Our new cobalt blue wrap, with red and white stripes, was inspired by my love of France--and all things French. (We're just back from a horseback riding adventure in Auvergne, a region totally overlooked by tourists. Go! It's gorgeous countryside.)

In the spirit of our newest wrap, and as friends preparing for Paris vacations ask where to go and what to do, I thought I'd share some of my favorite tips with you!

I'm often asked when's the best time to travel to Paris. I start sharing my favorite months and realize I love being there every month. I consider nixing August. It can be warm (hot), many of the restaurants are closed, and most of the Parisians have fled for the beaches (cue joke about Paris without Parisians), but the city takes on a lazy tempo that I really love. I can enjoy my Perrier-menthe at a cafe terrace and really relax So, my final answer is: whenever you can go, go!

First things I'm asked about are restaurants. It's hard to choose favorites but here are some that will take you through a week (though make sure to leave some nights free so you can drop into places that catch your fancy):

Start with Champagne:

Cafe de Flore for a coupe and a front-row seat for watching the Parisian Parade stroll by. The Hemingway Bar at the Ritz and The Bar Josephine at The Lutetia are nice, too. I guess it's nice to stop anywhere in Paris, really, for a glass of Champagne. 


I love Le Select in Montparnasse, Breizh Café for fabulous crepes, and, on a sunny day, outside at the La Terrace des Archives in the Marais. 


La Poule au Pot in Les Halles is a cheerful, thoughtful bistro from the talented restaurateur Jean-Francois Piege. Another of his restaurants, Clover Grill, is perfect, too, though meat-heavy. And he's reworked an old favorite, A l'Epi d'Or

Benoit is our usual first-night dinner, just around the corner from our homebase. Enjoy the warm gougeres with a glass of Champagne and let me know if you finish the slab of farm-churned butter your waiter sets down with the bread. 

For the hip among you, I recommend heading over to Le Grand Bain, a reasonably priced spot in the gentrifying Belleville neighborhood. Mismatched plates, music blasting, chef and sous chefs dancing and singing (and cooking) in the open kitchen.

Simple and good is Les Philosophes in the Marais. (Website is down so here's the address: 28 rue Vieille du Temple in the Marais.) 

Le Grand Colbert, which has a cameo in Something's Gotta Give, is a festive brasserie serving the classics.

Fancy restaurants aren't really my thing, but for a special occasion, I'd recommend Le Train Bleu for the beauty of the place, La Tour d'Argent for the views and history (and food), and Le Grand Vefour. Please go to Guy Savoy in the gorgeous Monnaie de Paris and let me know what you think. It's on my list. Oh, and let me know about Plénitude at Le Cheval Blanc hotel, too. 

For more recommendations, visit Alexander Lobrano's great website and buy his books. He knows his stuff! Paris by Mouth has trustworthy suggestions, too, and do food tours (I haven't gone on them, but I hear good things). 

For museums, check out what shows look good at Paris Update, a great site for current information. One little museum I always try to visit for its changing shows and permanent collection is Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature. It's a true jewel. I also love going back in Paris history at Musée Carnavalet. Another that is under-the-radar but so beautiful and tragic is Musée Nissim de Camondo

As for shopping, I wander! I try to find things I can't get at home (or treat myself on expensive things to take advantage of the detaxe!). For scarves, I'll pop into Epices in the arcades of the Palais Royale (one of my favorite gardens) and Inouitoosh (where a friend and I recently spent a good hour oohing and aahing over the fabulous designs).

Le Bon Marché has a nice selection of scarves and everything else. Make sure to wander the food section (and make a picnic to take to the banks of the Seine). I like popping into Ines de la Fressange in St Germain; Soeur for beautiful dresses; Le Mont Saint Michel for work jackets; Isabel Marant; and for cashmere, go to Crimson Cashmere. Wandering, though, is what I do, happy to uncover a little something to take home.

There are so many charming boutique hotels but if you, like I, like to stay in apartments, check out Haven in Paris. Great service and a nice selection of places, large and small.

After writing this, I want to get on a jet plane and head right back over. Until then, I'll listen to the entertaining and smart Earful Tower podcast and The New Paris Podcast. They almost make me feel like I'm there. 

Oh, and because you might be wondering if you should pack your Shoo for Good wrap with you, the answer is yes! I haven't noticed a terrible mosquito problem in Paris, but they've been know to make their way up to a friend's fourth-floor apartment in Saint Germain. In any case, they'll add a bit of Parisian flair to your outfit!

Bon Voyage! 

May 29, 2022 — Christy Hobart

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