Today is my last day in Paris. I am so in love with this city that I always find that any excuse is a good excuse to come here. My last visit had been during spring Fashion Week and my schedule was so hectic then, that I didn’t get to do some of my favourite Paris activities, like discovering new up-and-coming designer boutiques, visiting art galleries, updating my wardrobe or just sitting at a coffee shop watching people walk by as I dig into a delicious pan au chocolat. This time around however, I took full advantage of my days here and the number of shopping bags sitting on my bed at the Westin Paris - Vendôme are living proof of the retail success of my trip.
My first stop during my shopping spree in Paris was the chic Cécile et Jeanne boutique, a gorgeous jewelry and accessories store where I always seem to find a unique, fun and playful piece to make a simple outfit stand out. I got myself a great natural rubber and canvas sport shoes on a black and white print, perfect for my walking days in the city of love. I couldn’t resist walking away with two of her handcrafted rings, a gorgeous brass butterfly ring and a silver ring with two tangled flowers.
I’ve always loved Madame à Paris in the 1st Arrondissement. They have this je ne sais quoi parisian touch and work with passionate French and European manufacturers that bring a chic and creative spirit to fashion. I found a pink A-line skirt that I thought was fabulous and a soft chiffon polka dot loose shirt.
I really needed a new penny purse and I found the perfect Hermès pink leather pouch at Catherine B. Catherine B is one of the original vintage shops in Paris located in one of the nicest streets in the neighborhood. Its owner has specialized in carrying Hermès and Chanel desireable and rare vintage clothes and accessories for over two decades. I also came across a Chanel blue and pink scarf with a very interesting and chic pattern that I simply had to have.
So much shopping opened up my appetite and so I stopped for lunch at Semilla, a fresh and contemporary bistro where I enjoyed a lovely salad, a small saint germain soup and the most perfect seafood risotto.
Avenue Montaigne at the east end of the Champs-Élysées is a must stop for any serious fashion-lover. Whether you want to shop the world’s best-known designer haute couture, or do some window shopping, Avenue Montaigne is a shopaholic's paradise. Dior and Ungaro create haute couture garments, while Chanel, Prada, Giorgio Armani, Ferragamo, Celine, Louis Vuitton, Valentino, Nina Ricci, Roberto Cavalli, Akris, Dolce and Gabbana and Ralph Lauren, all bunched side by side, offer pret-a-porter fashion. I did get myself a beautiful Celine white right-above the-knee trench coat, but my main reason for visiting the Avenue, was to see the couture that made it off the catwalk this past spring. I love going into the Montaigne Market because, in my opinion, they have one of the best-edited collections of designer frocks anywhere. They had a wonderful line-up of Valentino, Alexander McQueen and Stella McCartney little black dresses the day I visited.
I can’t pick a favorite restaurant in Paris. It would just be unfair with so much great food, to name only one, but I was craving the roasted breast of duck on the bone and the sweet potato chips of different colors from Guy Savoy, so I made plans with a friend to meet there for dinner one night. We sat in the Louvre dining room and talked for hours. I also had the artichoke and black truffle soup served with a toasted mushroom brioche with truffle butter and for dessert, a perfect vanilla bean mille-feuille.
The night I met my friend for dinner, she mentioned she had an appointment at Le Coiffeur de Pleine Lune for a full moon haircut the following night, but she would be unable to make it. With such appointments being highly coveted, I gladly took her spot. The avant garde coiffeur has been keeping his salon open all night when there is a full moon since 1985, keeping in line with the ancient theory that cutting ones hair during a full moon stimulates hair follicles, providing better and stronger hair growth after cutting. My appointment wasn’t until 11:30pm, so I went to a nearby bar for a drink after having had dinner at Le Meurice. I sat at the bar and ordered a black rose cocktail. It was a quiet night at the bar so I was chit chatting with the waiter. A handsome, thirtysomething, well dressed man sat next to me a few minutes later and joined the conversation. He introduced himself as Patrick. The time flew by so quickly (I guess that’s what happens when you are having a good time), I looked at my watch and it was already time to leave for my appointment. He thought it was hilarious that I was getting my haircut at almost midnight, asked for my phone number and said we should “hang out” next time I visit New York, where he is from.
After a week of shopping, eating and strolling in the gorgeous Paris, I am truly content, sitting at the desk of my hotel suite, writing, as I finish my coffee from Brûlerie de Belleville and the last piece of croissant.