It didn't seem possible that Paris could be any more unpredictable. But the renowned city of love has shaped my opinion once again. To start, being that I once lived in Paris and was far too familiar with the Air France Thursday night red eye from JFK to CDG, I have to say that I never feel too inclined to do the touristy things when I am back. Of course I always make time to see Tour Eiffel, walk the Tuileries Gardens, pass through Palais Royale, and so on and so forth, but for the most part, I really just enjoy living life how I once did as a true Parisien. The typical french life that I seem to love more than anything consists of aperitifs at friends apartments, shopping at the flea on weekends and bottles of French wine that leads to hours of conversation, so naturally I felt inspired to do exactly that.
If you haven’t checked it out yet, I created my Paris City Guide as one of the first guides to my collection. With that being said, it’s also one of the most built out guides I have ever published. I try to keep it up to date with all the latest hot spots, but also try and keep it classic with my forever favorites in restaurants, bars, spas, attractions and shopping. I am thinking of rearranging the layouts of my guides, but for now and for the purposes of this trip (and knowing that we didn’t really have any plans in mind except to enjoy Paris and catch up with old friends), I wanted this post to outline what you would do in Paris if you really lived like a local.
Almost immediately after dropping my bags off, I hopped on the metro and went to catch up with my dear friend Marie-Caroline at Cafe Pouchkine at Madeline. MC has made quite the splash in the yoga world in Paris and I couldn’t be more adamant about my support and encouragement of her work (she’s the kids yoga guru in Paris that everyone is talking about). She’s a rather special woman and has a particular approach to life, marriage and raising children, which is really inspiring. There is a book that I’ve been reading about french parenting called, “Bringing Up Bebe” that may be able to outline and explain to me why parenting in France seems so effortless whereby children behave in shops, eat extensive cuisine and understand that evening time is adult time. I’ll let you all know my findings when I finish it, but I am convinced that this author spied on MC at the park and recorded her findings in this book. MC is one of those women that is incredibly enthusiastic, convincing and has a nearly contagious energy that she puts into everything she does. I love her dearly.
In Paris, they have what they refer to as "kilo shops". Basically, it’s a thrift store, but instead of having prices on the items, you can find a pile of things you want and weigh it on the scale and see how many kilos it is and that ends up being how much you pay. It's quite simple and efficient actually. There are a slew of these shops around town, but on the day that we were rummaging through the kilo stores, we were in and out of the 10th/11th/ 3rd arrondissements where we walked from Place de la République to Le Marais. We found vintage skorts, colorful silk trench coats, cashmere sweaters, suede jackets, and more- all by various luxury French designers that would cost an arm and a leg back home in The States.
My dear friend Julien was also in town visiting from Beirut for a patisserie trade show. In the past year, he left his investment banking job to buy the most infamous Lebanese bakery and catering company called Noura. He’s another one of my friends that is doing something extraordinary and following his dreams and deepest passions. We were trying to find a moment to meet up and ended up at one of my favorite restaurants called Derrière for dinner and afterwards stumbled into the relatively new Hoxton Hotel for drinks. It was great catching up with him and meeting some of his Lebanese friends that were also in town and involved in a number of interesting things.
One evening while wearing my beret and a very Parisian outfit, we set out to grab a quick bite for dinner at a rather tasty restaurant called Le Mary Céleste where Emily’s friend Meghan ended up joining us. Local to Emily’s old hood and just down the street from her former flat, she used to come here at night for cocktails and oysters. It’s so interesting the different neighborhoods in Paris. I guess it’s similar to any major city. Her world couldn’t have been more different than my own, but I enjoyed so much learning about what her life in Paris once was. We took photos upon photos upon photos everywhere we went and shooed away all the local French men looking at us to chat. It was girls night only and we were adamant about keeping it that way.
Following dinner, we three went dancing at both Les Bains and Silenco. Les Bains Club is situated in the Les Bains Hotel, which is inside a 19th-century bathhouse in the Third Arrondissement. Once closed, and now brought back to life, it’s still a fun spot to pop into during a night on the town. At Silenco, the room is dark and filled entirely with red lights. To me, this is the ultimate Parisian nightclub which stacks up nicely next to Raspoutine. Usually always great DJs and more deep house than some of the other clubs that you’d normally find in Paris, you really feel that you are in the heart of the Parisian nightclub scene.
We were sandwiched between a cramped bar filled with seated fashion socialite characters that you would assume would be there during fashion week and some velvet mid-century modern curved sofas seating their photographer friends. Men we’re cool and wearing collared shirts, fitted denim, and thin silk-cashmere blended scarves that were wrapped around there neck a few times. All had cocktails in hand that were fragranced and colorful and reminded me of the African birds I saw when I was in last in Nairobi. As we walked around, we realized that time has escaped us and we were four years older and instead of 2014, it was actually 2018 and we thought to ourselves, how time flies.
The rest of our stay in Paris was nothing short of fantastic. We shopped, we ate, we drank, we socialized with friends, we discovered new cafes and couldn’t have been happier to be in our favorite city together for once. I wrote a few other posts on our time in Paris, here (documenting the Saint-Ouen Flea Market), here (documenting Palais Royale), and here (in a cafe just before we went to all the kilo shops). If you ever have any questions about Paris, I hope will you use my City Guide as your way and if not, feel free to email me whenever at firstname.lastname@example.org