Hidden on a side street, you wouldn't know about this place (most Parisians didn't!) unless someone had recommended it to you...thank you Jill! We thought we would mosey on in and just eat at the downstairs wine bar...well, so did everyone else. I had the brilliant idea of wearing my new 5 inch Louboutin's so there was no way...literally...that I could wait to sit. Apparently there is a very long wait to get a reservation for the upstairs restaurant, but as luck would have it, they had one open table (thank you shoe Gods). The atmosphere was cozy and warm with only a handful of tables (filled mostly with Americans). The menu is setup as a tasting which can always be a little risky, but OMG this was among the best food I have ever eaten. Our hats off to Braden Perkins and Laura Adrian.
Another Favorite: Les Papilles (http://www.lespapillesparis.fr).
(photo courtesy of www.lespapilleparis.fr).
This was like going to a friend's casual dinner party (and your friend is renowned Chef Betrand Bluy). No menu, but you will not be disappointed in the hearty, French terroir selection. And allow the host to select your wine--divine.
Favorite Museum: Musee Delacroix (http://www.musee-delacroix.
Obviously Versailles was my favorite museum, but the Delacroix was also very special as it's setup in his last apartment and studio. You only need about an hour (if that) to get through this gem...perfect for someone like me who loves culture, but also might not have the best attention span. The museum is nestled into an alcove on Rue Furstenberg--also known for the many beautiful interior design boutiques.
Favorite Shop: Renaissance (www.renaissance75007.com)
There is nothing better than getting lost on the streets of Paris, especially when you stumble upon a vintage haute couture haven such as Renaissance. Now I don't know about you, but this is my kind of museum. The clothing is literally to die for. Every item is pristine and the shop's owner, Corinne , is so knowledgable and willing to give you an in-depth history lesson in haute couture fashion (tip: the inside of the garment is more important that the outside). She and her shih tzu, Lola, are just a dream. When you think of a sophisticated, fashionable Parisian woman she is the epitome. Of course I wanted to buy everything, but instead I left with just one beauty - an Oscar De La Renta blouse from the 1980s that I shall wear often...while dreaming of Paris
Another Favorite: Lili Rose Luxury (http://liliroseluxury.com)
Lili Rose Luxury is a must. It is filled with swoon-worthy handbags, accessories, and shoes. I did some Christmas shopping here, and also happen to pick up an Hermes Collier De Chien belt for myself (Merry Christmas to me). The prices are reasonable, but don't go there on your first day in Paris or you very well might spend all of your money.
Shopping Tip:The conversion rate was pretty good when I was there, and the prices on French luxury goods are definitely less than in the US, AND you get the VAT tax back. You can save a lot of money while spending even more :) If given the choice on your credit card to pay in Euro or US, choose the Euro. I wasn't sure, but after doing some research it looks like, after all of the hidden fees, you could end up paying about 3% more by choosing the dollar. Gotta save more to shop more!
While having their famous l'ancienne hot chocolate at Cafe Les Deux Maggot--which is more like sipping melted chocolate-- (http://www.lesdeuxmagots.fr/
en/ambiances.php#/contact.php) two gentlemen walked by, one of whom had a "selfie stick". If you're ever looking for a conversation starter, just carry one of those around with you. Before we knew it, they were sitting down with us and voila, a friendship was made. We were invited to join their friends the next evening--fulfilling my dream of being invited to a French dinner party! We had the BEST time with the most interesting group of people. We laughed, we ate, we drank, and I'm pretty sure made some lifelong friends. It was one of those rare "this only happens in movies" moments.
From now on, I will simply remember Paris...and then I won't feel so bad.