Oui oui, Paris. Dear sweet Pah-ree. Where people in love go, to chase butterflies and embrace air with wide open smiles while enjoying life with bottles of great wine and oysters by the dozen.
The place that is lovingly described in many pieces of literature and written about for the silver screen by copious quantities of scenarists. The New York of Europe in it’s popularity, where fashion week is a three-fold and prosecco isn’t often Champagne’s substitute. This, is a city in which you can find innumerable gloriously stylish places, where women in glittery dresses show their red- bottomed heels peeking out of their splits, making people nudge and stare while the impeccably dressed host shows them to their table. “Party of four? This way madame.”
Unfortunately these establishments often come with a ‘loud’ audience. Swanky individuals who leave their humbleness at the door and buy their way to classy, but will never quite be-. Frankly, that’s not what I’m looking for, but it might just be your cup of tea, no judgement. So, for my Paris chapter of Based in a suitcase, I packed my bags and got swept away in the ‘city of lights’ for three days to give you my fair opinion of where to go when you’re looking for glamour, with- and without the slick crowd.
#1. Les Bains
My absolute favorite place in this lonely pearl of a city. Known as Les Bains Douches, THE club in ‘Paname’ in 1978, where the creme de la creme mingled with the underground misfits, doing all that God has forbidden, this historic building (1885) is now a hotel/restaurant/bar that makes my skirt blow up. It ticks all my boxes; clean, innovative, elegant and a staff that visibly enjoys the job.
Their ‘Chinese tea room’ by the lobby that they call the Honesty Bar is an absolute premium feature. One can have a drink here and read, or just stare into the beautiful space. The guest, hotel guests only, has anything that tickles his/ her fancy, writes down on a score pad what they had and leaves it at front desk when leaving. F-ing fantastic when your money is upstairs and you don’t want to bother with complex drinks and a bar full of people and chatter around, but just want your simple spirit & soda in peace.
The rooms aren’t spacious, but done so well, you won’t notice. Lounge corners and private balconies make for a great ambience and lots of light. This hotel is definitely a gem, with it’s beautiful ceilings, embroidered linnen and an endless pool that gives you your morning work out. All and all, I don’t need to explain any further that I love this place, just go see for yourself.
#2. Le Bar du Bristol
Safe to say that Le Bristol is in my top-three favorite places to stay when in Paris, but they also charge their worth, so not everyone will be able to afford such splendor (neither do I but one will seldomly decline an invite to such a jewel). For those who are looking for a touch of Bristol without spending the whole nine yards, I’d recommend having a drink at their bar.
It’s old fashioned it’s ways, like an old Beverly hills spot, but this comes with the territory. The outfits of the staff aren’t too flattering, but the waitresses will serve you cocktails in pretty glasses while women in designer clothes are dropping off fancy purchases with the bellboy before siting down and gracefully crossing their legs on one of the velvet couches. So ladies, little black dress out the closet, lipstick in your clutch and bottoms up…
#3. Restaurant Costes Saint-Honoré
Yes. Hotel Costes. The one and (not) only. This red- velvety-love-nest is made to exist in Paris. Kitsch? Absolutely. Over the top? No doubt. A place to have great time? Damn straight, especially when you’re in fashion. This dimly lit venue is nothing short of amazing when in company of the greats during fashion week, as well as a great place to have an extravagant dinner when you’re feeling gilded.
#4. Experimental Cocktail Club / Le Ballroom du Beef Club
A city is not a great one if not for places that do nothing but put the greatest things ever invented in the world of drinking together to serve you heaven on earth if you ask me, and I certainly wouldn’t want to offend Paris, so off I went in search for the best Old Fashioned and -Dirty Martini in town. Luckily I had received a golden tip from my neighbor on the plane and quickly found the first of two bars by the same three owners; Experimental Cocktail Club. I was poured a beautiful drink, made by a lovely mixologist. I made my way to Le Ballroom to experience that same excellence and back home without chasing bread crumbs since in both establishments my water glass was punctually refilled every time the rim got lonely. Fellow travelers, if you’re thirsty, these are the places to go.