Paris, according to Jeanne Damas and Lauren Bastide

The beautiful gardens of Musee de la vie Romantique

Last weekend, I was invited to Paris for the day. What an indulgent treat! It was with Jeanne Damas and Lauren Bastide, the creators of the wonderfully chic creators of ‘In Paris: 20 Women On Life In The City of Light’.

Images, taken by Jeanne Damas, for the book

Jeanne Damas and Lauren Bastide

I chatted to them about Paris and asked all about their favourite haunts, and thought it was the perfect space to share them, here.

Firstly, they suggested sticking to one area, especially if you’re timepoor. I find I’m only ever really in Paris for 1 or 2 days as we’re so close, and it’s never really enough time to get to know the city in its entirety. Familiarising yourself with one area instead is such a great tip. Lauren recommended Pigalle (between 9th and 18th arrondissements), where she lives (and where I stayed last time in Paris when it became my new favourite).

The best thing about Pigalle? It is full of cool cafes, independent shops and clothing boutiques (it used to be the red light district, so just like London’s Soho scene: it’s buzzing). But also: it is walkable from Eurostar Gare Du Nord, so if you’ve planned a quick trip you waste no time running around on the metro or queuing in the taxi rank.

WHERE TO STAY

Hotel Amour – what a gem of a hotel. We stayed here last time and it is such an amazing location (although be warned: the smallest, cheapest room is VERY small, not even a wardrobe or a side table – just a bed and bathroom). Or you could stop here for lunch, the botanical feel to the restaurant is gorgeous and food is great (typically french), too.

Hotel Grand Pigalle is wonderful, also, albeit more expensive. Or worth it just to sit and have a cocktail one evening at the bar and book a local Air BnB.

The restaurant at Hotel Amour.

Grand Hotel Pigalle (image via Mr & Mrs Smith).

WHERE TO EAT

Le Pantruche – an old slang word for ‘Parisian’, this is one of Jeanne’s favourites.

Chez Casimir – great place for brunch and lunch.

La Buvette – relaxed place for dinner and drinks.

Otium – vegetarian restaurant and delicious cold press juices.

WHERE TO SHOP

We passed so many cute boutiques on our walk around the area: mid century modern stores, APC, Aesop as well as gorgeous patisseries. Lauren recommended one street, in particular ‘Rue des Martyr’ which is full of niche cake shops but Jeanne dismissed it as ‘Bobo’. When I asked what it meant, Lauren told me that it referred to trendy areas where people only ate organic and rode around the city on bicycles – “Basically, us” – which made me laugh.

They recommended Vintage store Guerrisol (21 Boulevard de Rochechouart).

 

Coat: Whistles (old). Trousers: £79, Cos. Shoes: Mango (old). Bag: £320, Sezane.

WHAT TO DO

The beauty of this neighbourhood is that it is all so easy to do on foot. We walked to the Musee de la vie Romantique – a gorgeous, quaint little house – be warned it is possibly one of the smallest museums I have ever had the delight of visiting, but the special almost private garden with Rose Bakery Tea Room is definitely worth it to sit and enjoy a hot chocolate and cake.

 

Pigalle is also a short walk from Montmartre, somewhere I had been for the first time only a few years ago, despite having visited Paris countless times. Yes, it’s busy but on a clear day it is so beautiful and like nowhere else. We arrived as the sun was going down and the light on the streets and the city were stunning, despite the crowds.

We managed to take a detour and catch some Insta-famous spots on the way back down, too.

So, if it’s not too immodest to say, I will be using this city guide next time I visit Paris!

And make sure you wear flats.

10 Comments

  1. Must buy this book! Am in shock at the transformation of the Pigalle. Have avoided it like the plague since our coach driver unwisely stopped there at 9pm on account of McDonald’s being there. I was about 15 then and it was a vile place. It’s so beautiful now x

  2. How lucky are you to have been invited on this city visit. I love France should a beautiful country. This post has brought back many happy memories of my first ever visit there possibly 1975. This was a fabulous part of the city to spend time in. You have helped me to relive those happy times. Thank you

  3. Oh, this has made me so want to revisit Paris! Have you ever been to the Petit Palais Art Gallery? It’s not as well known as the famous ones but it has an interesting selection , a quiet courtyard cafe and it’s free! Keep these posts coming, there is always something different and interesting to read.xx

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