Ahh, Paris! What more can we say? Ever since Louis XIV endeavored to make France the cultural capital of the world, Paris has been synonymous with beauty. From art to fashion to food, Parisians have been setting trends for centuries. We can’t think of any other city that offers so many stunning examples of so many different styles, no matter what the medium: Neoclassical palaces mingle with Art Nouveau hôtels particuliers, intricate haute cuisine dishes are found as easily as homey, bistro classics, tony haute couture lives alongside casual-cool streetwear. Being such a sensory feast, Paris is endlessly inspiring — and no matter how many times she’s been, Emily always discovers a new reason to love the City of Light. Particularly in the spring, when the Tuileries’ gardens are blooming and friends are picnicking along the Seine, Paris is at its most enchanting.
There are countless attractions to be seen, so rather than covering Paris’s most iconic destinations, here is an insider’s guide to Larkspur & Hawk’s favorite Parisian haunts.
If you fancy digs with a dash of Wes Anderson, you’ll love Hotel Thomieux's retro India Mahdavi-designed interiors. From the William Morris-meets-Mid-Mod wallpapered rooms to the buzzy restaurants downstairs, Thoumieux is rife with style. If your tastes run toward the traditional, nobody does it better than The Ritz. After undergoing a major renovation, this bastion of civility reopened in 2016 and, from the gilded faucets to the trellised garden, is more magical than ever. For luxury trappings that are more under the radar, La Réserve is housed within a 19th century palace with just 14 rooms and 26 suites. The whole palace is only open to guests, which makes staying there feel as if you’ve booked the world’s most opulent Airbnb.
Paris has no shortage of great museums, but the recently expanded Picasso Museum is a gem. The world’s largest collection of Picasso works is stunningly displayed throughout an airy 17th century Baroque mansion. The Palais de Tokyo’s grand Art Deco pavilions are impressive in and of themselves, but the exhibitions inside are not to be missed. As it doesn’t have a permanent collection, the Palais de Tokyo hosts temporary shows devoted to an eclectic mix of modern art and design. For a taste of Paris’s literary heritage, head to Maison de Victor Hugo. The Les Misérables author’s home is meticulously preserved and even if his life isn’t of particular interest to you, the fabulous interiors offer a snapshot of the past. Afterwards, take a stroll through the neighboring Place des Vosges, one of the city’s most enchanting parks.
Maison de Victor Hugo
Place des Vosges
In South Pigalle, Pétrelle serves up seasonal French fare and whimsical décor with equal verve. Piles of books, vintage silver, and at least one friendly cat lend the feeling that you’re dining in the home of the quirky French aunt you never had. If you’re looking for a quintessential bistro experience, our favorite is Chez Julien, a fixture of the Marais for over 100 years, and known for pitch-perfect renditions of classics like steak frites and croque monsieur. The romantic interiors are also a fantastic place to have a drink and people-watch. To eat like a local, La Fronde is a wonderfully fuss-free neighborhood canteen that serves an impressive range of food and wine in an elegant setting.
The sumptuous apothecary Buly 1803 is like a grown-up candy store with rows of dark wood and marble shelves stocked with exquisitely packaged soaps, oils, and other beauty potions. The intricately embroidered bags at Jamin Puech are works of art, each more tempting than the next. The brand’s Marais boutique is brimming with accessories in bold colors and unexpected textiles that add an instant dash of je ne sais quoi. One of the great pleasures of Paris is the locals’ appreciation for idiosyncratic crafts such as the superlative papers at Calligraine or the pastels and paints at Sennelier, an art store that has supplied the likes of Cezanne and Degas. And for those who love the thrill of the hunt, there’s no better city for flea market shopping. For the largest selection, wake up early and head to the Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen where one can find treasures from furniture to jewelry and everything in between.