- Ksubi Delinquent Jean
- Mulberry Large Jody Shoulder Bag
- Tsumori Chisato Starry Stole
- James Perse Women White Casual T
- Wouters & Hendrix Smoky Quartz Necklace
- Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Denim Hi
By Chris Elia
While Paris is a treat all springtime long, summer is really when the action heats up. As Americans, we are let loose on Europe while the Europeans are let loose on the beaches of Croatia. So… what to pack for a Paris and environs trip? I have a couple of trusty standby’s from the summer I worked in Paris and lived in the “maid’s quarters” of a posh 16th Arrondisement building – and to clarify: maid’s quarters means bed, sink, shower and that’s it. Thank you to the owners of the tabac downstairs for letting me do my makeup in their bathroom!
First of all – footwear. It’s the most important piece of the puzzle because it identifies Americans miles away. Stay away from the sneakers at all costs. Even if you have some sort of foot related issue. I recommend Hogan Sneakers for those who really need comfortable walking around shoes. They usually have matching laces or velro closures and thin rubber soles so look more discreet but are really comfortable. If that is not your style, chic Parisian women are running around in Converse All Stars these days – they have this way of pairing a light gray pair of hightops with skinny jeans, the perfect T and a scarf that allows them to be casual and super chic – do the same thing.
If you spend enough time in Paris you will start to notice most people wear the same few things with a wide array of smartly chosen accessories. So I would pack several scarves – both the Hermes silk kind and the long loose kind.
Jeans are ok, but preferably either skinny and dark or skinny and gray. The pencil skirt is the most versatile piece for Paris summers and transitions well to the beach if you decide to hit the Isle de Re or go south.
The cardigan works so well as a day to night transition piece. It doesn’t get too cool in the evenings in Paris but someplaces ( like museums) surprise with lots of AC. If you don’t want to wear it, throw it around your shoulders, not around your waist. That is another move that says “I am a tourist”.
After this, it is all about where you are going to hang out. If the Marais is your speed (young, hip, funky) then you have a wide palette of vintage and flea market find you can tap.
If the 16th or 7th is what you feel, then chic it up with scarves and stylish jackets and skirts.
Below are some of my favorite places to stop in Paris – some of these you may know, others took me decades to find. Check first on all the info – you never know hours and openings.
Le Bon Marche: 24, rue de Sevres (7th Arr) This is a wonderful small department store that merits a visit no matter what your budget, as despite being a Parisian favorite always has wonderful treasures inside.
Maria Luisa: 2, rue Cambon (1st Arr) One of the best women's boutiques in the city, it was recently several seperate storefronts and now is more consolidated.
Cadolle: 4, rue Cambon (1st Arr) Next door to Maria Luisa is a fabulous lingerie store featuring handmade artisinal quality pieces. Enjoy!
Karine Arabian: 4, rue Papillon (9th Arr) Jewelry and trinkets galore at this lovely tiny shop in the 9th – she used to work as head of Chanel's design and production. It shows.
And now…. to eat and enjoy!
Al-Ajami 58, rue Francois, 1st Arrondisment (right near Champs Elysee). Open 7 days a week. 01.42.25.38.44 tel Wonderful Lebanese food – always a hip crowd and interesting scene.
One of the best chocolatiers in Paris, in my opinion. Try it and tell me what you think:
Le chocolat par Michel Chaudun, 149, rue de l’Univeriste. 01 47 53 74 40 (7th Arr)
And one of the best patisserie / boulangeries: Secco. 20, rue Jean Nicot 01 43 17 35 20
If you find yourself in Passy, a slightly off the beaten track real Paris neighborhood in the 16th Arr with charming shops, do stop for a refreshment at The Cool (Tea Cool) 10, rue Jean Bologne 01 42 24 69 13.
And, something I always find difficult to locate, a florist in Paris: Des Fleurs 4, rue saint-Dominique. Perfect for a thank you or for you to enjoy!