A visit to the French capital is an invitation to experience next level gastronomy, artisanal fashion, a rich cultural immersion, and to simply enjoy that quintessentially Parisian, l’art de vivre (aka the art of living). Regardless of which path you lose yourself on when exploring the City of Light; from the dynamic right bank to the historic left, there’s charm and culture to be discovered around every cobbled corner. travel writer and American in Paris, Kasia Dietz shares her local insider picks on where to sleep, eat, explore and play in this iconic city.
Sleep In Style
Relatively new to the City of Light, Kimpton St. Honoré Paris — once home to the Samaritaine de Luxe department store in the gilded opera district — is an architectural marvel to behold. The work of renowned French architect and interior designer Charles Zana, the property retains its glamorous 1930s art deco spirit while wowing with modern luxury and design. Here the suites take their cue from chic Parisian apartments; light, airy, bold color pops, dramatic floor-to-ceiling windows, impressive artwork, freestanding bathtubs and balconies overlooking the iconic city. Among the other highlights — a stunning rooftop terrace with panoramic views of the city and an indoor heated pool.
Bulgari Hotel Paris
Luxury Italian jewelry and accessory house Bulgari has opened its lavish doors in Paris. Combining French savoir-faire with Italian glamor and hospitality, Bulgari Hotel Paris has found a home on Avenue George V in the elegant 8th arrondissement. Neighboring the famed Champs-Élysées, the hotel is a quick stroll to the River Seine for those looking to get a close-up glimpse of the Eiffel Tower. The inviting lounge and bar are draped in marble, silk wall coverings, granite, tapestries, and varnished eucalyptus woodwork and feature an impressive collection of ceramics by Gio Ponti, while celebrity portraits dot the walls. With three-star Italian chef Niko Romito manning the kitchen, every dish, starting from the antipasto misto is a masterpiece. Come summertime, the restaurant’s terrace opens into a peaceful sanctuary. The sleek and sophisticated interiors continue into the 76 rooms and suites, each one dressed in unrivaled style by Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel Italian architectural studio. Catch a bird’s eye view of the city’s iconic monuments from the ultra-posh 4,300 square foot Bulgari Penthouse with panoramic roof garden. Meanwhile, the plush subterranean spa, recalling the opulence of Roman baths, is clad in Pietra di Vicenza stone and signature green onyx. Enter ultimate bliss when diving into the 25-meter pool and steamy jacuzzi or indulging in a facial or body treatment using top beauty brands.
Dine with The Stars
Marsan by Hélène Darroze
Awarded a second Michelin star for her flagship left bank restaurant Marsan by Hélène Darroze in 2021, this gifted chef concocts seasonal dishes inspired by her global travels, from the tandoors of India to the fragrances of Vietnam, all while paying homage to her French roots. Darroze shares, “I am Basque-Landes, and this plays a vital role in who I am and what I create. I am made from that family and that soil – this is everything I am.” Touches of home include the wine list from her beloved grandfather and her grandmother’s recipe book. Prepare for a theatrical meal at the long communal table, head to the sleek wood-paneled light-infused dining room on the first floor or try the six-seat Chef’s Table for a more intimate culinary experience.
This passion project helmed by celebrated Israeli chef Assaf Granit, Shabour breaks all the rules when it comes to dining. Translated to “broken” in Hebrew, this right bank restaurant located in the heart of the Sentier merits the Michelin-star it was awarded last year. Featuring a set menu that changes with the seasons, each of the seven courses – the latest inspired by the staff’s grandmothers – is a work of art. Like the chef’s signature of slow-cooked egg infused with black tea, covered in a sesame foam and garnished with caviar. Some dishes are even meticulously prepared right at the counter so guests can catch a glimpse into the workings of the kitchen. Add incredible wine pairing and the gastronomic voyage here is complete.
A rising star on the Parisian culinary scene, Michelin-trained American Chef Justin Kent opened his bistronomic restaurant Milagro in the heart of the 7th arrondissement in 2021, four years following the success of his more casual eatery Zia. Milagro (which translates to miracle in Spanish) is a globally inspired locally sourced showcase where dishes like sea bass ceviche and pan-roasted duck breast with beets and figs take center stage. The carefully curated wine list is another nod to local producers. Freshly baked sourdough bread accompanies every meal in this artful space that immediately makes you feel at home. Save room for a sweet grand finale of seasonal fruit crumble with burnt honey ice cream.
Shop Like a Parisian
The city’s most iconic shopping address is the dazzling Art Nouveau meets Art Deco detailed la Samaritaine, which dates back to 1870. The boutique department store reopened in recent years after a chic makeover and is now home to over 500 fashion, beauty and lifestyle brands (many exclusively French), plus 10 eateries, from casual to gourmet and including top pastry spots.
With the recent opening of a boutique in Saint-Germain — the second outpost to her long-standing flagship in the Haut Marais — Koshka Paris continues to evolve as one of Paris’s leading high-end brands. Dedicated to designing chic and feminine womenswear ethically, designer Mari Samvelyan draws inspiration from life in the fashion capital. Signature pieces (all produced in Paris) include Matros jeans and denim trench coats, with new limited edition collections available throughout the year. In another sweet touch, the color-infused Armenie sweaters are all hand-knit in her native Armenia, with proceeds benefiting local women.
The Cyprian-born designer behind the label Erotokritos has been dressing women and men in trendy and timeless clothing for decades. Best known for her luxurious high-quality knitwear in basic hues and vivid prints, the latest sweater collection is hand-painted, recalling wearable art. From light and airy dresses to high-waisted pants and evening jackets, every ready-to-wear piece is crafted by hand in a small family-run atelier. The brand’s signature leather bags and summer sandals, vast array of scarves, and jewelry by select local artisans mix and match to create the perfect Parisian look.
A local favorite, designer Anika Lena Skarstrom, driven by top-quality fabrics including cotton, silks, and linens sourced from France, Italy, and Japan, has created her elegantly deconstructed womenswear for over two decades. One of the first to open her own fashion-forward boutique in the Haut Marais, samples are still produced at her in-store atelier. From tailored suits to long flowy dresses, each timeless piece becomes a collector’s item, including her signature leather pants, skirts, and jackets. Add a pair of shoes from her carefully curated selection and walk off in style.
Paris History and Culture Immersion
Historic Paris is particularly stunning at night and the best way to see it in all its romantic glory is to cruise on its iconic river. Elevate the experience by adding gastronomy and this is what Parisian dreams are made of. Aboard Ducasse sur Seine, helmed by Michelin-starred chef Alain Ducasse, guests can float and enjoy a moveable feast while marveling at landmarks like the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris, Louvre Museum, Musée d’Orsay and the glittering glowing Madame Eiffel. Guests can go for the 2 or 3-course lunch cruise “Déjeuner sur Seine”, of the 5-course fanciful “Nuit étoilée” dinner paired with French wine.
Bourse de Commerce
A stone’s throw from the recently reopened Art Nouveau department store La Samaritaine, admire François Pinault’s extensive contemporary art collection — featuring over 10,000 works — at the new museum Bourse de Commerce. Beneath the dome of this former trading center transformed by architect Tadao Ando, you can spend an afternoon discovering paintings, sculptures, installations, photographs, videos, audio works, and performances by close to 400 artists.
Hotel de la Marine
For an engaging lesson in French history, stop by Hotel de la Marine at Place de la Concorde, another new and noteworthy museum. This stately address — a masterpiece by the king’s chief architect Ange-Jacques Gabriel — was once a palace dating back to the 18th century. Originally housing the Garde-Meuble de la Couronne, in charge of royal furnishings including gold and silver ornaments, it later became the headquarters of France’s navy ministry for over 200 years. A walk through the royal chambers offers an insight into life during a more regal era.
Once known as the “Salle des Capucines” for its location on Boulevard des Capucines, this historic gem — later named Palais Garnier in memory of its architect Charles Garnier — hosted every Paris opera between 1875 – 1989 when the Bastille Opera House opened. Today this regal performance venue continues to present internationally acclaimed opera and ballet performances. If nothing else pop inside to marvel at Marc Chagall’s impressive frescoes on the ceiling.
For a closer look at Paris during the 16th and 17th centuries, Musée Carnavalet housed in the heart of the Marais neighborhood has reopened its doors following five years of renovations.