In celebration of Bastille Day, we thought we’d ask one of our Paris dwelling pals for some tips for anyone planning a trip to the French Capital. Because, you know, half of Australia seems to be in Europe at the moment. (We’re not even going to pretend we’re not jealous!)
Jacquelyn has been living in Paris for 5 years (she currently resides in the 18th arrondisement), originally moving there to do her Masters in Fashion Design at the Institut Français de la Mode. After working at the Kenzo fashion house after completing her studies, Jacquelyn was recently appointed the Senior Designer for the defile and pre-collection at Isabel Marant. Read our Q&A with Jacquelyn below, and hopefully put her good tips to use on your next European adventure. (Note: we asked Jacquelyn to include anything else she thought might be of interest, and she replied: The best burgers in Paris are at Le Depanneur! Hands down!!!)
What is the best thing about living in Paris?
There is always something amazing going on. Each season there is a new round of amazing exhibitions opening, and then you have all of the Fashion Weeks (women’s, men’s and couture week) with all of the shows, parties and launches. There is so many fun events year round – for example, you have Paris Plage where they construct a beach on the edge of the Seine. There’s Fete de la Musique, when the whole city is filled with live music. Even the kebab shops get a DJ! Nuit Blanche – the museums open all night… Plus a thousand other things, so it is impossible to ever be bored!
What has surprised you the most about living in Paris?
How small the city actually is! Which is also one of the best things, because you’re never far from your friends (a bonus when living thousands of miles from home).
How will you be spending Bastille Day?
Well last year did a full on 14 Juillet – we had a big picnic in front of the Eiffel Tower and watched the fireworks. This year we’ll be in Quimper in Bretagne; so we’ll go to the beach to watch the local fireworks with some friends.
What is your number one recommendation to anyone planning on visiting Paris?
The only thing you absolutely have to do when you come to Paris is to go to an old Parisian brasserie like Chez Paul, take a good red wine and have a planche!
What are your current 3 favourite restaurants in Paris?
La Fontaine de Mars - It's basically the most French restaurant I've ever been to. The food is really amazing classic, traditional French. Le Perchoir - if you go early you can have a pre-dinner drink on their rooftop bar which has a beautiful view of the Sacré-Cœur. Brasserie Barbes – It’s a great 3 floor brasserie in an old building with a courtyard and a huge glass roof.
What is the best spot to go for an after-work drink, cocktails and a night out on the town?
For after work drinks, Le Mansart. It's a very cool but totally classic French bistro in the 9th, great for some after-work wines and a charcuterie planche. The best cocktails are at Experimental Cocktail Club Paris in the 2eme. And for a night on the town, Le Pompon, near Opera. They always play the best mix of French rap, classic RnB and trashy pop so it's perfect for a dance.
Working in fashion, you must know the best shopping spots…
I love the Marais for a shopping day- the whole area between the metro's Arts et Metiers and Saint-Sebastien Froissart. You have Merci, APC, Acne, French Trotters and a bunch of other good shops all around this area. There are also a lot of good cafe's like Cafe Charlot and Rose bakery around this area so you can take a break and watch the Parisians go past. Otherwise I go straight to Galeries Lafayette or Le Bon Marche, which has the most amazing epicerie!
What is your absolute favourite shop in Paris?
It's really obvious – it has to be Colette. The curation of the fashion level is so inspiring, and she's more experimental so you see some pieces that you won't see any other boutique in Paris.
What are the best non-touristy attractions?
Le chalet des iles in Bois du Boulogne. There is a chalet on an island in the middle of a huge park/woods. You have to take a little ferry boat to get across to the island. In the summer you can go on a Sunday, they have music and set out bean bags and chairs next to the river, and you can drink rose, have a picnic and play pétanque.
What are the best activities on offer in each season?
Winter - Go to the winter season at the amazingly beautiful Philharmonie de Paris, designed by Jean Nouvel.
Spring - Picnic at the Parc Buttes-Chaumont and look out across Paris.
Summer - Take a bottle of rosé and sit on the edge of the Seine at "Rose Bonheur sur Seine", or watch a movie at the open-air cinema at La Vilette.
Autumn - FIAC Art fair at the Grand Palais. It’s amazing!!
And most important, where can you find best, most indulgent French pastries??
Angelina's for cakes and chocolate and Pain Pain in the 18eme for viennoiseries!
Photo credits: Jacquelyn Wellington, Chez Paul, Angelinas.
Main Image by Moyan Brenn.