Shopping in Le Marais

shopping le marais

Le Marais: Old Paris

Often referred to as “Old Paris”, Le Marais is the closest you can get to the feel of medieval Paris. What’s more, its winding cobblestone alleys are full of chic boutiques. This picture-perfect neighborhood looks very different from other parts of Paris. Rather than being stately and grandiose, Le Marais exudes old-world charm. It’s also, in my opinion, the best neighborhood to shop in Paris.

Shopping in a new city

Whenever I’m in a new city, one of my favorite things to do is find speciality boutiques and discover new local brands. For me, this is more than just shopping, it’s a way to immerse yourself in the culture. And, if you’re lucky, you’ll leave with something that, whenever you wear it, brings back memories of the special place you bought it from. Shopping in Le Marais served both of these purposes as it was the perfect way to soak up Parisian culture while discovering some timeless pieces.

shopping le marais

Favorite Stores in Le Marais

During my afternoon in Le Marais, I visited many wonderful boutiques filled with one-of-a-kind items. But two shops stood out above the rest and I want to share them with you!

Elleme

Inspired by European minimalism and Asian sophistication, Elleme offers chic and high quality handbags and accessories to women at an accessible price. I loved talking to Elleme’s sweet and talented designer and left with a pair of tortoiseshell cat-eye sunglasses which I have a feeling are going to be my new go-to pair. The best news? Elleme offers free express shipping worldwide on their website!

Suncoo

My second favorite store in Le Marais was Suncoo. Like Elleme, Suncoo is the baby of a Chinese and French designer, clearly a winning combination! Suncoo is like a Sandro in that its clothes are classy and made with high-quality fabric, but it’s a bit younger and more trendy. I loved many of their pieces but finally narrowed it down to an embroidered flared sleeves blouse, a blue and white off-the-shoulder dress, and cutout slip-on sneakers.

Place des Vosges

In addition to the great shopping, Le Marais is home to what is often considered the most beautiful square in Paris. Place des Vosges, with its delicate brickwork buildings and perfectly tended park, is what Parisian dreams are made of. On this warm June day, dozens of people were lounging on the park’s manicured grass, sunbathing, reading, and chatting with friends. The scene was so idyllic that I wanted nothing more than to join them.Unfortunately, we had a train to catch but Julian and I agreed that one day we’ll come back for an extended period of time and live as the Parisians do. 

place des vosges shopping le marais

place des vosges paris shopping le marais

place des vosges paris shopping le marais

Au revoir Paris!

P.S. If you missed my weekend in Paris for the French Open, you can read it here!

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Where’s your favorite place to shop in Paris? Comment below!

 

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Weekend in Paris for the French Open

This past weekend Julian and I were lucky enough to get tickets to the French Open final in Paris. Of the four major Grand Slam tournaments (the Australian Open, Wimbledon, and the US Open), Roland-Garros, as the French Open is called, is the only one to be played on a clay court. Needless to say, Julian and I were thrilled to be attending the premier clay court tennis championship event in the world and to see two of the best players, Rafael Nadal and Stan Wawrinka, face off during the final. We decided to make a weekend out of it and left for Paris early Saturday morning.

Saturday

After a three and a half hour train ride from Basel, we were in Paris. Our first stop was our hotel, the Hyatt Paris Madeleine. Located in the 8th Arrondissement, our room had a spectacular view of the Eiffel Tour and of the beautiful Boulevard Malesherbes below.

Hyatt Paris Madeleine hotel

Shopping on Rue Saint Honore

We were last in Paris just over a month ago as the last stop on our road trip through Burgundy. But since we were there for only 24 hours, we didn’t have any time to shop (a tragedy, I know). This time, however, Julian promised to make up for it and agreed to spend the day shopping on Rue Saint Honoré. This street is famous for being the home of the original Hermes store. Today, it remains a favorite shopping destination because it offers a little bit of everything—hip boutiques, mid range designers, and über high end.

While we were there, we wanted to check out Colette, Paris’ it store for design, art, culture and fashion. Colette sells everything from men and women’s apparel to shoes and drones. It also features limited editions and pre-releases that you can’t get anywhere else. In a nutshell, the concept behind Colette is anything hip. While most of Colette’s fashion is too avant-garde for me, it was definitely worth a visit to see all of the latest designs.

colette paris colette paris

Place Vendôme

Afterwards, we walked through the Place Vendôme. This elegant plaza is home to the world’s most luxe jewelry brands and in its center is a staggering bronze column. Commissioned by Napoleon to commemorate the battle of Austerlitz, this column is made up of hundreds of enemy cannons. When we visited, a half dozen of the iconic Citroën deux Chevaux cars were parked in the plaza. We didn’t have time, but someday I’d love to ride one of these colorful little cars through the streets of Paris!

place vendome Citroen deux Chevaux

Galeries Lafayette

Our next stop was Paris’s famous department store, Galeries Lafayette. Saturday afternoon this massive fashion institution was packed with tourists. But even if you’re not interested in shopping, Galeries Lafayette is worth visiting for its magnificent stained glass dome and ornate Belle Epoque architecture.

Galeries Lafayette dome

Galeries Lafayette paris

Dinner at Le Laurent

Saturday evening we had dinner at Laurent. Originally a hunting lodge belonging to Louis XIV, today Laurent is a Michelin star restaurant in a wooded enclave. Although it’s only a stone’s throw from the Champs Élysées, Laurent is completely protected from the hustle and bustle of Paris. Laurent describes itself as “the perfect escape: a haven of peace where time stands still” and I couldn’t agree more.

laurent paris

It was a splendid night for dining outdoors on Laurent’s elegant shaded terrace. Laurent is known for its French cuisine with a contemporary twist, serving the best the season has to offer. Julian and I feasted on lobster (one of the best I’ve ever had), beef tataki, and foie gras. And that was only the beginning! For our main dishes, we both chose fish– glazed John-Dorey for him and roasted turbot for me. Both were superb. We ended our meal with a chocolate mousse inside a crunchy dark chocolate shell with raspberry sorbet. Everything was excellent and our dinner at Laurent is by far the best meal I’ve had in Paris.

Sunday

Roland-Garros Final

Sunday we woke up to a beautiful, albeit very hot, day for the Roland-Garros final. Since we were having lunch in the Village, the area reserved for the tournament’s main sponsors, we had to dress up. In the tennis spirit, I wore a white Joie fit and flare linen dress with cutout details and Tory Burch stacked heel sandals. Prior to the game, we had drinks and lunch in the JCDecaux tent of the Village. Lunch consisted of lobster salad (again!), filet mignon, and mango sorbet inside of a dark chocolate coconut-shaped shell. After lunch it was time for the game to begin.

the village roland garros

As a kid, I took tennis lessons and grew up with a great respect for the sport and its players. To be at Roland-Garros and see the best play was such an incredible experience. Though the temperatures reached 91 degrees (33 degrees Celsius), I never took my eyes off of the game. To be so close to the players was thrilling. The tension and excitement in the stadium, and on the court, was palpable. Tennis is a very civil sport so as Nadal and Wawrinka played the only sounds you could hear were their grunts of exertion, the whoosh of the rackets, and the whack of the balls.

roland garros french open 2017

roland garros french open 2017

Another thing that separates tennis from many other sports is that the fans care, above all, about the game. In other words, a Nadal fan does not boo when Wawrinka wins a hard earned point, he claps in recognition of a point well-played. I find this a refreshing change from many sports today and was impressed by the level of decorum at such a high-stakes match.

In solidarity with our temporary home, Julian and I were rooting for the underdog, Swiss-born Wawrinka. But watching Nadal play it was clear he really is “the king of clay.” There is no weakness to Nadal’s game on clay and during this extremely physically demanding game, he rarely faltered. Though Wawrinka put up a good fight, Nadal won his 10th Roland-Garros championship after three straight sets, making history as the first player to land the same Grand Slam more than nine times.

roland garros french open 2017 nadal wins

Stroll through the Jardins des Tuileries

After some celebratory drinks back at the Village, we headed back to the hotel to relax and cool off. Later, we decided to take advantage of the last light of the day with a walk through the Jardins des Tuileries. The dusk light made these lovely gardens all the more enchanting.

Jardins des Tuileries dusk Jardins des Tuileries dusk

Dinner in the Louvre

Eventually we ended up in front of the Louvre. The Louvre looked so stunning lit up that we decided to dine at Le Cafe Marly, a brasserie under the arches of the Louvre, to continue admiring its glow in the warm night air.

louvre paris night

Read about Day 3 of our trip to Paris, a day spent exploring and shopping in the charming neighborhood of Le Marais, here!

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Road Trip through Burgundy Part 2

Vezelay wisteria

If you didn’t catch the first leg of our road trip through Burgundy’s wine country, you can find it here!

Day 3: Vezelay to Paris

Vezelay

Monday morning we rose early in order to get a head start on our busy day. After a quick breakfast, we headed to the medieval town of Vezelay. Vezelay is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage site due to the revered Basilica of Saint Mary Magdalene and its well-preserved 15th, 16th and 17th century houses, gates and ramparts. In the 9th century, the relics of Mary Magdalene were brought to Vezelay. Since then it has been an important destination for pilgrims.

Perched on the top of a hill, it’s a lovely trek to the Basilica. As we climbed, we passed charming boutiques and galleries, cafes and restaurants with music spilling out of their doors, and alleyways and courtyards burgeoning with geraniums and wisteria. A masterpiece of Romanesque architecture, the Basilica was unlike any church I had seen before. Its walls emanated history and holiness. While we were there, morning rays of sun shone through the stained glass windows, casting the most beautiful light over the statues of saints and the altars before them.

View of the countryside in Vezelay, France

Although we would’ve liked to linger in this enchanting town, we were determined to reach Paris by late afternoon. The two and a half hour journey from Vezelay to Paris was so scenic that I snapped pictures out of the window the whole way. I especially loved the enormous wind turbines rising out of the golden mustard fields and the adorable cows dotting the countryside. We were so lucky to be there at this time of year because late spring is the best season to see the mustard fields in full bloom!

Cow in the French countryside

Wind turbines in mustard fields in the French countryside

Paris

We arrived in Paris right on schedule and headed to our hotel for the evening, the Plaza Athénée. One glance at this magnificent hotel and I was in love. From its location on renowned avenue Montaigne (the 5th Avenue of Paris), to its stunning facade, glittering lobby, lush courtyard, and exquisite Louis XVI inspired decor, every inch of the Plaza Athénée oozes Parisian glamour and charm. Needless to say, I never wanted to leave!

Plaza Atenee facade in Paris, France

After settling in, we took advantage of the last light of the day to walk around the city. Though I’d been to Paris before, it is a city that you never grow tired of. As I walked down Champs Elysees, alongside the Seine, and through Champ de Mars, I was mesmerized by my surroundings. It was like I was seeing Paris for the first time! Our first stop was, of course, the Eiffel Tower. If you’re planning a trip to Paris, go in the spring when the cherry trees surrounding the Eiffel Tower make it even more picturesque than usual.  

Eiffel Tower framed by cherry trees in the spring Bridge in Paris, France

On the recommendation of friends, we decided to have dinner at the trendy Monsieur Bleu. Since we only had one night in Paris, we wanted to go somewhere special. Located inside the Palais de Tokyo, Monsieur Bleu boasts a stellar view of the Eiffel Tower, delicious food, great service, and a cool ambiance. Go here for a romantic dinner date or to see and be seen, it won’t disappoint.

Eiffel Tower lit up

Day 4: Paris to Basel

For our last day in France, we wanted to squeeze in as much as possible before driving back to Basel. We started our day at the Petit Palais, Paris’ Museum of Fine Arts. If you haven’t been before, put it on your Paris to-do list. In addition to its incredible pieces and eclectic exhibitions, the museum houses a magnificent outdoor garden and cafe. When the weather is nice, the cafe’s terrace is the perfect spot to relax and grab a bite to eat.

Courtyard gardens of the Petit Palais in Paris, France

After touring the museum, I hopped in a cab to meet a friend for lunch. We met at a bistro on Rue Montorgueil, a charming cobbled street in the 2nd arrondissement lined by specialty shops, eateries and the like. It’s the perfect place to grab lunch and then head to the nearby shops on Place des Victoires. This trip I didn’t get nearly enough time to shop, but I hope to be back soon to rectify that!

Roundabout in Paris, France

Our last stop in Paris was the Jardin des Tuileries. Located between the Louvre and the Place de la Concorde, this enormous park is the ideal hang-out spot on beautiful days. Unfortunately, it was overcast when we went but we still enjoyed strolling around, people watching, and relaxing by the fountain.

Eiffel Tower during the day

Though there was still so much we wanted to do, we knew we had to get on the road before it was too late. So we bid au revoir to Paris and set off on the five hour drive from Paris to Basel. We spent the journey reminiscing about all the wonderful things we saw and did in the last four days. All in all, we agreed our last-minute road trip through Burgundy was certainly a success. Now we’re already thinking about where we should go next!

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