WHETHER you want to escape for a romantic break, embrace the culture, or simply to shop till you drop in the stylish boutiques and vintage shops of Paris, there’s more ways than one to have fun in the French capital. Here’s some of the best things to see and do from ‘not to be missed’ fashion events to cultural happenings and the best places to shop.
For fashion victims
The new Yves Saint Laurent Museum opens this month at 5 rue Marceau, the historical home of the eponymous fashion house. The inaugural exhibition will include 50 designs and accessories recreating some of Yves Saint Laurent’s most iconic looks. Visitors will get the chance to see some of the original sketches, prototypes, warehouse records and retailing books giving an exclusive insight into the inner workings of this renowned fashion house.
Where to shop
Luxury brands – Paris’ haute couture tradition remains vibrant, especially in the area from La Porte Maillot to the Champs Elysees known as the ‘Triangle d’Or’ where visitors can find high-end boutiques including Chanel, Gucci, Givenchy and Dior to name but a few. Nearby, Rue du Faubourg Saint Honore houses the likes of Hermes, Lanvin and Saint Laurent and Place Vendome is the place to go and buy jewellery from Cartier, Van Cleef and Arpels or Boucheron.
Department stores – The Haussmann-Opera area is renowned for the famous Galeries Lafayette and Le Printemps Haussmann while the Rive gauche is where you will find the iconic Le Bon Marche, home to some of the most exciting French brands including Sezane and Jerome Dreyfuss.
The best of the high street – The revamped Forum des Halles which reopened in 2016 featuring a stunning metal canopy, houses 35 different shops making it one of the capital’s best one stop shop for essential purchases before heading home. Two restaurants are also not to be missed – Alain Ducasse’s La Brasserie Champeaux and Philippe Starck’s Café-Restaurant ZA. With brands such as Armani, Burberry, Karl Lagerfeld but also the likes of Apple Store, Aesop and French high street favourites Stefanel, Loft Design By or Kookai the area around Saint Germain des Pres, Sevres-Babylone and rue de Rennes is another good bet for a spot of shopping.
Trendy and independent boutiques – For something a bit more alternative, head to So-Pi (South Pigalle). This up-and-coming area of Paris is a haven of vintage emporiums and quirky shops including Place A, Zac & Sam et Retro Chic but also some food outlets offering tantalising specialities including madeleines at Mesdemoiselles Madeleines or ice creams at Glazed. Le Marais is also still a bit of a mecca for those after trendy boutiques where Vanessa Bruno, Isabelle Marant and Lemaire are all present.
For the culture vultures – cultural events not to miss
The Paris Autumn Festival
(Until 31 December 2017)
Featuring shows over the whole season, this is an inclusive platform dedicated to contemporary arts and featuring theatre, music, and dance shows but also exhibitions and film viewings.
Picasso 1932 – Musee National Picasso
(10 October – 11 February 2018.
This exhibition recounts a year in the life of the painter through a chronological presentation of his work and archives. Featuring some of his most famous masterpieces including Le Reve (The Dream), the exhibition takes visitors back to a time referred by many as Picasso’s ‘Year of Wonders.’
Le Musee d’Orsay
The unmissable museum is home to the most extensive collection of impressionist art and showcases the famous Nuit Etoilee by Van Gogh. In the Jardin des Tuileries, the Musee de L’Orangerie is home to eight of the famous Nympheas paintings by Monet while the Musee Marmottan has inherited the largest Monet collection in the world with over 100 works but also shows paintings by Manet, Renoir, Pissarro and Caillebotte.
For more information and ideas visit: www.france.fr