This season, we’re inspired by the chicest of locales: the one- the only- Paris. We’ve reached out to some of our friends, family and associates to bring you insider tips on all things French, from that je ne sais quoi that makes French women so stylish, to favorite off-the-beaten track bistros, to what to pack, to those things you can only do in la Ville Lumière. First up, Jamie Lewinger, our chic friend of the blog More Than Turquoise, who stops in Paris twice a year, on her way to visit her mother in the French countryside.
Q: What must you absolutely see and do in Paris?
A: Parisians know that the rooftop of Galeries Lafayette is the best place for the most fabulous, panoramic view of the city… without the crowds. I tell every friend who is traveling to Paris that this is a MUST do. (You also MUST go to the basement of Galeries Lafayette to see the largest women’s shoe department ever!)
Other “musts” are enjoying a cup of the famous hot chocolate (le chocolat chaud ) at Angelina, taking a side trip to shop for vintage jewelry at the huge flea market Marche Aux Puces Saint Ouen, the Louvre Museum (pro tip: you can purchase your tickets online to avoid the forever line and enter though a side entrance), Le Maison DIOR , and dinner at Loulou (the chicest restaurant located in the stunning Musée des Arts Décoratifs).
Q. Spill the tea. What are your hidden gems and secret spots?
A. I really enjoy a cocktail at one of the speakeasy style hidden bars of Paris, such as the L’Epicier, taking a stroll (and many instagram pics) by the cute houses that are painted in the bright colors of the rainbow on Rue Cremieux, shopping for antique covered books, old manuscripts & fashion magazines and even old vinyl records at Georges Brassens Book Market and visiting the Pere Lachaise Cemetery where you’ll find the gravesites of Chopin, Oscar Wilde, and Jim Morrison, just to name a few.
Q. What’s your favorite place to stay while in Paris?
A. Although the Hotel Plaza Athénée* is dreamy, my husband and I nearly always stay at the Hotel Westminster, nicely located in the 2nd arrondissement, walking distance from the historic Opera Garnier (considered by many to be THE MOST beautiful building in Paris) and Place Vendome on the famed Rue De la Paix. In my opinion, everything you want to see is in this area.
*Editor’s note: The iconic Plaza Athénée is where Carrie Bradshaw stayed on “Sex In the City”
Q. Have you visited Paris over the Holidays before? What is it like?
A. I have! There’s a beautiful Christmas Lights Tour that includes 150,000 lights illuminating the Champs-Elysées, a cabaret show at Paris Lido, a pastry and chocolate tour, ice skating in front of the Eiffel Tower and Christmas markets galore. It’s a magical time to go.
Q. What’s your definition of French Style?
A. I think French Style is all about being effortlessly chic. To me that means looking pulled together without looking like you spent hours trying to doing so.
Q. What’s your favorite French saying? How does that translate into English?
A. My favorite saying is a fashion quote from Yves Saint Laurent: “S’habiller est un mode de vie,” which means “Dressing is a way of life.” I live by this! How I dress is an expression of me and how I’m feeling on that particular day. I wake up every day looking forward to deciding what I am going to wear.
For more great style tips and travel ideas from Jamie subscribe to her blog, More than Turquoise. For more gorgeous parisian inspired style, see Chico’s New Arrivals.