. Owned and operated by nightlife veterans Andre Saraiva and Purple magazine’s Olivier Zahm, this intimate watering hole boasts a fresh-faced fashion crowd with rare but covetable Lagerfeld guest-appearances for a night to remember.
12 PM, COFFEE
38 Rue de Bretagne, 75003
With shows afoot and the day jam-packed, GrandLife took a mid-day breather at our hamburger haven, Café Charlot. A refined crowd frequents this brasserie daily for a convivial atmosphere beneath a canopy of red awnings, as well as complimentary wifi for any patrons seeking a work-friendly hideaway.
2 PM, SHOPPING
26 Rue des Champs Elysées
After lunch, we followed our resident DJ and avant-garde frontman, Mike Nouveau, to his favorite Parisian shopping retreat. First opened on the iconic Champs Elysees and more recently on rue de Sevigne, L’Eclaireur is a concept design store that houses luxury brands including Prada, Helmut Lang, Ann Demeulemeester, and Dries Van Noten. Part interactive installation and part retail venture, the Sevigne outpost is an architectural dreamscape for fashion and art enthusiasts alike.
111 Boulevard Beaumarchais, 73003
Merci! We say “thank you” to owner, Bonpoint founder, and philanthropist, Marie-France Cohen for our favorite shopping spot located in a renovated textile factory in the heart of Le Marais. Selling everything from vintage designer pieces to contemporary ready-to-wear, and even a slew of curated knick-knacks, Merci’s duplex abode stocks merchandise that makes it nearly impossible not to reach for your wallet, especially when proceeds are being donated to charity.
Surface to Air
68 Rue Charlot, 75003 Paris, France
Next up on our shopping list was Surface to Air- the original dwelling of S2A creations in the gallery-meets-boutique designed by Frederico Masotto. Most recently the brand has become notable for their desirable collaborations with cultural contemporaries including leather moto jackets by Kid Cudi and Kings of Leon, as well as creations by fashion’s leading DJ turned ‘it-girl’, Leigh Lezark.
20, Rue Andre del Sarte
Zig-zagging our way through arrondissements, GrandLife set its sights on A.P.C’s rustically chic surplus store perched on rue Andre del Sarte. APC+ houses a plentiful stock of the brand’s Parisian streetwear at prices that won’t break the bank- most of them at 50 percent off.
4 Rue des Rosiers
75004 Paris, France
Fast fashion grows up at H & M’s big sister retail venture, COS (Collection of Style) on Rue des Rosiers. The French outpost, designed by William Russell, is a minimalist oasis for a more sophisticated rendition of the inexpensive trendy digs that roll out each season from the Swedish powerhouse.
7 PM, DINNER
12 Rue Fidélité, 75010
After a long day of shopping, a dinner out was crucial for our evening prep. Nestled in the 10th Arrondissement, we settled on La Fidélité- the cradle of cool from Paris’ ma-about-towns Andre Saraiva and Lionel Bensemoun. After dining on plates of oysters and the lamb shank with preserved lemons and almonds, the black and white eatery unfolds into the night with a wild Karaoke party that commences downstairs.
9 PM, DRINKS
16 Rue Cloche Percé, 75004
For a taste of grunge, we dipped our toes in the hipster hangout of Stolly’s on Rue Cloche. Mirroring the dimly-illuminated East Village drinking den, Lit, Stolly’s is known for its no-frills attitude, as well as its rocker regulars soaking up affordable drink options on any given night.
78 Rue Vieille du Temple, 75003
If glamorous grit doesn’t quench your thirst, we recommend La Perle as an evening hangout. Saturated in the posh atmosphere of Le Marais district of which it resides, Le Perle draws a crowd that is well-heeled and most likely coming straight from the tents.
11 PM, PARTY
6 Avenue Marceau, 75008 Paris, France
How could we talk about nightlife without mentioning Le Baron? Andre Saraiva and Lionel Bensemoun’s reign continues with their pint-sized club that is just large enough for the selected guests that are granted entry by the scrutinizing gatekeeper. Behind the illuminated top hat that marks its hidden location, Le Baron is the most popular A-list venue for after-dark hangouts, as well as one of our favorite destinations to host our annual ‘This is New York’ fetes.
47 Rue Berger, 75001
After a few hours at Le Baron, the space began to get a bit cramped and it was time to move on. GrandLife’s next go-to nightlife choice was Cha Cha- the 1930’s inspired restaurant/ bar/ club where a beautiful crowd can sink into the overstuffed velvet furniture of the fumoir, or lose themselves in carousal while looking over the gardens of Les Halles. Cheeky club accoutrements include a bathtub and even an upon-request hidden bedroom.
39 Rue des Petites Écuries, 75010
Originally a synagogue, Le Pompon is spilling irony onto the streets with its fashionably clad guests who are drawn to both levels for superior cocktail service that come complete with the town’s most sought after DJs. The wood paneled top tier gives way to a dance party in the retro-adorned basement.
Hot off the press, the Silencio Club is the visionary cultural brainchild from pop culture icon, David Lynch. Rife with custom furniture and irreverent mirrored ceilings, the members-only club that opens to the selected public at an ultra-cool time of 12am offers a curated range of cinema, concerts and guest DJs all set in the former Montemarte Socialist and left-wing underground printing house.
10 AM, BREAKFAST
16 Rue Royale, 75008
With a long night behind us, what else could be a better breakfast than the sweet offerings of Ladurée? Beneath a gilded awning, Ladurée is the original location of the double-decker macaroon, and over time its name has become synonymous with the French cookies that have become a craze: macarons.
1 pm, SHOPPING
52 Rue de Richelieu, 75001
Macaron in hand, we made our way over to Kitsune to view the Parisian designer’s latest offerings for shoppers on the cultural cusp. Boasting “timeless-elegance,” Kitsune is pure Parisian chic ready-to-wear that never skimps on quality and is notable for partaking in unique collaborations with brands including APC, Colette, and Pierre Hardy.
213 Rue Saint-Honoré, 75001
O, Colette- doing us in every visit to Paris. Similar to New York City’s Opening Ceremony, Colette ushers in a blend of designer looks and hodge-podge art and collaboration items each season to serve as an inspirational playground as well as a boutique concept store. It is a channel for the obscure and desirable, you can be sure to walk away with every item you never thought you wanted or in some cases needed.
233 Rue St Honoré, 75001
For the slightly more old-world luxury, Goyard is just a stone’s throw away on Rue St. Honoré. The classic French brand is famous for crafting superior quality luggage and accessories- ideal for toting home all of the goodies you managed to snatch up throughout your travels.
3 PM, LUNCH
Hotel Costes Garden
239 Rue Saint-Honoré, 75001
Just down the street from Goyard and Colette we settled in for lunch at the Hotel Costes’s garden. Excessive décor has no barriers at this hotel- the vibe is sheer opulence in which guests can indulge in the aristocratic flavors that take precedence over the space and menu.
9 PM, DINNER
47 Rue Bretagne, 75003
After hearing rave reviews time and time again about Moroccan eatery, Chez Omar, GrandLife decided to partake in the action. Modeled in the style of an antiqued French bistro, Chez Omar dishes out plentiful portions of tender lamb and couscous that harness inspiration from its North African foundation.
10 PM, DRINKS
7 Rue Chambiges, 75008
Rounding out the last of our stay, Le Stresa was the final destination for an evening of drinks to bask in the last moments of Paris. Renowned for their experienced Italian fare, Le Stresa filters in a revolving door of high profile diners for an intimate experience amongst the warm décor and abundant candlelight. Complete with patio, the sophisticated establishment in the 8th district is consistently buzzing throughout the evening with Parisian locals.