Today’s post in honour of Bastille Day, which was last Sunday, I am sharing some of my current, favourite, design-orientated bonnes adresses in Paris:
The image above shows the view of the Parisian skyline, and the Sacré Cœur, from behind the clocks of the Musée d’Orsay.
See + Do
Van Gogh, Starry Night
Atelier des Lumières. 11th Arrondissement: 38 rue Saint Maur
New for 2019 is the immersive Van Gogh, Starry Night exhibition at digital art museum, Atelier des Lumières. Van Gogh’s famous artworks are projected, blown up, onto walls. For 35 minutes you can roam through his paintings at this former foundry listening to the accompanying playlist. The exhibition is an excellent way to explore the artists tumultuous inner life and how this is captured in his work through his use of light and shade. On until December 31st. Tickets must be purchased in advance.
9th Arrondissement: Place de l’Opéra
This ornate opera house was built in 1861-75. The building is highly eclectic borrowing elements from Baroque, Beaux-Arts and Renaissance architecture styles. Designed by Charles Garnier the elaborate façade is extremely impressive although it is not unanimously loved. Le Corbusier described Garnier’s style as “decor of the grave”. Inside is equally awe inspiring with an amazing staircase. You can go in to see the interior, but the queue has always been too long for me. I am waiting to go and see an opera or ballet there.
3rd Arrondissement: 111 Boulevard Beaumarchais
Merci is a concept store selling a curated range of quirky, contemporary clothing and homewares. Located in an old fabric factory the vibe is loft like with their funky, eclectic mix of wares set out over three floors. This is a fun place to explore and the courtyard café is great if you are in need of refreshments.
Galeries Lafayette Haussmann
2nd Arrondissement: 21 Boulevard Haussmann
Galeries Lafayette‘s flagship store on Boulevard Haussmann is a must for Paris shopping. The circular 1900’s building has ornate scalloped arches and wrought iron balconies around the edge and is topped by an Art Nouveau glass dome. Start in the large beauty department on the ground floor before working your way up through designer fashion, books, homewares and accessories. An absolutely stunning luxury bazaar. Pass through to the other building to access the rooftop for free views of the Paris skyline.
Eat + Drink
9th Arrondissement: 20bis, Rue de Douai
Part of the Big Mamma group which has several restaurants in Paris and the newly opened Gloria and Circolo Popolare in London. Pink Mamma, in Pigalle, is perfect before or after exploring Montmatre and the Moulin Rouge. An Italian trattoria with 4 floors, each with its own identity. There are patterned tiles and lampshades, jars of pickled vegetables, flowers and plants, a couple of bars and an open grill. Leather bar stools mix with bistro chairs and rattan seats and on the upper floor is a glass ceiling creating a greenhouse effect in the rooftop room.
The star of the show is steak but there are pizzas, pastas and other Italian dishes as well. The food was pretty good and very reasonably priced but what really sets it apart is the atmosphere and the setting. The queue was wrapped around the building 1/2 an hour before opening. Reservations are taken at lunch.
Hotel Le Bristol, 8th Arrondissement: 112 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré
This elegant café, at luxury hotel Le Bristol, is named after Marie Antoinette. Her mother used to call her Antonia. The decor takes its cue from the former queen who liked the finer things in life. Think fringed sofas, tasselled curtains, ornate mouldings and chic Parisian hospitality. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner but the specialty is Afternoon Tea. Sandwiches, scones, macaroons and petit fours served with tea or champagne. Prices as you’d expect from a 5* hotel.
To dine with a view, check out the Parisian entry on this list of restaurants with breathtaking views.
3rd Arrondissement: 52 Rue du Saintonge
Candelaria is a laid back speakeasy style bar in the Haut Marais. I have included it in this list, not so much for the design but, because it is a fantastic cocktail bar and well worth a visit. Cocktails are Latin American themed, delicious and strong. The bar is accessed through an unmarked white door at the back of a small taqueria with the same name. We were tired on arrival, after dinner, and just wanted 1 drink…..4 cocktails later we spent a while trying to find our hotel 😄 To get a table you need to book.
Operated by the Quixotic Projects who also have Le Mary Celeste, a cocktail and oyster bar, also in the Marais and also worth a visit if you are in the area.
The Hoxton, 2nd Arrondissement: 30-32 Rue du Sentier.
Hip UK hotel chain, the Hoxton, opened its first Parisian hotel in 2017. Jacques’ Bar looks particularly delightful. A comfortable, intimate speakeasy style cocktail bar with colourful seating and English floral wallpaper. The bar is named after the artist Jaques Majorelle who settled in Marrakech. Accordingly the drinks list has a Moroccan theme. I have not visited this bar yet but on my next visit to the capital I will definitely be seeking it out.
Hotel du Petit Moulin
3rd Arrondissement: 29/31 Rue du Poitou
This 4* boutique hotel in the Haut Marais has interiors designed by the Parisian couturier Christian Lacroix. The whimsical rooms are decorated in a wide range of colours and patterns. Lacroix used market finds, his own creations and shop bought furniture to furnish the rooms. It is quite a wild mix in what were ramshackle 17th century apartments that used to house Paris’s first boulangerie. The Marais is a fantastic place to base yourself; lively and central.
Saint James Paris
16th Arrondissement: 43 Avenue Bugeaud
The Saint James is a Relais & Chateaux hotel in the 16th. Its’ neoclassical 19th century façade does not prepare you for the fantastical, quirky interior. Welcome to the world of talented interior designer Bambi Sloan. Given carte blanche to express her vision, Bambi Sloan (what an awesome name!), has created a luxe, theatrical jewel that mixes eras and genres with humour and elegance. From zebra heads in the foyer to the magical wallpaper murals of Au fil des Couleurs, there is a streak of fun and joie de vivre running through the place.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this small selection on what this wonderful city has to offer. One day soon I’ll do an itinerary post for Paris but until then I hope something here sparked your interest if you have a visit planned. XO 💕