Paris is the temple of elegance "à la française". Luxury apparel, jewellery, and accessories can be seen worn by its stylish denizens as they stroll the pavements of the classiest neighbourhoods in the city. Getting to know the ins-and-outs of chic Paris is part and parcel of anybody’s visit to the capital.
There, all is order and beauty only - splendour, peace and pleasure – Charles Baudelaire
A study in chic Paris begins in its wealthiest quarters, in this case the villages of Passy and Auteuil in the heart of the very classy 16th arrondissement. In these fairly calm neighbourhoods, the most interesting encounters you are likely to make will be architectural: beginning with the homes in the art-nouveau style of Hector Guimard, and then following on with the austere modernism of Le Corbusier which competes with the relative luxury of rue d’Auteuil, rue la Fontaine and rue du Docteur-Blanche − it is also on this street, incidentally, where one can visit the foundation Le Corbusier. And to follow, take a walk through the Bois de Boulogne where French monarchs regularly went to take respite from the city. If the occasion presents itself, a day at the nearby races at the Hippodrome of the Bois de Boulogne, and if it the season take a seat on one of the benches at the nearby Roland Garros during the annual tournament, how chic!
The luxury boutiques are historically found on what is known collectively as the “Triangle d’Or” which takes in the Avenue Montaigne, George V, and the Champs Elysées, where one will find the landmark Louis Vuitton store, installed there since 1854. The Place Vendôme, nicknamed the “Place du Prestige” hosts the most prestigious jewellers such as Breguet, Bulgari, and Dior. A few steps away are the famous Crillon and Meurice Hotels.
Not all of the chic boutiques are found on the rue Saint-Honoré or the Place Vendome. Another über-chic area is the Saint-Germain-des-Près district with showcase stores such as Yves-Saint-Laurent, Sonia Rykiel, and Ralph Lauren. Back on the Rive Droit, take a stroll down the fashionable rue du Cherche-Midi with its impressive collection of addresses for shoe shops, and a famous second-hand clothing store called Chercheminippes, which specializes in luxury clothing can be found dominating this part of town. Equally bargains are to be had at Défile in the 7th arrondissement, or even at L’Occaserie near metro La Muette, where if you're lucky, you might be able to pick up a Chanel suit from anything between 200 to 600 euros!
For a suitably chic lunch, the Place de la Madeleine is just the ticket, at the famous patisseries Fauchon and Hédiard. A little further on up the street you will find the temple of fine food, the Printemps food hall, which groups together 10 outlets specialising in deluxe delicatessen and gastronomy. Another must-do for any self-respecting chic Parisian is to eat at the table of one of Paris’ top chefs. The choice is pretty startling: Alain Ducasse and Guy Savoy have each restaurants in the 8th arrondissement, and the reputed Joël Robuchon welcomes guests in his art-deco restaurant on Avenue Bugeaud in the 16ème arrondissement.
According the latest book by Ines de la Fressange — Karl Largerfeld’s famous muse at Chanel — the chic Parisian is at once superficial, refined and chic. She likes to be discrete but she is also someone who loves to be noticed.
She is frivolous but she doesn’t often smile
She loves the second floor at the Café de Flore
She loves the macarons at Ladurée
She prefers to walk rather than take the metro
She likes to get sushi delivered to her home (you’ll never see her in front of the oven)
When she invites you over for an aperitif, you can be sure that the finger food she serves comes from the Marché des Enfants Rouges
When she is not in her second home in Deauville at the weekend, you will find her playing tennis at the Luco (Jardin de Luxembourg)
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