Part 1 of my Paris Travel Guide has been a smashing success. It's already one of my most read blog posts... EVER!
Part 2 is for fashion lovers, but don't worry, even if fashion is not your passion (using fashion and passion in the same sentence is another discussion... because... Do they really rhyme?) some of these stops are just worth it. I've got shopping destinations, museums, and just plain cool places that you're not going to want to miss. Many of my museum choices are on Vogue's list of most beautiful fashion museums in Paris. What can I say? Great minds.
If you'd like to know where the most fashionable spend their time in Paris, British Vogue put together an excellent list that gives you the chicest spots in town.
Paris is not as dressed-up as you might think. The coolest people in town wear jeans, a t-shirt, and a cool blazer. A scarf is a required accessory. Chuck Taylors used to be the uniform du jour for both genders, but now you will find all sorts of "ugly" athletic sneakers as the go-to footwear choice. It's a highly practical way to go since when we were last there, we were walking well over 10 miles a day. For ladies who don't want to rock neon sneakers, ballet flats will never go out of style, and unless you plan to be driven everywhere you go, leave the heels at home.
Window shopping can be a sport in Paris. If you're intimidated by going into some of the shops, you can be sure that there is usually a captivating window display to satisfy your curiosity. I highly recommend walking east on Boulevard Saint Germain and then heading south on Rue du Bac on your way to my favorite department store, Bon Marché. You'll encounter lots of hidden gems along with some of the most well-known brands in the world along the way.
Bon Marché | 24 Rue de Sèvres, 75007 (Photos | David Peck)
My favorite department store in Paris/the whole world. Bon Marche is the perfect size with an incredible assortment of designers small and large. Be sure to make it to the top floor if you have kids to check out their incredible toy selection. And don’t forget the food hall. You will want EVERYTHING. Drool.
Palais Galliera Musée de la Mode | 10 avenue Pierre 1er de Serbie
One of my favorite fashion museums (currently closed for renovations until 2020) in all of Paris. They have some of the greatest archives and research materials you will find. I spent many hours as a student and as a working designer in its library. The Galliera is very close to Palais de Tokyo if you are in the 16th.
Musée des Arts Décoratifs | 107 Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris (Photo | David Peck)
Located in the Louvre’s western wing, it’s the home of some of the most spectacular fashion exhibits in the world in addition to French furniture, tableware, and other decorative arts. When you are done oohing and ahhing, you can head up the Rue de Rivoli to Angelina for their famous hot chocolate.
Palais Royal | 8 rue Montpensier 75001 (Photo | David Peck)
Musée Yves Saint Laurent Paris | 5 Avenue Marceau, 75116 Paris
Dedicated to the work of Yves Saint Laurent and housed in his former atelier, this is a must-see for any lover of fashion. The museum preserves and stores fashion sketches, paintings and decorative objects in addition to haute couture. There are over 7,000 garments and 8,400 accessories in the collection (not all on display of course). There is also an extension of the museum in Marrakesh if you happen to be there.
The museum is open Tuesday – Sunday with extended hours until 9 PM on Fridays. You can always pop up the street to Hotel George V for tea afterward.
As I mentioned in Part 1, walking in the Marais is the best way to discover new shopping destinations. There are so many small little shops and independent designers that you'll discover as you wander the streets. Don't be afraid to just go inside and have a look. As long as you're friendly, the shop keepers love to have people come to look at their wares.
You'll also want to be sure to walk down Faubourg Saint-Honoré in the 8th arrondissement. These shops are some of the most exclusive and beautiful in the world. I used to walk this street a couple of times a week. The windows at the Hermes boutique (24, rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré) alone are a work of art and worth the visit.
Coco Chanel's Apartment at 31, rue Cambon (Photo The Coveteur)
Chanel's private apartment above her showroom at 31 rue Cambon is the stuff of fashion dreams. While you can visit downstairs and see the famous staircase where Coco Chanel watched her fashion shows, the apartment is not open to the public. I was under the impression that it could only be viewed by invitation only, but this company is claiming to offer private tours. Bon chance!
PRINTEMPS DU GOÛT (Photo | David Peck)
Department stores aren't really my jam, but there's no denying that Paris has some of the best and most famous. When we were in Paris in April, we ended up at the top of Printemps Department Store at their gourmet "food court." If only American malls had food courts so chic. It's the perfect place to relax after shopping and catching another glimpse of one of my favorite parts of Paris, the rooftops.
Palais Garnier Opera (Photo | David Peck)
You may not think of fashion when you think of the Opera, but in honor of the 350th anniversary of the Paris Opera (yes, THREE HUNDRED AND FIFTY YEARS) the National Costume Centre is presenting "Dressing the Opera," an exhibition on the history of costumes created for our House since the opening of the Palais Garnier to the present day. The exhibition ends November 3rd so be sure to check it out if you're in Paris this year!
Opera Garnier is one of the most spectacular buildings. It really is a shame to go to Paris and not see inside. I highly recommend taking a guided tour. They even have an after-hours tour that will satisfy your teenage (or current?) obsession with Phantom of the Opera.