It was such a special treat to celebrate my birthday in Paris this year. I’ve been a handful of times in the past two years, and love that the city finally feels familiar and welcoming. On this trip, we had almost no formal plans aside from seeing a few friends and spending Saturday at Les Puces, so we went with how we were feeling each day and decided to explore that way. I think this was my favorite trip to Paris ever, in large part because we saw so many friends. From catching up with Meghan over cocktails, to 3 dinners with Clemence, running into Michi in the airport, and a wine and cheese party with American friends that just moved to Paris – all the familiar faces made this trip extra sweet.
A stand-out experience was staying at the recently renovated Saint James Paris, which kindly invited us as a part of a tour of several Relais & Châteaux properties throughout France. Currently one of only two Relais & Châteaux in Paris (their sister hotel Relais Christine just joined) the Saint James feels like a country chateau nestled in the heart of the 16th arrondissement – just a stone’s throw from the Champs-Élysées and Eiffel Tower. This private members club/hotel is only open to members and hotel guests, and is an absolute oasis with the warmest staff and loveliest interiors. From the fabulous Iksel wallpapers to the chic contemporary furnishings, it’s everything you’d hope for in a Paris pied-a-terre. We loved lingering over breakfast in their fabulous Bellefeuille restaurant and enjoying a late night burger and negroni in the Library Bar. In the summer they have a beautiful Terrace Bar that I’d love to experience on our next warm weather trip!
- Bar Josephine for cocktails – My friend Meghan is a Paris expert and recommended we meet for cocktails here because they make the perfect martini. (Not a given in most places in France.)
- Aux Prés for dinner – You need to book ahead but Clem was very clever and got us a table at the last minute. It was our favorite meal in Paris and I’ve sent other friends here since and no one has a bad meal!
- Le Recamier for soufflé – This little spot has been on my radar since my friend Sarah Rose raved about it years ago. They specialize in soufflés for your entree and dessert and from the escargot to cheese soufflé every bite was incredible. The restaurant was packed with French diners and we were the only Americans which was a good sign.
- Craven for cocktails – This tiny bar in an old beaux arts building isn’t far from the Saint James and feels like a hidden gem. (Everything is good except the martini which is too sweet for my taste.)
- Cafe de Flores for breakfast – I tend to avoid places that have been overly hyped but after Clemence (who lives in Paris) raved about it we decided to try it. The food was lovely (our server was too) and if the line isn’t too long it’s worth it, though we also ate at old favorites Le Pré aux Clercs and Le Saint Germaine and I personally prefer them to de Flores.
- Brasserie Thoumieux – We had an amazing meal here on my February 2022 trip, and this time around it was good but not mind-blowing. I recommend ordering wine here instead of cocktails, but the food is delicious.
- Karamna – We were randomly craving Lebanese food on our last night and this spot is a short walk from the Saint James. Aesthetically Karamna is nothing to write home about but the food was delicious so if you’re wanting a healthy option in the 16th this is it!
- Schiaparelli exhibit at Musée Decoratif Arts – this exhibit runs through Jan 22, 2023 and features Schiaparelli’s surrealist clothing designs alongside stories about her contemporaries in 20th Century Paris. After the exhibit it’s fun to people watch from an iconic green chair in the Jardin des Tuilleries right next to the Louvre.
- Antiquing at Les Puces – I always try to plan my visits to Paris over a weekend so I can spend a day at Les Puces. I shared all of my favorite shops in the Paul Bert Marché here, and recommend Habitually Chic’s Paris guide for details about other flea markets around the city.
- Shopping in Saint Germain – Since I usually stay in Saint Germain I know this neighborhood best and love the smaller specialty shops. From browsing the block prints at Simrane, to admiring the wallpapers at Iksel, there are countless wonderful decorative and clothing stores to explore.
Mark Cross Bag (old, similar)
Brooks Brothers Silk Blouse c/o (60% off!)
Brooks Brothers Flare Jeans c/o (on sale for under $90!)