Once upon a time in Paris…..

Paris has got to be one of the most beautiful and romantic cities in the world and thanks to my job I am lucky enough to spend 4-5 weeks a year in this magical land for Fashion Weeks.

Granted most of that time is spent in the back of a car (chauffeur driven nonetheless) and in numerous showrooms (some more glamorous than others), so I do like to make the most of the city after dark, sampling the culinary delights of the fabulous restaurants in town.

One of my all time favorites is Le Petit Lutetia – a relatively small and unassuming restaurant in the 7th where the tables are super close together and despite the absence of background music the atmosphere is lively, fun and electric!

It is part of the Costes group which I am a huge fan (the list of recommendations below confirm this!) and is managed by a real character who is charming, flirtatious and sporadic all at the same time with his mound of grey curls, thick rimmed glasses and open front denim shirt (I’ve never seen him in anything else!!).

Now for the food!! The menu is incredible! I highly recommend this restaurant for a group of 4 or more as the sharing starters and desserts are the real showstoppers, so much so that I would almost forgo the mains, however the lobster linguine is divine!

My top picks from the starters list include the charcuterie, foie gras, tuna and avocado tartare, sea bass carpaccio and if you are into them, the burgundy snails.

For dessert you cannot miss the chocolate mousse, red berry pavlova or the strawberries and whipped cream!

Other restaurants I adore from the Costes group are Hôtel Costes, mainly for lunch (great for celeb spotting during fashion week) where I always request a table in the outdoor atrium, L’Avenue; La Société, Le Café Marly (try and get an outdoor reservation as the terrace overlooks the Louvre Pyramid) and Le Matignon (great for a late dinner; there is a club downstairs where you can venture post meal). The menu at all of these food spots is the same so you can be sure of what to expect and is absolutely delicious whatever you opt for!

That said I almost always go for my usual of yellow tail sashimi to start followed by the Thai style cod, rice and French beans washed down with a glass or two of champagne or Whispering Angel…..just divine!

For restaurants with a view to behold I highly recommend La Girafe, Monsieur Bleu (Sunday brunch here is phenomenal – go for the salmon and avo toast!) and Loulou’s all of which overlook the iconic Eiffel Tower….well we all need a shot of this tourist spot (never gets old; I literally take numerous shots of it on each and every trip to Paris!!).

I have to be honest in that I was a little disappointed by the food at La Girafe and will not be returning in a hurry but I have to admit it is a stunning restaurant in a great setting so if you have to do it once….

Another typically French bistro I adore is Chez Julien. Cozy and intimate with a very Parisienne ambiance this is a great date night venue.

For something a little quirkier look no further than Derrière. Hidden down a little alley in the Marais a beautiful courtyard leads you to a funky restaurant split on two levels where you will find beds as chairs, bathtubs as sinks and raunchy modern art adorning the walls. After dinner take a trip to the third floor where a Narnia inspired cupboard door will lead you into the hidden bar where you can sip on cocktails surrounded by vintage treasures and stuffed animals centered around an ornate fireplace.

Another favorite is Liza, a modern and contemporary Lebanese restaurant originally from Beirut. Liza herself is present most evenings to greet guests and ensure eveyone is well taken care of. As for the cuisine…..it is to die for! Again I highly recommend you focus on the starters with the grilled halloumi and marmalade not to be missed. For the main course you HAVE to share the roasted lamb with spiced Basmati rice, nuts and dried fruit – trust me you won’t have ever tasted lamb like it! Also for dessert make sure you request the ice cream selection, muhalabie and katayef – you won’t be disappointed!!

On my last trip to Paris I finally got to sample the delights at Ralph’s which is Ralph Lauren’s namesake restaurant behind their flagship store. The menu is more American style and the decor typically Ralph. The main dining room is cozy and intimate with an oversized fireplace as it’s focal point.The most stunning aspect has to be, hands down, the Centre courtyard which is covered in fairy lights. An outdoor reservation is a must if you are visiting during Spring/Summer.

The list is endless but other eateries to mention include Coco, Anahi, Shirvan, Caviar Kaspia, Cafe Castiglione and La Belle Époque.

When it comes to shopping in the capital I love to mooch around Sephora to stock up in Korean face masks and treats we can’t get at home; browse around the multiple floors in the newly opened Galleries Lafayette on the Champs Elysees and drool over the fancy wears at Leclaireur.

Montaigne Market is always a must visit for its avant- guard mannequin displays and Vintage Paris is my go to for designer second hand ware. Also take a walk around Le Marais as there are countless boutiques to venture into.

A trip to Paris wouldn’t be complete without the inclusion of some truly touristic adventures so don’t forget to venture up the Eiffle Tower, take in the Art and Culture at the Louvre, visit Notre Dame Cathedral, walk through the gardens of Versailles or the Tuileries, take a photo in front of the Arc de Triomphe before strolling down Le Champs Elysee and stopping for coffee and macaroons at Laduree.

Whatever you choose your time in Paris is guaranteed to be magical. Enjoy my BC Fashionistas and be sure to keep me posted on what you get up to in Paris!! Xx

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