THE CITY OF BLINDING LIGHTS
If I am going to take time off from work, I like to make it really worth my while. This is why my husband and I decided to schedule a summer trip to one of the most romantic cities in the world - Paris, France. That, and the fact that my better half speaks the language!
It took me two weeks to finalize what to pack, one month to figure out where to stay, and six months to research to where to shop. What resulted was an unforgettable experience and perfect itinerary from start to finish. Here are some of my favorite places in Paris (and some that you won’t find in every guidebook):
WHERE TO STAY: HOTEL KEPPLER
Hidden in the plush 16th arrondissement, off the Champs-Élysées and à côté to Avenue Montaigne is the Hôtel Keppler. The hotel was designed by Pierre-Yves Rochon (who also did the Four Seasons George V in Paris and the Sofitel Chicago) and his goal was to reflect a spirit of discretion, intimacy, and refined indulgence. The 34 rooms and five suites feature bases of black and white, with splashes of color. The staff is attentive, the rooms are cozy (it is Paris after all), but it’s located on a quiet street within walking distance of the Eiffel Tower and Arch de Triumph.
WHERE TO EAT: SPRING
We first read about Chicago-born chef, Daniel Rose’s restaurant in the New York Times. The restaurant, located in the Ninth Arrondissement of Paris, seats 28 people and books months in advance. We secured a spot for dinner about two months out and enjoyed a multi-course meal and wine pairing that tickled our palettes for hours. The chef doesn’t allow substitutions for the meal so vegetarians beware! The staff was the friendliest of any Parisian restaurant we tried and they had no qualms about switching from French to English. The meal was amazing and worth the trip!
WHERE TO SHOP: LE MARAIS NEIGHBORHOOD The best shopping district is Le Marais, which is located in the 3rd and 4th arrondissements. While everyone tells you to shop on the Left Bank, Le Marais, in my opinion, is MUCH better. The way that I equate it to Chicagoans is that the Left Bank is akin to Lincoln Park and Le Marais is Wicker Park/Bucktown. The neighborhood is filled with emerging designers, boutiques and restaurants.
My favorite store in Paris was located in the Marais neighborhood and is called l’Eclaireur. The boutique opened in 2009 and is home some of the most unique pieces from Lanvin, Versace, Alberra Ferretti, Giambattista Valli, Jasmine de Milo and others. It is has a mix of art, luxury brands and technology; the mixed media walls have the ability to rise and fall. Armand and Martine Hadida (the owners) have been quoted saying that they use the store to play with the concept of discovery: “this is not a store, it’s an experience.”