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Spring Travel in ParisMarch 8, 2016 By: Michelle Krol
Spring is one of the most beautiful seasons to visit the City of Light. Here are some notable dining and shopping venues, along with a few spas, to explore when traveling to Paris.
Dining in the City of Light
Our Paris correspondent, Mary Winston-Nicklin, recently reported on several new dining venues that have debuted throughout the city.
Chef Gastón Acurio, known for his Peruvian cuisine, has launched his first restaurant in Paris, Manko.
The restaurant debuted in the Théâtre des Champs Elysées, situated on the lower level. The chic atmosphere is complete with leather banquettes and velvet chairs, along with Peruvian fabrics. The cuisine is Peruvian as well, historically influenced by Japan, Europe, China and Africa.
There is also Alain Ducasse at Plaza Athénée and Le Cinq at the Four Seasons Hotel George V. The two were the only new restaurants to score three Michelin stars. Alain Ducasse at Plaza Athénée serves “Naturalness cuisine,” which revolves around the concept of respecting and preserving the environment and bringing “nature to the table.” At Le Cinq, dishes are inspired by classic French culinary techniques and using fresh local ingredients.
For travelers looking for an authentic taste of the city, Greg DeClemente, COO of Courtyard Travel, recommends that travelers “sit in a typical French café enjoying a bowl of mussels in white wine and garlic, along with some great French bread.” Perry Lungmus, vice president, luxury travel at Travel Leaders, also offered some advice, suggesting that travelers taste the macarons in one of the Pierre Hermé shops.
Chic Shopping and Markets
There are countless opportunities for shopping in in Paris, with boutiques and markets on nearly every corner.
Anastasia Mann, chairman and CEO of Corniche Travel, suggests spending a day at Marché aux Puces, a popular flea market, and later taking the Bateaux Mouches cruise down the Seine. Tip: There is also a small bistro situated in the back of the market called Chez Louisette.
Saint-Ouens, also a flea market, is a favorite of Mary Ann Ramsey, president of Betty Maclean Travel. The market sells antiques, china, silver and furniture, along with special finds like vintage Chanel earrings and Louis Vuitton handbags. Ramsey also suggests going to Fauchon’s on the Place de Madeline to check out the chocolates, teas, honeys and mustards.
For fashion-loving travelers, Colette is a must-see. Founded by the mother and daughter team of Sarah Andelman and Colette Roussaux in 1997, the three-story shop has been long been on the cutting edge of fashion and design. The main floor has a mix of designer hip hop sneakers, T-shirts, coffee table books, electronics, and cosmetics, while upstairs guests can shop for clothing, shoes, jewelry, and accessories. Brands include top international designers such as Comme des Garcons, Courreges, Gucci, Jeremy Scott, Roger Vivier, and Moncler.
Visitors to Paris shopping for items with a more Bohemian flare can visit Merci, located on the outskirts of the hip Marais quarter. To enter the 15,000 square foot space on three floors, visitors pass through a cobblestone courtyard where an abandoned old model red Fiat greets you.
The entrance atrium resembles a gallery space with décor changing every four to six weeks and a different theme or single designer presented. The rest of the main floor has casual clothing and accessories for men and women from designers Isabel Marant, Liberty of London, Stella McCartney, Marni, and Merci private label. The upper level displays furniture, home accessories, lighting and lamps, stationery, and bedroom linens, while downstairs there is kitchenware, bake ware, and the latest kitchen gadgets.
The Daily Telegraph also recently posted some of its top picks of the best places to shop for fashion in Paris:
For cutting edge and ready to wear accessories, L’Eclaireur offers up some of the best, while Editions MR (formerly Melinda Gloss) is at the forefront of the current French menswear revival.
Robert Clergerie, located on Paris' shoe row, offers ladies' footwear designed by Thierry Dreyfus and Roland Mouret. The shop's high boots, clunky 70s-inspired platforms and 40s silhouettes have been recreated to allow for comfortable wear. There is also Spree, a fashion concept store offering a selection of clothes and accessories from labels like Acne, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Carven, Helmut Lang and Margiela’s MM6, as well as Printemps, which has a range of glitzy, luxury mini-boutiques, fine jewellery and a huge space devoted to watches.
Le Bon Marche houses a collection of clothes and accessories and has an adjacent food shop, while Isabel Marant sells modern, short dresses, trousers, ethnic-inspired patterns, lace and flounces paired with well-cut black jackets or bohemian knits.
For travelers looking for a classic outlet, Hermès' Left Bank houses the brand's famous silk scarves, handbags and wallets, perfumes, jewelry, and tableware. For even more of a jewelry slection, Naïla de Monbrison also has a small gallery near the National Assembly, showcasing contemporary artists' jewelry ranging from the delicate to the dramatic.
Galeries Lafayette, a large department store offers fashion ranging from high street to high luxe, along with deli counters including 20 different eating venues to visit in-between shopping.
Zadig et Voltaire’s offers a variety of handbags and clutches, perfect for pairing a with leather accessories or classic Chanel jackets purchased at Réciproque. There is also Sessùn, offering wares with high quality tasselling and natural fabrics, or La Botte Gardiane selling “practical-yet-chic” boots and shoes.
New Paris Spas for Spring
We recently reported on the Clarins spa at Le Royal Monceau-Raffles Paris, and “The Art of Touch” treatment, a 90 minute treatment that is completely customized for the individual. After the experience, guests can stop by the detox bar for an herbal tea.
Also there is Mandarin Oriental, which recently launched the “Zen & the City Package,” which gives the guests the chance to get fit with a 30-minute private yoga class, followed by a 30-minute face or body massage. Guests will also eat healthy with the package, with options including a “green and glam smoothie.”
Winston-Nicklin also recommends the spa at The Peninsula Hotel, which opened its spa in 2014 and has since become a popular pot to relax. The spa experience begins with tea service, and a cold towel wipe down for hands. Massage beds are topped with plush body pillows, and guests can also participate in Yoga classes which are offered at 7:30 a.m. on the rooftop terrace.