Le Bon Marche, the iconic department store in Saint German
We have put together our guide for Paris during the bustle and pace of Paris Fashion Week—a list of our insights and recommendations for those who find themselves in the city during this all-too-frequent high season, and who are looking for the joie de vivre without the queues.
Instead of lining up at Café de Flore, cross the road to Cravan—a charming multi-story bar taking over a historic corner-maison in Saint-Germain. Recently opened by Franck Audoux and the LVMH group, the space, designed by Ramy Fischler, lends itself to close-quarter conversations fuelled by the city's best cocktails. Whatever your drink of choice, you're in safe hands. Franck wrote the book on Paris' long-lasting love affair with mixology.
Insider tip: Situated on the third floor, The Rizzoli Library invites you to explore its curated cultural publications. Friend of Yu Mei and editor at the Milanese-based publisher, Ian Luna, recommends the Mad Collins (gin, ginger and sparkling water) paired with one of his favourite books—Louis Vuitton City Bags: A Natural History.
Cravan bar in Saint-Germain
While on the Left Bank, swing by Des Gâteaux et du Pain for precision-like Parisian pastries. As you step inside, try not to be overwhelmed as you find yourself between parallel tracks of inch-perfect steel cabinetry rammed with kaleidoscopic French tarts. It feels more like a lab than a place to pick up breakfast, but that's the point—Claire Damon's bakery is *proof* that even the most ancient practices can be reinvented.
Insider tip: Store a [well-packaged] cheese quiche in your Yu Mei bag. It will pair perfectly with a park wine later in the afternoon.
Pastries at Des Gâteaux et du Pain
There is often still a queue first thing at Musée d'Orsay, but it pales in comparison to other tourist attractions. Housed in what was the Orsay railway station, the museum boasts so much space it feels like you're viewing the art en plein air.
The museum is home to one of the world's largest impressionist and post-impressionist collections. If that's your thing, be prepared to spend half a day upstairs, where natural light breaks up exhibition spaces, and you can stare out the window, down the Seine and across a romantic vista of Parisian rooftops.
After a long day strolling the galleries of the Pompidou, make your way toward Le Marais to Officine Universelle Buly. Established in 1803, this emporium of apothecary delights is an essential stop for thoughtful gift buying. Insiders also know there is a secret parlour where a Japanese shiatsu massage can be booked, a must-visit for a tired traveller.
Gift buying at Officine Universelle Buly
Le Bon Marche, the iconic department store in Saint Germain, pack light and visit first.
Institut Giacometti offers intimate tours of the revered sculptor’s reconstructed studio (previously Paul Follot’s studio) and significant selected works. Closed on Mondays.
Hotel Costes for celebrity spotting in the courtyard.
Sacré Coeur—visit at dusk for bohemian busking and sunsets over Paris.
Patrick Seguin. Pop into the Bastille showroom to start your day with the gallery’s renowned collection of the best of French furniture and architectural design–Prouvé, Corbusier, Perriand included.
The Eiffel Tower. But just before midnight. Never miss the chance. Just do it late at night when there are fewer people around.
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