Luxury Travel

How to Make the Most of Paris in Just Two Days

Innovation is sweeping French restaurants and hotels, adding even more excuses to extend a business trip
Make The Most of Paris

On your next visit to the French capital, forget your old favorites: The city has brand-new delights to show off. Daring chefs such as seafood masters Bertrand Grébaut and Théo Pourriat and baker Christophe Vasseur are luring diners to the up-and-coming 10th and 11th arrondissements. Homegrown fashion and beauty brands Sézane and Ex Nihilo are using technology to change the way Parisians shop. And even venerable hotels such as the Ritz and the Crillon have been overhauled, giving the ­tradition-obsessed city an utterly fresh feel. Here’s where to eat, shop, and explore right now.

SHOP

Wend your way on foot from the 1st to the 10th to follow the evolution of Paris’s shopping scene. Sandwiched between legacy brands on Rue Saint Honoré, perfumer Ex Nihilo will ­custom-create a fragrance for you in 30 minutes with the help of a one-of-a-kind Osmologue machine. A few minutes’ walk west, the online retailer Sézane has set up a brick-and-mortar shop peddling women’s wear and accessories with a refreshingly simple aesthetic that locals are obsessing over. The expansive new location of Buly 1803 in Le Marais has a similar cultlike following; it sells the brand’s skin-care potions from antique pharmacy cabinets. For men’s grooming products, scope out Le Baigneur’s offerings, stocked at the nearby concept shop Papier Tigre. Finish in the up-and-­coming 10th, where you’ll find indie housewares at La Trésorerie, Franco-Indian scarves and textiles at Jamini, and colorfully edgy suits at Balibaris.

Get custom scents in 30 minutes at Ex-Nihilo.
Source: Ex-Nihilo

EAT

The prevailing food trend in Paris is “bistronomy,” which blends traditional French techniques with lighter preparations. It’s on full display at Clamato, a no-­reservations spot in the 11th focusing on seafood dishes that change daily. The nearby Clown Bar is similarly on-trend. Alongside a list of almost-exclusively organic and natural wines, Clown Bar’s menu offers mussels steamed in sake and beef carpaccio with strawberries. For more elbow room and tables you can reserve online, try its sister restaurant Saturne in the 2nd. The $100 tasting menu at this sparse, wood-clad venue includes a rich ­lardo-poached cod. Need to close a deal? Go to Hexagone. It’s elegant but not stiff, buzzy but not loud—and the local blue lobster comes with garlicky ­“compressed” potatoes.

The perfect macaron—made by you.
Source: ©Alban Couturier

DO

Learn to make macarons with a pastry chef at École Ritz Escoffier instead of buying a box that will go stale on the flight home. (The trick is “feeling” when the meringue batter is just right.) Or, if you’d rather work on your palate, take a whirlwind trip to wine country. In a very scenic 35 minutes, Helifirst’s helicopter service gets you to Reims. If you book ahead, you can enjoy tastings with Bollinger, Krug, and the other Champagne houses there.

A suite at the Ritz Paris.
Courtesy The Ritz

STAY

Two of Paris’s legendary grand institutions—both mere steps from the Jardin des Tuileries but miles apart from each other in terms of style—are open after four-year-long renovations. Rosewood Hotel and Resorts LLC’s Hôtel de Crillon (from $1,200) has loosened its tie by creating wide-open social spaces filled with modern art and staffed with affable servers. The Ritz Paris (from $1,240), meanwhile, has doubled down on Louis XVI-style decadence with toile canopy beds, crystal chandeliers, and gilded swan-shaped faucets. A more affordable but still excellent alternative, the Hoxton (from $185), just opened in an 18th century building in the centrally located 2nd arrondissement. It features boldly colored, midcentury-­inspired rooms.

Vineyards in Reims.
Source: HeliFirst

PRO TIPS

A new 2-mile running loop along the Seine that passes the Musée D’Orsay and Notre-Dame makes the perfect Parisian workout. (Note: At press time, it’s partially submerged because of river flooding—the second time that’s happened since the course opened in April 2017.)

Cure your airplane hangover with a jet-lag facial and body massage at the Dior Institut spa at the Plaza Athénée.

For a quick-fix lunch in the financial district, head to Cyril Lignac: $12.50 gets you the best sandwich you’ve ever had, plus a top-quality pastry to boot.

The city’s most delicious croissant can be found at Du Pain et Des Idées, in the 10th arrondissement. A convenient runner-up, Sébastien Gaudard, is around the corner from the Louvre.

Fill your purse with pralines from Le Chocolat Alain Ducasse, orangettes from Patrick Roger, and vacuum-packed cheeses from Fromagerie Marie-Anne Cantin.

The banks of the Seine are now lined with running paths.
Photographer: Hemis/Alamy

 

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