Paris is another hub for the arts and of course fashion, so a lot of people I know have their own version of the beautiful city. My Paris is a huge source of inspiration for food, art, and culture. It has a great impact on my work to say the least. Its a city where I relearned my table manners, sunk my teeth into the best croissant in the world, and where women parading the streets with little to no makeup on, in utter nonchalant-ness. Wonderful.
Every stone surface, marble floor, forged iron fence, grandaddy fruit tree, and crack in the pavement is a magnificent mark of time, and I think the French are right to be preserving it with a mighty stubborn foot. Their traditionalist behaviour may be frustrating to many, but it somehow works and I admire them for keeping things old school. So I tip my hat to inspirational juju that’s rooted in Paris, and the many colourful characters who explore the Universe in a wonderfully French light.
Shot by our pal Bill Gentle.
/ 1st ARRONDISSMENT /
/ Jardin des Tuileries /
This is such an iconic place for most people to soak up the midday sun en route to the Louvre or perhaps to take some more Eiffel tower selfies from a distance. For me, I think of crack-of-dawn exercise sessions with my pal Nigel Cabourn who motivates me with his enthusiasm for lifting 7kg medicine balls against the rising sun and most picturesque garden ever. I pinch myself every training session I have here, and you will too.
/ E. Dehillerin /
Since I was a young culinary school student, I dreamt of owning my own set of traditional French copper saucepans. E. Dehillerin is a Paris institution for cooking supplies and just about every kind of chocolate mould, chiffon tin, fish kettle, whisk, skillet, you name it, they have it. It’s an impressive library, chaotic yet organised with the highest ceilings to stack more stockpots I suppose. It’s an emporium for culinary tools and trophies
/ Marche de St-Honore /
The Parisian farmers market experience is really not to be missed. Here is where locals still get their weekly produce and have a chat to the makers, providors, and farmers. Food culture in France is so strong that going to market is an important aspect of life and happiness. Have a smell of the incredible wild chanterelles if they’re in season, or take a chunk of artisanal cheese and a fresh baguette for a great afternoon in the Jardin du Tuileries down the road.
/ Fragonard Musee de Parfum /
A huge part of being a French woman is about wearing perfume. Paris, home to the world’s top perfume houses, is no less than your ultimate destination for scent shopping, so it would be a crime not to go understand where it came from, and how smells work at the Fragonard Museum of Perfume.
/ Claus La Table Du Petit Dejeuner /
Tucked away in a narrow lane way you’ll find Claus La Table Du Petit-Déjeuner, a charming little daytime dining spot, facing its own epicerie (or deli if you like). The deli is stocked with a good spread of conserves, teas, and some really proper chocolates like Marou (my personal favourite single origin chocolate from Vietnam). You’ll want to have a little snack at Claus before you begin kitchenware browsing at E. Dehillerin, so I would recommend tucking into a cinnamon scroll or come at the start of the day for their classic continental breakfast and/or an omelette.
/ 4th ARRONDISSMENT /
/ Mariage Frères Tea – Maison de Thé à Paris /
You should have tea at Mariage Freres. It’s not because of their incredibly elegant afternoon tea service, or their extensive tea list with so many acronyms you’ll need a second piece of paper to decode them. It’s not because of their beyond charming blends that take you on a trip around the world and back, nor is it because they are so renowned globally for being the best in the tea trade. It’s because they surround themselves around principles of prestige, raffinement and tradition, which is why their are in a class of their own. It’s a very fine tea experience indeed
/ L’Eclair de Genie /
I was always curious why people came flocking to buy €5 éclairs at this capsule like shop in the Marais. The white walls and clean boxy display cabinets were questionable signs when I timidly walked through their doors for the first time. Inside you’re presented with éclairs of less typical flavours like fig, yuzu, and caramel au beurre salé, lined up like yayoi kusama inspired tin soldiers behind their temperature controlled cabinet. It’s a modern answer to the cabinet of curiosities. After your first bite into a praline one and you’ll see what the craze is all about… But it’s not your everyday treat
/ Comme à Lisbonne /
These guys make a rad Portuguese egg tart, as the name implies, just like in Lisbon – the home of the shops founders. Think flakey pastry, a warm custard filling that is firm and a little wobbly in the middle, with the option of fragrant ground cinnamon sprinkled on top. PS you’ll get a proper coffee here too
/ Place des Vosges /
This is the oldest grassy quadrangle in Paris where I bring my treats (that’s if I haven’t already devoured the egg tart en route) to munch on in the sun. Even through winter the space is sheltered from the biting wind as it’s surrounded by redbrick and blue slate roofs. Its a really famous spot so you might see some sparkly folk around too. I would also recommend going to have a look at Maison de Victor Hugo in the South-East corner of the square. The heavily adorned house is eye-melting, fully rendered in prints and patterns from wallpaper to cushion covers. It’s well worth a little visit for the visually inclined.
/ 6th ARRONDISSMENT /
/ Café de Flore /
A trip to Paris wouldn’t be right without an afternoon aperitif at Café de Flore. It’s iconic for dining many great writers, poets, artists, fashion designers, and actors. Watch their army of waiters float around tables almost without pause, but don’t expect to be treated anything near to royalty! Get a pastis in the summer (a typically French anise drink served with ice and water) or probably a glass of wine in the winter season in the fresh air
/ Buly 1803 /
Although this isn’t a very old institution, Buly’s great attention to detail in decoration, research and respect for sensory art of style is all part of their sartorial service. Get a personal prescription if you feel completely overwhelmed by their vast choice.
/ Maison du Chou /
For a pastry chef, perfecting your chou pastry is a sign of skill and discipline. The Chou pastries here are light, have a satisfying crunch, yet stay moist and chewy on the inside. Order yours and watch them being filled on the spot, to whichever filling you like from a simple fromage blanc to a moorish praline. That’s all they make!
/ Jardin du Luxembourg /
Another fantastic gathering of nature organized neatly, trimmed and primed to be on constant display. There are some extraordinary flowers here, and in the summertime you can rent a model sail boat to sail on the central pond. Otherwise it’s fantastic people watching… I love to spot elderly men marching in classic French form like they were born to. So much style.